The Yetminster & Ryme Intrinseca Neighbourhood Plan
Neighbourhood Plans were introduced by the Localism Act 2011. They give local communities the opportunity to develop a shared vision for their area. They can help to shape, direct and deliver sustainable development, by influencing local planning decisions as part of the statutory Development Plan. Neighbourhood Plans must have regard to the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) and other national advice and guidance. They must also be in general conformity with strategic policies for the area including policies relating to sustainable development and economic, social and environmental priorities. In addition, neighbourhood plans must be compatible with legal obligations relating to the protection of the environment.
In 2015 Yetminster and Ryme Intrinseca Parish Council (YRIPC) approved a Parish Plan with the aim of bringing together the views, needs and opinions of the whole community. In October of the same year the Parish Council took this process a step further and, as the Qualifying Body, initiated a Neighbourhood Plan covering the civil parishes of Yetminster and Ryme Intrinseca.
West Dorset District Council approved the preparation of the plan and designated the area on 13 June 2016.
Volunteers were invited to be involved in preparing the plan and a steering group, including a Parish Council representative, was set up. This group has used public discussions, questionnaires, an open day, both a dedicated NP website and the Council’s Parish website, Facebook, articles in the local Wriggle Valley Magazine and coffee mornings and community gatherings to enable the community to help identify issues, define the vision, formulate objectives, identify land for development and set policies.
Initially the plan was to cover the period from 2017 to 2031 but subsequently the end date was extended to 2036 to coincide with a review of the West Dorset, Weymouth and Portland Local Plan being undertaken by the Local Planning Authority (LPA).
There are six main sections in the Neighbourhood Plan, concerning (a) the environment; (b) climate change and water management; (c) community services and facilities; (d) housing; (e) business services and the economy; (f) traffic, road safety and transport. These themes were identified through the consultations in late 2016, with the environment theme split to look at climate change and water management separately. Each section describes the issues, defines the objectives, and sets out policies. In addition, a separate list of projects has been compiled. However, these cannot be delivered through the planning system and therefore are not included as policies in the Neighbourhood Plan, but they reflect the aspirations of the community as expressed through the public consultation process.
The process for bringing the Neighbourhood Plan into force is set out in Government Regulations and with the completion of the draft of the plan the Parish Council undertook the requisite a six-week pre-submission consultation period. From the comments generated modifications to the plan were made and the final version was submitted for “formal” adoption by the Yetminster & Ryme Intrinseca Parish Council at their meeting of the 14th July 2021.
Having been adopted it has now been submitted to Dorset Council as the Local Planning Authority (LPA) and they are responsible for organising the plan’s examination and subsequent referendum. Dorset Council will publicise the plan and pass any representations to an independent examiner.
The examiner’s role is limited to testing whether or not the draft plan meets the basic conditions, and other matters set out in legislation. The examiner is not testing the soundness of the Neighbourhood Plan or examining other material considerations. Provided the plan meets these basic conditions (and the examiner may suggest modifications to ensure that it does) it will be submitted to a local referendum. If accepted by the community it will become part of the Development Plan and will be used by the Dorset Council in making planning decisions.