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Confusion over Dorset's Local Plan Delay

August 2022

Developments in Dorset may face an uncertain future as the council seeks to put off adopting a new Local Plan – the blueprint for housing, commercial and leisure schemes – until 2026.

Dorset Council was working on a new Local Plan. It published its Draft Local Plan in Spring 2021, and intended to adopt the plan in 2023/24.

That plan set out a need for 30,000 new homes in the area by 2038. However, the council now wants to delay adopting its Plan until 2026 and is “seeking confirmation” from central Government that it can set up a pilot scheme to examine ways of ensuring “the right development in the right places.”

As a consequence Dorset Council has asked the Government to be exempted from its housing land supply requirements during this process.

Currently councils without a deliverable five-year housing land supply risk having to allow development in areas not allocated for housing, as relevant local plan policies are deemed out of date.

The Department of Levelling Up, Housing and Communities says Dorset Council is not part of a pilot scheme and is seeking clarification from the council about this misunderstanding.

“With delays to the preparation of a new Local Plan and no exemptions in place, the council may struggle to meet its housing supply targets. This is a situation that we will closely monitor and one which may foster new opportunities for developers,” said Stephen Baimbridge, Associate with Greenslade Taylor Hunt.

Developers and landowners caught up in the consequences of this uncertainty who would like expert advice on the best way to proceed should contact the experienced Development Land and Planning Department at Greenslade Taylor Hunt on 01823 334466.


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