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What a Bryanston pickle!
Lord Rothermere , Issue 1578
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DEAR OH DEER PARK: Lord Rothermere, whose plan to temporarily house Ukrainian refugees on his Dorset estate has been met with deep scepticism by some objectors
LORD ROTHERMERE is proposing to install 40 mobile homes for Ukrainian refugees in a meadow on his 4,700-acre Bryanston Estate near Blandford Forum, Dorset. In a letter to local residents, the estate explains that the Mail proprietor and his family were "horrified by recent events in Ukraine" and "believe they have a moral duty to do what they can".

Puzzled locals say there's already a surplus of refugee accommodation on offer from householders in North Dorset. They also doubt that isolating refugees in a trailer-park on the edge of town is the best way to integrate them into the community. They note, however, that a proposed housing development on the same site – the old Deer Park – was rejected in 2014 following a 6,000-signature petition and strong opposition from Historic England. The Environment Agency also objected, not least because the land lies on a flood plain of the River Stour.

Rothermere's planning application to Dorset county council, which is open for public comment until 12 August, seeks a five-year "temporary" permission for his Ukrainian caravan park. But, as has often been observed, nothing endures like the temporary. Suspicious locals point out that after five years the green-field site will have become a brown-field site, with all the necessary infrastructure (including access roads) for future development.

'Subterfuge'
The theme runs through many of the objections already lodged with the council. "This is simply an attempt to obtain planning for a wider development through the back door… If Lord Rothermere genuinely wishes to help refugees, he must surely have alternative accommodation resources/developments that could more readily be used…

"This new application submitted by the owners of the Bryanston Estate is a barefaced attempt to obtain permission by subterfuge… On the surface the proposed development appears to be a noble gesture to help the unfortunate Ukrainian refugees, but delve a little deeper and it smells rotten."

Could the owner of the Daily Mail really be associated with anything malodorous? Perish the thought.

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PwC, which made hay in the pandemic, gives its beancounters and consultants a generous 9% pay rise and increases the bonus pot by 7%. To read these stories and more in full, buy the latest edition of Private Eye or subscribe and have the magazine delivered to your home every fortnight.

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Next issue on sale: 10th August 2022
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