THE Dorset branch of an environmental pressure group is staging a one-day conference – in a bid to force better design of the county's new housing.

Dorset CPRE (Campaign to Protect Rural England) says it "feels strongly that housing design is an issue that deserves very careful thought, not only on the part of the planning authorities and architects but also from those who own the land on which such developments inevitably take place."

With that aim in mind the branch will host the Dorset CPRE Planning Conference next month.

It will be opened by CPRE national president Emma Bridgewater and include speakers such as Ben Bolgar, from the Prince's Foundation; designer Ben Penreath, and internationally-renowned landscape designer Kim Wilkie.

A Dorset CPRE branch spokesman said: "We are therefore taking the initiative in staging a one-day conference.

"We have invited Dorset’s leading landowners to attend, with their agents, and chairs of the county’s planning committees.

"Paul Miner will present the findings of the CPRE housing design audit for England. The Earl of Moray will be coming down from Scotland to talk about the town that he is developing on his land near Inverness, and Ben Bolgar has agreed to chair the discussion, from which we hope all will benefit.

"We are extremely encouraged that the conference, which has been a year in preparation, will come hard on the heels of the publication of the report ‘Living with Beauty’, produced by the government’s Building Better, Building Beautiful Commission."

This independent report, published in January 30, outlines methods on how to promote and increase the use of high quality design for new build homes and neighbourhoods.

The Dorset CPRE Planning Conference will take place at Cerne Abbas Village Hall, near Dorchester, from 10am on March 13.