The recent community consultation in September / October has resulted in a return of approximately 20% which was felt to be a good turnout. The paper returns had been added to the digital survey and the various comments were being reviewed. Generally, it was evident that the plan was liked, and people were happy to have it adopted. A number of residents recognised the amount of work that had been done and the professionalism of the plan document.
The Statutory Consultees (Dorset Council, Highways England, Natural England etc) had made several suggestions and recommendations. From these it is necessary, because of recent new environmental surveys, to undertake an additional Habitats Regulations Assessment due to the way wastewater is treated and subsequently eventually drained into Somerset Levels and Moors.
A Technical Support Package is available for this from Locality and an application has been made to them and is under consideration.
Of concern were the comments by the new DC Conservation Officer who is suggesting that a fuller assessment on the impact of development on the 6 selected sites on the heritage buildings within the Conservation Area will be necessary. This is disappointing as the original Steering Group had met both the Dorset Council NP Liaison Officer previously and the previous Conservation Officer to review the sites and objections had not been raised.
The Working Group felt that it does not have enough expertise for this and that it would be better to appoint a conservation consultant to undertake this further work. Whilst it was hoped that Locality would be able to agree a “Facilitation Package” to undertake this (and this had been requested) it was felt prudent to seek additional funding from the Parish Council in case this was not forthcoming and to avoid delay.
A separate report requesting this additional funding has been prepared and approval is sought for this.
For clarification, the recent Locality grant was being used to take the plan forward to completion by funding the consultant’s contract and no further grant money was available and there were no other sources of funding available. Of the original YRIPC NP funding £746 remains which is felt to insufficient. Further funding of £1000 has been requested although it was recognised that it was unlikely that this would all be used.
With the need to revise the NP plan to take into account the recommendations made and to arrange both the Habitats Assessment and the Conservation review it is accepted that it is unlikely that the plan would be ready for YRIPC adoption and formal submission before February or early March 2021. The agreed timetable is being updated accordingly.