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A NEW waste disposal and recycling centre for Blandford, to replace the current site off Shaftesbury Lane, has moved a step closer following adoption of a new Dorset County strategic plan.

The existing facility, in the midst of residential development, has long been considered inadequate to serve the area.

The new plan includes provision of a new waste transfer station and recycling centre south of the Sunrise Business Park, on a 3.55hectare site with access from the Blandford bypass.

The facility, for which a budget of £13 million is included in Dorset Council's capital budget over the next two years, will be a modern split-level household recycling centre and transfer station, with provision for traffic circulation route and parking areas.

The currently agricultural greenfield site is within the Cranborne Chase & West Wiltshire Downs AONB, but is viewed as an extension to the Sunrise Business Park and considered to meet an identified need for which no suitable alternative site could be found.

A comprehensive master plan is expected to include a 'dark skies' strategy to minimise light spill into the AONB, reduction of the levels of the building to minimise visual impact, with native tree and shrub planting and possible wildflower grass and verge areas to screen the centre and maintain the land scape character, with retention and enhancement of all tree and hedge belts unless removal is essential to provide access.

The summary in the waste plan states: "The layout of the development should seek to maintain current openness and avoid visual 'crowding' of the area around the roundabout.

"Buildings should be set back from the roundabout and align with existing buildings at Sunrise Business Park. Lighting and colours should comply with AONB guidance, and materials should have a matt finish and avoid shiny metal surfaces or chimneys/vents."

It also calls for an archaeological evaluation to include consideration of a possible prehistoric enclosure and a transport assessment considering the impacts of HGV movements in the AONB and, if necessary, how such impacts would be managed.

The waste and mineral sites plans adopted by the Dorset and BCP (Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole) Councils were examined by independent planning inspectors and found to be sound, subject to a number of modifications, and now form part of the statutory development plan for Dorset Council and BCP Council.

They identify sites for new quarries and waste management facilities to meet the needs of both authorities up to 2033.