Housing campaigners condemn planners for prison development decision

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WEST Dorset planners have today (Thursday, February 16th) agreed revised plans for the Dorchester Prison site.

Developers City and Country had resubmitted plans for housing on the site, reducing the number of homes proposed from 189 to 185, after they were previously rejected.

Housing campaigners have condemned West Dorset District Planning Committee for approving the latest prison application due to the lack of “affordable” housing included with the plans.

Barry Thompson of Dorchester Labour, and affordable housing campaigner, said: “Dorchester residents paid for that prison over centuries, it was a public asset, and when the government sold it as part of a job lot of four prisons for £5million. West Dorset District Councillors should have made it clear to developers that they would have to stick to the council’s own target of 35 per cent of all new developments being affordable. Instead Conservatives and Liberal Democrat councillors have just accepted the developers’ inflated costs and claims they won’t make much of a profit.”

He added: “Other councils up and down the country have got wise to developers, why can’t we? This firm boasts of record profits over the last few years and by the time they have built and sold all these flats they will have made another record profit. But the council will not make them publish their figures and will not even find a way to claw back some money for Dorchester if at the end they have made more of a profit than they claim.”

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