North Dorset District Wide Local Plan to 2011

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North Dorset District Wide Local Plan to 2011 Powered By Docstoc

                 ANNUAL MONITORING REPORT FOR 2003


1 Introduction                              page 2

2 Environment                               page 4

3 Housing                                   page 8

4 Economy                                   page 16

5 Community Facilities and Recreation       page 26

6 Transport                                 page 29




1.1   The North Dorset District Wide Local Plan was adopted by the Council in January
      2003. The Plan proposes new development in the form of housing, employment,
      schools and community facilities. It also includes policies that aim to protect the
      countryside from unnecessary development and to preserve or enhance the
      character of Conservation Areas and protect Listed Buildings and other areas of
      nature conservation or archaeological importance.

1.2   The Plan is based on an overarching strategy rooted in the aims of providing as
      sustainable a form of development as is practicable, (bearing in mind the rural
      nature of the area, and the existing dispersed form of development).

1.3   The key component of the strategy is to concentrate new development in the four
      main towns of the district. Blandford, Gillingham and Shaftesbury are each
      identified as centres for “major” development. Sturminster Newton is proposed for
      “intermediate” growth, due to its smaller population base and less favourable
      location in terms of its transportation links.

1.4   Stalbridge and 52 other village settlements are provided with “Settlement
      Boundaries” within which infill or windfall development may be allowed. Rural
      “exception” policies to enable affordable housing to be provided just outside these
      settlements also apply.

1.5   The strategy of concentrated development within the four market towns is to
      encourage greater use of existing resources and to enable people to live within
      walking distance of work, schools, shops and places of entertainment. It should
      also help to make more economic use of public transport provision both within each
      town, and between it and its hinterland.

1.6   In order to assess how well or not the Plan‟s aims and objectives are being met the
      “outputs” (i.e. new development allowed or the amount of investment in public
      transport or environmental enhancement schemes) need to be measured on a
      regular basis.

1.7   The Plan sets out under paragraph 1.16 a number of “Sustainability Indicators”
      against which the Plan should be monitored. Whilst some (e.g. the amount of
      employment land developed, or number of dwellings built) have been monitored for
      many years by both District and County Councils, others are new, and the
      information required is not so readily available.

1.8   This is the first year that a comprehensive monitoring report has been produced.
      It is hoped that over the next year or two a more comprehensive set of indicators
      will be developed. This will enable more precise monitoring and adjustment of
      policies as they are reviewed and rolled forward as part of the Local Development
1.9   The following sections of this report identify the relevant indicators for each subject
      area and where information is available, discuss the changes that have occurred
      over the Plan period. Tables and figures are included alongside the text. Where
      information sources are limited the figures may only be available for the current
      year and will need to be built up over several years to enable a better picture to
      develop. In some cases it is concluded that the information being sought may not
      be that useful in monitoring how well the aims of the Plan are being achieved. Some
      suggestions are also made of other indicators that may be more relevant.


2.1   The indicators set out in the Local Plan are as follows:

            Annual amount and type of greenfield/agricultural land which is redeveloped
             or diversified to other uses

            Annual net gain to area of woodland planting

            Annual investment in environmental enhancement schemes

2.2   Redeveloped greenfield/agricultural land

2.2.1 The indicator is designed to assess the success of policies in restricting the loss of
      greenfield land to development. It can also be used to assess the effectiveness of
      Policy 1.10 which enables change of use of farm buildings to other uses. This is the
      first year that this information has been monitored.

2.2.2 In accordance with the requirements of PPG3, the Local Plan sets a target for the
      percentage of dwellings built on brownfield sites and this is discussed under
      “housing” below. “Brownfield” is defined in PPG3 as excluding agricultural buildings
      (but not agricultural workers dwellings). The term “greenfield in this indicator can
      therefore include three types of existing use.

         Previously unused land within settlement boundaries
         Agricultural and previously unused land outside settlement boundaries.
         Agricultural buildings (excluding farm workers dwellings).

2.2.3 Data indicates that there have been 36 permissions granted for development on
      greenfield/agricultural land in the period 1/04/02 – 31/03/03. There have been a
      further 39 permissions for development of agricultural buildings to alternative uses.

2.2.4 Land on which redevelopment has been permitted includes sites allocated in the
      Local Plan for both housing and employment uses. As these allocations are used
      up, the loss of greenfield land in the future is expected to decline. There are 3 sites
      in this category:

1)    houses, school and public open space at Ham Farm, Gillingham on 11.80ha
2)    offices and factory at Higher Shaftesbury Road, Blandford on 4.07ha and
3)    71 dwellings at Peacemarsh, Gillingham, on 2.36ha.

2.2.5 These three planning permissions account for 38% of the land lost. A further area of
      land allocated for recreation use was granted permission for playing fields
      (10.83ha). Permission has been granted for a 9 dwelling site outside of the
      settlement boundary in Marnhull for social housing. The other losses are primarily to
      dwellings, (0.7ha to agricultural workers dwellings and 1.34ha to others) and some
      loss of land (0.37ha) to domestic gardens and access.

2.2.6 Conversion of agricultural buildings to other uses includes conversion to 20
      private dwellings. Of these, 10 were outside of any settlement boundary but 4 of
      these were linked to other uses (a stable, 2 workhomes and a farmstore). The other
      conversions include holiday accommodation, farm shops, equestrian uses,
      employment and recreation uses.

2.2.7 These changes are shown diagrammatically in Figures 1 and 2.

             Change of Agricultural Land to Other Uses 01/04/02 - 31/03/03

                                           Change to Other

               Change to Tourism

               Change to Retail
                    0%                                       Change to Residential
                    Change to

      Total = 46.09ha

                  Change of Agricultural Units to Other Uses 01/04/02 -
                                  31/03/03 (Hectares)
                                      Change to Other

                    Change to Tourism

                Change to Retail
                                                                  Change to Residential

                           Change to

      Total = 38 units


2.2.8 Most of the greenfield land that has been granted permission for development was
      land allocated in the Plan for that purpose. However the losses of 2.71Ha to
      domestic garden and open market housing are not changes encouraged by the
      policies of the Plan and should continue to be monitored. Likewise the conversion of
      agricultural buildings to economic, recreation or tourism purposes falls within the
      scope of Policy 1.10, but conversion to residential use in the countryside is not
      encouraged. Six out of the 20 permissions granted (30%) fell into this category.
      Continued monitoring of these changes will indicate how successfully the policy is
      being applied. The use of the recently approved Draft Supplementary Planning
      Guidance on this issue should assist in the implementation of the Policy.

