The following information and and reports were made available on the website for informal public consultation between the 13th and 27th July 2018:
Welcome to the new Blandford+ Neighbourhood Plan (B+NP2)!
Why are we back?
It’s been a long haul so far, but Blandford+ are back on the road to a new and stronger Neighbourhood Plan (B+NP2).
You may recall the original Blandford + Neighbourhood Plan (B+NP) passed examination in 2017, but the conditions imposed by the examiner to delete two major policies; Policy 1 – For Development Land to the North & East of Blandford Forum, and Policy 10.4 – The designation of Crown Meadows as a ‘Local Green Space’, were unacceptable to the B+ group.
Soon after the examination, North Dorset District Council (NDDC) announced a shortfall in the 5 Year Housing Land Supply. This rendered their existing Local Plan ‘Out of Date’. Concerned about the impact that this could have for Blandford, the B+ Steering Group wrote to the Secretary of State asking him to intervene. With no Local Plan in place, Blandford could miss out on much needed infrastructure such as a new school, or worse still, become vulnerable to unwanted and unplanned development.
The original B+ NP was withdrawn in May 2018, and since then Blandford+ have been working with NDDC to increase the scope of the new B+NP2 so it can pick up the work from NDDC’s Local Plan ‘Issues and Options’ Consultation to move forward with planning options for the Blandford + area. We are determined to have the new plan in place in early 2019, much sooner than the Local Plan Review would be able to achieve.
You can be forgiven for thinking ‘Oh no! Not again, you’ve asked me this before, just get on with it!’, but with no Local Plan in place, it’s more important than ever for local people to engage with the Neighbourhood Plan to ensure we get the development we need, when and where we need it!
Testing the new Plan
Over the coming months, we will be working hard to ‘test’ the new plan against a range of criteria:
1. Sustainability (understanding the economic, environmental, and social effects of the plan)
2. Deliverability (Is land available? Are proposals achievable and viable?)
3. Suitability to the Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (our obligation to the Crow Act 2000)
4. Community Opinion (Are we representing the wishes of our Blandford+ residents and businesses?)
What the new plan will cover
We’ve been working with North Dorset District Council (NDDC) to increase the scope of the new Plan to take into account all the development options for Blandford that have come forward in response to NDDC’s North Dorset Local Plan Review – Issues and Options (I&O) Consultation last November. We will also be planning for the future in terms of infrastructure, health, education and employment.
We’ve reviewed the original plan, added in new policies where we need them and removed policies that have come to fruition since we started.
To summarise, the policies we’ll be including in our plan are:
Policy 1: Spatial (Development) Plan and Settlement Boundaries Policy
We’ll be updating the settlement boundaries for Blandford Forum and Blandford St Mary.
Policy 2: Housing Site Allocations
Blandford+ have agreed with NDDC that a minimum of 660 new dwellings above those already planned for in the current Local Plan are required for Blandford, with a minimum of 400 being required within the B+ Plan area.
We’ve reviewed all future development needs in terms of housing, employment, education and other infrastructure (such as community and health), and will be carrying out analysis of four possible development options that have resulted from the I&O consultation
Click here to see the Preliminary Development Options Report, and below for a map showing each of the four options.
Policy 3: Employment Land Allocations
We will be looking to identify at least 2 Hectares of suitable employment land to support local economic needs and to improve self-containment. Our aim will be to reduce the need for Blandford+ residents to travel outside the area to work, primarily reducing congestion on roads to the South and the East. See also Policy 2.
Policies 4 & 5: Early Years / Education provision and allocation(s)
We’ll continue to work closely with Dorset County Council to review options and to allocate land to meet early years, primary and secondary education needs based on the latest forecasts from DCC. As a priority we’ll be working towards the provision of a new 2 form entry primary school for the Blandford+ Area. See also Policy 2.
Policy 6: Safeguarding community facilities
We’ve been updating our previous policy on community facilities to include plans for a new community hall at Blandford St. Mary.
Policy 7: Blandford Forum Town Centre
We’ve reviewed the Joint Retail and Commercial Study carried out by Carter Jonas in 2018 and have updated out Town Centre policy. We will also be considering the findings of the Parking Review being carried out at the moment.
Policy 8: Green Infrastructure Network
We’ve reviewed the Green Infrastructure Network and brought up to date.
Policy 9: Local Green Spaces
We’ve reviewed and extended our Local Green Spaces list to include an ‘Important Open Wooded Area’ that meets the Local Green Space Criteria. We’ve had to delete Crown Meadows from our list (as instructed by the examiner) but are endeavouring to strengthen its protection in terms of its importance to the ‘setting’ of the area. This work will be carried out within Policy 10 of the plan.
Policy 10: Blandford Forum Conservation Area
We’ll be reviewing the Blandford Heritage Group Conservation Area Appraisal and Management Plan when it has been published and using it to define a policy to protect and enhance the Conservation Area and its setting. We’ll be looking at ways to protect Crown Meadows as an important ‘setting’ to Blandford.
Policy 11. Design Management: Blandford Forum
We’ve updated the character assessment for Blandford Forum and reviewed the original Plan’s design policy to manage the design of new development
Policy 12: Design Management: Blandford St. Mary
We’ve updated the character assessment for Blandford St. Mary and reviewed the original Plan’s design policy to manage the design of new development
Policy 13: Design Management: Bryanston
We’ve updated the character assessment for Bryanston and reviewed the original Plan’s design policy to manage the design of new development
Policy 14. Tourism
We’ve reviewed the original Plan’s policy alongside the Carter Jonas Study and updated to support leisure, recreation, and tourism including needs for hotel accommodation.
We’re holding informal consultations on our work so far between the 13th and 27th July.
We still need your support…so please tell us if we’ve got it right!
You can come and chat or submit your comments in person at one of our consultation events:
Friday 13th July 6pm to 8pm – Hall & Woodhouse Visitor Centre
Saturday 14th July 10am to 12pm – The Corn Exchange
You can complete or online survey by clicking here: (link removed)
You can get a e-copy of the Comments Form by clicking here: (link removed)
You can email your form to firstname.lastname@example.org or you can return your form to us by post to: Town Clerk’s Office, Church Lane, Blandford Forum, Dorset, DT11 7AD.