District planners balance housing with conservation

Written by: Jez Abbott
Published on: 14 Oct 2015

Purbeck countrysidePlanners for a district with one Britain's most treasured coastlines and a world heritage site are seeking to balance the growing need for housing with protecting the natural environment. 

Purbeck in Dorset includes areas of outstanding natural beauty, sites of specific scientific interest, internationally important wildlife areas such a heathland, along with a heritage coast and a world heritage site.

Purbeck District Council planning policy manager Anna Lee told Planning: “One of our biggest challenges is balancing the demand for housing with protecting our outstanding environment.

“We are undertaking a partial review of our local plan and working towards a preferred-options consultation in the new year.

“We need to build an extra 2,200 homes by 2031, which is not big by some standards but for Purbeck is quite a challenge. The figure is almost double existing housing targets.”

The council wants to recruit a senior planning policy officer to help with the partial review and other planning policy documents and to support parishes producing neighbourhood plans.

Lee added: “We are working with town and parish councils and setting up workshops to encourage their involvement. So the postholder must be committed to working with local communities.

“They will take a lead role in preparing our new planning policy documents, including working with consultants on the preparation of evidence and consulting with a wide range of stakeholders.”

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