Neighbourhood Plans were introduced in 2011 to give local people more say in the future use of land and open spaces in their area.
Last week, Shaftesbury residents overwhelmingly backed the town’s new Neighbourhood Plan. Motcombe locals approved their neighbourhood plan in 2019 and Melbury Abbas and Cann hope to take their plan to a referendum soon. But the North Dorset branch of the countryside charity CPRE is concerned that the process may have been a waste of time and money.
The government is pressing ahead with reform of the planning system designed to simplify it. There will be a one-off opportunity to classify land. Developers will have a free hand in growth areas. In renewal areas, builders will be able to apply for fast-track planning. The current planning process will only apply to ‘protected areas’, which includes anywhere in the Cranborne Chase AONB.
Rupert Hardy from the CPRE is worried that these proposals included in the Queen’s Speech could lead to more building across North Dorset.