Dorset Heathlands Planning Framework
Local Planning Authorities in south east Dorset have produced a planning framework to manage pressures on sensitive heathlands resulting from development. This framework is for an interim period until a long term replacement is adopted.
The local authorities whose areas contain lowland heath protected by international designations have produced the Dorset Heathlands Planning Framework (pdf, 3Mb) (opens in a new window) for their protection. The framework has been in place since December 2006, and its purpose is to ensure that there is no net increase in urban pressures on the heaths as a result of additional residential development between 400 metres and five kilometres of heathland. The framework and accompanying appendix (pdf, 259kb) (opens in a new window) demonstrate how harm to the protected heathlands can be avoided based upon a range of measures and sets out a mechanism to be applied cross boundary by the relevant local authorities. Following three public consultations during October 2006, December 2010 and February 2012, the document was agreed by the councils of Bournemouth, Christchurch, East Dorset, Poole and Purbeck which lie within the five kilometre zone from the protected heathlands.
An overview map of the 400 metres to five kilometre zone is contained within the document. Natural England (opens in a new window) provide maps showing the more detailed 400 metre zone around the protected heathland sites.
Conversion of the Interim Planning Framework to Supplementary Planning Document
It was hoped that by the end of 2011 a long term replacement for the Interim Planning Framework - the Dorset Heathlands Joint Development Plan Document - could have been put in place, however this has not been the case. Therefore, to enable residential development to come forward an updated planning framework was necessary.
The Dorset Heathlands Planning Framework Supplementary Planning Document was published for a six week public consultation that commenced in February 2012. This is now adopted and commenced operation on 20 September 2012. The following documents summarise the consultation and adoption process:
- Adoption Statement (Christchurch and East Dorset) (pdf, 21kb) (opens in a new window)
- Schedule of consultation responses (pdf, 346kb) (opens in a new window)
The Supplementary Planning Document will be in place until 2014 and functions in the same way as the previous Interim Planning Framework. On this basis the document sets out a revised programme of mitigation required to enable the predicted levels of residential development over the two year period to come forward. The advantage and purpose of converting the Interim Planning Framework to a Supplementary Planning Document is that it will bring it within the current planning system and it will become part of each of the participating local authorities Local Plans (formally Local Development Frameworks).
Unilateral planning obligations
In order to fund the measures set out in the Interim Planning Framework, residential developments are required to pay a contribution for each dwelling granted planning permission. Currently (20 September 2012) this is £952 per flat and £1,524 per house. There is also an administration fee of two per cent of these sums, subject to a minimum of £50 and a maximum of £1,000.
Those applying for planning permission should provide an agreement to make the payment before the development starts. This agreement is known as a unilateral undertaking and should be submitted with the planning application. Several standard agreements can be downloaded from this page for use by applicants:
Christchurch Borough Council:
- Christchurch Unilateral Undertaking Template v3 (pdf, 25kb) (opens in a new window)
- Christchurch Unilateral Undertaking Guidance Template v3 (pdf, 12kb) (opens in a new window)
East Dorset District Council:
- East Dorset Unilateral Planning Obligation (Transport and Heathlands) (pdf, 47kb) (opens in a new window)
- Guidance notes for East Dorset unilateral planning obligations (pdf, 11kb) (opens in a new window)
The East Dorset agreement can also be used for contributions towards the South East Dorset Transport Scheme in the district.
In order that the appropriate document is chosen, and that is completed and executed correctly, you will almost certainly need legal advice. When submitting the document to us you will need to provide evidence of who owns the property and whether there are others with an interest in it, for example, a mortgagee. For most properties this will be an up to date official copy of the register of title from the Land Registry. The evidence of title required is the same as if you were selling the property. Unless and until an agreement in the correct form is executed and agreed by us, planning permission cannot be issued.
Community & Planning Policy Manager (Christchurch)
Name: Simon Trueick
Tel: 01202 495038
Fax: 01202 495108
Full details for Simon Trueick
Name: Policy Planning (East Dorset)
Tel: 01202 886201
Full details for Policy Planning (East Dorset)
Name: Purbeck Planning Policy Team
Tel: 01929 556561
Fax: 01929 557348
Full details for Purbeck Planning Policy Team