2.3   Net gain to woodland planting

2.3.1 This is a new indicator and it has proved difficult to collect any information. The
      District Council is not responsible for woodland planting as such and is limited to
      planting on land, which is in its ownership. The Ranger service has supplied
      information on the number of trees planted.

      1997/8 = 1000 trees
      1998/9 = 2000 trees
      1999/0 = 200 trees
      2000/1 = 530 trees
      2001/2 = 270 trees
      2002/3 = 406 trees

2.3.2 All the planting is on community sites or on NDDC/DCC sites that are managed by
      the Countryside Rangers. Each scheme involves the community, either through the
      establishment of a need or in the practical task of planting the trees.

2.3.3 During 2002/3, 400 trees were planted on Riverside Meadows in Sturminster
      Newton to increase the biodiversity of the site and provide screening from the petrol
      station and car wash. The community were involved in the planting through a
      volunteer work day organised by the North Dorset Ranger Service. The other trees
      were standard Cox‟s Pippens apple trees planted as a wildlife food source.

2.3.4 The Council also funds a grant scheme for tree planting. This resulted in an
      additional 15 trees being planted in the community in 2002/3. A tree warden
      scheme, supported by the Tree Council, will be coming on stream in 2004, which
      should help boost the number of initiatives coming forward in 2004/5.

2.3.5 Landscaping and tree planting are also boosted by the imposition of conditions on
      planning permissions but no information is available for monitoring. Neither is there
      any information on the loss of trees.


2.3.6 The information available is very limited and does not give any real indication of the
      net gain/loss of woodland in the District. As an alternative in the future it should be
      investigated whether information held by the Department for the Environment, Food
      and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) on woodland planting on individual farms could be
      tapped into. This would provide a much more comprehensive picture. Also, the
      number of Tree Preservation Orders confirmed each year should be monitored. The
      possibility of linking up with the Dorset Biodiversity group in monitoring changes in
      biodiversity should also be kept under review.

2.4        Investment in environmental enhancement.

2.4.1 There are 18 Council owned, open space sites in the towns and rural areas that
      contribute to the environmental enhancement of the District. Capital and revenue
      investment in these sites is ongoing. The Ranger service is jointly funded by the
      District and County Councils. The cost of managing the sites is funded solely by the
      District Council. Over the last five years (1998-2003) an average of around £50,000
      (capital) per annum has been spent on Amenity Areas and £500,000 on
      Conservation and Environmental Enhancement.1

2.4.2 Environmental enhancements also cover the built environment. During 2002/3 the
      first phase of the Blandford Conservation Area Partnership Scheme was completed.
      This was funded 50% by the District Council and 50% by English Heritage drawing
      in £400,000 of outside funding.


2.4.3 The level of financial support for environmental enhancement schemes in any year
      does not tell us anything about the quality of improvements or accessibility of the
      features provided. This indicator might be more useful if linked to public awareness
      and use of the sites concerned.

2.4.4 The District Council has recently won £3.2million capital and £400,000 revenue
      funding from the ODPM‟s Liveability Fund. This will enable considerable investment
      in environmental enhancement schemes identified in the Local Plan. It would be
      useful to target the projects included in this scheme and try to assess both the
      investment in them and any increase in public awareness and use of the facilities
      provided as a better indicator of the effectiveness of these policies. The Citizens
      Panel could be used to provide a benchmark of public awareness at the start and
      end of the projects concerned.

    Ref Capital Programme 1998-2004/5 (Conservation/Environmental Enhancement excludes cost of 3 refuse vehicles.)
3.0    HOUSING

3.1    The indicators set in the Local Plan are as follows:

               Overall dwelling numbers compared with the Local Plan target of 5900 by
       2011 and an annual rate of 347.

                Dwellings on previously developed (brownfield) sites compared with the
       Local Plan target of 2000 (34%) by 2011 and an annual rate of 118.

               Affordable dwellings compared with the Local Plan target of 1170
       (between 1998 and 2011) and an annual rate of 90 (26%).

                Density of development compared              with    the   minimum   of   30
       dwellings/hectare, subject to good design/layout.

                 Car parking spaces provided compared with the maximum of 2 spaces
       per dwelling.

3.2    Overall Dwelling Numbers

3.2.1 Table 1 below shows the current situation regarding the level of development in the
      District compared to the Local Plan target of about 5,900 dwellings by 2011 and the
      average rates of development in the different settlements.

Table 1: Residential Development Rates 1994 - 2003
Settlement    Total         Dwellings     Dwellings             Dwellings      %
              planned       per annum     built 1994-           per annum      above/below
              development                 2003                                 planned dpa
Blandford     1050          62            693                   77             24
Gillingham    1610          95            1048                  116            22
Shaftesbury 1170            69            363                   40             -42
Sturminster 640             38            378                   42             10
Stalbridge    170           10            139                   15             50
Rural Areas 1260            74            1140                  127            72
North         5900          347           3761                  417            20
Source DCC Residential Land Monitoring Report 2003

3.2.2 It can be seen that in the first nine years of the Plan period 3761 dwellings have
      been built at an annual average rate of 417 dwellings per annum. The average rate
      of development has thus been about 20% above that anticipated for the period as a
      whole. However, this is not unexpected, since a large amount of greenfield land
      has now been released for development in Blandford, Gillingham and Sturminster
      Newton. Development rates should slow in a year or two when these major sites
      have been completed.

3.3.3 Table 2 below also shows the development split between settlements including
      outstanding planning permissions, windfall estimates and remaining housing

      allocations. It can be seen that when all these elements are taken into account
      there may be an oversupply of around 394 dwellings in the District as a whole. This
      is equivalent to 6.7% of the total planned development and within the 10% tolerance
      usually accepted with the term “about 5,900 dwellings”.


3.3.4 It is clear that a careful check should now be kept on future development. If
      densities on the remaining housing allocations exceed those estimated in the Plan
      (i.e. 30 dwellings per hectare) and if windfall developments come forward faster
      than expected, the Plan‟s target could be exceeded by more than 10%. If this
      happens, the balance between housing and other developments proposed in the
      plan may fall out of line.

