Local plan examinations and the planning issues that they deal with can be complex. The Planning Inspectorate have prepared a short guide for those who may be participating in an examination for the first time. If you have any further queries relating to the process of examining the Purbeck Local Plan please contact the Programme Officer.

Public Hearing July 2022

The Planning Inspectors gave notice of an additional examination hearing which was held on 19 July 2022. The hearing was held to allow discussion of issues relating to the Further Proposed Main Modifications to Policies V2 (Green Belt) and I5 (Morden Park). An agenda for the hearing is published here

Post July 2022 Hearing Correspondence

Since the public hearings we have been corresponding with the Inspectors on a number of issues including:

  • nutrient pollution in Poole Harbour (we have needed to review our position on this issue after Natural England provided new guidance on nutrient pollution to councils across the country in March 2022)
  • an updated programme for the local plan’s examination (Local Development Scheme)
  • the implications of the nutrient pollution guidance and the new Local Development Scheme for housing land supply and the Interim Mitigation Strategy for Heathland Habitat Sites (2018/19 to 2023/24)
  • issues and errors with the local plan policies maps
  • changes to Policy I6: Wareham integrated health and social care

We have previously outlined how we intended to respond to the nutrient pollution issues effecting Poole Harbour in our Joint Position Statement dated 7 December 2022 (the statement has been archived to the examination web pages here). The Inspectors have offered us advice on the approach in this statement in their letter dated 16 February 2023 (their letter has been archived to the examination web pages here). Following a meeting with government early in 2022 we have reviewed and re-considered our position on this issue. Our most recent letter (dated 4 May 2023) to the Planning Inspectors explains our revised position. The Inspectors responded with their interim findings (24 May 2023) and next steps on several key issues. All earlier correspondence can also be found in the Examination Documents Library

Where are we now? - Publication of Supplementary Proposed Main Modifications (SMM) 

On 10 November 2023 we published a consolidated schedule of Main Modifications to the Purbeck Local Plan, including supplementary proposed Main Modifications. If you wish to, you can make comment on the SMM. The closing date for the council receiving your comments is 22 December 2023 at 11:45pm. Any responses received after this date will not be given consideration. 

We would encourage you to make any responses on SMM using the online consultation form found via the Main Modifications page, but there are also options to submit completed copies of the response form through e-mail to planningpolicy@dorsetcouncil.gov.uk and via post, addressed to: 

Purbeck Local Plan Supplementary Proposed Main Modifications Consultation, Planning, Dorset Council, County Hall, Colliton Park, Dorchester, DT1 1XJ 

(The Planning Inspectorate has prepared guidance on the presentation of Main Modifications. The guidance stipulates that formatting should be applied to clearly distinguish between text to be inserted and deleted. The Main Modifications that are presented in SMMCD1 adhere to the Planning Inspectorate guidance. The council has also prepared screen reader accessible versions of SMMCD1 and the SMM that are presented on its online response platform for those people wishing to make use of a screen reader. The screen reader accessible versions of SMM do not adhere to the Planning Inspectorate guidance on the presentation of Main Modifications). 

If you have any queries please don’t hesitate to get in touch by telephone on 01305 838334, or email planningpolicy@dorsetcouncil.gov.uk using ‘Purbeck Local Plan’ in the subject bar. 

We have previously published an initial set of Main Modifications (MM) (2020-2021) and Further Main Modifications (FMM) (2021-2022). The scope of this consultation is expressly limited to revisions presented in the latest SMM which have been drafted following correspondence with the Planning Inspectors and in response to their most recent interim findings and next steps (presented in a letter dated 24 May 2023). 

Alongside the novel text in the SMM the council has also re-presented some of the earlier MM and FMM which have been taken forward for consideration. MM and FMM have already been subject to consultation. The Main Modifications tracker in Appendix 1 of SMMCD1 clarifies whether a policy or supporting text has been subject to MM, FMM and/or SMM. (There is also a summary of a Main Modifications history under the heading ‘Justification’ for each modification presented in the schedule). 

The council is only seeking comments through this consultation on the novel revisions presented in the SMM not those modifications presented in earlier consultations relating to MM and FMM. 

The story of the Purbeck Local Plan so far

We submitted the Purbeck Local Plan for examination in January 2019. Examination in public took place between July and October of the same year and then our inspector sent us her Post Hearing note.

During the examination, changes were suggested to make the plan sound and we consulted on those suggested amendments, known as Main Modifications, from December 2020 to January 2021. 

Substantial issues were raised through that consultation relating to the soundness of Green Belt release (Policy V2), and a proposed holiday park (Policy I5), at Morden. 

In response, we prepared Further Proposed Main Modifications and supporting information. We proposed an interim approach to mitigating the impacts of homes on Dorset heaths habitat sites to use if the strategic Suitable Alternative Natural Greenspace (SANG) at Morden was undeliverable.

This involved revising Policies I5 and V2 and minor changes to other parts of the local plan where these policies were mentioned.

We consulted on these proposed additional changes in October 2021 and forwarded the responses to the inspector for her consideration.

Reflecting on representations received to the Further Main Modifications Consultation, we believed there was no need to undertake further hearing sessions, but the inspector disagreed.

On 16 March 2022, Natural England provided advice and further information on nutrients. This advice applied to the catchments of five habitat sites around Dorset Council, affecting some of the area covering the Purbeck Local Plan. 

On 19 July 2022 an examination hearing was held to allow discussions on the issues raised in responses on Further Proposed Main Modifications. Following the hearing we corresponded with the Inspectors on several issues (all of the correspondence in these exchanges is presented on the examination webpages of our website). 

After receiving the Inspectors’ interim findings and next steps (24 May 2023) we have prepared and published Supplementary Proposed Main Modifications. The consultation on these latest Main Modifications is open between 10 November 2023 and 11:45 pm 22 December 2023. For more information, please refer to the Main Modifications pages of our website. 

Community Infrastructure Levy examination

The council is also reviewing the Purbeck Community Infrastructure Levy alongside the local plan. Proposed Further Modifications to the Draft CIL Charging Schedule were published for comment until 11:45pm on 15 January 2020. We will resume this examination in due course.

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