Monday, 31 August 2015

Planning ahead for new or extended mineral quarries in Dorset

There are three weeks left to run on the Draft Dorset Mineral Sites Plan consultation. 
The draft plan includes proposals for new or extended sites for sand and gravel extraction including three sites around Crossways / Moreton  (Woodsford Quarry, Station Road and Hurst Farm) and four further sites between Bovington and Wareham.  Eight new sites have been identified for the provision of Purbeck Stone, mostly around Langton Matravers.  There are also proposals for an extension to a site on Portland (you guessed it - for Portland Stone).  Three sites (just outside Marnhull, and at Oborne and Lilington near Sherborne) have been flagged up for the provision of other building stone – these are all extensions to existing quarries.
UPDATE: the consultation has been extended and will now close on 23 October 2015.  The pre-submission draft is due to be published March 2016.

Friday, 21 August 2015

Major milestones passed for West Dorset, Weymouth and Portland

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.

Wednesday, 19 August 2015

Loders Neighbourhood Plan on track for examination

Loders Parish Council submitted its Neighbourhood Plan and supporting evidence for examination, and has now received confirmation from West Dorset District Council that they will be appointing an independent examiner, and gearing up for the examination. 

It will be interesting to hear whether the examiner will require a hearing (as was the case with Cerne Valley) or whether they deal with the examination entirely based on the evidence and written representations. 

Watch this space!