I was disappointed by NDDC's decision to approve a new housing scheme in Shaftesbury.
There are huge reservations about this proposed housing site, partly because of the very limited access to it on Wincombe Lane, particularly during the original construction period. Traffic will have to pass through a housing area on a narrow road, and near a primary school. In addition, the whole network of supporting main roads around Shaftesbury is groaning, and the supposed 'by-pass' seems as far away as ever.
However, I believe that the main objection of residents to this plan is to the continued lack of social infrastructure in Shaftesbury as a whole. A new primary school is promised by September 2017 on a site which has only just been identified. It takes at least 2 years to build a new school from scratch, so 2017 is very ambitious indeed. And the provision of a new GP surgery, or expansion of the existing one, is also critical, but there is no definite site or date provided.
I am afraid that this is all profoundly vague. In my view, Shaftesbury is entitled to much more definite promises (not to mention more parking and more leisure facilities to cope with the extra residents) before one brick of the new housing estate is laid.
Residents know from past recent experience that when social infrastructure does not accompany new housing, then problems ensue for new and old residents alike. Shaftesbury residents are not 'nimbies.' They know that Shaftesbury must play its full part in district and national housing provision. However their voice must be heard, and that is why I would urge the residents of Shaftesbury, from now on, to hold the parties involved to every single detail of the promised infrastructure provision, and also to the letter of the proposed improvements in the safety of Wincombe Lane itself.
They and their town deserve nothing less.
North Dorset Liberal Democrat 2015 Parliamentary Candidate
Revised 7th October