3.4   Breakdown of overall dwelling numbers by settlement.

3.4.1 Table 2 also gives a breakdown by town and rural area. It can be seen from this
      that apart from in Shaftesbury, it is anticipated that there will be an over-supply of
      dwellings in all areas. In most cases this is within the 10% tolerance allowed
      although in Gillingham it is very close at 153 dwellings (or 9.5%). However in the
      rural areas it already exceeds the tolerance at 136 dwellings (10.8%).

3.4.2 Development in the rural areas is clearly occurring faster than anticipated.
      Altogether 1140 (90%) of the 1260 dwellings proposed have been built and the
      windfall estimate has already been exceeded by 92 dwellings. The average rate of
      development (127 dwellings per annum) has exceeded that planned (74 dpa)
      by over 70%. The total amount of development planned to 2011 may have been
      built by March 2004 if the current rate of development continues.

3.4.3 The average rate of development has been above the average for the Plan period
      in all areas except Shaftesbury. Here development has been slower to take off
      since so much is to come forward on the land to the east of the town. Windfall
      development has been occurring in the town during this period, but there is still a
      small supply (18 dwellings) anticipated to come forward.

3.4.4 In Blandford the windfall estimates have already been taken up and any new
      permissions on windfall sites will now add to the over-supply of housing in
      the town. There is one remaining allocated site, (part of the site off Shaftesbury
      Lane), on which around 110 dwellings are anticipated. Any increase in density here
      would also add to the over supply. The need to release this land should be
      monitored carefully against the continuing take up of windfall sites in the town.

3.4.5 In Gillingham there is a potential over supply of 153 dwellings. However this
      assumes that the windfall allowance of 148 dwellings will be completely taken up.
      To date windfall development has occurred at around 21 dwellings per annum. It
      would need to continue at that rate to take up the remaining allowance (and
      outstanding commitments) on windfall sites. New permissions on windfall sites
      will not add to the over supply until this allowance has been taken up. Most of the
      major greenfield sites in the town now have planning permission and are accounted
      for in these figures. The one remaining site is off Addison Close where around 90
      dwellings are anticipated in the last phase of the Plan period. (ie post April 2006.)

Table 2: Development split between settlements of North Dorset 1994-2011 as at 31.03.03
               A              B             C               D              E                                          F             G
Settlement     Total planned Dwellings      Expected        Additional     Allocations                                Total         Under/over
               development built     1994- take up from windfall        to made under                                 committed     supply (F-A)
               1994-2011      2003          commitments meet        trend Policy 2.4                                  development
                                            at 31.03.03*    estimates**                                               (B+C+D+E)
Blandford      1050           693           321             0              110                                        1124          74
Gillingham     1610           1048          477             148            90                                         1763          153
Shaftesbury    1170           363           85              18             680                                        1146          -24
Sturminster    640            378           48              128            135                                        689           49
Stalbridge     170            139           14              13             10                                         176           6
Rural Area     1260           1140          256             0              0                                          1396          136
North Dorset 5900             3761          1201            307            1025                                       6294          394
* Figures adjusted by -10% to allow for take-up.
** In Blandford and the Rural Area the windfall trend estimates have been exceeded by 14 and 92 units respectively.

Source NDDC using information from DCC‟s Residential Land Monitoring Report.

3.4.6 In Sturminster Newton development has been occurring at around the planned
      rate. There is still a relatively large windfall allowance shown here (126 dwellings)
      but the development recently approved on the former Livestock Market site (around
      100 dwellings) will come out of that figure.


3.4.7 There is clearly a need to restrict the amount of open market development allowed
      in the rural areas since it is running far ahead of planned rates. The release of any
      greenfield sites within or outside settlement boundaries (other than for affordable
      housing under the rural exceptions policy) cannot be justified in this situation. It may
      also be appropriate to review the number of Village Settlement Boundaries when
      considering the future strategy of the Plan.

3.4.8 Windfall developments in Blandford have also exceeded estimates and the need to
      release the whole of the last phase of the allocated site off Shaftesbury Lane will
      need to be considered carefully if this situation continues. In Gillingham
      development on windfall sites should be encouraged and the situation reviewed
      before decisions are made on the release of the last allocated site post April 2006.

3.5   Dwellings on Previously Developed (Brownfield) sites

3.5.1 The Local Plan indicates that 34% of development (118 dwellings per annum)
      should be on brownfield (previously developed) sites during the course of the
      Plan period.

3.5.2 Monitoring undertaken by Dorset County Council indicates that of the development
      completed between 1994 and 2003, 38.3% has been on brownfield sites, (See
      Table 3) and 61.7% on greenfield. Thus the target has been met so far, although
      future commitments in the form of planning permissions and allocations show a
      lower proportion of brownfield development is likely in the future.

3.5.3 It should be noted that North Dorset‟s figure for brownfield development is the
      lowest in the County and below the regional target of 50%. It reflects the fact that a
      large amount of the development proposed or committed in the Local Plan is on
      greenfield sites.

3.5.4 In the future, the recently completed Urban Potential Study of the four towns in the
      District, indicates that brownfield sites do offer more potential than previous
      estimates (based on past trends) have shown. It is therefore likely that when the
      housing policies are rolled forward to 2016, a much higher proportion of
      development should be sought on brownfield sites than in the current Plan.


3.5.5 Encouragement should be given to further windfall/brownfield developments in the
      towns, particularly where the windfall allowance has yet to be achieved. (ie in
      Gillingham, Shaftesbury and Sturminster Newton.)

