There has been much dismay at the appallingly high levels of green belt development proposed in the Dorset Local Plan.

The Local Plan declares this necessary due to ‘exceptional circumstances’ caused by the calculated housing need.

This calculation of theoretical housing need is based on a formula known as the Standard Method.

Due to the distortion this method has induced into housing and land supply the methodology along with the emphasis placed upon it has recently been reformed and clarified by Parliament.

In August 2020 the government introduced a White paper, Planning for the Future. This went to a 12 week consultation phase which was replied to just 32 days before the the draft Dorset Local Plan started its own 8 week consultation phase.

The outcome of the consultation on Planning for the Future is published online.

The Standard Method has been reformed and clarified. The government also makes it crystal clear that development on green belt land is not an option to simply meet calculated housing numbers.

The outcome of the Planning for the Future consultation emphasises that the Standard Method is not a target. It is an indicative value. A starting point. The document refers to green belt as a constraint on the calculated housing number. Not the other way round.

In essence this means that the current draft Dorset Local Plan is based on what is now out-of-date and wholly unrealistic calculations and assumptions. To continue a consultation on such an unrealistic document is both a waste of time and money.

The document should be withdrawn and reworked to take into account the latest government guidance.

Then it should be put out for draft consultation again. Perhaps though this time the consultation period should also be more realistic.


Chine Walk, West Parley