In January, Dorset Council published a draft ‘Local Plan’ regarding development across the county for the next 17 years (see: here ). In order to meet Parliament’s ‘Housing Requirement’ during this timescale, it is directed to build at least 30,481 houses (the requirement for Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole (BCP) Council is in addition, and entirely separate to, this figure).
Dorset Council’s strategy is to concentrate most of this build on the Tier 1 and 2 towns eg Dorchester (Tier 1); Sherborne, Gillingham and Shaftsbury (the Tier 2 towns in the ‘North Dorset Functional Area’). In addition to these large-scale developments, the Tier 3 ‘larger villages’ (eg Yetminster, Thornford, Bradford Abbas) ‘typically with a population of 500 or more’, and associated facilities that allow ‘at least some day to day needs to be met locally….are considered appropriate locations for small scale infilling to meet their local needs’. Leigh, with a population of less than 500, is classed as a Tier 4 ‘smaller village’; as such, ‘it will not be the focus for growth’.
Notwithstanding this, in Appendix 2, Leigh has been designated a requirement of 19 new properties during the period. Leigh parish council feels this figure is much too high, on the basis that it does not accord with the policy laid out for Tier 4 villages in the body of the document, and would significantly transform the character of the village. It will therefore endeavour to have this requirement reduced during the consultation period; a small extension to 18 March has been negotiated, as the next parish council meeting is on 16 March. Residents are encouraged to ‘attend’ this meeting – no doubt it will have to be ‘virtual’ again, but you can participate by contacting the clerk Beverley Harrison a few days beforehand.
More information can be found in the draft plan; Chapter 2 and Appendix 2 are particularly pertinent. Comments should be sent direct to Dorset Council as detailed in the plan – but a copy to Leigh PC would also be appreciated.