I have been opposed to the plans to build up to 2,400 houses here in Alderholt, and have been opposing them publicly ever since they were published by the Conservative controlled District Council.
I’ve heard lots of comments from Conservative Councillors that these proposals were put out for Consultation simply as part of the process – but it seems perverse to ask for consultation on plans which you don’t feel reasonably happy with. Consultation is supposed to be a stage to refine plans that you already feel are generally about right, but need refinement. These proposals are NOT “about right” they are fundamentally flawed.
I have been active within the Parish Council in encouraging all my colleagues there to oppose the plans, and I am a founder member of Action4Alderholt (https://action4alderholt.org.uk/). In those capacities I have had meetings with the original East Dorset District Planners, and the new team from Dorset Council who have now taken responsibility for getting a Local Plan for the whole of the new Dorset Council Area.
The Conservative Shadow Council that is currently in charge have said they want to foreshorten the timescale for this process by a year. This is short sighted, and will mean that the planners cannot do a proper job. If elected I would work with the Council and the Planning team to make sure adequate time was allocated for them to look professionally at the whole of Dorset, and not do a rush job where they must try and shoehorn in ill-conceived proposals simply to save time.
Along with colleagues in Action4Alderholt we are looking at viable alternative plans that are sustainable and in keeping with local needs. If elected I will ensure that the Planners at Dorset Council are aware of these options and investigate them properly.
As a Parish Councillor I have been a champion for the setting up of a Neighbourhood Plan. This is a new option that has been very successful in other parts of Dorset, and across the country. It enables the Local Community to have a greater and more significant influence on any Local Plan that is being developed by the Dorset Council. I intend to continue championing this both at Parish, and within Dorset Council.
I believe it is important that housing development happens in places close to centres of employment, where good road and rail links exist, and which minimise travel – and therefore minimise pollution leading to Climate Change. Alderholt does not fit that bill.
In order to meet targets for housebuilding, and we undoubtedly have a need for new housing across Dorset:
- I will prioritise brownfield development across Dorset
- getting empty properties back into use
- Encourage small scale developments in appropriate areas
- Require that all private developments contain at least 35% affordable housing
- Develop Council Owned land for Social Housing
- Work with and encourage the growth of Community Land Trusts
Dorset as a whole has been one of the greatest victims of Government cuts – in 2018 Dorset County Council received £21.4 Million less than the average Rural County and if elected I will join in campaigning with my colleagues to increase the money allocated to us from Central Government, and begin to end the Conservative Austerity measures that have blighted so many lives.