A PLANNING public inquiry into rejected plans to build 1700 homes in Alderholt has opened.

The Planning Inspectorate has begun the planning public inquiry appeal into Dudsbury Homes' rejected plans to build 1,700 homes on land south of Ringwood Road.

Dorset Council rejected Dudsbury's plans in March 2023 which also included 10,000 square metres for a business park, a village centre with shops, a primary school, and community health facilities.

Plans were fought by group Action4Alderholt who slammed the development and protested against them at one point holding a mock funeral in 2023 with a sign that read 'I am Dudsbury destroyer of villages'.

In a submitted statement of case, Action4Alderholt said: "Action for Alderholt agrees with Dorset Council that this application would have substantial impacts on habitats sites if approved.

"We also agree that the negative impacts greatly outweigh the benefits of the scheme and that there is great uncertainty about delivery of the benefits."

The appeal is set to finish on July 19 and has been highly anticipated by Alderholt residents who earlier this year, alongside Alderholt Town Council, raised £90,000 to fight the appeal.

Dusbury Homes' is confident that the plans will benefit the area and has said it will provide 595 affordable homes. 

It added that the area is not protected as a Green Belt or an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and therefore provides a 'unique long-term solution' to the housing crisis in Dorset. 

Previously speaking to the Echo, a spokesperson for Dudsbury Homes said: "Alderholt Meadows is a significant opportunity for 1,700 much-needed new sustainable homes

"It will deliver significant benefits to both current and future residents of Alderholt and aligns with Dorset Council’s focus on improving road networks, enhancing community facilities, and creating accessible public spaces."

An inspector appointed by the Secretary of State has been appointed to the inquiry with the outcome to be published on the Planning Inpectorate and council's website after proceedings finish. 

Dudsbury Homes told the Daily Echo it did not want to comment while the appeal continues.