In the draft Dorset Local Plan, Dorset Council are shamelessly promoting development on Green belt land. Not just in one location but in many. In Ferndown & West Parley alone there are now five major green belt parcels that have either already been de-listed or are planned to be de-listed including Green belt at Dudsbury. Green belt is the vital green-space that separates towns. It provides identity and allows at least some green space for wildlife and usually a safe space for recreation. Above all it prevents urban sprawl.
Green Belt is always viewed enviously by developers. They go to great lengths to entice councils to de-list it. But it is not just developers seeking to de-list Green belt. Sometimes councils have their own agenda where de-listing greenbelt is seen as a quick fix to meet dogmatic council targets which otherwise would have to be embarrassingly reviewed.
Let us explain what you can do to help stop this vandalism. The draft Local Plan is still in “consultation phase”. You can make your displeasure felt by responding to the Council’s consultation. We have shown you how to do that in this post.
Most of the arguments put forward below will apply to Green Belt elsewhere in Dorset, but a few are specific to Dudsbury. Feel free to use those appropriate to defend whichever green belt you wish to defend. But please, try and change the wording from that shown. We suspect the council will use any excuse to invalidate responses that challenge their dogma. This may include responses that use the same wording.
The following arguments are just our opinion. If you have different/better arguments then use them! Or use some of those below to supplement yours. There are more arguments you can use in this post too!
Dudsbury Golf Course. (FERN6)
1. The Dudsbury greenbelt safeguards the countryside from encroachment. If it were to be developed, the safeguard would be lost.
2. Dudsbury prevents neighbouring towns merging. This is one of the main purposes of Green belt. This parcel is vital to prevent urban sprawl.
3. The land is on the south side of Christchurch road. The busy road separates Dudsbury from the approach to Ferndown. Any development would become an isolated outlier with no affiliation to either Ferndown or West Parley
4. All employment opportunities in Bournemouth, Poole, Ferndown or Hurn would require the employee to travel through chronically over-loaded roads in all directions.
5. You would have to use a car to travel or to go to the shops. No local shops would be within walking distance.
6. Dudsbury is on a significant slope, which would be a problem for the infirm, the elderly and cyclists.
7. The site, if developed, would ruin this stretch of the Stour Valley Way. Any accidental waste spillage or overflow would run off Dudsbury and go into the Stour Valley Way and the river Stour.
8. The planned first school would draw traffic into the already clogged roads at school drop-off and pick-up. Except for those living in the development there would be no opportunity for parents to walk their children to school without crossing the dangerously busy Christchurch Road.
9. Secondary school pupils will be isolated from their peers and have difficulty getting to/from school without being driven in a car.
10. Dudsbury is separate and different from the nearby built-up areas. Any development would destroy this.
11. The “exceptional circumstances” that the Council claim are invalid. The government recently stated the following in a response to a white paper consultation.
[More broadly, we heard suggestions in the consultation that in some places the numbers produced by the standard method pose a risk to protected landscapes and Green Belt. We should be clear that meeting housing need is never a reason to cause unacceptable harm to such places.]
12. The “exceptional circumstances” that the Council claim are invalid. The council has allocated land well in excess of that required to meet housing need. Consequently they have more than enough land available without de-listing Green belt. No “exceptional circumstance” exists.