Our guide to developing in Dorset Council area
Dorset Council is a unitary authority covering the whole of the county of Dorset except the south east Dorset conurbation (Poole, Bournemouth and Christchurch). As well as Dorset County Council it replaced the previous district councils of West Dorset, Weymouth and Portland, North Dorset, Purbeck and East Dorset.
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Key points about developing in East Dorset
Development Plan: Each of the former district council areas has, for now a different local plan structure – resulting in a series of difference documents forming the Development Plan. A Dorset-wide local plan is set to be progressed.
Weymouth and Portland and West Dorset: the principal document is the West Dorset, Weymouth & Portland Local Plan which was adopted in October 2015.
North Dorset: the key document is the North Dorset Local Plan Part 1 which was adopted in January 2016.
Purbeck: the principal document is the Purbeck Local Plan Part 1 adopted in November 2012. The Purbeck Local Plan Review is at an advanced stage having been submitted for examination – it is expected to be adopted late 2019.
East Dorset adopted a Joint Core Strategy (with Christchurch Borough Council) at the end of April 2014.
Pre-application advice: Hold on! East Dorset still not charging for pre-application advice? Call us for advice on whether this service is worthwhile in your case.
Affordable Housing: The national affordable housing threshold of 10 units (or 1000 sqm) is applied. Above this affordable housing will be sought on all schemes at a rate of 50% for “greenfield” sites and 40% elsewhere.
Community Infrastructure Levy
East Dorset have adopted CIL and are charging at the following rates:
- Residential (10 units or fewer and less than 1000 sqm floorspace): £150 per sqm
- Residential (more than 10 units or more than 1000 sqm floorspace): £70 per sqm
- Extra care housing and care homes: £40 per sqm
- Convenience retail: £110 per sqm
All other development types are zero rated.
Section 106 contributions:
In addition to CIL there is a Dorset Heathlands SAMM tariff when within 5km of a heathland site – £242 for a flat and £355 for a house plus £50 admin
Special policy restrictions:
A few areas in the east of the Council area are within 400m of heathlands sites and there no additional residential units are allowed.
Not content with Conservation Areas, East Dorset have (rather pointlessly) designated a whole load of “Special Character Areas”. These areas are not good enough for a Conservation Area (many are 1960s/70s low density suburbs), but the Council are seeking to curtail development anyway.