Councillors have given the green light to consult on an alternative housing and employment site in Dorchester.
This is part of the strategy to shape the future planning needs of West Dorset.
West Dorset District Council’s Executive Committee agreed today (15 January) to hold a consultation on a new proposed site to the south east of Dorchester which could form part of the Local Plan.
It could include around 1,000 new homes with at least 35 per cent affordable housing, as well as local community facilities, offices and industrial units providing more employment for West Dorset as well as improved road access.
Residents will get to have their say on the new proposals when a six-week public consultation begins at the end of January.
The Local Plan sets out a long term planning strategy to meet future housing, employment and leisure needs in the area.
It covers important issues like where housing could be built, how the economy can be boosted and what infrastructure like schools and play areas may be needed.
It also looks at how climate change can be tackled, the environment protected and how future developments can be made more sustainable.
Public consultations for the joint West Dorset, Weymouth and Portland Local Plan were held across June and July 2012.
The council considered residents’ feedback from last summer’s consultation, including strong local concerns regarding the development proposals at Barton Farm in Sherborne, Hollymoor Lane in Beaminster and at Crossways. The council could reduce the development allocations in these areas if the alternative site at Dorchester were included in the plan.
West Dorset District Council and Weymouth & Portland Borough Council have a duty to plan for the right amount of development over the coming years.
The councils have worked out how much additional housing is required in the area from projected population figures based on findings from the 2011 Census.
This means any land allocated for development that is removed or reduced from the Local Plan would need to be replaced.
The district council will now examine the alternative Dorchester site to the south east of the county town.
Cllr Robert Gould, Leader of West Dorset District Council, said: “The Local Plan is very important for West Dorset as it will identify the sites for development to support future housing need.
“It is very important we gather the views of local people about how they want the future growth and development in the area managed.
“The consultation events regarding the proposed Dorchester site will be a valuable opportunity for local communities to actively share their views and participate in discussions and we urge people to come along and take part.”
The public consultation will take place between 31 January – 14 March 2013. Details can be found at http://www.dorsetforyou.com/newlocalplan/west/weymouth
Drop in sessions for the public to find out about this consultation will be held at:
South Walks House (New Council Offices), Dorchester: Wednesday 27 February 1-7pm
Digby Hall, Hound Street, Sherborne: Thursday 28 February 1-7pm
Beaminster Town Hall, Beaminster: Tuesday 5 March 1-7pm
Crossways Village Hall, Crossways: Wednesday 6 March 1-7pm
After the public consultation the proposed changes to the plan would then be presented to councillors at Policy Scrutiny Committee, Executive Committee and Full Council before being submitted over the summer to the planning inspector for independent examination.
The Local Plan could be adopted as soon as February 2014.
For more information, please contact:
West Dorset District Council
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