The original SPD was adopted by Council on 26 June 2012 with it coming into effect on the 20 September 2012. Subsequently on 22 April 2014, Council extended the time frame of the SPD until 31 December 2014. The SPD replaced the Dorset Heathland Interim Planning Framework (IPF). In practice there was no change to the way that the SPD works compared to the previous IPF. However, the advantage and purpose of converting the IPF to an SPD was to bring it inline with the current planning system with it becoming part of each of the participating local authorities Local Development Plans. The final version has been informed by responses received from a six week consultation held between 7 January and 18 February 2015. In addition to the SPD the Consultation Statement and Adoption Statement have also been published.
New Charge for Strategic Access Management and Monitoring (SAMM)
The consultation on the draft Dorset Heathland Planning Framework SPD 2015-2020 has now closed. Representations and changes that are necessary are being considered. It is likely that a revised version will be available during the summer of 2015.
One aspect of the draft SPD is being implemented ahead of the document as a whole by the Borough of Poole, and this relates to the introduction of a charge for Strategic Access Management and Monitoring. Residential development that cannot avoid or mitigate its own adverse effects upon the Dorset Heaths Natura 2000 sites is required to make a contribution towards the overall Avoidance and Mitigation Strategy. This strategy has two elements, Heathlands Infrastructure Projects which in Poole’s case are funded through the Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL), and SAMM, which is non infrastructure provision such as wardening, education and monitoring.
SAMM is not infrastructure and cannot be funded through CIL and therefore as from 8th April 2015 a new charge will be payable to cover this element of the strategy. The introduction of this charge was approved at a meeting of the Council’s Cabinet on 24th March 2015 and will ensure that residential development is able to continue to be granted planning permission subject to other considerations. The SAMM charge is also effective for prior approval applications for the change of use and or conversion of non residential development to housing. This means that any new dwelling that comes forward by whatever course will pay a direct contribution toward mitigating the adverse effects of its impact upon the Dorset Heaths.
The charge is based on the cost of delivering SAMM in Poole and will be:
For a house £355
For a flat £242
The contribution is payable through either an Unilateral Undertaking or Section 111 agreement, together with an administration fee of £50 or 2%, whichever is greater. Standard templates for these can be found on the Section 106 Planning Obligations page under the downloads section, which is in the planning area of the website or by clicking here.
Natural England Advice - 400m Consultation Area
With regards to applications or consultations for additional residential development within 400m of the Dorset Heathlands SPA, Ramsar and Dorset Heaths SAC, a recent Legal Opinion has considered the approach taken in Dorset. Appendix C of the latest verison of the SPD sets out advice to officers and applicants on the consideration of proposals in this area. It states that the existing 400m Consultation Area remains a valid area on which authorities should continue to consult Natural England about additional residential units as this is the most sensitive area with the stance being that no net increase in residential units should be allowed in this 400m Consultation Area. Maps showing the areas covered by the 400m zone are available to view on the Natural England website.