CONTROVERSIAL plans to build hundreds of homes on former green belt land in West Parley have been approved.
More than 200 villagers had raised concerns about the ability of roads in the area to cope with the traffic related to 386 new houses and a supermarket, writes Josh Wright of the Local Democracy Reporting Service.
However, councillors agreed to grant planning permission for the Wyatt Homes scheme last week, saying it would help create “a community” in the village.
The site, south east of Parley Cross, was one of two either side of New Road to be allocated for development in the East Dorset Local Plan adopted in 2014.
A new link road would be built across the two schemes aimed at reducing congestion in the area.
The developer also had outline plans for a park and play area with a new shopping zone and office facilities alongside car parking.
However, the scheme attracted strong criticism with 209 people writing to Dorset Council in opposition to the application.
Councillors considered the proposals at the meeting of the eastern area planning committee with a recommendation that outline planning permission be granted.
Objecting to the scheme, West Parley Parish Council chairman Phillip Bamborough criticised plans to build the link road in two stages.
“You can’t build this one half without having the second, particularly when there’s continuing uncertainty over the other development.
“It’s imperative that planners take a strategic view of traffic in the whole area and we have seen no evidence that this has been done.”
But planning officers said the council had explored the “evidence base” of developing the site.
Wyatt Homes director Laraine Southwood said the new development would bring “significant community benefits”.
“This is the culmination of more than 10 years’ work,” she said. “We are seeking to continue our track record of delivering new homes and a range of other developments.
“Not only is the site an essential part of the council’s plan for new housing but it will deliver more than £2.5m in financial contributions.”
Most of the agreed sum – almost £2m – will be allocated for increasing capacity at nearby schools.
Committee member Cllr Shane Bartlett said he understood the concerns of villagers and described Parley Cross as “the busiest junction in rural Dorset” but said the housing was needed.
“We can’t compete with northern England where they build 5-6,000 houses in a single development,” he said.
“We are looking at additional affordable housing – it’s never enough but we are losing young people and families at an alarming rate.”
The committee agreed to grant outline planning permission for the development with the only confirmed details of the scheme being road access points and the link road.
Other elements of the scheme, including the number and type of homes will need to be approved separately before any work can start.
Separate applications for an 80-bed care home and 12-hectare natural parkland connected to the development were also approved at the meeting.