Table 3: Residential development by Greenfield and Brownfield Site types (percentages)
Local          Site          Compl        Compl        Compl    Compl    Compl     Compl     Compl     Compl     Compl      Commitments at 31.03.03
Authority      Type          1995/6       1996/7       1997/8   1998/9   1999/00   2000/01   2001/02   2002/3    1994-03
                                                                                                                            Planning      Allocated   All
                                                                                                                            permission    sites
North          GrField       59.1         64.6         54.1     43.7     54.5      70.0      58.9      64.2      61.7       69.4          99.0        82.3
               BrField       40.9         35.4         45.9     56.3     45.5      30.0      41.1      35.8      38.3       30.6          1.0         17.7
Dorset         GrField       48.0         47.8         48.4     38.2     37.6      44.2      34.5      38.4      43.4       43.3          61.6        51.2
               BrField       52.0         52.2         51.6     61.8     62.4      55.8      65.5      61.6      56.6       56.7         38.4         48.8
Source Residential Land Monitoring Report March 2003 Dorset County Council

Table 4: Affordable Housing Built in North Dorset 1994-2003
Settlement            Type            1994/5       1995/6       1996/7   1997/8    1998/9    1999/00   2000/01    2001/02    20002/03    1994-2003
Blandford             Subs            12           24           16       61        21        29        17         8          4           192 (92%)
                      LCM             0            0            0        0         0         0         0          0          16          16 (8%)

Gillingham            Subs            20           9            0        0         7         24        3          11         33          107 (73%)
                      LCM             0            0            0        0         0         0         0          26         14          40(27%)

Shaftesbury           Subs            0            0            14       13        11        12        0          20         0           70 (100%)
                      LCM             0            0            0        0         0         0         0          0          0           0

Stur Newton           Subs            0            8            0        0         26        7         0          19         0           60 (77%)
                      LCM             0            0            0        0         0         0         0          18         0           18 (23%)

Stalbridge            Subs            0            0            0        0         22        0         0          0          0           22 (100%)
                      LCM             0            0            0        0         0         0         0          0          0           0

Rural Area            Subs            34           62           62       22        6         7         6          17         5           221 (99%)
                      LCM             0            0            0        0         0         0         0          0          2           2 (1%)

North Dorset          Subs            66           103          92       96        93        79        26         75         42          672 (90%)
                      LCM             0            0            0        0         0         0         0          44         32          76 (10%)
Total                                 66           103          92       96        93        79        26         119        74          748
Source: North Dorset District Council Planning Dept records March 2003
3.6   Affordable Dwellings

3.6.1 The Plan indicates a target of 90 dwellings per annum (1170 in total for 1998-2011).
      This figure was derived from the findings of the 1998 Housing Needs study.

3.6.2 Table 4 above shows that in total 672 subsidised and 76 low cost market dwellings
      have been built in the District since 1994. This represents an annual rate of 83
      affordable dwellings per annum, which is below the target of 90 per annum.

3.6.3 It is noticeable that subsidised housing has generally declined since 1998/9. The
      spate of activity in the late 1990‟s followed the transfer of the Council‟s housing
      stock to Signpost Housing Association.

3.6.4 Low Cost Market Housing has been negotiated on the larger development sites in
      the towns since 1998, and began to come on stream in 2001. On several of the
      early developments the price of the properties was not restricted for subsequent
      purchasers, so there is no guarantee that these properties will remain in the
      “affordable” category. However the developments have boosted the supply of small
      (1 and 2 bed) flats and houses that all three Housing Needs Surveys have shown to
      be lacking in the District. (In 2002 flats comprised only 8.5% of the local stock
      compared with 19% nationally and terraced properties only 13% compared with
      27% nationally.)
      (NB Following the Council resolution in Nov 2002 Section 106 agreements for sites
      with Low Cost Market dwellings have included restrictions on subsequent as well as
      initial purchasers to ensure that the price of these properties is restricted in the

3.6.5 It can be seen from the table that within the towns the largest amount of affordable
      housing has been built in Blandford. This reflects the high level of need shown in
      that town and the Council‟s commitment to investment here.

3.6.6 No Low Cost Market housing has been provided in Shaftesbury yet, but
      negotiations are proceeding on the major site to the east of the town that will be
      developed over the next few years.

3.6.7 In the rural areas the rate of development has slowed since an early spate of
      activity in the mid 1990s. This includes both sites within villages and rural exception


3.6.8 The latest Housing Need Survey in 2002 confirmed that the need for affordable
      housing has continued to rise since 1998. It is essential that every effort should be
      made to increase the supply of affordable housing throughout the District to meet or
      exceed the target of 90 dwellings per annum. A review of the size of site and
      proportion of affordable housing sought should help to increase the supply.
      Opportunities to provide affordable housing through the conversion of farm
      buildings or agricultural tied dwellings (subject to their location not being too
      remote) should also be investigated.

3.7    Density of Development

3.7.1 The Plan aims to achieve a minimum density of 30 dwellings per hectare (dph)
      on new development subject to good design/layout.

3.7.2 Density will vary between town centre and edge of settlement locations and
      Conservation area and other considerations will also affect the overall density of
      any scheme. In a rural area such as North Dorset achieving a high density on every
      site is not always the best option in urban design terms.

Table 5: Density of built development 2002- 03
Settlement         Area      No     of Av density
                   (Ha)      dwells    (dph)
Greenfield         2.14      57        26
Brownfield         0.78      22        28
Greenfield         3.76      142       38
Brownfield         0.97      42        43
Greenfield         0.24      4         17
Brownfield         0.27      3         11
Greenfield         2.1       78        37
Brownfield         0.26      8         31
Rural Area
Greenfield         1.92      13        7
Brownfield         7.02      89        13
North Dorset
Greenfield         10.16     294       28.9
Brownfield         9.3       164       17.6
Total              19.46     458       23.5
Source NDDC Planning Dept records 2003.

3.7.3 Table 5 above shows by settlement and site type (i.e. greenfield or brownfield) the
      densities achieved on sites completed during 2002/3. This is the first year that this
      information has been compiled.

3.7.4 The table shows that throughout the District the average density of development
      was only 23.5 dph. The highest densities have been achieved on brownfield sites in
      Gillingham (43dph). Sturminster Newton is the only other town where the density
      target has been met. Surprisingly across the District as a whole higher densities
      have been achieved on greenfield as opposed to brownfield sites.


3.7.5 In the rural area and in Shaftesbury densities have been very low. These are areas
      where every effort should be made to achieve higher density development in the
      future, subject to design and layout considerations.
3.8    Car Parking

3.8.1 The indicator here is the number of car parking spaces provided compared to the
      Local Plan aim for a maximum of 2 spaces per dwelling.

3.8.2 No monitoring of this subject has taken place to date. It would be an onerous task to
      identify accurately every on-site parking space for each dwelling that is built. In a
      rural area such as North Dorset where public transport is so limited much more
      reliance has to be placed on private transport than in a large urban area. It is
      questioned whether this item should be monitored at this stage.

