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Housing Targets

House building in Shillingston House building in Shillingston Photo © Suzanne Keene

A better housing target for the Dorset Local Plan. Responses to consultation in March 2021 revealed local people’s deep disagreements with Dorset Council’s draft Local Plan.

The whole Dorset Local Plan so far is based on the conjecture, from the Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government (MHLGC), that Dorset has a housing crisis:

• evidenced by unaffordably high prices,
• resulting from a lack of supply of new builds,
• and caused by a planning failure to release enough land.

The remedy from the MHLGC was to oblige Dorset Council to make a new local plan by 2023 based on the Standard Method, leading to a much higher housing target than hitherto, requiring land to be allocated for 39,000 homes

Dorset is unusually rural with no large urban centre where housing can expand. Building land is constrained by AONB, historic settings, Green Belt and more. As a result of the high target, planners have been forced to allocate many extra Green Belt and green-field sites whose development objectively would be judged as harmful to future generations.

What should be done instead?

Dorset Council’s planners should be free to plan properly by balancing the need for homes against the harm caused to publicly-valued green spaces. This would chime with recent ministerial remarks about leeway in meeting targets, greater use of brownfield sites, reasonableness regarding constraints such as Green Belt and AONB, and sophistication in the way soundness is regarded by Planning Inspectors.

See below, a one page article by Mike Allen dated December 2021


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