Work on the review of the West Dorset and Weymouth and Portland Local Plan is being dropped – with the only local plan work to continue taking place in Purbeck where the process has reached the examination stage.
Dorset Council says that it does not have the resources to carry on with the work, and if it wanted to do so would have to find an extra 14 full-time planning officers, a near impossible task with a national shortage.
Cabinet members have voted to instead use some of the work which has already been done in a new county-wide Local Plan which it hopes to have ready by 2023.Almost a million pounds has been set aside for the task from previous district and borough council budgets to include preparation work, evidence-based studies and public examination costs.
Council deputy leader Cllr Peter Wharf warned that creating the plan would not be an easy task: “It will require compromise and working together with our co-terminus neighbours: It will keep us busy,” he said.
Council leader Spencer Flower described creating the Local Plan as a ‘key piece of work’ and said that it was a subject which the public were sensitive about.
Cllr Andrew Parry said that the importance of the plan could not be underestimated: “If we do not have a Local Plan in place there is a risk of being imposed on by some Mandarin in Whitehall who might just decide to add extra housing we don’t want.”