AN INCREASE in the housing requirement in the new local plan for West Dorset, Weymouth and Portland has been approved by councillors.

Members supported the changes to the local plan at a full meeting of West Dorset District Council.

The increase comes after concerns were raised by an independent inspector and will see the figure rise to 775 new dwellings a year across the whole area, compared to between 617 and 661 in the previous draft of the plan.

The plan period has been reduced so it runs up until 2028 rather than 2031, and as a result no new areas have been allocated for housing.

Council leader Robert Gould said: “This is one of the most significant issues we have had before us for some time.

“It really is crucial that we get our new local plan in place.

“I think the work that has been undertaken has been substantial and significant.”

There was a note of caution sounded by Cllr Ros Kayes in light of the increase in the housing requirement.

She said: “I’m just hoping the need to raise the numbers will not lead to any lack of sensitivity from us as a council when we are considering the concerns of residents in areas where they consider there to be overdevelopment.”