In response to some of your readers’ criticisms of our protest march on Saturday, STAND is not opposed to more housebuilding.

On the contrary, we passionately believe in the need for more realistically affordable housing for the young people of Dorchester.

Criticism should be directed at Dorset Council for failing to properly address this in the draft Local Plan. There is no guarantee of any affordable housing in the proposed ‘garden community’ north of the county town.

Dorset Council’s draft local plan says we need to build 39,000 new houses across the county. But detailed analysis of data from the Office for National Statistics suggests a figure of 22,000 houses is more realistic.

And there are other strategies that could be adopted with regard to providing the housing that Dorset and Dorchester residents’ need.

Prioritising building on brownfield sites within Dorchester could help revitalise the town. West Dorset MP Chris Loder says new developments should be confined to small pockets adjacent to existing villages and towns.

This will reduce the requirement for significant investment in new roads and other infrastructure and will help sustain the rural economy. STAND agrees with Mr Loder and trusts his voice will be heard by local Conservative councillors, who appear content to see swathes of our beautiful landscape buried under tarmac and concrete.

STAND believes the development of 4,000 new houses on green fields between Charminster and Stinsford, threatens our food security, our environment, and the unique character of our county town.

If Saturday’s march has helped raise awareness of these issues, then it will have been a success.

Nigel Kay

Communications coordinator, STAND (Save the Area North of Dorchester)