We now have 64 organisations including 23 Town and Parish Councils representing over 109,000 residents of Dorset working within our Alliance to improve the Dorset Local Plan.

Dorset Deserves Better

Dorset Deserves Better (DDB) is an alliance of local organisations and councils to persuade Dorset Council to rethink their draft Local Plan. The Alliance is calling on Dorset Council for

(i) a shift towards brownfield developments to take the pressure off our exceptional green countryside
(ii) more affordable houses, social housing and low-cost rental housing especially for young people and
(iii) a stronger link towards policies that reduce carbon emissions and improve biodiversity. .

Dorset Local Plan Problems

The plan proposes almost 40,000 new houses with associated roads, car parks & services. These will encroach on our precious Green Belt, our famous Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty, and other locally valued greenfield land. . The number of houses is driven by government targets rather than the needs of local people. Few of these will be (truly) affordable or social housing which is what Dorset desperately needs. In addition, the standards for new buildings are in conflict with the requirements for the council to reduce carbon emissions and increase biodiversity.

Our Campaign Alliance has now written to Dorset Council arguing that the Local Plan in its current form would: ​

  1. Do great harm to Dorset, through adverse impact on its natural environment, landscape and historical character
  2. Fall short of meeting the needs of Dorset’s population for the right houses in the right place at the right price
  3. Fail to face up to the global challenges of climate change and loss of wildlife, which are spelt out in the Climate & Ecological Emergency Strategy adopted by Dorset Council

DDB Response

Co-ordinated by DorsetCAN founder member Professor Michael Dower, CBE, we wrote an open letter - summarized here:

…we are baffled to find that the Council has chosen to base the Plan on a scale of growth in housing, workspace and supporting infrastructure which cannot be achieved without grave damage to [the county’s] rich heritage. The Council has ignored the opportunity, offered by government, to use Dorset’s exceptional heritage as the reason for taking an alternative approach to calculating the scale of development that is needed and that is within the capacity of the County to absorb.

The adverse impact of the Plan’s proposals on landscape, biodiversity & climate change is shown to startling degree in the Sustainability Assessments. The Council could not keep its pledge to “ensure that all new development incorporates ecological net gain”.

The council have responded in 2022 by announcing a 30 month delay (to mid 2024) to give them time to reformulate the Local Plan and to respond to the government changes published in the “Levelling up and Regeneration Bill”. Although we welcome this delay in principle, as our current plans are out of date, it exposes us to unscrupulous behaviour by developers. There is also no published opportunity for public consultation on the revised plan. Since the initial consultation in March 2021, Dorset Council have given us no detail for the changes they intend to make and whether these changes meet the objections that have been strongly made. In short, Dorset Council is not interested in a trusting and open dialog with the people they serve.

We therefore urge the Council to think again, be more transparent, engage in meaningful conversation with the public and groups that represent the public, and to revise the parts of the draft Local Plan which were so disliked.

What can I do?

  1. Join our Dorset Deserves Better
  2. Contact your Dorset Councillor and your parish/town council. Tell them in your own words why you object to the Local Plan. Urge them to put pressure on Dorset Council to change the Local Plan along the lines suggested in our Jan 2022 Open Letter.

If you want more information, would like to help or have any other enquiries, please email us: dorsetdeservesbetter@gmail.com

Press Coverage

Dorset View
Dorset Echo
The Alfred Daily podcast
Swanage and Wareham Advertiser
Keep106FM – Dorchester Local Radio