The Neighbourhood Planning Process

Charmouth Beach
Charmouth Seafront

The Neighbourhood Plan is a community-led plan to help guide future development, regeneration and conservation of an area.

It is about the use and development of land and can contain proposals for new facilities, improvement and may allocate land for different types of development.

It can deal with housing, employment, transport, heritage and the natural environment. Once approved, the Neighbourhood Plan will be used to help make decisions on future planning applications.

A local Neighbourhood Planning Committee has been set up to develop the plan & ensure that it is ‘community-led’.

Organisations and interests on the Charmouth Group include:

  • The Parish Council
  • Local people
  • Environmental Interests
  • Those interested in local business & improvement

The Process

The Initial Stages

Planning and Funding

Dorset Council has agreed to the plan being prepared for the designated area (Charmouth Parish) after a consultation period and so it is officially recognised.  

Grants can be obtained from a nationally funded programme operated by the Department of Communities & Local Government and distributed by an organisation called ‘Locality’. The Planning Committee plan to bid for funding to help prepare the Plan over the coming years. 


The proposal to prepare the Plan was publicised locally to ensure local people were aware that the Plan was to be prepared.

Consultation events are now being planned and the results will be analysed and used to help influence the Plan. Based on what the community says, the Vision & Objectives will be developed, with further consultation events being held, as the plan progresses through its various stages, over a period of time.


A comprehensive village survey of residents and businesses was undertaken and the results were analysed and reports produced. An Open Forum was held in March 2018 to communicate the outcome of the survey to the local community.

Based upon the evidence gained from the village survey, professional reports and historical documents, draft objectives and policies for CNP have been produced. Consultation with Dorset Council's Planning Department and the local Parish Council on these draft policies has occurred.

An Open Forum was held in January 2019 to present the draft objectives and policies and to obtain feedback from residents. Since our Open Forum event in January, the Steering Group have been focused on developing the policies for the Plan based upon the vision, objectives and evidence gathered. We have consulted with the Parish Council, Dorset Council and a professional planning consultant on the wording of these policies, ensuring compliance with both national policy and strategic local policy. There are currently 22 draft policies in the Plan covering natural environment, housing, economy, getting around, assets and amenities, heritage and history and coastal change and flooding.  

The Process

Bringing the Plan Forwards

Development of the Draft

The Vision and Objectives for the Plan will be stated along with supporting policies for: Heritage & History, Assets & Amenities, Natural Environment, Local Economy, Housing, Getting Around and Coastal Defences.

Before the Plan is formally submitted to Dorset Council, a 6 week statutory round of consultation with the local community and official organisations will take place, called ‘Regulation 14’ Consultation.

A draft CNP was issued for public consultation(pre-submission stage) from Friday 31st July to 11th September i.e. a 6 week period.   Responses received from the consultation on the draft Plan have been reviewed and policy wording and text has been amended, where appropriate. A summary of the comments can be seen in the Consultation Statement. Also an independent planning consulatant has produced a Basic Conditions Statement assessing compliance against national policy and the Local Plan. All documents can be found in the Documents 'tab'. 

Submission To The Council and Independent Review

The Plan was submitted to Dorset Council following the Parish Council's approval. Following submission of the Plan to Dorset Council in May 2021 a further six-week public consultation (Regulation 16) was held between 18th June to 30th July 2021 this was followed by examination by an Independent Examiner. The Examiner produced his final report on 28th October 2021 recommending 7 changes which have been incorporated into this Plan. The Examiner’s Report can be viewed on both Dorset Council and on this website under 'Documents'.

Referendum and Dorset Council's Approval

Following Dorset Council approval of the Plan on the 19th November 2021, a Referendum was held for the 10th February 2022.  From an electorate of 1113 there was a turnout of 318 (29%). The result: In Favour. YES votes 289 (90.9%) and NO votes 29 (9.1% ).

The Charmouth Neighbourhood Plan was made (adopted) by Dorset Council on 1 March 2022.

This decision means Charmouth Neighbourhood Plan is part of the development plan for the Charmouth neighbourhood area and can now be used in determining planning applications.


Development of the Draft

Once the Neighbourhood Plan is brought into legal force, it will form part of the Statutory Development Plan for the Parish, along with the Local Plan.

Decisions on whether or not to grant planning permission in the Plan area will need to be in accordance with the Plan unless ‘material planning considerations’ indicate otherwise.

Proposals for improvements in the area can be included as an Action Plan, appended to the Neighbourhood Plan. These will subject to funding and could be implemented in the coming years, by a number of organisations.

The making of the Charmouth Neighbourhood Plan was a significant piece of work taking over 6 years to complete.

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