A council has agreed to include every green belt site proposed by developers in a public consultation as it struggles to meet housing targets.
Bournemouth Christchurch and Poole Council predicts a shortfall of 5,500 homes, against government-set goals.
Green field sites at Throop, Wimborne, Holdenhurst, and Kinson are among dozens proposed for thousands of homes.
Councillors said including undeveloped land in its draft Local Plan was the “only way forward”.
According to council papers, the authority must facilitate the building of 2,700 homes a year.
At a scrutiny board on Monday, members were told the council faced a 9,000-home shortfall between 2022 and 2038 which would reduce to 5,500 through encouraging higher density housing.
Councillor Mike Brooke, who leads the working group overseeing the Local Plan, said: “It is essential that we do look at green belt development and exhaust the opportunities there before asking Dorset Council, for example, to take on any shortfall we might have.
“So, the green belt option is, at this stage, the only way forward and it is essential that we look at the sites that have been put forward.”
Councillor Lesley Dedman told the meeting it was “a risky undertaking” and stressed the need to protect these “precious” areas.
But regeneration councillor Phil Broadhead said if the council did not properly consider the sites, it risked being “forced into giving away green belt that we really don’t want to”.
A consultation on the Local Plan – which sets out future development across the conurbation – is expected to begin in July or August, the Local Democracy Reporting Service said.