SHAFTESBURY Civic Society (SCS) has announced it is to be wound up next month, saying it “will soon no longer be able to meet the remit of its constitution”.

The decision came in a statement from the trustees, which they said was made “with regret”.

The society was formed in 1964 to successfully challenge plans to demolish shops that still form the southern side of the High Street.

Since then, its volunteers have “added their voices at hundreds of planning meetings at Shaftesbury Town Hall, and commented on thousands of planning applications”.

In a statement to members, the trustees said they had become concerned that they could no longer properly scrutinise the volume of planning applications “within such limited time frames”, and feared important issues could be missed.

In a post on Facebook, it added: “Covid restrictions prevented the society from holding several planned meetings since March 2020.

“An appeal to members last October to volunteer for committee, trustees or office bearer roles was unsuccessful and the society will soon no longer be able to meet the remit of its constitution.

“However, at a time when the Government is relaxing planning laws, now more than ever, every household should remain alert to any planning application that could affect their own home or the town they live in”.

It adds that it is “essential to examine all planning applications”, “but possibly a body such as SCS, bound by its charitable status and constitution, is not the most appropriate to do so in current times”.

It concluded: “It’s hoped that a new local organisation such as a town forum will be formed to fill the void when circumstances allow it.”

The trustees are expecting to hold their final meeting in March.

They continue to work through Dorset Council’s new Local Plan.

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