A draft of the Dorset Local Plan: Options document has been published as part of the papers for Cabinet Committee on 8th December 2020. The Options document will be formally published for consultation purposes in mid-January 2021. The draft makes provision for 30,481 new homes (1,793 per annum) as well as a minimum 131 hectares of employment land over the period 2021 to 2038. Potential allocations are set out across four functional area, central, east, north and west.
Brett Spiller, Director at Chapman Lily Planning, commented; ‘Dorset Council should be applauded for pushing forward with a new, much needed, local plan. Fortuitously the ongoing debate and further revisions to the Standard Housing Methodology are unlikely to have a significant bearing on the numbers of spatial distribution of new homes in the area. I am pleased to se the environment put at the heart of the plan, but not at the cost of sustainable communities. The majority of potential housing allocations identified in the plan have been signposted in the past, so there are few surprises. But for the western functional area where a potential allocation to the north of Dorchester absorbs much of the need, growth is relatively disbursed. Shaftesbury is one of the few notable exceptions in the northern functional area, with no new allocations tabled. Alderholt is set to rise up the settlement hierarchy in the eastern functional area, with a large area of search identified along its southern edge. Growth in smaller settlements will generally come through Neighbourhood Plans and windfall development’.
The Options document will also be accompanied by a full sustainability appraisal and we wait to see how much of the underpinning evidence base is made available.
Brett added ‘Given that the Council is currently unable to demonstrate a 5-year supply across the Local Plan areas, with the possible exception of Purbeck, it is imperative that the plan builds in contingency and flexibility. Thus there is still scope for changes to come out of the consultation process and we would urge landowners, promoters and developers to engage in the process and make representations during the formal consultation’.
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