Town Council Rejects New Housing Development With ‘Diabolical’ Access

Plans to build six homes alongside the Royal Chase roundabout were opposed by Shaftesbury Town Council last night. John Rodon Ltd wants to develop land at the end of Paddock Close, next door to the Half Moon pub.

Last month North Dorset District councillors turned down proposal to build 55 homes alongside the Higher Blandford Road. And on Tuesday evening, members of the public and town councillors spoke out against a smaller development, just around the corner, on land wedged between the end of the Paddock Close cul-de-sac and the A30.

“It’s just out of keeping. It’s just too big a development, too many houses. The traffic going through would just be unsustainable,” said Councillor Lester Taylor.

Shaftesbury Civic Society member Norman King told the meeting that the proposal to build on what the applicant termed ‘unused agricultural land’ would create a ‘very urbanised scene to a largely rural area’. Mr King claimed that the ‘rural nature’ of Shaftesbury would be under threat. The homes would have a similar appearance to the Persimmon properties on the other side of the A30.

The site at the end of Paddock Close

The Civic Society felt that this design was ‘poor’ and these three storey homes were taller than those originally planned, when North Dorset approved four homes here. Mr King said that homes in the revised plans were ‘out of context with their surroundings and with the listed public house.’

Cllr Taylor was unhappy that the proposed development has grown bigger. “This was initially a four house development and the area of land is quite enclosed. But now it’s come back as a six house development and this just looks too big a development for that small plot. They crammed all the houses in,” he said.

The new homes would sit on land accessed along a sharp turn into the field at the end of Paddock Close. Mayor Piers Brown described the approach as ‘diabolical’.

Current access to site from the end of Paddock Close

Lester Taylor was worried about safety. “The emergency services would have a bit of a horror show trying to get in there. All it takes is two cars to be parked in Paddock Close and they wouldn’t get the engine right up to the end, and then they have got a fire hose problem,” said Cllr Taylor.

We asked the planning consultants, Atlas Planning Group, whether they or the developer wanted to make a statement. We’ve received no comment so far.

Now the Town Council has voiced its opposition, North Dorset District Council will have the final say. In a statement, Shaftesbury Civic Society claimed that a real weakness of the planning system is that it permits developers, once they have obtained planning permission, ‘to vary their applications by increasing the density or scale of development’. They believe that planning committees often ‘let these variations slide through’. The society says that they hope that North Dorset District Council planners will resist on this occasion.