Purbeck Local Plan delays continue
Despite being submitted for examination in January 2019, the Purbeck Local Plan is still at examination. The examination hearings were protracted after delays associated with an inspector’s illness, followed by the impacts of Covid 19 hindering progress further. A consultation on main modifications to the plan took place early this year, hinting towards progress returning, but that momentum was soon lost when the inspectors raised serious questions about the delivery of a strategic Suitable Alternative Natural Greenspace (SANG) at Morden, which was reliant on the landowner benefitting from holiday accommodation in return.
The inspectors have agreed to allow the Council to proceed with a further main modifications consultation to now remove references to the release of green belt and tourist accommodation in the plan, but retain references to the allocation of the SANG. The risk is now that the landowner may not allow the SANG to come forward, but that remains to be seen. Clearly, the inspectors are cognisant of this, commenting that ‘there remain some uncertainties in the approach to habitat site mitigation’. Nevertheless, they find the tabled solution to be pragmatic, given the stage in the examination process and the timeframes for the new Dorset Local Plan, which will be reviewing the approach to heathland mitigation anyway.
Commenting on the announcement, Steve Tapscott, Associate Director at Chapman Lily, said ‘this must be incredibly frustrating for the Council, but it was always going to be a high-risk strategy releasing land from the green belt in this location, along with the ecological sensitivities of Morden Bog that could be affected by tourist accommodation. Meanwhile, the existing local plan was adopted in 2012 and its supporting evidence is even older, such that it is becoming increasingly difficult to rely on the current policy framework. The risk of speculative applications to develop unallocated sites is increasing by the day’.
If you would like to know more about the Purbeck Local Plan, feel free to get in touch with Chapman Lily Planning.
Steve Tapscott BA (Hons) MA MRTPI
Chapman Lily Planning Limited
M: 07881 892745
T: 01929 553818
Unit 5 Designer House, Sandford Lane, Wareham, BH20 4DY
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