Blandford + Neighbourhood Plan 2011-2033

The Blandford + Neighbourhood Plan 2011 – 2033 has been submitted to North Dorset District Council for examination. As North Dorset District Council does not exist anymore this area is now covered by the Dorset Council.

At the examination, an independent examiner reviewed the plan and made recommendations in accordance with the 2011 Localism Act and related regulations. In particular, the examiner considered whether the plan meets certain basic conditions, satisfies legal requirements, and identifies an appropriate area for a referendum.

The basic conditions, which are set out in the legislation, are intended to ensure that neighbourhood plans are compatible with their wider context. The plan must:

  • have regard to national planning policies and advice contained in guidance issued by the Secretary of State;
  • contribute to achieving sustainable development;
  • be in general conformity with the strategic policies of the development plan for the area (The North Dorset Local Plan); and,
  • be compatible with EU obligations and human rights requirements.

If the neighbourhood plan is approved following examination, and subsequently supported by a local referendum, it will become part of the development plan for Dorset Council and its policies will be used to make decisions on relevant planning applications in the neighbourhood plan area alongside other appropriate policies within the remainder of the development plan.

Consultation on Draft Decision Statement

The council is consulting on a draft Decision Statement relating to whether the plan should proceed to referendum. The draft statement sets out the council’s view that the plan should proceed to referendum subject to the recommended modification outlined in the examiner’s report. The statement also details a modification that is required to the plan to correct an error. Furthermore, it provides further reasoning, in addition to that set out in the examiner’s report, to explain why the council considers that the plan meets the basic conditions.

Making representations

Interested parties have 7 weeks from Friday 8 May 2020 to Friday 26 June 2020 to make representations on the draft Decision Statement. The deadline for responding to the consultation is 5pm on Friday 26 June 2020. Representations should be made using the response form available via the links below.

Blandford + Neighbourhood Plan Response Form (word)

Blandford + Neighbourhood Plan Response Form (pdf)

Representations should be sent to the following email address:

planningpolicy@dorsetcouncil.gov.uk

Given the majority of Dorset Council’s Planning staff are currently working remotely, in response to Government restrictions relating to coronavirus, the council would ask that interested parties refrain from sending any response forms by post if at all possible. If you have no alternative then response forms should be sent to:

Planning Policy Team, South Walks House, South Walks Road, Dorchester, Dorset, DT1 1UZ.

Please note that all comments will be made publicly available to read following the end of the consultation period.

For information regarding the council’s data processing practices please see its Privacy Policy Statement.

Examiner’s Report

Mr Terry Kemmann-Lane JP DipTP FRTPI MCMI issued his report  on the submitted Blandford + Neighbourhood Plan on 28 January 2020. He concludes that provided the recommended modification is made, the plan would meet the basic conditions. He, therefore, recommends that the plan, as modified, should proceed to referendum. Dorset Council’s Portfolio Holder for Planning, Cllr David Walsh, will decide, in due course, whether the plan should proceed to referendum. As detailed above a consultation is taking place in respect of a draft Decision Statement.

Examination

An independent examiner (Mr Terry Kemmann-LaneJP DipTP FRTP) is currently examining the plan. The examiner issued a question to Dorset Council and the Steering Group, Blandford Forum Town Council as part of the examination. Dorset Council and Blandford Forum Town Council sent a response to the examiner on 18 June 2019.

A non-statutory exploratory meeting relating to the plan took place on Thursday 22 August 2019 at 10am. The meeting took place at Blandford Parish Centre, The Plocks, Blandford Forum, Dorset, DT11 7DW. Full details are set out in the Notice of Exploratory Meeting, the Agenda of the Exploratory Meeting and the Meeting Notes of the Exploratory Meeting.

Dave Chetwyn of Urban Vision Enterprise CIC (A Locality appointed Planner supporting the neighbourhood plan) has sent a letter to the examiner following the Exploratory Meeting.

A hearing relating to the plan took place on the 12 November 2019. The hearing started at 9am and took place at The Badger’s Sett, Sealy Suite, The Crown Hotel, West Street, Blandford Forum, Dorset, DT11 7AJ. Further important information regarding the hearing was set out in the Notice of Public Hearing. The agenda for the hearing was published. It included an itinerary for the site visit and other important information. In response to requests from the Examiner, set out in his agenda, Dorset Council and Blandford Forum Town Council (the Qualifying Body) produced statements in advance of the hearing.

A note of the matters discussed at the hearing has been approved by the Examiner. The Examiner has approved it as a broad indication of the discussion at the hearing and is of the view that it should be read as no more than a precis for that purpose. Further to the note, a response has been sent to the Examiner regarding matters raised at the hearing.

Habitats Regulation Assessment

Dorset Council, the competent authority responsible for undertaking a Habitats Regulation Assessment (HRA) of the neighbourhood plan, has produced a Habitats Regulation Assessment (HRA). This is largely based on the information provided in the HRA Report, produced by AECOM, which was submitted with the plan. The HRA concludes that the neighbourhood plan will not adversely affect the integrity of a European site.

Consultation on the Submitted Plan

As the local planning authority, the District Council was required to consult on the plan proposals before the examination takes place. People were given from Friday 15 February to Friday 29 March 2019 to make comments on the plan and its associated documents. An independent examiner (Mr Terry Kemmann-Lane JP DipTP FRTPI) has been appointed and the representations received will be passed on to him for consideration as part of the examination process.