The Shaftesbury Neighbourhood Plan was made (adopted) by Dorset Council on 22 June 2021. 

Following a majority 'yes' vote in the referendum, the decision was taken to make the Shaftesbury Neighbourhood Plan part of the development plan for the Shaftesbury neighbourhood area.

The decision statement and the 'made' Shaftesbury Neighbourhood Plan Part 1 (chapters 1-4)Part 2 (chapters 5-6)Part 3 (appendices) are available online and will be available to view at the council's offices (address below) during normal opening hours when the offices reopen to the public.

Dorset Council
County Hall

Referendum Result

The Shaftesbury Neighbourhood Plan referendum was held on Thursday 6 May 2021 and asked residents: "Do you want Dorset Council to use the Neighbourhood Plan for Shaftesbury to help it decide planning applications in the neighbourhood area?" 

A majority voted in favour of the neighbourhood plan (YES votes: 1556; NO votes: 216). The turnout was 26.9%. More details regarding the results, plus details of the other elections and referendums that took place that day can be found here.

As a result, the plan will now proceed to Cabinet on 22 June 2021 where a decision will be made on formally making the Shaftesbury Neighbourhood Plan part of the development plan for the area covered by Shaftesbury Town Council (the Shaftesbury neighbourhood area).


Dorset Council agreed with the findings of the Examiner’s Report and 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 Shaftesbury Neighbourhood Plan, Dorset Council has agreed that the plan, as amended, can proceed to referendum. The council released a Decision Statement on 4 February 2021 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 Shaftesbury Neighbourhood Plan 2019-2031 (referendum version) 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 Hogger BA MSc MRTPI MCIHT issued his report on the submitted Shaftesbury Neighbourhood Plan on 13 August 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.

In particular, the examiner had to consider 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 (the North Dorset Local Plan); and,
  • be compatible with EU obligations and human rights requirements

The examiner provided a review of the plan and made recommendations in accordance with the 2011 Localism Act and related regulations.

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

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 (David Hogger BA MSc MRTPI MCIHT).  The Examiner considers whether the plan meets certain basic conditions, satisfies legal requirements, and will identify an appropriate area for a referendum.

On 11 May 2020, the examiner wrote to Dorset Council and Shaftesbury Town Council with a set of questions. The questions and accompanying letter 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 7 February to Friday 20 March 2020. The responses received during this period are below.

Representations received to the submitted Shaftesbury Neighbourhood Plan

Shaftesbury Neighbourhood Plan Responses
 Document Reference  Response

Atlas Planning Group (on behalf of Ms Hellier)

 SY2 Blandford Forum Town Council
 SY3 Southern Gas Network
 SY4 Caleb Fulford
 SY5 National Trust
 SY6 Motcombe Parish Council 
 SY7 Historic England
 SY8 Wessex Water
 SY9 Cranborne Chase AONB
 SY10 Cllr Karen Tippens
 SY11 Environment Agency
 SY12 Jennifer Weston 
 SY13 Lidl
 SY14 Persimmon Homes
 SY15 Richard Thomas 
 SY16 Shaftesbury Civic Society
 SY17 Natural England
 SY18 Bernard Ede
 SY19 Dorset Council
 SY19 - Appendix A Shaftesbury Town Council Email re. Rolt Millennium Green
 SY19 - Appendix B Shaftesbury Town Council Email re. Map SFCL3

Shaftesbury Neighbourhood Plan - submission documents

1.  Shaftesbury Neighbourhood Plan (Submission version, January 2020) - pages 1-50
    Shaftesbury Neighbourhood Plan (Submission version, January 2020) - pages 51-133

2.  Consultation Statement (January 2020)

3.  Basic Conditions Statement (December 2019)

4.  Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) – screening statement (July 2019)

Additional supporting evidence

5.  Green Infrastructure Audit

6.  Housing and Employment – background paper

7.  Transport Appendix

8.  Parking Study

9.  AECOM Design Statement

Other supporting evidence

Additional evidence used is listed in Appendix M of the submitted plan with weblinks to where these are available on-line.