Members of the Place Overview & Scrutiny Committee will consider the draft Poole Local Plan, a positive plan for the future of Poole, at their meeting on Wednesday 21 June.
The draft Poole Local Plan sets out the Council’s strategy for the delivery of 14,200 new homes, jobs and infrastructure in Poole to 2033.
It is important to Poole’s future that every effort is made to meet identified needs such as addressing projected population increase, housing an ageing population, boosting supply of affordable homes and family homes, supporting the town’s economy and providing public open spaces.
Last year Borough of Poole consulted residents on how the additional homes and other needs could be provided, including various possible new sites for development and changes to current planning policy. The options consulted on included focusing just on urban intensification, large scale outward expansion or a careful balance between the two.
The feedback from the public consultation was that a balanced approach was the most popular response. The balanced approach includes increasing densities within the town, building taller developments in appropriate locations, sensitively allowing more apartments to be built and expanding the town outwards into the Green Belt.
Of the 14,200 new homes needed, around 12,900 homes (91%) could be developed on urban sites such as land around the Twin Sails Bridge and smaller sites that come forward as planning applications, leaving a shortfall of around 1,300 new homes (9%) which is only able to be met through release of Green Belt land.
Borough of Poole is committed to meeting Poole’s housing and other needs and the draft Poole Plan outlines sites for 6,000 homes in the town centre, 5,000 homes in other parts of the town that are most accessible via public transport, 1,900 in the rest of Poole’s urban area, 500 homes on Green Belt land in Merley and 800 on Green Belt land in Bearwood. To ensure the borough has sufficient provision for school places by 2033 land is also released from the Green Belt at Creekmoor to be reserved for education use.
To help maintain the long term protection of the South East Dorset Green Belt, land south of Bearwood is proposed to be added to the Green Belt. With this addition, the Green Belt revisions proposed in the draft plan represent a 3.1% reduction in total Green Belt land in Poole.
As well as facilitating new homes for local needs, the Poole Local Plan places great emphasis and support for the Council’s long held ambition for town centre regeneration, creating a vibrant shopping and leisure destination for local people and visitors. It also outlines the first steps in establishing the Stour Valley Park, a new public open space that could eventually extend from Wimborne to Christchurch creating a valuable recreational area.
Councillor Ian Potter, Cabinet Portfolio Holder for Planning and Regeneration, Borough of Poole, said: “The Poole Local Plan sets out the framework enabling us to meet the needs of our residents both now and in the future. It strikes the right balance between meeting needs and accommodating sustainable growth. It protects Poole’s economy, precious environment and housing for local people by having a robust and positive plan for Poole’s future.”
The importance of maintaining an up to date plan to meet needs cannot be underestimated as without one the Council would be at risk of losing control over its planning decisions. The draft Local Plan therefore sets out a positive and pragmatic planning strategy to guide development to 2033 that will meet needs, protect Poole’s identity in the longer term and ensure the town retains control over where development goes.
The draft Poole Local Plan will be presented to Cabinet and Council in July 2017. A further public consultation will take place on the final draft Poole Local Plan in summer 2017 with a view to the Plan being adopted in spring/summer 2018.