Shaftesbury Civic Society Folds After Almost Sixty Years

Shaftesbury Civic Society will fold next month. Trustees announced their decision to wind up our town’s planning watchdog in a statement issued last night.

In its 57-year history, the group has helped protect and preserve our town’s architecture and heritage, often opposing planning applications that members consider will be harmful to the appearance of Shaftesbury. Three years ago, trustees launched an annual community prize, The Rachel Caldwell Award, in their founder’s memory.

Shaftesbury Civic Society trustees said they had become concerned that they could no longer properly scrutinise the volume of planning applications within such limited times frames and feared important issues could be missed.

COVID-19 restrictions prevented the Society from holding several planned meetings since March 2020. An appeal to members last October to volunteer for committee, trustees or office bearer roles was unsuccessful and the Society will soon no longer be able to meet the remit of its constitution.

The trustees are expecting to hold their final meeting in March. But they say that the Government is relaxing planning laws and ‘every household should remain alert to any planning application that could affect their own home or the town they live in’.

The society say they will be working on making representations to the Planning Inspectorate regarding the appeals against Dorset Council’s non-determination of applications for land at Enmore Court and the employment land south of the A30. They also continue to work through Dorset Council’s new Local Plan, to make the society’s comments known.