AN OUTLINE planning application for 160 homes and site for a new primary school off Station Road, Stalbridge has been refused permission.

The Gladman Developments Ltd proposals for the 11-hectare farmland site failed to win the approval of Dorset Council’s planning officers.

The company had proposed 96 open market properties and 64 classed as being for ‘social, affordable or intermediate rent’.

The council’s lead member on housing and local councillor Graham Carr-Jones said the numbers of ‘affordable’ homes were simply were not needed in the area

In his objection he said the cumulative effect of four large housing schemes granted in the area over the past five years would change the character of the Stalbridge ‘beyond recognition.’

He said that additional traffic to and from the site would cause problems on a number of local roads and a lack of public transport in the area would force those living on the site the rely on their cars.

Cllr Carr-Jones also expressed concerns about flooding and a lack of safe crossing points on the High Street, coupled with an inadequate footpath network to walk safely around the area.

He also argued that with 35 on the housing waiting list for Stalbridge the number of social housing being proposed for the site amounted to an over-provision.

The councillor also claimed that the offer of land for the school was a ‘red herring’ with Dorset Council having no plans to invest the likely cost of £20 million.

Similar views were expressed by Stalbridge Town Council and many of the residents who wrote to raise their objections to the plans for the site.

The town council said that the use of the open countryside site for more homes would lead to a loss of rural character  – with the eastern parcel of land within the Blackmore Vale which would “result in a significant and detrimental change.”

The town council also argued that building on the site would cause harm to the character and appearance of the North Dorset Limestone Ridge, including views across Blackmore Vale from Stalbridge, Marnhull and the surrounding areas.

A nearby site to the south of Station Road has permission for 130 homes which was allowed at appeal in 2022, although not yet developed.

Planning officers decide that the proposed site is outside the settlement boundary of Stalbridge and to allow its development would be contrary to the North Dorset Plan. They also argued that the proposed development “would likely result in a cramped layout and fail to provide for high quality design that would be in keeping with the character of this rural edge of a village/town.”