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.

Key stages in the development of the local plan for Dorset

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 process The 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:
May 2022
Stage 3: Submission of the local plan, comments made and supporting evidence to the Planning Inspectorate Submission of the Sustainability Appraisal Environmental Report Submission: October 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: Spring 2023
Stage 5: Adoption of the local plan is found sound. Becomes part of the development plan. Sustainability Appraisal adoption statement produced  Adoption: Winter 2023

We are in Stage 1.

The draft Dorset Council Local Plan was consulted on between 18 January and 15 March 2021 and outlines the strategy for meeting the needs of the area such as housing, employment, and community services including schools, retail, leisure and community facilities. It 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 plans also protects Dorset's natural environment and contributes towards the mitigation and adaptation to climate change.  

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. Our Statement of Community Involvement shows how we will consult with our stakeholders during the local plan development process. 

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