Update to the National Planning Policy Guidance confirms that examined plans who will now wait til May 2021 for their referendum can be given significant weight in decision-making. The legislation could change to bring the date forward if this is possible and appropriate - but who knows where we will be in a month or so.
No clear guidance yet on consultations during the lockdown, other than being aware of the current restrictions and social distancing requirements. Wareham Town Council (who were half way through their Regulation 14 consultation) are one such group affected. A couple of groups in Dorset are just starting their examinations having finished their Regulation 16 consultations just before the lockdown (Milton Abbas and Shaftesbury) - the gorups are waiting to see how these proceed or whether they too get delayed, which will be down to the appointed examiners.