AN EXTRA 3,500 homes for Dorchester, being proposed by Dorset Council, could destabilise the county town’s future – according to the town council.

It says the unitary council has done little to justify the Dorchester North site for the extra housing, other than it being a ‘quick fix’ with a ready developer.

Town councillors were told at a meeting on Monday evening: "This specific site carries a significant level of risk that it will fail to address the local needs of the town, nor will it produce a comprehensive, relevant, viable and sustainable development that supports the area’s future rather than destabilising it."

The meeting heard claims that Dorset Council has failed to adequately examine possible alternatives to meet the 30,500 Government housing target for the county; had picked up old plans from the days of the district councils and continued with them - despite the fact that the world has now changed.

It was also claimed Dorset Council could do more to challenge the government’s housing figures which take little account of Dorset’s high rates of protected landscape and its natural beauty.

Said a consultant’s report for the town council on the Local Plan proposals: “There's no clarity on how housing and employment growth are related, or any attempt to think through the potential outcomes of Brexit and the Covid 19 pandemic.

"We seem to have inherited a strategy that simply knits together earlier drafts of the separate plans, and fails to consider the overall picture at either the county or functional area level."

Town councillors were also told of previous reports which had shown the Dorchester North proposals were not sustainable and may not be deliverable without massive sums of public money for infrastructure support.

In an unusual move Dorchester Conservatives have backed the Liberal Democrat-run town council in its opposition to the Dorset Council plans.

Cllr Gareth Jones called for the Local Plan consultation to be put on hold to allow the pandemic to subside so that a proper consultation could be held.

Fellow councillor Frances Hogwood said the phrase ‘lack of imagination’ kept being used when people talked about the Dorset Local Plan: “it compares unfavourably with other plans being produced in other counties,” she said.

Added Cllr Stella Jones: “So much of this is out of date, the whole plan is very disappointing. I just don’t think it is workable.