Vision for North Dorchester Garden Community

The following Vision was submitted by West Dorset District Council to the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government on behalf of all those supporting the bid for Garden Community status.

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The next phase of Dorchester’s growth will be to the north of the town. It will take the form of a mixed-use urban extension of linked neighbourhoods north of the Frome Valley, designed to the highest standard to fully integrate with the high quality natural and built environment within which it sits.

  • The development will help to build a vibrant community spirit across the whole expanded town delivering a sense of place along with an individual community identity within the development.
  • The development will deliver the number of homes, workspace and infrastructure necessary to enable the town to continue to grow as a well-planned cohesive whole.
  • The development will enhance the town’s role as an economic hub for Dorset, building on its excellent education opportunities, and delivering space for business growth. The town’s tourist economy will be expanded through enhancements to the water meadows and capitalising on the town’s Hardy heritage.

Placemaking overview

The comprehensive development of North Dorchester will have a high standard of place making and design that respond to local distinctiveness and will create areas with innovative and bespoke character special to Dorchester and the surrounding villages.

The development will create an easily understood pattern of streets and spaces that make the most of the existing natural features in and adjacent to the site including focal points within Dorchester town, the nearby villages and the heritage and landscape of the area.

The water meadows will form an important high quality asset for the expanded town creating opportunities for recreation as well as appreciation of the historic context and wildlife of the area. Movement across the water meadows between the different parts of the expanded town, will be enabled as far as practical.

The separate identity of Charminster will be respected. The village will expand in a modest way but with the clear distinction between the North Dorchester development and the expanded village being maintained.

Environmental performance

The development of North Dorchester will incorporate features to reduce the impacts of climate change. Surface water will be managed through an appropriate drainage strategy utilising the existing dry valleys and connecting to the River Frome.

Opportunities for easy access to the town for pedestrians and cyclists will form an integral part of the development layout.

Efforts to reduce carbon emissions from the new dwellings and other buildings to a level below that required through building regulations will be encouraged.

Integrating North Dorchester into the landscape

North Dorchester will fit within the landscape of the area incorporating a range of measures to soften the urban form including copse and woodland planting areas on the higher ground and trees along the streets within the development.

Providing a range and choice of homes

The development will deliver housing to enable the town to thrive; attracting young working people and families as a priority whilst also meeting the needs of the elderly.

Buildings will need to be practical offering ease of access for future residents. Buildings should be adaptable to cater for different needs and must incorporate space for cycle storage.

Creating job opportunities

The development will help to deliver a more diverse economy through the provision of employment land recognising the town’s role as a hub for Dorset. It will create a place where businesses can start and grow.

Through linkages with Kingston Maurward College and the provision of a new schooling campus, excellent employment and education opportunities will be made available.

Providing and delivering infrastructure

The development of North Dorchester will deliver the necessary infrastructure to enable the expanded town to work as a whole including building physical and community linkages between the new development and the existing town.

A road link through the site will deliver a route between the A35(T) and the A37, relieving traffic congestion around the bypass and through the town.

Expanded school provision at first, middle and higher school levels will be incorporated through a dedicated schools campus.

We are in the process of reviewing our vision and will provide further updates here in due course. In the meantime, we encourage everyone to respond to Dorset Council’s consultation in respect of its Draft Local Plan.

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