Planning in Dorset

4th August 2022

Dorset County Council was abolished in 2019 and split into two unitary councils: Dorset Council and Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole Council (BCP), both of which have made important announcements about their Local Plans.

Dorset Council’s Local Plan

Dorset Council has announced a two-year delay to the production of their Local Plan, which is now anticipated to be adopted in 2026.  Dorset Council are hoping to pilot a new national approach to local plans which would remove the duty to co-operate, meaning Dorset would not have to accommodate unmet need from BCP.  They are also seeking relief from the Government in regard to the five-year housing land supply requirement.

In an update to Cabinet on the 26th July, Dorset Council confirmed that they are working with Homes England and there will be more focus on “new or significantly expanded settlements”, which leaves us wondering if significant growth at Alderholt might be back on the agenda.

Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole Local Plan

Just as Dorset Cabinet announced delays to their Local Plan, BCP’s cabinet met and agreed to update their Local Development Scheme also delaying their Local Plan by a year. They are now aiming for adoption by the end of 2024. More information about the state of BCP since the merger of the former Borough Councils can be found here.

Moving Forwards

Both Councils will be running further consultation on their draft Plans so now is a good time to act if you have development interests in the area. There are strategic opportunities to promote your sites for allocation, laying the foundations for future development, as well as a chance to progress with planning applications in the interim.

Biodiversity Net Gain Guidance Note

At the same cabinet meeting, BCP also agreed to endorse their new Guidance Note that enables the early implementation of Biodiversity Net Gain (BNG).  At present this is a guidance note to assist applicants and will act as an interim measure before secondary legislation sees the implementation of the Environment Act’s requirement for new development to provide 10% net gain. As expected, BNG’s importance in the planning system is being elevated and needs to be considered at the early stages of development planning. You can read more about Biodiversity Net Gain here.

Here at Bell Cornwell we have ample experience in both environmental and strategic planning matters and are on hand to guide you through the process. Get in touch for further advice.

Lindsay Goodyear, Associate

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