3.9    Other items that might be monitored

3.9.1 The Government requires us to provide information on the size of new dwellings
      being built in the District in the Housing Flows return. This is an issue of relevance
      to North Dorset since our Housing Needs Surveys in 1994, 1998 and 2002 have all
      highlighted the lack of availability of smaller properties.

3.9.2 In 2002/3 the information in Table 6 below was provided.

Table 6: Size of new dwellings built in North Dorset
               1 bed         2 bed           3 bed             4+ bed          Total
Houses         0             53              191               129             373
Flats          16            10              4                 0               30
Total          16            63              195               129             403
Source: Housing Flows return 2003.

       This shows that only 20% of all new flats and houses built were of 1 or 2 bed size.
       Houses with 4 or more bedrooms comprised 32% of the new stock. The Housing
       Needs Survey of 2002 showed that around 35% of the existing stock is of 1 or 2
       bed size. To increase this proportion will require a much higher proportion of new
       development to be smaller dwellings.


3.9.3 Every effort should be made to increase the supply of smaller dwellings as this will
      help to even up the dwelling stock in the District, increase the supply of lower priced
      dwellings and help to achieve higher density development.


4.1   The indicators set in the Local Plan are as follows:

               Net gain of employment land provided, compared with the Local Plan
      target of 40ha by 2011, an annual rate of 2.35ha and any loss of employment
      land to another use;

             Employment Land Provided and Housing Constructed in the Main
      Towns, compared with a Predicted Ratio of 73 Dwellings to One Hectare of
      Employment Land:

              Amount of vacant industrial floorspace, land and number of units;

              Vacant shop premises, in the main towns compared with the 1998
      average vacancy rate of 6.17%;

                Net gain/loss of business, industrial, retail and tourism uses,
      measured against existing stock numbers and where relevant, the existing amount
      of floorspace.

4.2             Net gain of employment land provided, compared with the Local Plan target of
                40ha by 2011, an annual rate of 2.35ha and any loss of employment land to
                another use

                                 Fig 3: Development Progress in North Dorset -
                            Number of Hectares of Employment Land Completed by year


            5                                5.01

                                                                          3.74     3.73

            3                                                                                              Number of Hectares
                                  2.74                                                    2.6
                                                                1.64                             1.53

                1994/95 1995/96 1996/97 1997/98 1998/99 1999/00 2000/01 2001/02 2002/03

4.2.1 The average yearly rate of completion of employment land is currently at 2.85,
      which is above the structure Plan average of 2.35. Fig 3 shows that there has
      however been a noticeable decrease over the last two years to a low point of 1.13,
      which will need to be increased if the Structure Plan target of 40 hectares is to be
      achieved by 2011.

                                             Fig 4: Development progress - Completion of
                                            Employment Land in North Dorset (Cumulative)


                                       25                                                      25.67

                                       15                                14.07                          Series1
                                       10                    9.19
                                        5             4.18
                                       19 5

                                       19 6

                                       19 7

                                       19 8

                                       19 9

                                       20 0

                                       20 1

                                       20 2



















4.2.2 Figure 4 shows that as of September 2003 25.67 Hectares of employment had
      been completed, out of the Structure Plan target of 40 hectares by 2011.

          Fig 5: Development Progress - Status of Employment Land in North
                              Dorset (September 2003)





  Hectares 20                             35.05
                                                                         Land in Hectares
           15          25.67
           10                                                 18.05


                Completed 1994-03   With Permission        Allocated
                               Status of Employment Land

4.2.3 Figure 5 shows that the majority (54%) of employment land allocated in 1994 is
      currently awaiting development. (It should be noted that the Local Plan Allocated 53
      Hectares to enable at least 40 Hectares to be developed by 2011.)

4.2.4 An assessment of the availability of the employment sites is shown in Figure 6. The
      categories are:

       Immediate, comprising land assessed capable of development without any
       Short term, made up of land which could be developed, pending a possible
      short delay, but within a twelve month period;
       Medium term, comprising of land which could be developed within a one to four
      year time span;
       Long term, Comprising land which is unlikely to be developed within the next
      four years;
      For Owner – attempts to assess how much land is being retained by firms for their
      own future expansion

                 Fig 6: Employment Land Availability in North Dorset,
                                 November 2003


              Hectares 30







                                      li t














Source of Figs 3-6: DCC Employment Land Monitoring Report 2003.

4.2.5 Employment land still to come on stream includes that at Peacemarsh Gillingham
      planning permission recently approved for Neal‟s Yard Remedies); Park Farm
      Gillingham (Currently being marketed, no planning permission sought yet); Higher
      Ham Farm Gillingham (Some development has occurred.); Rolls Mill, Sturminster
      Newton (RDC development now underway); Shaftesbury Road, Blandford
      (Permission granted for Hospital Metalcraft on part of the site.); and Land South of
      the A30, Shaftesbury (No application yet).

4.2.6 Loss of employment land to other uses has been recorded by extracting
      information on planning permission granted for developments on employment land.
      This highlights an overall loss of 27 units of employment land to other uses. (It
      should be noted that this does not include land solely on designated employment
      sites). More detailed information on this is provided on Table 9 below. (Gain/Loss of


4.2.7 Development of employment land has progressed slightly ahead of target over the
      first 9 years of the Plan period. However this in itself is no measure of the quality of
      the development. There is a healthy supply of land readily available at present, but
      demand remains high and not all needs can be met on available sites. Information
      held by the Rural Economy Unit of the Council indicates an average of around 48
      enquiries per annum over the last three years for employment land or premises in
      the District. Further refinement of this information is needed to enable analysis by
      type of site (ie land or premises) and by location required. Further information on
      demand should also be sought from local Agents. In the meantime, retention of
      existing employment sites should remain a priority.

