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Thomas Hardy Would Turn In His Grave Says Open Spaces Society

Bockhampton Path

Published at 7:30am 16th December 2014. (Updated at 3:13pm 16th December 2014)

"Thomas Hardy would turn in his grave" if he saw plans to build 70 homes on parkland near Dorchester, according to campaigners.

The Open Spaces Society has written to West Dorset District Council about Kingston Maurward College's proposals for Lower Bockhampton, saying they would have a devastating impact on the local area.

Writer Thomas Hardy was born nearby at Higher Bockhampton in 1840.

Kate Ashbrook, is the society's general secretary, she told Wessex FM: "The peace and quiet of this lovely area would be ruined.  Walkers, riders and cyclists would all suffer."  

"This is of course a popular tourist destination because of its association with Hardy and it would be an outrage if the council were to allow such alien and overpowering development in this very special place."

The Open Spaces Society was founded in 1865 and is Britain's oldest national conservation body.  

It campaigns to protect common land, village greens, open spaces and public paths, and people's right to enjoy them, throughout England and Wales.

But Kingston Maurward College claims they're committed to improving education for their students and the plans will help them achieve that.

Principal, Clare Davison, said: “We have an obligation to our students to provide them with the very best facilities to ensure they can learn and achieve at the highest level and gain qualifications and skills that will help them to contribute to the economy both locally and nationally.

“We want to provide additional state of the art agri-tech facilities and expand our Higher Education offer enabling more students to study degree programmes on their doorstep. The capital released from the sale of land will enable the college to embark on a programme of redevelopment and will have a positive impact on meeting local housing needs.

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