Dorset County Council and North Dorset District Council appointed Atkins Limited (working with Buro Happold) to assess the growth potential of Gillingham for further employment and housing growth up to 2026 and beyond.

The study was also to examine the potential of Gillingham to develop into a highly self contained town and whether there would be scope for the town to merit designation as a Strategically Significant City or Town (SSCT) or similar.

The findings of the study are being used to guide North Dorset District Council's Local Development Framework (LDF) and will be used to inform future discussions with Regional bodies on the review of the Regional Spatial Strategy (RSS) for the South West.

The Report considers the longer term growth potential of the town in terms of its environmental impact, economic growth potential, transport infrastructure, retail and town centre capacity, green infrastructure, social and community infrastructure, utilities and viability.

The Report identifies two preferred growth scenarios for Gillingham (see section 4).

The Report also assesses the long term (post 2026) growth potential of the town and whether the town could become an SSCT. It concludes that Gillingham's potential to develop its economic and service centre functions do not limit its potential to become a town of 20,000 – 30,000 population over a longer term period of about 30 to 40 years. However, the future growth potential of the town is currently constrained (to the levels of growth identified in the preferred scenarios) for several reasons including: economic potential; town centre capacity; transport issues; and environmental constraints.

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