4.3     Employment land provided and housing constructed in the main towns,
        compared with a predicted ratio of 73 dwellings to one hectare of
        Employment Land:

Table 7: Planned Ratios between Housing and Employment                                 Land Provision in the
main towns in North Dorset (March 1999)2.
Settlement    Dwellings Allocated Total     Employment                                 Houses per Hectare of
                                    Land                                               Employment Land
Blandford     1050                  12.68                                              82.81
Gillingham    1610                  26.63                                              60.46
Shaftesbury 1120                    15.79                                              70.93
Stalbridge    170                   1.38                                               123.19
Sturminster   640                   6.55                                               97.71
Total         4590                  63.03                                              72.82

4.3.1 Table 7 shows that the three main towns of Blandford, Gillingham and Shaftesbury
      all have planned Housing: Employment land ratios in the region of 60 to 80
      dwellings per Hectare of employment land. These three towns have been identified
      for major growth in Policy 1.3 of the Local Plan and the ratios are considered to
      provide an acceptable balance in order to provide the opportunity for people to live
      near their work. Sturminster Newton and Stalbridge are identified as towns for
      moderate and limited growth respectively. Here the ratios are slightly higher,
      indicating that more housing is expected per hectare of employment land.

4.3.2 Table 8 below shows the situation at September 2003, looking simply at the number
      of dwellings completed against employment land built in each of the four main

Table 8: Employment Land Provided and Housing Constructed in the Main Towns in
North Dorset (1994 to 2003):

Settlement                    Dwellings                     Employment Land Dwellings
                              Completed                     Completed 1994 – Completed per
                              1994 – 2003                   2003             Hectare of
                                                                             Employment Land
Blandford 4                   693                           3.03             228.7
Gillingham                    1048                          7.71             135.9
Shaftesbury                   363                           4.65             78.1
Sturminster                   378                           0.2                           1890
North Dorset                  3761                          25.67                         146.5
Source NDDC Planning Dept records 2003.

4.3.3 It can be seen here that Shaftesbury is currently close to the predicted ratio of 73
      dwellings to one hectare of employment land. Gillingham and Blandford Forum both
      have ratios that are higher than this. Sturminster Newton appears considerably

  From NDDC Economy Topic Paper, March 1999
  Employment Land Allocated plus existing commitments March 1999
  Blandford includes developments in Blandford St Mary that fall within the settlement boundary of the town.
         higher, reflecting the fact that while the major housing site off Honeymead Lane is
         now complete, very little employment land had been completed at the time of the
         survey. The ratio should improve next year now that the development at Rolls Mill is


4.3.4 Every effort should be made to encourage the remaining allocated employment
      sites to come forward to help balance the supply of housing land.

4.4      Amount of vacant industrial floorspace, land and number of units:

                                     Fig 7: Vacant Industrial Floor Space (January 2004)



                     Square Metres


























                                                                                       Settlement                               Vacant Industrial Floor Space

Source NDDC Property Pilot database.

4.4.1 Figure 7 shows that there is currently (January 2003) 30,703 Square Metres of
      vacant industrial building floorspace in North Dorset. Of this total, 37 % is within
      Blandford, 29% is in Gillingham, 17% is in Sturminster Newton and 6% is located in
      Shaftesbury5. There is no information recorded for previous years. However this
      information provides a snapshot of the current situation and the collation process
      should be easy enough to repeat in future years.

4.4.2 It is not currently possible to determine the number of industrial units, as these
      are not accurately recorded on the Property Pilot database.

  Data Source: The Property Pilot database can provide details of currently available land and property and can also give
a lettings history of recorded property.


4.4.3 Further work should be done to try and ascertain figures on the total industrial
      floorspace in each town and the District as a whole against which to monitor annual
      vacancies. This would give a better picture of the rate of vacancy in each area. The
      best public source of floorspace figures is probably the Valuation Office. Data is
      available from their Website but may be tedious to access for the whole District.

4.5       Vacant shop premises, in the main towns compared with the 1998 average
          vacancy rate of 6.17%:

                         Fig 8: Vacancy Rate of Shop Premises in the main
                          towns in North Dorset : April 1998 to April 2002
                          (percentage of vacant shops to total number of




                                         6                                                              6.15
                                Percent 5





















4.5.1 Figure 8 shows that between 1998 and 2002 the vacancy rate of retail premises
      has improved in all North Dorset‟s settlements, except Shaftesbury. In Shaftesbury
      the vacancy rate has risen from an extremely low point in 1998 and remains well
      below the District average. The average vacancy rate has fallen from 6.17 in 1998
      to 5.8 in 20026.

4.5.2 No comparisons with data outside the District are currently available but would be
      useful to show how well the retail sector in North Dorset compares with other areas.
      It may also be more meaningful to measure the amount of retail floorspace affected

 Data Source:
 Retail Surveys giving information on occupied and vacant retail premises in town centres are available up to 2002,
   these include estimations of floor areas, which cannot be relied upon. Surveys were carried out by NDDC Planning
   Dept staff to gain yearly snapshots of the situation with regard to the main shopping centres.

     In order to gain a full view overview of the situation surveys include uses, such as A2, A3, and B1 (i.e. Shops,
      Financial and professional services and other business uses).

           rather than just retail units, although accessing floorspace figures may be difficult.
           Likewise a breakdown of the retail category into different parts of the “A” Class 7 (ie
           retail shops, financial and professional services and food and drink premises) would
           be useful.

4.6        Amount of food supermarket floorspace per 1000 catchment population in the
           main towns:

Table 9 : Net Food Supermarket Floorspace (Square Metres) per 1000 Catchment

Year                1991         1994       1995    1996       1997    1998     1999     2000    2001     2002   2003

Blandford           192.4        N/A        N/A     552        540     538      532      521     527      588    588

Gillingham          120.8        N/A        N/A     252        246     240      238      235     237      237    343

Shaftesbury         132.5        N/A        N/A     122        119     118      117      119     113      113    113

Sturminster         158.1        N/A        N/A     138        134     132      127      124     126      126    126

4.6.1 This table shows that the amount of food supermarket floorspace has remained
      fairly static in most towns since the start of the development plan period. The
      opening of the LIDL supermarket in Gillingham boosted the figures here in 2003.

4.6.2 Population details are only available for up to 2001 mid year estimates and so these
      have been used to calculate ratios for 2002 and 2003.

4.6.3 Figure 9 over shows that currently Shaftesbury and Sturminster Newton have about
      20% of the food supermarket floorspace per 1000 catchment population that
      Blandford Forum has, with Gillingham at 58% of Blandford‟s figure. The proposed
      new supermarkets at Shaftesbury and Sturminster Newton will help boost the
      provision in these towns


4.6.4 The improvement in vacancy rates shown in Fig 8 above is a good sign. However the
      situation should be carefully monitored once the new supermarkets have opened.

