West Dorset Weymouth Portland Local PlanWeymouth and Portland Borough Council and West Dorset District Council: The Inspector’s report into the Joint Core Strategy of Weymouth and Portland Borough Council and West Dorset District Council has now been published. Subject to several minor modifications and an early plan review in 2021, the new policies have been found sound and so the Council’s may go ahead and adopt the plan. The Core Strategy will now be taken to Weymouth and Portland Borough Council Full Council meeting on the 15 October 2015, and to West Dorset District Council Full Council meeting on the 22 October 2015 for formal adoption.

The Core Strategy introduces numerous new policies including new housing allocations around Weymouth, Dorchester and Sherborne as well as elsewhere. Probably most significant for our clients is that the previous thresholds for providing affordable contributions (9 residential units in Weymouth and Portland and 3 residential units in West Dorset) are gone so that a contribution is required (subject to viability) from any additional new dwelling. It remains to be seen whether the Government will largely undo this – if they successfully challenge the High Court’s ruling at the end of July which quashed the Government’s previous policy for a national affordable housing threshold (see our post here). Of course, as soon we know of the outcome of any challenge we will provide an update.

At the same time the Inspector also found sound the proposed Community Infrastructure Levy charging schedules setting out the CIL amounts both Councils intend to charge. These are also due to be adopted in October however it is understood that no date has actually been fixed for when charging will commence – we will provide an update when we hear this date. The forthcoming CIL rates will be:

Residential (including restricted holiday lets) in West Dorset: £100 per sqm

Residential (including restricted holiday lets) in Portland: £80 per sqm

Residential (including restricted holiday lets) in rest of Weymouth and Portland Borough: £93 per sqm

Agricultural dwellings and strategic allocated sites are excluded.

All other development types are nil.

If you have any queries about how any of this affects you why not call our specialist on these local authorities Chris Miell?