The West Dorset, Weymouth and Portland Local Plan is firmly on track for adoption this Autumn. The final hurdle has been passed, with the publication of the Inspector’s report announcing that, with modifications, the plan has been found sound.
The planners won’t be able to sit back for too long, as the plan will need to be reviewed by 2021, and the Inspector says this review should “identify a long-term strategy for development in the Dorchester area and reappraise housing provision in Sherborne”.
The five year housing supply has been closely examined, with the Inspector ruling out some of the ‘supply’ because of uncertainty or lack of evidence, but still finding that there is 5.1 years in the bag. With such a slim margin he then goes on to say “it is imperative that the Councils do not ignore new opportunities which come forward in sustainable locations and are consistent with other policy provisions”
Of particular interest is the outcome on affordable housing in light of the recent High Court ruling that the national guidance on minimum thresholds should be quashed. The Inspector has said that it is fine to go ahead with the requirement for all open market housing sites to contribute to affordable housing needs. Good news for those in housing need - but probably not for your balance sheet if you were looking to build your own house.
The Councils are also on track to introduce the Community Infrastructure Charging Levy (CIL), with rates now agreed by the same Inspector. We shall wait to hear when this will come into effect.