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Local plan draft options EqIA - Gathering information

2. Gathering information

Sources of data, information, evidence and research was used to inform us about the people the proposal will have an impact on.

Age

With 29.1% of Dorset’s population over 65 years of age, we have a considerably higher population of older people than England and Wales at 18.5%. 55.1% of our population are of working age and 15.8% are aged 15 or below.

Age
Population TotalPercentageEngland and Wales
All persons 378,510 - 59,439,840
All males 185,390 49% 49.4%
All females 193,120  51% 50.6%
0-15 59,730 15.8% 19.1%
16-64 208,730 55.1% 62.3%
65+ 110,050 29.1% 18.5%

Dorset Insight: breakdown of population by age. (Source: 2019 mid-year estimate, ONS)

Disability

Disability is defined as a physical or mental impairment that has a substantial and long-term adverse effect on the ability to carry out normal day to day activities. Across the Dorset Council area 8% of the population has day to day activities that are limited a lot and 11% have day to day limited activities a little (Source: Census 2011, ONS).

Ethnicity

The current population statistics for the Dorset Council area indicate that the population is predominantly White British (95.6%). However, the overall statistic for Black, Asian and Minority Ethnicities (BAME) of 4.4% with 1.7% of the population not having English as their mother tongue. However it is unclear whether this is representative of the entire Dorset area and how much regional variation there is in certain parts of the Dorset area. 

Ethnicity
Race and ethnicity%
White British and Northern Irish  95.6 
BME (Black and Minority Ethnic population) 4.4

Main language not English - 1.7%

Source: 2011 Census. Office for National Statistics

98.3% of Dorset’s residents aged 3 and over have recorded English as their main language in the 2011 Census. This contrasts with a figure of 92% for England and Wales. Over 6,000 Dorset residents, English is not their first language. Where English is not the main language spoken 78 other languages feature across the County as resident’s main language, some in very small numbers.  Where English is not the main language spoken, Polish is recorded with the next highest number of speakers at 1,457 in Dorset, followed by German 429, all other Chinese 344 and Nepalese 292.

Religion

25.4% of Dorset residents identify as having no religion and 65.1% of residents are Christian. The five major non–Christian world religions namely Islam, Buddhism, Hinduism, Judaism and Sikhism constitute 1.5% of Dorset’s residents’ religious beliefs. These groups are concentrated in Dorset’s towns e.g. Weymouth has just over 300 residents of Muslim faith. There are small areas of the county with relatively high proportions of people from minority religions. Tarrant Launceston and Tarrant Monkton for example have 7% and 4% of the population who are Hindu and 3% and 2% who are Buddhist. This reflects the significant Ghurkha community based in and around Blandford Camp.  

Religion
Religion%
Christian 65.1
Non-Christian 1.5
No religion 25.4
Religion not stated 8

Dorset Insight: breakdown of population by religion. (2011 census, ONS).

Deprivation and accessibility

Rural and social isolation creates barriers for communities to access services. Ensuring people can access planning online would help alleviate this however the availability of broadband coverage and cost is in turn a further barrier to accessibility.

15.2% of households do not have a car or van.

(Dorset Insight: 2011 Census, ONS).

Military Personnel

Dorset has a large military presence, with 3,150 serving personnel across 4 bases. It is estimated there are around 1,575 spouses and 2,389 children related to those personnel.

The county is also home to two per cent of the UK’s veterans. The total number of members of the Armed Forces Community in Dorset is more than 100,000, around 12.9% of Dorset’s 771,900 population (2011 Census). 

Gypsy, traveller and Travelling Showpeople

Dorset Council has around 289 existing pitches / plots. This figure includes a temporary seasonal planning permission for 100 transit pitches at Tarrant Hinton including limited use for up to three weeks in association with the Great Dorset Steam Fair. A temporary seasonal planning permission for 25 transit pitches at Piddlehinton, around 11 plots for travelling showpeople; and 5 permanent public sites.

Source: Gypsy, Traveller & Travelling Showpeople Accommodation Assessment October 2017.

What the data, information, evidence and research tells us

The information gathered, tells us that Dorset has an ageing population with nearly 30% of residents aged over 65, well above the national average. Conversely the working age population and those under 15 years of age are lower in number than 

the national average potentially placing a strain on local employment and services. The split between males and females is however broadly the same.

Approximately 20% of Dorset residents have a disability defined as a physical or mental impairment, which is a significant proportion of the population. Care will be needed to ensure that policies support this vulnerable group in society and that the Plan can be conveyed in simpler terms for all to understand.   

Although the majority of the Dorset population is classified as White British (95.6%) there is still a sizable proportion of residents from Black and Minority Ethnic populations or have English not their main language. Where English is not the main language spoken, Polish is recorded with the next highest number of speakers at 1,457 in Dorset, followed by German 429, all other Chinese 344 and Nepalese 292. The Dorset Council Local Plan draft policies should either be made available in these languages or help offered to directly support this group in understanding the policies of the Plan and their implications.  

65% of Dorset residents identify as Christian, 25% of residents have no religion and the remaining residents either do not state their religion or are of another faith. Although a relatively small percentage of the total Dorset population, the Planning Policy Team should be mindful of different religious customs and practices to ensure fully inclusive events and to not assume that all residents are Christian or have no-religion.

Dorset is a diverse County with a large urban and rural population which creates its own challenges and barriers to engagement. A sizable number of households do not have access to a car or van and are therefore reliant on other forms of transport. Accessibility to physical copies of the Plan should be considered. Access to online material should increase accessibility but broadband coverage and costs create their own accessibility issues.

Dorset has a large military presence, with 3,150 serving personnel across 4 bases as well as spouses and their children. The military life style can be transient with this group reliant on many of the services on their bases rather than nearby villages and towns. We can’t assume that military personnel and their families will receive information from the usual community channels and therefore more targeted consultation and engagement is suggested. The total number of members of the Armed Forces Community in Dorset is more than 100,000, around 12.9% of Dorset’s population.

Evidence suggests that there is a need for around 289 existing gypsy and traveller pitches / plots. This includes a temporary seasonal planning permission for 100 transit pitches at Tarrant Hinton in association with the Great Dorset Steam Fair as well as 11 pitches for Travelling Show People. Gypsy, Traveller & Travelling Showpeople are a group that would benefit from specific engagement techniques because of their way of life.  

The Dorset Council Local Plan will need to adapt its draft policies to reflect Dorset’s specific demographics and not base decisions on perceived assumptions.

Is further information needed to help inform this proposal?

Yes, this Options Consultation is only the first formal stage in the process of preparing a Dorset wide Local Plan. All representations received during the programmed eight week public consultation will be carefully considered by officers in order to formulate a full draft plan. This publication draft plan will form the basis of a second formal public consultation before the plan is submitted to the government for independent examination alongside any further representations duly received. 

Next  page - Local plan draft options EqIA: Part 3 - engagement and consultation

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