Clock is ticking to have your say in Joint Local Plan Review

There is just under a week left for residents, businesses and local organisations to have their say on the West Dorset, Weymouth & Portland Local Plan Local Plan ‘Preferred Options’ review.

West Dorset District Council and Weymouth & Portland Borough Council are currently seeking feedback on proposals, with a consultation open until 8 October.

Overall, just over 19,000 homes are suggested for development in the plan. One of the main focuses of this review is outlining where new development should be.

The councils’ Issues & Options consultation in early 2017 narrowed down the number of sites to those within this plan.

About 14,300 new homes have already been agreed through the formation of our current local plan. This review is seeking to add an additional 4,700 homes across 13 preferred option sites. These are spread across the area and also provide an additional 18.8 Ha of employment space.

The councils want to know if you support these development sites or whether you can have an alternative suggestions.

There is a high level of affordable housing need in area and average house prices are significantly higher than local average earnings. In West Dorset, house prices are 11.3 times the average salary. In Weymouth & Portland house prices are 8.3 times the average salary. Putting this into context, when calculating mortgage affordability, your salary is normally multiplied by four. For England as a whole the ratio is 7.9 times the average salary.

In order to ensure affordable housing is provided in the area, this review is suggesting updates to current policies that reflect changes (or proposed changes) to national policy. This includes:

  • transparency on viability studies – ‘open book’ approach for developers, taking account of grant funding or any other subsidy
  • vacant building credit on brownfield sites
  • broader definition of affordable housing and the split of tenure models sought

Economic development is a key priority for both Weymouth & Portland Borough Council and West Dorset District Council. Economic development will play a key role in providing the necessary flexibility to support businesses and enable them to grow. It will facilitate inward investment to create better paid jobs and regenerating town centres.

A continuing supply of land and premises suitable for employment uses is needed which is appropriate to the characteristics of the local area. This will be delivered through the allocation and provision of new sites.

Further employment sites have been allocated on land north of Dorchester, south of Broadwindsor Road, Beaminster and West of Sherborne.

Read the ‘Preferred Options’ document to find out more.

You can have your say using the online consultation form on Alternatively, paper forms are also available from district and borough council offices.