MORE than a hundred residents have now objected to proposals for 55 homes on what is claimed to be the last area of Green Belt between Wimborne and Colehill.

The outline, or ‘in principle’ planning application, is for land off Birchdale Road, also known as Leigh Farm Field.

The application from Nightingale Land asks for outline planning consent for the development with all the details, apart from access of Birchdale Road, to be agreed later. The paperwork describes the 5.5 hectare field as “an irregular shaped field of rough grassland, which is un-grazed and has not been used as arable farmland in recent history.”

A report with the application says the field is of low agricultural quality because of wetness or problems in working it, including a steep slope to the north of the site.

It lies between Leigh Common and Wimborne town centre, which is said to be a 15-minute walk away along the B3073.

The developers claim the site could be used for a mixture of homes, including bungalows and self-build plots with open spaces and new recreational routes for walkers and cyclists.

Among the claims is that the site could deliver 50 per cent of the homes as “affordable” – which one resident, from Highland Road is suspicious of, telling Dorset Council: “The accompanying report on this concludes that delivering 50% affordable homes could amount to exceptional justification… I object to the proposal on the grounds that I do not believe that the proportion of affordable homes will be delivered and therefore the loss of Green Belt land is not justifiable. Should permission be granted then, in the event of non-delivery of the 50% affordable homes, there should be extreme penalties on the developer and heads should roll in the planning department.”

Said another resident, from Greenhill Close: “We need to preserve the green belt areas between Wimborne and Colehill. Wimborne has built thousands of new houses recently with no sign of infrastructure additions to cope with the extra capacity.”

Others claim the access to the site, as proposed, would be dangerous and would add unacceptable levels of traffic onto already busy local roads.

Ward council for Colehill and Wimborne Minster East Maria Cole says the site is inappropriate for development, situated on a blind bend, and would lead to ‘extreme disruption’ for residents of Birchdale Road.

She says that the draft Dorset Local Plan places a high priority on maintaining the separate identities of Wimborne Minster and Colehill and says that if extra housing really is needed there are brownfield sites at The Pippins and the former East Dorset Council offices at Furzehill which could be developed, together with empty shops and offices.