DORSET Council is seeking views on a new Local Plan - an important document for the county which will set out a blueprint for new developments over the next 15 years.

But it is attracting criticism from the Dorset Campaign for Rural England (CPRE) group - which says the Dorset Council Local Plan public consultation is 'rushed an inadequate' - and that residents will not have time to read the 2,000 page document.

The group also wants the council to challenge the Government over the number of houses that the authority must build in order to meet national targets, which it says are "way in excess of local housing need."

Also of concern, the group says, is the lack of options - unlike the Bournemouth Christchurch Poole council plan - and that instead, proposals are presented as 'fait accompli.'

And the CPRE said there should have been a consultation earlier down the line while the document was being drawn up.

Peter Bowyer, CPRE's chair of trustees, said: “Dorset Council has not created an imaginative county wide Local Plan. Where are the fresh ideas for the unique character and future needs of Dorset? We have instead been presented with questionable assumptions, proposals for excessive housing numbers which will threaten our communities and a "cut and paste" cumbersome strategy.

"Dorset CPRE calls upon Dorset Council to think again. Revisit the timetable and documents. Take a new approach to both. Lay firmer foundations for the processes of the Dorset Local Plan. Do this now by providing the community with real opportunities to contribute to the future of their county.”

The group said the Local Plan should be centred around a 'strategic vision which reflects the intended character of Dorset, and be 'local and distinctive.'

A CPRE spokesman added: "There has been no adequate consultation on this draft Local Plan despite offers from many organisations to input evidence and ideas. It does not include a Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) and appears to be rushed and inadequate. It compares unfavourably with the more consultative approach of our neighbours Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole (BCP) and East Devon who are consulting on issues and options.

"The DCLP is being developed against a background of uncertainty, because of controversial government plans to speed up the delivery of Local Plans, by for instance, reducing the requirements for assessments that add in its view “disproportionate delay” to the planning process."

The CPRE has listed the following concerns:

• the material made available as part of the consultation is enormous, circa 2,000 pages, so in our view, the final DCLP should be much more concise to make it more accessible;

• the DCLP does not contain from an early stage of what is a drawn-out process, a list of alternative strategic options to trigger a meaningful discussion with the public, town/village councils and other stakeholders, but instead, in many cases, it just suggests in strategic terms a fait accompli, or makes other curious assumptions;

• proposals from the draft local plans of the former predecessor authorities appear to have been merely replicated, without the principles underlying such proposals being reconsidered; and

• the current consultation period is, in the light of the critical omissions identified above and the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic lockdown, far too short, and such a period should, in our view, be significantly extended under delegated powers.

In response, councillor David Walsh, Dorset Council portfolio holder for planning, said: “This is the time for local residents to have their say on the future of Dorset. We want to get everyone’s views on the draft plan.

“We are working closely with all our stakeholders, our own councillors and town and parish councils to make sure we reach all parts of Dorset.”

Information is displayed in the windows of Weymouth Library, Bridport Library, and in shop windows in Dorchester’s High West Street.

Copies of the plan can be loaned from the library as part of their click and collect service.

There is a webinar about Dorchester, Weymouth and the surrounding areas available at

Visit to give your comments and view the plan.