News & Features

The End of Casterbridge?

September 26, 2018

Category: Featured |


The End of Casterbridge?


One of the most distinctive aspects of Dorchester is the sharp cut off between town and country on the northern side. You can walk from the town centre into open country in less than five minutes and see green fields from the Town Pump. “The farmer’s boy could sit under his barley mow and pitch a stone into the office window of the town-clerk,” as Hardy describes it. The town has had the same boundary here since Roman times.


That could all be about to change.


3,500 homes are proposed for land north of the watermeadows. Landowners are offering to sell their fields to meet government housing targets imposed on West Dorset District Council and the proposal has made its way into the Revised Local Plan consultation as a ‘preferred option’. Preferred by the local authority, maybe, but not by the citizens of Dorchester for whom this is a much-loved stretch of countryside.


Building here would dramatically and irrevocably change the character of Dorchester. We would lose the immediate link to Hardy’s descriptions of Casterbridge, lose an area of countryside that is home to otters, bats, kingfishers, water rails and hundreds of other species and damage our increasingly important tourist industry.


What can I do?

If you want to protest about this proposal, write to West Dorset District Council at or Strategic Policy (West Dorset, Weymouth and Portland), South Walks House, South Walks Road, Dorchester, Dorset, DT1 1UZ. Or fill in the online form here:

You can also sign a petition here: and write to WDDC councillors. You can find a list on the Dorsetforyou website.

The deadline for comments is 8 October 2018.



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