Monday, 7 December 2015

North Dorset Local Plan and housing numbers update

For those of us that are keeping an eye on when the Examiner's report on the North Dorset Local Plan will be published, there has been some interesting updates in the last month on the latest figures emerging on housing needs for the area, leading to an exchange between the Inspector and the District Council. 

The Inspector has been made aware that the Eastern Dorset 2015 SHMA which assessed the likely housing need for the housing market area is to be published soon. From the information available it seems that it concludes that the objectively assessed need for North Dorset is 330 dwellings a year – compared to the earlier SHMA estimate of 285.  So a 15% uplift in total.  Obviously no decision as yet where this might be allocated - particularly as the 330 dwellings is an indicative split across the housing market area, and depending on the capacity and constraints, this may need to go up or down under the combined Council's Duty to Cooperate. 

The District Council are keen to get their Plan regarded nonetheless, and press ahead with starting their review straight away (they say they will start by 31 March 2016).  It does signal that there is likely to be more housing land required, and that this would need to be identified and allocated in the review (if there isn't sufficient supply coming forward above that already identified by the District Council). 

Will we get to see Inspector David Hogger's final report before Christmas?  And see the details in the SHMA?  Watch this space...

UPDATE - the housing needs report is in fact already on the Purbeck section of the Dorset Council's website - click here to view - the graph on page 197 (shown below) illustrates the different requirements.  Both Purbeck and North Dorset have a significant chunk of their need to support the likely employment growth in the area (which would otherwise be stalled by lack of employees, or lead to higher levels of commuting).  The 330 suggested annual figure for housing in North Dorset does not include residential care homes which if included would add on a further 17 units a year to this figure.