    The A Class refers to the classification in the Town and Country Planning (Use Classes) Order 1987.
    Data Source: Dorset County Retail Factsheets

    Includes Tescos in Blandford St Mary.
                               Fig 9: Net Amount of Food Super Market Floorspace per 1000


        Square Metres


                                                                                                  Blandford Forum
                                                                                                  Sturminster Newton


                              1991 1994 1995 1996 1997 1998 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003

4.7   Net Gain/loss of business, industrial, retail and tourism uses, measured
against existing stock numbers and where relevant, the existing amount of

4.7.1 For the purposes of monitoring a business is defined as carrying out economic
      activity, regardless of scale.

4.7.2 According to NDDC‟s Non-domestic Records, there are currently 2050 live entries
      in the Business Ratings List11, which includes most non-domestic properties. Of
      these 266 are recorded as empty and 19 are recorded as void. These numbers are
      confirmed on a regular basis through mailshot.

4.7.3 Not all businesses are subject to ratings and these will not be included in the ratings
      numbers. Ratings exempt businesses include farms.

4.7.4 Ratings lists can also provide a snapshot of businesses currently operating. If
      monitored on a regular basis the Business Ratings List would give a reasonably
      representative picture of Net Gain and Loss of business. Based on this, it is
      however impossible to monitor this by category (i.e. industrial, retail and tourism).

4.7.5 Loss of employment land has been monitored between 01/10/02 and 30/09/03
      through monitoring the changes of land use when planning applications are made 8.
      These are classified as Town and Country Planning use classes A1, B1, B2, B8 and

 The Planning database also provides information on change of use of buildings and provides a picture of net loss
business to other use.

4.7.6 Table 9 shows losses and gains of specified land uses to other land uses between
      early October 2002 and late September 2003. Here we can see that the majority of
      Business/Industrial, Retail and Tourism/Leisure loss has been to residential, with an
      equal amount changing from Retail to Business use and vice versa (this is mostly in
      the case of offices). There is also a small amount of loss of both Business and
      Retail land to Tourism uses.

Table 9 : Gain/Loss of Business from 01/10/02 to 30/09/03
                              Business and         Retail              Tourism and
                                Industrial                               Leisure
Loss to Residential                 11                16                    3
Loss to                            N/A                3                     0
Loss to Retail                      3               N/A                      0
Loss to Tourism/Leisure             1                 1                     N/A
Loss to Other                       3                 0                      2
Gain of Land                        5                 2                      7
Net Gain/Loss                      -13               -18                    +2
Source NDDC Planning Dept Records 2003.

4.7.7 Business/Industrial and Retail uses have both experienced a considerable net loss
      in land, whereas land for Tourism and Leisure has increased slightly due to
      changes in use from open land to horse related uses, and changes from business
      use land to „art galleries‟.

4.7.8 As a percentage of the total number of businesses the total net loss of businesses
      to other use in North Dorset (-29) consists of about 1.5 % of the total.


4.7.10 This shows that business/industrial uses have suffered a net loss through planning
       consents granted in the past year. Such a change is in conflict with Policy 3.4 that
       seeks to prevent such changes. The situation needs to be carefully monitored,
       particularly in view of the continuing demand for premises in the District (identified
       in para 4.2.7 above).


5.1       The indicators set out in the Local Plan are as follows:

         Monitor provision of community/village halls compared with Local Plan Standard
          of 220m2 per 2000 population.

         Monitor provision of outdoor sport facilities compared with Local Plan Standard
          of 1.6 - 1.8 ha per 1000 population.

         Monitor provision of children's play space/amenity area compared with Local
          Plan Standard of 0.6 - 0.8 ha per 1000 population.

         Monitor number of essential village facilities/services in relation to population.
          These are defined as:

          Shop/General Store
          Post Office
          Village Hall
          Place of Workshop
          Public House
          Public Recreation Ground
          Play Area
          Daily Bus Service to nearest market town

5.2       Community/Village halls

5.2.1 Whilst information is held on the number of halls around the District, no work has
      been done on the comparison of the area per 2000 population, except in Blandford
      and Shaftesbury.

5.2.2 Within the period monitored (2002/3) there was one permission to change the use
      of a hall to residential use. This amounted to the loss of 767 sq m.

5.2.3 This indicator requires the monitoring of halls in the towns and villages. Village
      halls are monitored separately as well, hence there is the possibility of double


5.2.4 Further work needs to be done to refine this indicator to ensure that village facilities
      are not counted twice. Further background information on the level of facilities
      available is also require against before any detailed conclusions can be drawn on
      the gain or loss of facilities.

5.3       Outdoor Sports Facilities

5.3.1 A survey to ascertain the number of pitches and their use was done some years
      ago. The Open Space Strategy recently approved by Cabinet puts forward a
      procedure for informing the Open Space Strategy Action Plan. This includes
      auditing open space and assessing local need. This will enable the setting of local
      standards of open space and allow monitoring of improvements or losses against
      the local standard.

5.3.2 There was one application for new sports pitches at Blandford. This amounted to a
      total area of 10.2 ha including car parking. This site is an allocation in the Local


5.3.3 The standard of 1.6-1.8 Ha per 1000 population may well change following the work
      to assess local needs. Future monitoring should be linked to any new guidelines

5.4   Children's Play Space/Amenity Area

5.4.1 The last full audit of children‟s play space was in 1995 when there were 43 play
      areas in the District. In January 2004 there were 59 play areas of which 5 were
      approved during 2002/3 (in Gillingham and Blandford.) However the population
      within the catchment area of each of these is unknown. Therefore, it is not yet
      possible to monitor the Local Plan Standard against the population.

5.4.2 As with the outdoor sports facilities, further work is required to set a base on which
      to judge the closure of existing play areas or construction of new ones.


5.4.3 This indicator also needs some refinement to avoid double counting the village
      facilities. (See below.)

5.5   Essential Village Facilities/Services in relation to population

5.5.1 No standards have been defined for these. It would be possible to set some, in
      relation to the size of settlements. Dorset County Council publish information on
      rural facilities but the current information was published in 2002 and related to a
      base date of 1991. The information below has been extracted from the planning
      records. However, for future monitoring, working with the County, using their
      information,      may     prove     to  be    a   more     useful   way    forward.

