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Helping your Neighbourhood Plan its Future

Neighbourhood Planning

The neighbourhood planning process

The town or parish council (or neighbourhood forum) are responsible for leading the neighbourhood planning process up to the point where the plan is submitted for its examination.  Key milestones are Asking the council to agree the neighbourhood area Finding out what the community would like to see included in the neighbourhood plan Finding out what other factors need to be taken into account - such as the strategic policies for the area, special environmental designations etc Preparing and consulting on the draft plan, and potentially making changes in response to their comments Collating the evidence for submission Submitting the plan and supporting evidence to the local council Once the plan is submitted, the district council organises the examination and referendum, before the plan is finally adopted. 

Support Dorset Planning can provide

Although the process for preparing a neighbourhood plan or development order is relatively straightforward, we know that relying on local volunteers who may be enthusiastic but have no previous experience is asking a lot.  There are certain pitfalls that can make the project stall or create problems at a later stage - and we can help you avoid these.  We can offer bespoke support covering any or all of the following

awareness raising and consultation planning

consultation events - training and facilitation

consultation response analysis

fact finding for the evidence base, including housine needs


fund raising (including advice on applying for grants)


policy advice, plan drafting and conformity checks

project planning

submission preparation and checks

sustainability checks (including SEA screening, scoping and report)


Depending on your group, you may find you need support in one or more areas.   

Dorset’s first Neighbourhood Plan

Cerne Valley Neighbourhood Plan

Cerne Valley Parish Council volunteered to be a ‘front runner’ testing out the new government proposals for neighbourhood plans.  Jo Witherden acted as the link officer, guiding the parish council and working group through the process of preparing and submitting a neighbourhood plan.  Their plan was formally ‘made’ by West Dorset District Council on 8 January 2015 - the first finished neighbourhood plan in Dorset. The chairman of the parish council, Ian Humpheys, wrote:   Jo, firstly on a personal note my sincere thanks to you for everything you have done to support me and the team as we have plotted our way through this most difficult journey called establishing a Neighbourhood Plan. It has been challenging and at times downright frustrating, but hopefully worthwhile in the longer term. One thing is for certain we would have not achieved what we have without you at our shoulder encouraging us, offering sound advice and helping us see the wood from the trees.
contact us ++ NEWS FLASH ++ Fontmell Magna NP 91.5% ‘yes’ referendum result

Who we have and are helping...

We have worked with more than 25 neighbourhood plans in Dorset and also South Somerset, including the following submitted or made plans: Buckland Newton  Broadstone, Poole (basic conditions statement only) Fontmell Magna (latest plan to pass referendum) Hazelbury Bryan Loders Piddle Valley   Pimperne Shillingstone (first made plan in North Dorset) Sturminster Newton (”the best Plan of its kind that we have seen in the south west” - Historic England consultation response) Wincanton, South Somerset (first made plan in South Somerset)
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