The new combined Dorset Council has begun work on a new Dorset-wide Local Plan. This will be the document that guides many aspects of development within the area. It will be valid for at least ten years after publication.
It will include a housing strategy and land bank as well as a development strategy for industrial development.
Particularly it will define the councils future attitude to such local features as Special Character Areas. These were planned to be scrapped in the now defunct EDCC Local Plan. They were only saved because the EDCC was consumed by Dorset Council. The EDCC’s new Local Plan became obsolete before it was published.
While the development of a Local Plan is necessary we must all keep a very close eye on what it contains. As an example the Special Character Areas (as mentioned above) were due to be removed. There was no apparent reason for this except that it appeared to make the planning departments life somewhat easier.
The clause in the EDCC Local Plan authorising this removal was obscure. It amounted to two or three sentences. It was buried deep in the document and could have easily been missed.
Local Plan Vigilance
Whatever we do we must ensure that this document contains no shortcuts or political conveniences that we will all have to live with for at least ten years.
Currently Dorset Council is conducting a “call for sites”. In other words it is inviting developers, agents and land-owners to put forward sites which they would like to develop to meet future demand. The “call for sites” is not only for housing, commercial and industrial land but also for potential sites for gypsies, travellers and traveling show-people.
At this stage the process is completely confidential so it is impossible to know exactly what land has been put forward for what use and when.
Please register with Dorset Council to get updates on this plan and its development. When registered Dorset Council are obliged to send you an email when the process goes forward.
When the SFRA knows more we will make the information public.