BUILDING on quicksand, impacting wildlife and harming the appearance and character of the site were concerns put forward by residents and councillors when plans for a development in Shaftesbury resurfaced this week.

In May 2018 Nylo Homes Limited applied for permission to develop 23 homes on land north of Enmore Court and New Road, but within around a fortnight the application was rejected.

After going to appeal and being dismissed by inspectors in December last year, a new application has been submitted for the same land - this time with 23 ‘affordable’ homes.

Proposed to Dorset Council in May, the latest plans were slammed and rejected by Shaftesbury town councillors.

Councillor Phil Proctor said: “You cannot build affordable housing on quicksand – it’s completely barking.”

Speaking during a Shaftesbury Town Council planning and highways meeting on Tuesday night, Cllr Proctor said: “The land is running greensand – it is quicksand – if you try building anything it would disappear down into a mixture of sand and water.”

He also said to build land where the road drops away “incredibly steeply” would “just not [be] possible”.

Cllr Proctor later added: “This [land] is immediately opposite the conservation area, and therefore the impact on the conservation area is something that the planning system should take into account. This sort of development is just totally unsuited.”

Charlotte MacKay, member of Shaftesbury Civic Society and the Campaign to Protect Rural England, which are both against the application, also voiced her concerns during the meeting.

She said the outcome and cost to run the development on a greensand area would be “catastrophic”, later adding: “This application in our opinion is a complete waste of public funds and everyone’s time.”

Charlotte asked the council to reject the application as it would “harm the character and appearance of the area, in particular the Northern Scarp slopes, it would not be a sustainable development and it would conflict with policies for the protection of the conservation, natural beauty and local character of the area”.

Four out of five councillors supported the objection, attaching with it the same reasons put forward by the council two years ago when the application was first submitted.

Speaking to the Journal, Charlotte said that the slopes make the town and are part of the town’s “unique history”.

Describing the housing plans as “shocking” Charlotte said the approval of this application could influence other development plans around the town.

She added: “This application is a disgrace and a real threat to our sweet hilltop town, we are now on a mission to preserve this area for future generations.”