WEST Dorset MP Chris Loder has expressed concerns that a proposed Dorset National Park will decimate the economy, threaten local democracy and fuel mass housing development outside of the park area.
Mr Loder has spoken at several online meetings about the Dorset Local Plan in recent weeks. He has warned that proposals for a National Park are influencing the plan’s reliance on mass developments outside of the proposed park area, including the development of the hundreds of acres for 4,000 houses to the north of Dorchester.
He commented: “It is becoming clearer to me that a vanity project proposing a National Park in Dorset is fuelling plans for mass development in Dorchester. These towns are being burdened with housing quota for the sole reason as they are not included in a future park.
“This strengthens my view that we should not have a National Park in Dorset. The creation of a National Park would be a historic mistake.
“Proponents of the National Park appear fixed on obtaining a brand to the detriment of our local communities, with serious implications for local democracy.
“Such a move would encumber Dorset with another level of bureaucracy – not two years after we got rid of half of it when we need dynamism in our recovery from the pandemic.
“This blind crusade must be opposed, and our beautiful natural environment must be protected in a way that fully supports the people of Dorset.”
Lyme Regis town councillors have also raised concerns about the proposal in the past, particularly over restrictive planning policies within National Parks and how decisions were made.
Those campaigning in favour of a park say it will help to “secure a better future for local communities, environment and economy”.
They say the aims of the park are to:
- Promote our area to international as well as UK tourists
- Attract investment and supporting jobs and rural services
- Encourage the building of more truly affordable homes for local people
- Help farmers access more agri-environment funding
You can find out more about the proposed Dorset National Park at www.dorsetnationalpark.com, and more about Chris Loder’s campaign against the park at www.chrisloder.co.uk/dorsetnationalpark