Hundreds of protestors marched through Dorchester to show their opposition to plans to build 3,500 homes on the outskirts of the town.

Persimmon Homes plan to build 3,500 homes across the countryside to the north of Dorchester. The plans also include space to build a local school.

However, these plans have been met with large opposition from local residents, resulting in a wide demonstration on Monday, April 22.

The protestors met in North Square and made their way through the town towards the proposed site for the development.

Kate Hebditch, from STAND, the Save The Area North of Dorchester from development, said: “We can’t keep building on green field sites. There are 47 brown field sites in West Dorset, start with those first.

“All of us are here for different reasons. It might be that we want to follow in Thomas Hardy’s footsteps and see how closely his descriptions of Casterbridge still match our town.

“It might be that we know that this is a rich area for wildlife, and that animals and plants need all the help that they can get to survive right now.

“But all of us are here today because we love this stretch of countryside and because we want to see it stay as countryside.

“So we call on our new Dorset Council to seriously and speedily address the issue of affordable housing.

“It is only by tackling local need ourselves, through our local authorities, community land trusts and the like, that we can start to fix our broken housing system and save areas like this from Persimmon’s bulldozers.”

Alastair Chisholm, town crier for Dorchester, said: “If we lose that countryside, we will never get it back again.

“It is beautiful and natural and not to mention a literary and cultural landscape important to the heritage and history of this town.

“If you look at how many people have shown up here today you can see what it means to everyone and that there is great opposition in the town to these plans. It’s a brilliant turnout.”

Mayor for Dorchester, David Taylor, said: “This crowd goes to show the support that there is to opposing this plan for 3,500 homes on the outskirts of Dorchester.

“We really do not want this here. If they do this they will destroy the countryside and wreck our county town.

“All this is going to do is put more pressure on the town’s services.

“This will wreck our county town and its heritage.”