Neighbourhood Plan – It’s written and ready for you to have your say

We’ve finished writing the Plan and this is a crucial opportunity for you to review what we’ve done and have your say before it’s submitted to North Dorset District Council.   They then take it through a formal scrutiny process and examination by an inspector prior to a referendum next year, in which each person on the electoral roll for Sturminster Newton Parish can vote on whether they wish the Neighbourhood Plan to be used in all future planning decisions.

This public consultation exercise takes place between 14th November 2016 and 6th January 2017.

How the Consultation will work

The Plan is available to download from the Neighbourhood Plan Website:

Printed copies will be available for the whole period between 14th November and 6th January at the following locations:

  • Sturminster Newton Town Council Lobby (9.30am until 12.30pm weekdays)
  • The SturQuest Office (9.30am to 12.30pm weekdays)
  • The Coffee Shop/Bibbern Gallery of The Exchange (See Exchange opening hours)
  • The Library (See Library opening hours)
  • The Sturfit Leisure Centre (4.30pm to closing on weekdays and weekend opening hours)

There will also be ‘drop in sessions’ at The Exchange where there will be a member of the Neighbourhood Plan Group on hand to answer questions and receive your feedback from 10am until 12 noon on Saturdays 19th, 26th November and 3rd, 10th, 17th December.

How to comment

You can complete a questionnaire at the locations above and take it to the SturQuest Office.  Or you can complete a short on-line questionnaire via the Neighbourhood Plan website (  You can also give us written comments at any of our drop in sessions (see above).  Alternatively, if you would like to meet with a member of the Neighbourhood Plan Team, this can be arranged by telephoning the SturQuest Office on 01258 471456 or by telephoning or calling in to the Town Council Office (01258 475136).

Just to recap, why have a Neighbourhood Plan?

It allows us to control the locations and types of development in the parish.  It also allows us to reserve sites in case housing needs increase over its life.

It will help to protect those things that you told us are important to our parish – the heritage buildings, community facilities, open spaces, walking routes, and the landscape with its lovely views and trees.

We can set design standards that control the appearance and quality of new buildings and ensure they fit with our local character in each part of the parish.

Our Neighbourhood Plan has policies that encourage changes to the town centre that will facilitate economic growth and a sustainable town centre over the years up to 2031 and beyond.

Finally, housing developers pay a levy to the Local Authorities for larger developments.  Towns that have a Neighbourhood Plan are entitled to 25% of this levy to use as they choose to improve their infrastructure and community facilities.

What happens if we don’t have a Neighbourhood Plan?

Without a plan, we run the risk that others, including developers, will impose their ideas on us without understanding our needs.   We can’t prevent development, given government priorities, but we can have a legally binding say over how and where it happens once the Plan has been through referendum next year.

This Plan is the result of three years consultation with our community.  Its policies reflect what you told us is important.  You may find things you like and dislike, but we hope on balance you feel we’ve got it right as a basis for protecting what’s important while allowing acceptable development and regeneration.