Planning appeal starts over 120 homes for Charminster

Planning appeal starts over 120 homes for Charminster

Published by Maria Greenwood at 7:25am 20th March 2019.

West Dorset District Council turned down the scheme.

A six-day planning appeal has started into the refusal of 120 homes at Charminster, close to the Grade 1 listed Wolfeton House.

Objectors to the scheme include the Thomas Hardy Society which believes the historic setting of the house, once owned by the Trenchard family, would be lost forever if the new homes were allowed.

Hardy took the name for the main character in his novel, the Mayor of Casterbridge from the family which used to own the listed Wolfeton House.

Westleaze inquiry - inspector Zoe Hill

Other objections include local residents were worried about traffic, the loss of open space and fear the village would not cope with the influx of new residents from this and other schemes.

Lord Julian Fellowes spoke out at the time claiming the development would ‘destroy a major element in Hardy’s story’.

Many of the concerns are shared by the district council which ignored the recommendation of its own planning officers to reject the outline application for the site.

Other arguments against the development include the effect on the wider landscape, including views from Poundbury hillfort; the effect on the village conservation area and the local road network.

Some argue that Charminster already has an adequate housing supply, without ruining the character of the village, with recent developments at Charminster Farm and another large site approved off Wanchard Lane.

Westleaze inquiry - public

The appeal is over a 6-hectare field south of Westleaze with a new access road to be created by cutting through a mature hedgerow.

Agent for the developers, Alex Bullock, argued at the local planning committee that the scheme would include 35 per cent affordable homes and that by developing the site it would help the area meet its shortfall on the target of having 5 years building land.

He said that fears about the views between the development and Wolfeton House could be solved by design solutions and landscaping to be put in place by applicants, Land Value Alliances.

“The benefits of this scheme outweigh the harm, not the other way around,” he told the West Dorset District Council planning committee which rejected the scheme last year.

The inquiry is being held in the district council headquerters at South Walks House, Dorchester.

The inquiry,which is headed by Inspector Zoe Hill, visited the site and some of the surrounding area this afternoon. Wednesday and Thursday it will mainly hear issues about planning guidance and law. On Friday local residents will have their say.

The speakers will include local councillor Tim Yarker, who is also the district council’s housing brief holder; the parish council and the owners of Wolfeton House.

By Trevor Bevins, Local Democracy Reporter

Contact Us

If you would like to submit a query or provide more information on this story please get in touch below.

Please wait...
  • Up to 3 JPG or PNG images, 2MB max size
  • We will always endeavour to credit you when we publish your pictures.
  • By uploading you are agreeing to this non-exclusive reuse, royalty-free, across all Wessex FM platforms, which extends to our partner broadcasters.
  • You retain copyright to all images.
  • If you would like to send us a video, please upload to YouTube or similar and paste the video URL into the message above.