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Judgement day for core strategy plan
THE controversial core strategy for East Dorset will go before a full council meeting today.
Although councillors will not be making the final decision on the strategy at the meeting, there will be arguments for and against the document at the event before it is submitted to the Secretary of State.
Thousands of people have responded to the core strategy, which outlines potential developments in housing, employment and transport over the next 15 years.
Sheila Bourton of protest group Keep Wimborne Green will be speaking out against the strategy at the meeting.
She said: “We don’t want to see any development on the green belt at all.
“However, we’re realistic, and we realise that there is going to be some building on the green belt, which is very sad indeed.
“If it all goes ahead, it will increase the number of people living in Wimborne and Colehill by 40 per cent.”
However, leader of the council, Cllr Spencer Flower, said it the actual increase for the town and village would be 21 per cent, adding that the town which has seen the largest growth since the last local plan is Verwood, which grew from 6,110 people to 13,530 between 1991 and 2001.
He said it is ‘absolutely essential’ for the district council to have an up-to-date local plan to avoid ‘inappropriate’ development in the green belt as a result of planning by appeal.
“To the residents of East Dorset I say this: do not listen to the vocal minority who do not want any housing in their particular location, otherwise we are in very real danger of there being open season for inappropriate development in our green belt,” he said.
Members at the meeting will be asked to support the submission of the strategy to the Secretary of State, who will appoint an independent planning inspector to carry out an examination and test the document.
Anyone who has previously expressed an interest will then be invited by the inspector to speak again about any concerns they might have.
The meeting will be held at the council offices in Furzehill at 6.30pm, and will also include a budget speech.
The council meeting will be streamed online at dorsetforyou.com