Yetminster & Ryme Intrinseca Neighbourhood Plan – Update – March / April 2021

Several people have queried whether the draft Neighbourhood Plan was “thrown out” by Dorset Council when they were asked to comment on it as part of the Community Consultation. This is simply not the case, particularly as we have already had a “Health Check” done prior to the Community Consultation and it was generally found to be satisfactory.

Dorset Council is one of the statutory consultees in the consultation. As was expected, and as is not unusual, they have made a number of suggestions (as have some of the other consultees) which should ensure that our Plan is successful at the independent examination later in the year.

Their comments included a requirement made by their Conservation Officer for us to undertake further evaluation of the effects of our identified development sites on the nearby heritage properties – it appears that the officer who we originally consulted with has left, and that it is a new Conservation Officer who is requiring this. 

We have been fortunate in obtaining further technical advice from AECOM and have now met their Conservation Consultant who has now been able to undertake the necessary site visits the arrangements which were held up due to the present Covid restrictions and his report and recommendations are expected shortly.

Natural England asked, in their response, for us to undertake a Habitats Regulations Assessment. This is a recent requirement for all new developments and is to evaluate the potential pollution from phosphates, from any new development draining to the Somerset Levels. With technical help from AECOM, this work has been completed and a draft has been sent to Natural England for their comment prior to inclusion in our draft Neighbourhood Plan.

As you are hopefully aware, Dorset Council are consulting on the draft of their new Local Plan which it has been necessary to produce following the organisational change to Unitary Authority. This draft Local Plan identifies that, during the time period of the plan, the parish will need approximately 150 houses based on “completions” after April 2021 – we have clarified that Folly Farm numbers can be included in this figure meaning that the amount of new housing, with an allowance for windfalls, would therefore equate to 76. This would be spread over the life of the Local Plan, but we could deduct 11 off this number as our Neighbourhood Plan only runs until 2036 !

We do have some concerns as to the way in which the deemed housing need has been calculated and are endeavouring to clarify this with Dorset Council’s planners. Once we have seen how the is made we will be in a position to comment accordingly based on our own figures.