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Neighbourhood Plan Update / Next Steps

What happens now?

The Neighbourhood Plan Steering Group is working with the appointed planning consultant to analyse the wealth of responses from individuals and statutory consultees who responded to the consultation. Further discussion is taking place with the statutory consultees including Dorset Council on the responses. 

As previously agreed, the results of this analysis, any changes to the plan, and the rationale for those changes along with the revised Weymouth Neighbourhood Plan document will be presented to a future Full Council meeting.

This will now happen after the local elections on May 2nd, and not before. This change to the schedule follows advice from Dorset Council (DC) and Weymouth Town Council’s Town Clerk that the next step – a Regulation 16 Consultation which DC carry out – should not go ahead during what’s known as the pre-election period; the time leading up to the local elections in May.

Consultation Update

The Neighbourhood Plan consultation, the most important consultation in a generation is now closed. Thank you to everyone who gave their views. In total, around 1,450 separate points of comment or representation were received.

Supporting Information

The current draft Plan and all the background information can be downloaded below. The draft Plan went to Full Council on Wednesday 18th October where approval was given to carry out the Pre-Submission Reg 14 Consultation, which ran until December 15th 2023. Work is currently underway to update the Plan. The current draft can be downloaded below:

There is a short summary available which highlights the content of the Plan:

Further supporting information is below:

What is a Neighbourhood Plan?

A neighbourhood plan sets out the policies that are used to help make decisions about planning applications in the area.

It is led by the local community and gives everyone an opportunity to have a say and help shape future development.

You can read more about it in “How to create a Neighbourhood Plan: Your step-by-step roadmap Guide”

How to get involved and have your say

What area is covered by the Weymouth Neighbourhood Plan?

Our neighbourhood plan will apply to the wider Weymouth area, not just the town centre. The designated boundary was agreed in July 2020:

Sutton Poyntz which lies within the boundary already has a neighbourhood plan. It was adopted on 5 May 2020. The new Weymouth Neighbourhood Plan will respect and include the policies of the Sutton Poyntz Neighbourhood Plan.

The process

As your town council, we facilitate Weymouth’s Neighbourhood Plan. It’s our job to get the views of local residents and businesses and use them to write planning policies which reflect our community’s vision for Weymouth.

This is a collaborative process and we will use stages of community engagement to decide the content of the plan.

Stage 1 – Early engagement (Gathering evidence)

We gather information, ideas and views from the community. We compile evidence for emerging themes including jobs, homes, environment and green spaces

Stage 2 – Mid-stage engagement (Preparing the Plan and Pre-submission consultation)

We facilitate discussions focussing on themes for drafting policy and produce a draft plan. We publish the draft plan for consultation. Following public consultation modifications are made to the Plan. 

Stage 3 – Independent Examination and Referendum (Bringing the Plan into Force)

We submit the plan to Dorset Council, our local planning authority. Dorset Council hold a further consultation of residents and statutory authorities. The Plan and the Consultation Report and comments are then submitted by Dorset Council for examination by an independent Planning Inspector. The examiners report may lead to further changes to the Plan. The Plan is then put to a referendum giving the local community the opportunity to say yes or no to it. If the vote is yes then Dorset Council will bring the plan into force as part of the Development Plan for Weymouth.

Who will prepare the Neighbourhood Plan?

Weymouth Town Council is the accountable body. The plan needs to conform with certain requirements before it is submitted to Dorset Council.

The process began in December 2020 and the plan is prepared over a two-year period through consultation with local people and support from experts in Neighbourhood Planning. A Steering Group has been set up to guide the process, comprising of people who represent our many different communities, businesses and interest groups in Weymouth.

The Neighbourhood Plan Vision

By 2038, Weymouth will be a resilient coastal community with a diverse range of jobs and homes which meet the needs of residents for present generations without compromising the needs of future generations. The unique identities of our local neighbourhoods will be attractive to all age groups and will foster healthy and happy lifestyles.

Design Code Pathfinder – what is it?

Weymouth was one of 25 areas in England selected by the Department for Housing, Levelling Up & Communities to be awarded a share of £3 million to help shape new neighbourhoods. The project will complete in March this year, and how it forms part of the Neighbourhood Plan will be decided in the next few months. Read more about the Design Code Pathfinder project on our latest news.

Neighbourhood Plan Steering Group Meeting Notes