Lower Bockhampton Kingston Maurward housing development plans dropped

Lower Bockhampton Image copyright Eugene Birchall
Image caption The Open Spaces Society said the "peace and quiet" of Lower Bockhampton would have been "ruined" by the development

Plans for a housing development near the old home of Dorset author Thomas Hardy have been dropped.

Kingston Maurward College wanted to build 70 houses on parkland at Lower Bockhampton, near Dorchester.

It said "several important issues" were raised during the consultation and it was withdrawing the plans.

The Open Spaces Society, which had campaigned against the development, said Hardy would have "breathed a sigh of relief".

The author was born at Higher Bockhampton in 1840, and wrote Far from the Madding Crowd there.

The college had applied to West Dorset District Council to build the residential development on land adjacent to the campus, saying it would provide housing needed for the area.

Kate Ashbrook of the Open Spaces Society said: "The proposed houses would have devastated this tiny hamlet and its lovely surroundings, and spoiled people's enjoyment of the public-path network.

"This is a treasured corner of England and should be protected for all time."

Other objections were raised by Ramblers, the Thomas Hardy Society and the Lower Bockhampton Action Group.

In a statement confirming it was withdrawing its planning application, Kingston Maurward College said: "There is no second application currently on the table.

"However the need to raise funding to invest in the future of the college and its students still remains."

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