STAND is calling on Dorset Council to suspend work on the proposed development north of Dorchester after Wessex Water expressed major concerns that the 4,000-house development could have a significant negative impact on the quality of the town’s drinking water.
The concerns, emailed by the water company on the eve of a masterplanning workshop were described as “dynamite” by one Dorset Councillor.
The proposal, known as DOR13 from the draft local plan is for a huge “garden community” on green fields north of the town’s water meadows.
Wessex Water say the development could result in pollution of the Eagle Lodge borehole, which provides most of the Dorchester area’s drinking water. Significant investment will be required to maintain the quality of the water supply including the provision of new reservoirs.
STAND Chair Jane Ashdown says the water company’s concerns are a major blow to Dorset Council’s plans. She says work on the north of Dorchester proposal should be halted while Wessex Water carries out a major risk assessment of the impact of the development on water quality.
Wessex Water says experience suggests that the existing borehole may have to be abandoned and alternative water supplies developed.
“Who is going to pay for water treatment when water quality is degraded by development or pay for new reservoirs?” asks Ms. Ashdown. “If Wessex Water foot the bill, then the costs are likely to be passed on to householders already struggling to cope with rising utility bills. If it’s the property developers who pay, house prices will have to go up and the dream of an affordable home will be beyond the reach of local families.”
“Dorset Council needs to stop investing public money on a proposal which appears to be unaffordable and which would cause huge environmental damage to the landscape of the Dorchester area.”

The water meadows in Winter