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West Dorset, Weymouth & Portland Neighbourhood planning

Neighbourhood planning is about giving local people a say over what new buildings will look like, where they will be built, and the confidence that they will have the support to cope with the demands of new development.

These powers have been granted through the Localism Act (opens in a new window) and Regulations (opens in a new window).

Latest news

Following a 'yes' vote in the referendum on 19 April 2018, West Dorset District Council officially 'made' the Piddle Valley Neighbourhood Plan on 10 May 2018. More information is available on our Piddle Valley Neighbourhood Plan Page.



There is support available to local communities preparing neighbourhood plans or development orders. However there is an expectation that local people should volunteer and, where necessary, find additional funding, to do what work is needed - this may be through sponsorship from a local business, various fund-raising events or other sources. So you may want to start thinking about how you go about raising this support.

Further information on the support available to communities producing neighbourhood plans is available on the  Locality website (opens in a new window) and from Planning Aid (opens in a new window).

Gathering information

You will need to have a good understanding of the issues that you need to address, and the constraints on development in your area. If the local community has completed a community or parish plan, this should provide a useful indicator of the likely issues that the neighbourhood plan should hope to resolve. Basic information is available about your local area, such as information about housing, businesses, services, transport, traffic issues and natural and historic features. Useful links include:

Local people can get involved in information-gathering, for example from doing a walk-around of the area highlighting problems and opportunities, or mapping how the local area has changed in people's lifetimes, to provide a better picture of the scale of past change.

Knowledge of the strategic planning policies affecting your area is also important, as neighbourhood plans must be in line with these policies to pass the independent examination. The strategic objectives and strategic approach are set out in the introduction of the Adopted Local Plan. Consideration also needs to be given to how a neighbourhood plan dovetails with the  National Planning Policy Framework (opens in a new window).


A link officer from within the spatial policy and implementation team will be made available to provide technical support to neighbourhood plan working groups and will be a first point of contact for communities who are doing neighbourhood planning. 

Where maps will be produced by the Parish Council, the Parish Council can sign up to the Public Sector Mapping Agreement in order to use our Ordnance Survey data without getting into any copyright difficulties.


Central government has provided a support package for community groups undertaking neighbourhood planning, which includes a grant. Central government is also providing funding for neighbourhood plans direct to the district of borough council to fund the costs of examination and referendum. 

Further information on the current funding, advice and guidance is on the Locality website (opens in a new window).

  • Completed Neighbourhood Plans

    Completed or 'Made' Neighbourhood Plans form part of the development plan. Find more information on completed neighbourhood plans and how they were prepared.

  • Neighbourhood Plans in preparation

    A number of communities are currently working on neighbourhood plans. Find out more about the plans and their preparation.

  • Neighbourhood Area Designations

    The neighbourhood area needs to be agreed by the local planning authority before the plan can be submitted for examination.

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