Campaigners say they will call upon a mystical character in Dorset’s folklore to protect them from a proposed development of 4,000 homes.

The Save the Area North of Dorchester (STAND) campaign will be 'using the Dorset Ooser' to protect against the proposed development of 4,000 homes by the North Dorchester Garden Community near the county town.

Historically, the Dorset Ooser was a monstrous wooden mask with bull's hair and horns used to scare people.

Starting at 10.30am on Saturday, April 27 at the Town Pump in Cornhill, the procession of campaigners will make their way down South Street.

There will be a few short comments from speakers at the event. The protest is public with the procession open to all.

A spokesperson speaking on behalf of STAND said: “We are hinting that it is the much-feared Ooser, with its disregard of flooding and pollution issues and its careless attitude towards the quality of our drinking water, that lies behind this proposal which will destroy the local environment and setting of the county town. It will not provide the truly affordable housing we desperately need.”

Developers have previously assured local residents that homes will not be built in an area that are prone to flooding. 

The spokesperson went on to add that the ‘contentious site’ could form part of the updated Dorset Local Plan to be created from September 2024. “We are suggesting that all those opposed to this development vote for candidates who are clearly against this proposal on Thursday, May 2,” they added.

According to the campaigners, whilst the proposed area for the new homes will be separate from the town of Dorchester, they say it will reach to within one mile of Thomas Hardy’s birthplace cottage off Thorncombe Woods in Lower Bockhampton.

Plans have already been opposed by Dorchester Town Council, the local parish councils of Charminster and Stinsford, as well as the Dorchester Civic Society and the Thomas Hardy Society.

In 2022, STAND organised a petition to show the strength of feeling against the plans to build the homes in countryside between Charminster and Stinsford, which garnished more than 5,000 signatures.