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Coronavirus (COVID-19): updates and advice.

About The Dorset Council Local Plan

Planning affects us all. The council’s planning policies are set out in Local Plans which are the legal starting point in determining planning applications.

Public and stakeholder engagement is an important part of the plan making process. Involving residents, businesses, organisations, experts, infrastructure providers and town and parish councils allows local knowledge and expertise to be gathered from a wide range of perspectives.

This consultation sets out recommended strategies and policies meeting the requirements of Regulation 18 of the Town and Country Planning Act (Local Planning) (England) Regulations 2012.

Dorset Council have produced a draft Local Plan containing proposals for guiding future development in the Dorset Council area up to 2038. The plan outlines the strategy for meeting the needs of the area such as housing, employment, and community services including schools, retail, leisure and community facilities. The plan directs development to the most suitable locations near to existing facilities, and detailed policies promote high quality development that respects and enhances the character of each area. The plan also protects Dorset's natural environment and contributes towards the mitigation and adaptation to climate change. 

The following table sets out a timeline of stages for the adoption of the Dorset Council Local Plan, as formalised in the agreed Local Development Scheme.

Timeline of stages for the adoption of the Dorset Council Local Plan
The Local Plan processThe sustainability appraisal process Timeline 
Stage 1: Initial evidence gathering, review of former district/borough local plans, consultation Sustainability Appraisal Scoping, local plan appraisal and consultation Consultation: January 2021
Stage 2: Publication of the draft local plan for comment Publication of the Sustainability Appraisal Environmental Report for comment Publication: Autumn/Winter 2021
Stage 3: Submission of the local plan, comments made and supporting evidence to the Planning Inspectorate Submission of the Sustainability Appraisal Environmental Report Submission: March 2022
Stage 4: Examination in public, where soundness and legal compliance of the plan is tested. Inspector writes a report suggesting possible modifications Sustainability Appraisal of local plan as amended Examination: Summer 2022
Stage 5: Adoption of the local plan is found sound. Becomes part of the development plan. Sustainability Appraisal adoption statement produced  Adoption: Spring 2023

Viewing the plan

View the Dorset Council Local Plan consultation online.

Paper copies of the plan are available for loan via click and collect from your local Dorset Council library (Covid-19 permitting). They are also available at Wool library. 

If you are shielding volunteers can help you pick up a paper copy of the plan for you from your local library. Find out more about support for those shielding.

Find out more about the plan

Listen to or watch webinars

We are holding webinars throughout the consultation period on key themes within the plan. Each webinar will consist of a short presentation followed by a question and answer session. Find out more about our webinars including dates and times.

Telephone the team

We also have a dedicated phone line available during the consultation period open Monday to Friday from 10am to 2pm. Telephone 01305 252500 to speak to a member of the team.

Questions and answers

We get asked a lot of questions about the Local Plan. Please select the relevant topic or area to see answers to some of the questions we have received:

Responding to the plan

Respond to the plan on our online interactive form, via email to or send us your paper copy of the response form to Dorset Council Local Plan, South Walks House, South Walks Road, Dorchester, Dorset, DT1 1UZ.  

Please always use the prescribed form to respond. 

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