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Coronavirus (COVID-19): updates and advice.

Milton Abbas Neighbourhood Plan 2019-2031

A public referendum on the Milton Abbas Neighbourhood Plan is due to take place on Thursday 6 May 2021. Further details regarding the referendum are below.

The Milton Abbas Neighbourhood Plan was submitted to Dorset Council for examination in January 2020.  At the examination, an independent examiner reviewed the plan and made recommendations in accordance with the 2011 Localism Act and related regulations.  In particular, the examiner considered whether the plan meets certain basic conditions, satisfies legal requirements, and identifies an appropriate area for a referendum.

The basic conditions, which are set out in the legislation, are intended to ensure that neighbourhood plans are compatible with their wider context.  The plan must:

  • have regard to national planning policies and advice contained in guidance issued by the Secretary of State;
  • contribute to achieving sustainable development;
  • be in general conformity with the strategic policies of the development plan for the area (North Dorset Local Plan); and,
  • be compatible with EU obligations and human rights requirements

If the neighbourhood plan is supported by a local referendum, it will become part of the development plan for Dorset and its policies will be used to make decisions on relevant planning applications in Milton Abbas alongside other appropriate policies within the remainder of the development plan.


Dorset Council has agreed with the findings of the Examiner’s Report and has agreed that a referendum should take place on Thursday 6 May 2021. Documents relating to the referendum are listed below:

Decision to proceed to referendum

Following the successful examination of the Milton Abbas Neighbourhood Plan, Dorset Council has agreed that the plan, as amended, can proceed to referendum. The council released a Decision Statement on 14 September 2020 to this effect.

Regulations linked to the Coronavirus Act 2020 mean that neighbourhood plan referendums cannot take place until 6 May 2021. These measures mean that neighbourhood plans may come into force later than they would have done. With this in mind the Government has updated current planning guidance to set out that neighbourhood plans awaiting referendums can be given significant weight in decision making.

The Milton Abbas Neighbourhood Plan Referendum Draft should therefore be taken into account and given significant weight in decision-making, so far as the plan is material to the application. 

Examiner's Report

Mr David Kaiserman BA DipTP MRTPI issued his report on the submitted Milton Abbas Neighbourhood Plan on 14 July 2020. He concludes that provided the recommendations that he makes are followed, then the plan would meet the basic conditions. He therefore recommends that the plan, as modified, can proceed to referendum. Dorset Council’s Portfolio Holder for Planning, Cllr David Walsh, will decide, in due course, whether the plan should proceed to referendum.

Plan examination

In accordance with Regulation 17 of The Neighbourhood Planning (General) Regulations 2012, the submitted plan, supporting documents, and all representations received during the 6-week consultation period were sent to an Independent Examiner (Mr David Kaiserman BA DipTP MRTPI).  The Examiner considers whether the plan meets certain basic conditions, satisfies legal requirements, and will identify an appropriate area for a referendum.

On 20 April 2020, the examiner issued a set of questions addressed to Dorset Council and to Milton Abbas Parish Council. The questions and answers are provided below:

Consultation on the submitted plan

As the local planning authority, Dorset Council was required to consult on the plan before the examination took place. This consultation took place for six weeks from Friday 31 January to Friday 13 March 2020. The responses received during this period are below.

Representations received to the submitted Milton Abbas Neighbourhood Plan

Representations received to the submitted Milton Abbas Neighbourhood Plan
 Document ReferenceResponse 
 MA01  Highways England
 MA02  Wessex Water
 MA03  Chris Skinner
 MA04  Historic England
 MA05  Jacqui Cooper
 MA06  Jim Boylan
 MA07  Robert Kelso
 MA08  Gerald Dale
 MA09  James Farnham
 MA10  Chris Burdett-Clark
 MA11  Gleeson
 MA12  Environment Agency
 MA13  Dorset Council
 MA14  Dorset AONB
 MA15  Natural England

Milton Abbas Neighbourhood Plan - Submission documents

  1. Milton Abbas Neighbourhood Plan (Submission version, December 2019)
  2. Consultation Statement (December 2019, incl Jan 2020 update)
  3. Basic Conditions Statement (December 2019)
  4. Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) – screening statement (July 2019)
  5. Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) – environmental report (June 2019 & November 2019 addendum)
    Plus additional evidence:
  6. Green Spaces Assessment (2019, Milton Abbas Neighbourhood Plan Group)
  7. Housing Density Assessment (2018, Milton Abbas Neighbourhood Plan Group)
  8. Important Views Assessment (2019, Milton Abbas Neighbourhood Plan Group)
  9. Housing Needs Assessment (January 2020, Milton Abbas Neighbourhood Plan Group)
  10. Milton Abbas Neighbourhood Plan - Site Assessment Report (February 2019, AECOM Limited)

Other supporting evidence used, available on-line

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