A special meeting will be held by Dorchester town councillors to discuss plans for almost 4,000 new homes north of the town.

The meeting is expected to allow some time for members of the public to speak.

A consultation on the review of the Local Plan, which guides development locally, opens on August 13 and continues until October.

Under its proposals Dorchester will take the majority of new housing in West Dorset using land stretching from the Kingston Maurward roundabout north and west of the town to the A37 Weirs roundabout near Charminster.

Around 3,500 homes are being proposed together with another 330 on the edge of Charminster.

If approved the development will include land for new jobs and pedestrian and cycle links into Dorchester town centre as well as a new road linking the A35 and A37.

A ‘masterplan’ will guide the development in much the same way as the Poundbury development was shaped – however that plan will not be available during the consultation process.

Among the ‘visions’ for Dorchester in the plan review is : “To be a place where more people can live and work locally, without having to commute.” and to “Have a balanced population meeting the housing needs of younger working people and families as well as the old…

“The development will enhance the town’s role as an economic hub for Dorset, building on its excellent education opportunities, and delivering space for business growth. The town’s tourist economy will be expanded through enhancements to the water meadows and capitalising on the town’s Hardy heritage.”

Dorchester town councillors have agreed in principle to hold a special meeting – likely to be September 7, 10, or 14 in the evening with further details published later this month.

Cllr Susie Hosford told a meeting of the town planning committee that she was surprised many people were not yet aware of the proposals: “We should make this as widely known as possible…if people don’t mobilise it will become a done deal.”

One group has already been set up in the town to oppose the plans while the Dorset group of the Campaign to Protect Rural England has said that it is also likely to fight against much of the idea of extending the boundaries of the county town.