Following a 'yes' vote in the referendum on 13 February 2020, Dorset Council officially 'made' the Upper Marshwood Vale Neighbourhood Plan on 5 May 2020.

Dorset Council has taken the decision to 'make' the Upper Marshwood Vale Neighbourhood Plan (as modified in accordance with the Examiner's recommendations) part of the development plan for the Upper Marshwood Vale neighbourhood area. The Report to Council and the Adoption Decision Statement are available.

The Upper Marshwood Vale Neighbourhood plan now forms part of the development plan for use in planning decisions in the Upper Marshwood Vale Neighbourhood Area which encompasses the parishes of Marshwood, Stoke Abbott, Pilsdon and Bettiscombe.

Neighbourhood Plan referendum

A referendum held on 13 February 2020 asked residents of Upper Marshwood Vale: "Do you want Dorset Council to use the Neighbourhood Plan for Upper Marshwood Vale to help it decide planning applications in the neighbourhood area?" 79 voted in favour and 35 against. The full referendum results are also now available.

The documents relating to the referendum are as follows and hard copies of the Upper Marshwood Vale Neighbourhood Plan and supporting material can be viewed at County Hall, Dorchester and Beaminster Town Council offices.

The information being made available is:

Neighbourhood Plan examination

An independent examiner Mr Andrew Mead was appointed after a decision to submit the Neighbourhood Plan for examination. His examination report was released on 12 December 2019 with the recommendation that the Upper Marshwood Vale Neighbourhood Plan should, subject to modification, proceed to referendum.

Following the submission of the Upper Marshwood Vale Neighbourhood Plan for examination, the examiner wrote to us and Upper Marshwood Vale Neighbourhood Plan Group on the 7 November 2019 to ask a number of questions.

We responded to the questions from the examiner as did the Upper Marshwood Vale Neighbourhood Plan group. See Our response to the examiner and the response from Upper Marshwood Vale neighbourhood plan group.

As part of his examination of the plan, the independent examiner has to consider whether the plan meets certain basic conditions and satisfies legal requirements.

The basic conditions are set out in the legislation, and are intended to ensure that neighbourhood plans fit within their wider context. The plan must:

  • have regard to national planning policies and guidance
  • contribute to achieving sustainable development
  • be in general conformity with the strategic policies of the development plan i.e. the West Dorset, Weymouth & Portland Adopted Local Plan
  • be compatible with European Union law and human rights obligations
  • not breach the requirements of Chapter 8 of Part 6 of the Conservation of Habitats and Species Regulations 2017

At the examination, an independent examiner will provide a review of the plan and make recommendations in accordance with the 2011 Localism Act and related regulations.

If the neighbourhood plan is approved following examination, and supported by a local referendum, it will be used to make decisions on planning applications.

Consultation on the Submitted Plan

As the local planning authority, the council is required to consult on the plan proposals before the examination takes place. The consultation process will run from 19 August 2019 until 14 October 2019. This is an opportunity for individuals and organisations to raise concerns they have about the plan with regard to the content and how it has been prepared. An independent examiner will be appointed and any concerns will be passed on to them for consideration as part of the examination process.

The Upper Marshwood Vale Neighbourhood Plan is available to read together with the supporting documents which are as follows:

A hard copy of the Upper Marshwood Vale Neighbourhood Plan is available to view at County Hall, Dorchester. Reference copies will also be available from the 19 August throughout the parish area including the Marshwood C of E primary school (when it reopens in September) and the New Inn at Stoke Abbott. For more information on reference copy locations please see the Upper Marshwood Vale Neighbourhood Plan website.

If you wish to comment please use the consultation form and send it to us by midnight on 14 October 2019. Comments on the plan can be emailed to the following address:

Alternatively they can be posted to the Spatial Planning Team at: Dorset Council, County Hall, Colliton Park, Dorchester, Dorset DT1 1XJ.

A summary of the comments will be forwarded to the Neighbourhood Plan group and published on the website.

More information on the process and additional evidence documents can also be viewed on the Upper Marshwood Vale Neighbourhood Plan website.

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