Local developer Pennyfarthing Homes made a damning submission to East Dorset Planning Department. The conclusions they came to are:
4.0 Conclusion and Next Steps
4.1. The plan in its current form is not sound and does not meet the duty to cooperate, for the following reasons: –
- The duty to cooperate is not met; there is no statement of common ground with neighbouring authorities or consideration of what may happen in regardto unmet housing need.
- The residential requirement is unjustified; there is no explanation as to how it is derived from the standard methodology that combined the requirement for Christchurch and East Dorset.
- The spatial strategy as set out in draft Policy 3.4 is unsound, as it fails to direct sufficient development to the most sustainable ‘main settlements’ as required by draft Policies 3.1 and 3.2 of the plan and paragraphs 8 and 32 of the revised NPPF.
- The strategy fails to meet the Government’s objective of ‘significantly boosting the supply of homes’ and ensuring ‘a sufficient amount and variety of land can come forward where it is needed’ as required by paragraph 59 of the revised NPPF.
- The focus of development at Rural Service Centres is unsustainable and is not supported by the Council’s own evidence, other draft policies in the Local Plan or paragraphs 8, 9 and 10 of the revised NPPF.
- The Council’s Green Belt Assessment does not provide a robust evidence document to support the plan by virtue of its inconsistent scoring and over simplification of the parcel assessments around the main settlements. In reviewing the Green Belt boundaries, the plan does not give sufficient weight to ‘the need to promote sustainable patterns of development’ as required by paragraph 138 of the revised NPPF and instead promotes significant development in an isolated unsustainable location.
- The plan is inconsistent with national policy in respect of the requirement to deliver sustainable development, to meet the development needs of the area, be flexible to adapt to change, and to reflect the aspirations of the local community.
4.2. In order to address these deficiencies EDDC need to reconsider their spatial strategy and allocate more sites in the most sustainable locations and / or redistribute housing to the most sustainable locations. In view of the significant development need and limited availability of sites, it is considered that exceptional circumstances exist to justify further releases from the Green Belt around the ‘main settlements’ and particularly Wimborne.
4.3. Pennyfarthing Homes’s land interests around Wimborne offer highly sustainable sites that are available and deliverable to meet identified needs including residential development, a strategic SANG, roadside service area and specialised accommodation for the elderly or a care home.