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local plan DorsetDorset Council’s Cabinet will consider a report next week that sets out a revised timeline to produce the new Dorset Council Local Plan.

This could see the plan – the blueprint for what development is allowed across the county – held back for two years.

The local development scheme has been updated to reflect the changes in timescale for the Dorset Council Local Plan and other planning documents. The proposed timescale would see the Dorset Council Local Plan’s anticipated adoption in 2026  – depending upon examination by the National Planning Inspector.

Previously, officers were working towards adoption of the new single Local Plan for the Dorset Council area by 2024.

The consultation on the draft plan that took place in early 2021 received a huge response – more than 9,000 responses – from a range of age groups across Dorset. The council says it is giving full consideration to these responses in preparing the Dorset Council Local Plan and the revision to the timetable reflects the work needed to achieve this.

Earlier this year, Councillor Spencer Flower, Leader of Dorset Council, set out his discussions with Michael Gove, the then Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, and his officials, reflecting many of the views expressed through the public consultation.

Councillor Flower has argued for reform of the national planning policy based on sustainability and addressing local needs over the next 30 years that also recognises the ambitions of the council’s climate and ecological emergency strategy. Positive discussions with ministers and senior civil servants including the chief planning officer for England have continued throughout 2022.

The revised timescale also takes into consideration the following:

  • The Weymouth Town Centre Flood Risk study
  • Natural England’s revised guidance on nutrient neutrality for Nitrogen and Phosphorus across five water catchments within Dorset
  • The Levelling-up and Regeneration Bill – scheduled to complete its passage through parliament by April 2023
  • The delayed revision of the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF)

Councillor David Walsh, the council’s Portfolio Holder for Planning, said: ‘There are lots of changes and issues that need to be considered to make sure that the Dorset Council Local Plan provides the right mixture of housing, facilities, services and employment opportunities for the county’s future.’

Information about the emerging Dorset Council Local Plan, associated planning documents and studies and currently adopted local plans can be seen at www.dorsetcouncil.gov.uk/planning-buildings-land/planning-policy

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