5.5.2 During 2002/3 the following changes were noted:

Shop/General Store/Post Office

5.5.3 There are no records of any applications to change the use of a village shop or Post
      Office within this period. There are two permissions for farm shops, one at Tarrant
      Gunville and one at Ansty, which includes a village shop and Post Office.

Village Hall

5.5.4 There were no applications to change the use from a village hall and no
      applications to erect or expand halls.

Place of Worship

5.5.5 There were no proposals to change the use of Places of Worship and none to erect
      new ones.

Public House

5.5.6 There were no permissions to change the use of village public houses.


5.5.7 There were no losses of village schools and no new village schools.

Public Recreation Grounds

5.5.8 There were no applications to change the use of recreation grounds in the villages
      and no proposals for new recreation grounds.

Play Areas

5.5.9 There were no proposals to change the use of village play areas and no proposals
      for new ones.

Daily Bus Service to nearest market town

5.5.10 This needs to be refined. Is the service required to allow workers to travel to work
       and return home or to allow people to travel to and from the town to shop? It has
       not been possible to check the daily bus services from each village with a
       settlement boundary. However, once this has been refined, then the work could be
       done. As can be seen under 'Transportation' which follows, there are other ways of
       providing transport for some groups such as the Nordcat buses.


5.5.11 Further work is needed to assess the number of village facilities in relation to the
       population of the village. Possible information sources include Dorset County
       Council and local Community Groups who may be producing their own Health
       Checks of village facilities.


6.1   The indicators set out in the Local Plan are as follows:

        Monitor annual investment in Local Plan transportation schemes and relate to
problem areas and new development.

         Monitor changes to bus and train services within the Local Plan Integrated
Transport Network.

6.2   Annual Investment in Local Plan Transportation Schemes

6.2.1 The County Council monitors schemes and costs through the Local Transport Plan.
      The schemes which have been implemented and their costs are listed below. The
      monitoring does not include expenditure on county wide schemes such as cycling,
      safer routes to school and bus stop improvements. Furthermore, the expenditure
      may only be for part of a scheme which may be being carried out over more than
      one year.

      County Funded Schemes

      A350/C13 Traffic Management                                        £ 43,105
      West End, Spetisbury – Visibility and gateway                      £ 38,306
      B3092 Peacemarsh and Milton on Stour Rural Footway                 £367,192
      Stalbridge Town Centre – Speed Management                          £ 19,465
      A354/C6 Whatcombe Down Junction to
      Winterborne Kingston                                               £253,501
      A350/C13 Blandford By-Pass to Sunrise Business Park
      Footway/cycleway                                                   £ 24,853

                                  Total                          £746,422

      +                                                                  =====

      Development Funded Schemes

      Bath Road, Sturminster Newton Railway Bridge                       £ 12,300
      A357 Shillingstone-Silent Whistle                                  £ 50,000
      B3091 Manston Road, Sturminster Newton                             £100,000

6.2.2 Of the schemes listed in the Local Plan‟s Transportation Programme, four schemes
      have been carried out during 2002/3. This amounts to 13% of the total number of
      schemes. (The traffic management schemes on the A350 were not included in the
      schemes listed in the Local Plan but were mentioned in the Structure Plan.)


6.2.3 Whilst the County monitor developer funded schemes on which they have an input,
      much of the work may be carried out by the developer and would not appear in the
      report. As the information is only partial it does not seem to be a particularly useful
      part of the indicator.

6.3   Changes to bus and train services

6.3.1 The County Council monitor changes to bus services. Whilst there are sometimes
      minor changes to service provision, for example alterations to the times of buses,
      the County try to ensure the minimum impact on users. Several of the cancelled
      services have been to summer services. These have mainly only been one bus to
      the coast on six Sundays. However, one service to Bournemouth from Blandford
      has been introduced on Sundays in the summer.

6.3.2 Improvements to the services include:

      Additional journeys         Blandford – Salisbury
      Additional journeys         Weymouth – Blandford
      New service                 Gillingham – Poole 1 day a week
      Service Revision            Dorchester – Milton Abbas – Blandford – This has
      lead to an increased service from Monday to
      New provision               Tarrant Rushton – Blandford – This allows the
      public to use a school bus journey

6.3.3 Reductions to the services include:

      Cancelled                    Shaftesbury to Gillingham - 1 bus per day
      Cancelled/Reduced            Shaftesbury to Cranborne – This has lead to a
      reduction in service affecting Cann Common and
      Cancelled                    Shaftesbury – Sturminster Newton – Alternative
      services are available though not all villages are
      served as conveniently as before
      Cancelled                    Gillingham – Templecombe – Sturminster Newton
      This reduction has come about due to the decline in the market at Sturminster
      Cancelled                    Gillingham – Street


6.3.4 It is difficult to record these changes as a percentage of services. This would not
      measure the impact of change. For example, the cancellation of a service may be
      the loss of one summer Sunday bus, running on six days of the year and the
      introduction of a service could be a weekday bus to get people into a town for work
      each morning. It would seem to be more sensible to show this on a map, showing
      services per day or week to be compared with the map which forms Figure 5, Public
      Transport Provision, found opposite page 74 in the District Wide Local Plan.
      Passenger numbers may be another way to monitor how much services are used
      but information from the County indicates that the information gathered by them is
      not complete. This needs to be explored further with the County.
6.3.5 The Nordcat service was introduced in 2001. This scheme provides a service for
      those physically unable to use existing public transport and those where there are
      no other forms of public transport available. This service helps “fill holes” in public
      transport provision. However, its use may lessen demands for public transport
      provision thus leading to reduction of services for those who do not qualify for

6.3.6 The train service has been amended, giving an extra stop at Gillingham on the
      train leaving Waterloo at 18.10. Rollingstock has been improved and additional
      capacity has been provided. However, there is still insufficient capacity to cope with
      the expansion, not only of Gillingham, but of all towns on the route.


6.3.7 The level of general services should be monitored against the take up of the
      Nordcat service to see if it is having an impact on public services. Every
      opportunity should be taken to encourage improvements to the Exeter – Waterloo
      line to improve capacity.

Planning/Localplans/GMS/Report/ PPpanel/An Mon Rep 03 (Final draft)