The consortium behind plans for a major development in Dorset has said flooding will not affect prospective new homes to be built north of Dorchester.

Their comments come after aerial photographs of flooded land north of Dorchester after the River Frome burst its banks.

The North Dorchester Consortium has backed plans for the North Dorchester Garden Community, which plans to build up to 3,500 homes, on land north of the county town.

It promised that its new roads will not flood as easily after heavy rain like that seen in Dorset in recent weeks. 

READ MORE: Concerns over massive North Dorchester development

Aerial photographs taken earlier this month showed much of the water meadows north of Dorchester submerged after a deluge of heavy rain on Tuesday, December 5.

The photographs showed some of the planned area of pedestrian access including the proposed Hardy Trail to be underwater.

A spokesperson for the North Dorchester Consortium assured future buyers, saying: “We are not building homes on land that is at risk of flooding.”

READ MORE: North Dorchester: Roundabouts, roads and concerns answered

They said the development ‘will preserve the areas defined as a floodplain,’ such as the water meadows saying they bring ‘substantial biodiversity and landscape benefits,’ of which some are generated by the fact the area is prone to flooding.

They admit that at some points, ‘the desire for access will need to give way to the historical function of the area, which is to hold flood water,’ but will look to stem flooding where they can.  

“However, alternative pedestrian routes through the development and into Dorchester will be provided, which will be both safe and useable.  We are yet to design the Hardy Trail in detail, but it is likely to include at least one section which allows for the passage of flood water underneath,” they said.

The impact of the flooding around the site was seen worse on the roads, with the heavy rain drowning Slyers Lane to the east of the site forcing it to close for a week, and the Old Sherborne Road to the west of the site.

Dorset Echo:

The consortium says it will ensure that the new roads they have planned will allow for flood water to pass underneath but did not give details on how this is done.

In discussions with the Environment Agency, the consortium says it has approached the development on three principles.

According to the consortium, areas designated for development will be ‘safe from flooding for the lifetime of the development, will not increase the flood risk to the rest of the community.'

The consortium says it will also ‘seek opportunities’ to reduce the flood risk to the community.

“The flooding around Dorchester is part of a natural cycle and is well understood through both historical records and detailed flood risk modelling. The recent flooding is part of this natural process; the floodplain is performing its function to prevent flooding in other parts of the river catchment. 

“We are not building in the floodplain, so will not interfere in its operation, other than to improve the capacity of the floodplain by creating more channels or storage as part of a sensitive restoration of the water meadows within the North Dorchester Garden Community,” they added.

A public consultation will be held in the future both online and in person  to explain and discuss the plans in more detail.