A DEVELOPER is working up proposals for a scheme of hundreds of homes on Green Belt land on the edge of Bournemouth.

Richborough Estates has entered into a “promotion agreement” with the owner of the land north of Townsend.

The firm say the 75-acre site, which is to the west of the A338 Spur Road and south of the River Stour, could become a new community with 450 homes, a 60-bed care home, retail and community facilities, public open space and a suitable alternative natural greenspace (SANG).

Residents’ groups have written to all councillors with concerns Holdenhurst village is under threat from “destructive development”.

Richborough Estates is looking secure an allocation for the site under BCP Council’s Local Plan, which is not due to be completed and adopted until late 2024.

A spokesperson for the land promoter said it is committed to engaging with the Local Plan process.

The firm said its concept masterplan, which was published on its website, showed a “high degree of sensitivity” to heritage considerations and “significant separation” maintained with Holdenhurst village.

“The scheme also proposes extensive public open space which would function as Suitable Alternative Natural Greenspace (SANG),” the spokesperson said.

“Overall, our proposals reflect our commitment to addressing local housing needs through high quality, sensitive design whilst delivering a range of meaningful associated benefits.”

Conor O’Luby, of the Friends of Riverside community group, wrote to all BCP Council members, with the letter co-signed by East Dorset Friends of the Earth, Bournemouth Civic Society and Dorset CPRE.

In the letter, Mr O’Luby said the planning promotion agreement was trying to agree changes which would “remove or seriously degrade” Green Belt and conservation area protections.

He said the site is in or immediately bordering a flood plain, while the masterplan appeared to show the need for a flyover across the A338 Spur Road to link with Wessex Fields and the dual carriageway.

“Please help protect this beautiful part of Bournemouth’s history and vote to reject these destructive proposals,” Mr O’Luby’s letter said.

Cllr Philip Broadhead, portfolio holder for development, growth and regeneration, said any developer was free to promote land as suitable for development as part of the Local Plan.

But the deputy leader of the council added: “However, as I’ve said many times in the past, protection of our precious green belt is one of the top priorities for our administration, and instead we’ll be focussing the large quantum of the suggested new homes in our Local Plan on brownfield sites in our more urban locations - precisely to protect our more rural locations and natural environment.

“Therefore, whilst the process of preparing the new Local Plan clearly has to follow its own course, my views are pretty clear - our green belt is critical, and I want to see it protected against inappropriate residential development.”

Councillor Kieron Wilson, ward member for Muscliff and Strouden Park, said the local authority should be looking at brown field sites for development.

He said: “It is very early phase of the Local Plan process.

“I would encourage residents to get involved in the consultation stage of the local plan.

“It is a concern for residents. It is an area that doesn’t have a lot of infrastructure and all the other complications involved.”