Meeting 30-01-19

Action for Alderholt – Notes of meeting on 30/1/19

Present: Chris Walker, Janet Walker, Dave Tooke, Debbie Jacobs, Angela Connal, Alan Stockley,Colin English, Hywel Morris & Stephen Godsall

  • 1 Lessons from open meeting
    • Good turnout considering and good venue,
    • Some good feedback but some not so good
    • Need to avoid being repetitive, keep it simple and give call to action
    • Better microphone technique and more visuals would help
    • Be careful what we publish!
    • Important not to get wound up with things which aren’t planning issues, eg sewers
    • Next meeting should have shorter formal session – mainly election candidates + questions
    • Then break into smaller groups for better feedback on people’s views and next steps
    Agreed: In future have a clear simple message – Alderholt is the wrong place for large scale
    development because it is remote from jobs, schools and services coupled with poor roads and
    public transport.
    2 Outcome of meeting with Alderholt PC
    • Useful discussion and outcome – have agreed we share same objective and should work
    • Agreed that we will meet consultant on 12th February, 12 noon – DT, AS, DJ and SG to
    attend, SG to produce discussion document.
    • Agreed to have regular meetings of PC Local Plan committee to include discussion with
    A4A reps. Next meeting will be 25 February, 6pm
    • Annual Parish Meeting will also be held on 6th March
    • Need to recruit people interested in joining PC – SG to put in newsletter to email list
    3 Influencing EDDC
    SG reported on discussion with Jane Lynch;
    • Transport work for Alderholt will now be done in conjunction with multi-modal study in late
    • Final stage of green belt study has been commissioned but results may not be known before
    • No further consideration of Local Plan by EDDC scheduled or likely.
    • Further sustainability appraisal, viability appraisal and masterplanning (to include broad
    layout and phasing of major developments) will need to done by Dorset UA.
    • Hard to predict how fast DUA will work or what their attitude will be to policies
    • Extent to which DUA consider “Garden Town” alternatives will be a mainly political
    Agreed; Angie and Colin will speak on our behalf at EDDC Council meeting on 18/2
    Note: SG subsequently suggested Colin asks a question as this will require a response
    and also give Angie more time for her deputation
    4 Work on alternative locations
    This will be covered in more detail at our meeting with consultant. Work will need to be done on
    green belt locations, alternative village locations and “garden town” options.
    • HM to contact Ken Barton, former Planning Inspector to arrange meeting, before 12/2
    if possible – HM, CE and SG will try to attend
    • Agreed we will contact consultants working for developers of alternative locations to
    see if there is synergy; SG to contact O’Rourkes, CE to contact Savilles
    5 Influencing Dorset UA
    seek advice of consultant on likely planning managers for the new Council
    • AS will contact Dorset Transport to request meeting about their response to local plan
    options and process for transport study (suggested contacts Helen Jackson or Phil
    6 Joint action with neighbouring parishes
    Parish Clerk will be contacting adjoining parishes on behalf of APC so agreed we would defer
    action until after 11/2 to avoid confusion. Also some concerns about Verwood being double-edged
    because they may welcome Alderholt development as an alternative to Verwood and to help get
    critical mass for a new upper school.
    • HM to lead on Cranborne and Rockbourne, SG on Harbridge, DT on Fordingbridge,
    AS on Sandleheath
    7 Growth of A4A and public campaign
    Agreed we must build up “Save our village” campaign and keep working to recruit interest and
    • Jo’s bus stop campaign a good example of imaginative PR and process to get
    everyone’s agreement on the right message
    • SG to send update email to all contacts and send same to Parish Magazine, and DJ to
    post on Facebook
    • While CW is away he will let DJ have website log in details so she can update.
    • CW to finalise poster/car stickers as discussed and look at printing/distribution options
    • AC and Jo Anderson to prepare and distribute leaflets at location such as playgroups
    and school gates.
    • CE to prepare summary of planning arguments and template letter for website
    • Defer planning next open meeting until late February

    8 Date of next meeting; 27/2 at 7.30pm in Churchill arms

at 7.30pm on TUESDAY 22nd January
at Alderholt Chapel on Presseys Corner

Representatives from Action for Alderholt met East Dorset planners on 14th November. Over 2 hours of intensive discussions we found out that the new Local Plan is being delayed but the outcome could be even worse than we feared. We will be working with the Parish Council to prevent this so please let us know if you would like to help with our campaign.

The main points from the meeting were;

  • The plan process is delayed because Dorset CC will not complete their “multi-modal transport review” until next Autumn and the resulting strategy until end of 2019, and no local plan can be completed until after this.
  • East Dorset’s senior planners will be transferring to Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole in April. It’s not yet known who will lead the Dorset Unitary planners.
  • Planners acknowledged that transport is a major challenge for the Alderholt proposals and there is no realistic prospect of bus services to solve it. They are pressing DCC to make an initial assessment of challenges here so they can commission “masterplanning” consultants by end of March.
  • They accept that Alderholt proposal is the most challenging in their plan and expect to spend a large proportion of the £100k masterplanning budget on it – if they can get started!
  • We emphasised that we are not a NIMBY group but are making objections on planning grounds; local infrastructure could not sustain development of 1000 homes, let alone a larger number – our MP Simon Hoare agrees with our analysis. Housing should be located within easy reach of services and employment.
  • Because planners now accept that 1000 extra homes would not be enough to generate any improvement to school, health or bus services, they are considering a larger number.
  • They confirmed that up to 2500 homes could be fitted onto Alderholt sites but they have made no assessment of where “Suitable Alternative Greenspace” could go. They claim to still be open minded about what scale of development would be “sustainable” here. particularly as they have had objections from highway authorities in both Dorset and Hampshire.
  • They accept that Alderholt “can’t be just a very large dormitory settlement” but doubt that any substantial employment proposals would be viable here.
  • Arguments about strain on things like schools, roads and health services are made wherever they propose development. Apparently planners attended a meeting of 350 residents in Verwood recently who are objecting to a site in the green belt and arguing that Alderholt would be a better location.
  • The reason sites in Wimborne or Colehill are not being supported at this stage is because all are in green belt or flood plain. However, more of those sites may be considered if/when sites elsewhere are found to be unsustainable or impractical.
  • The expectation is that sites in Alderholt would be developed in small packages over the life of the local plan. Any improvements to transport or services will therefore only happen slowly as developer contributions come in – and there is no assurance that anything will be improved!

The Council has promised us further dialogue over the coming months and from April we will need to campaign strongly to the new Dorset Unitary Council. The proposals are so flawed and divergent from national planning policy that we can make a strong case – but we need all the help and expert advice we can get. Alderholt Parish Council are in the process of appointing a planning consultant and we very much hope that will happen on 11th December.

Action for Alderholt will be holding an open meeting in late January/early February. We would like to hear from all local people about their aspirations for the village and what level of new development might be reasonable. Please do get in touch through this website  or by emailing

We have written to our County Councillors (Spencer Flower & Toni Coombs) to ask for their comments on the proposed development. To date neither has seen fit to respond in any way.

Please pass this on to your friends and neighbours and encourage them to contact us for regular updates.