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We have objected to plans by Kingston Maurward College to build 70 houses on parkland at Thomas Hardy’s hamlet of Lower Bockhampton, Dorset. Hardy was born at nearby Higher Bockhampton in 1840.
The society has written to West Dorset District Council pointing out that the development would have a devastating effect on the beautiful village and its surroundings. The houses would be within the conservation area and on registered parkland. They would destroy people’s enjoyment of the public paths in the area, being visible from a number of popular routes, such as the historic path alongside the River Frome.
Moreover, says the society, the houses would generate significant additional traffic on the narrow lanes which are used not only by vehicles but also by walkers, riders and cyclists. These users would be severely endangered by this traffic.
Says Kate Ashbrook, our society’s general secretary: ‘Thomas Hardy would turn in his grave at the prospect of this massive development in his native hamlet. The peace and quiet of this lovely area would be ruined. Walkers, riders and cyclists would all suffer. This is of course a popular tourist destination because of its association with Hardy and it would be an outrage if the council were to allow such alien and overpowering development in this very special place.’