Neighbourhood Plan is given green light to go to referendum

A plan to shape Wareham’s future until 2034...

The Plan that will shape Wareham’s future development has been given the green light by an independent examiner. The examiner recommends that the Wareham Neighbourhood Plan, with a few modifications, proceed to referendum. The Plan, which has been some 5 years in the making, will shape future development of the Town up to 2034.

Town Councillor and Chair of the Steering Group, Keith Critchley welcomed the report “this is a real milestone for local residents and businesses who throughout the development of the Plan, have had a real stake in helping shape the future of this special town.” The report states “It is evident that significant effort has been put into ensuring that interested parties have been given the opportunity to partake in the plan-making process and consequently the resultant document is one that I consider appropriately reflects the land use aspirations of the local community”. The input of North Wareham Action Group in the preparation of the Plan is specifically recognised in the report.

Wareham is described as “an important historic town at the gateway to the Isle of Purbeck within an attractive setting” and the examiner considers that the Plan “will assist in the protection of those qualities which are valued by local residents and visitors alike, whilst at the same time enabling appropriate development to take place.”

The examiner notes that Dorset Council has confirmed that there are no exceptional circumstances that would justify a change to the Green Belt boundary at Wareham and concurs with this. The Plan concentrates future development on brownfield land thereby protecting the Green Belt and AONB from development.

The importance of retaining the ground level crossing at Wareham Railway station is also recognised, in view of the widespread community support, and the examiner endorses the inclusion of a policy in the Plan for its retention.

The Town Council is grateful for the support of Purbeck District Council and Dorset Council in preparing the plan and to residents and businesses for their input. The next step will be for the Plan to go to referendum and all Wareham residents are urged to take part.

Contacts:

Vanessa Ricketts Town Clerk, Wareham Town Council

Cllr Keith Critchley Chair Wareham Neighbourhood Plan Steering Group

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