A Dorset Council (DCC) Planning meeting was held on the 31/07/19. Its purpose was to approve the large West Parley development on former Green Belt land. The meeting was attended by over 100 members of the public.
Bearing in mind the meeting was held at 2pm on a working day with less than two working weeks notice, the number shows the concern within the local community over this matter.
During the public participation period many voices were raised against the development. Very few spoke for it.
There were several passionate opposition speeches. SFRA member Keith Heron’s speech stood out. Keiths speech encapsulated the feelings of the audience and met with significant applause at the end of his delivery.
Speeches were strictly limited to 3 minutes and the public were not allowed to make comments or ask questions outside of the public period. Only those who had registered to speak in the one week period after the poorly publicized announcement of the meeting agenda were allowed to speak.
Steve Savage from the Highways department stated he had recommended that the relief road should be built as the development progressed. A figure of 50% completion was mentioned for work to start on this relief road.
There is a cost of £2m for this relief road which will be paid (eventually) by Wyatts. The money will initially be loaned to them by DCC. (i.e. by council tax payers)
Mr Savage said that he had used the latest traffic modelling tools and was confident that the redesign of Parley lights and the relief road would alleviate the additional traffic and even reduce the current load. He also had built in the expansion at the airport into his calculations.
Mr Savage in our opinion was the most convincing of those from the Council. Although many in the audience were not won over by his arguments. However there are few that do not believe that the Council must address the traffic chaos at West Parley.
Incredibly the proposal allows for a supermarket on site. The size of this supermarket would be slightly smaller than Waitrose in Wimborne. This of course, is to be built on land that was Green Belt.
It was stated that research by Wyatt’s and the Council indicated that new supermarket would not have a negative effect on the supermarkets that already service the area. Namely Tesco, Sainsburys, Lidls, M&S and the 3 local Tesco Express’s.
This was met with groans of disbelief and cries of derision from the audience.
From the view of the SFRA it is difficult to see such a decision as rational.
You simply do not need a new super market (built on Green Belt Land!) for an extra 386 homes. It has to draw business from the others.
Yet the audience was told that the proposal and the site met with all of the criteria required for it to get approval.
The meeting continued for over 4 hours and did not end until 18:30, by which time many of those in attendance had given up in despair.
We have been informed that despite the clear and virtually unanimous opposition from the community, the scheme was approved.
It is unknown as to whether this was a recorded vote.
In the unlikely event that is was a recorded vote (i.e. not anonymous) then we will at least know at whose door to lay this desecration of the English countryside.
Along with many other community groups within Ferndown and West Parley the SFRA will not let this matter be forgotten. Recorded vote or not.
Those who have ignored their electorate and gone out of their way to allow the ruin of this vital section of Green Belt will be publicly held to account during the next council election debates.
Meanwhile the English Countryside and a small village within it, brace themselves for the coming nightmare.