Neighbourhood Plan

These pages carry reports of the progress of the Parish Council and the Working & individual Focus Groups in the development of a Neighbourhood Plan.

We kept you informed through these pages of developments and information as the project developed.

The Working Group is now disbanded. Any queries should be addressed to the Parish Clerk: Sam Paulley email: .


West Dorset District Council have now formally Adopted the Piddle Valley Neighbourhood Plan, and it will now inform any planning decisions they make.

A copy of the Confirmation of Adoption letter is available here.

Notice of Poll result
Notice of Poll

The District Council web page at has been updated with the latest information in preparation for the forthcoming referendum.



West Dorset District Council have advised that the Final Plan version is acceptable and they are now preparing for Public Referendum on Formal Adoption of the Document.

The Final Version for the Referendum can be seen here.

The likely date for the Referendum is Thursday 19th April 2018 and the District Council will be sending Voting Cards to all eligible persons in due course.


After many discussions with WDDC, Oliver Letwin and other advisors, our options have been clarified as:

  • Accept all the modifications requested by the Examiner. WDDC will then ( at their cost) prepare a "fair copy" of the Plan. Subject to Agreement by the Parish Council, the plan will then go to Public Referendum and, if supported, go to full District Council for adoption.
  • Reject the Examiners changes and start all over again preparing a new Plan, with all the time & financial costs involved.
  • Drop the Plan completely and do nothing to try to protect & shape the Valley environs.

The Parish Council have decided to proceed with the first option as - assuming Adoption - will at least produce some benefits to the Valley Community. It will also be possible for the Parish Council to then propose changes and amendments to the Plan, if desired.


A meeting was held on the 22nd September with Sir Oliver Letwin, WDDC and the Neighbourhood Plan working group. A further meeting is being held at the end of October to try to find a way forward.


Unfortunately, the Neighbourhood Plan is still with the District Council. The Parish Council is doing all it can to try to progress the issue.

30 April 2016 - Plan submitted

The draft Neighbourhood Plan for the Piddle Valley has now been submitted to West Dorset District Council, who have formally accepted it for review. A copy of their letter is available here.

Full details of the submitted Plan and relevant supporting documentation is on the separate "Submitted Plan" page.

Paper copies of the submitted plan are also available to be viewed from John Cox at Bakers Cottage, Piddletrenthide. Telephone 348454.

The formal District Council consultation period will run for 6 weeks from 13th May 2016. WDDC's consultation documents and further details can be found on their website at

Any comments on the plan should be sent to

20 September 2015 - The Final draft of the proposed Neighbourhood Plan

is available for inspection here (see index to the left). This version is the Pre-submission Statutory 6 week Consultaion Period Plan Final Draft, having made changes to reflect the views of the community as expressed in the feed-back forms and from the "drop-in" consultation display at the school.

The closing date for comments on this second draft was 30 October 2015, after which people's views will be taken into account, the draft modified as necesary and then it will be submitted to West Dorset District Council for independant assessment and approval.

Any comments on this draft plan must be made in writing and be delivered to the Piddle Valley P.O. & Stores (addressed to the Neighbourhood Plan Consultation) before the 31st October 2015

Once approved by the District Council, the plan will be submitted to referendum by the community for acceptance.

The first draft of the proposed Neighbourhood Plan is still available for reference (see index to the left). The closing date for comments on this first draft was 16 May 2015.

News Letter No 16 - 01/01/2016

The Neighbourhood Plan is still progressing, albeit slowly, as we are at a very time consuming stage.

Thank you to everyone who replied during the 6 week consultation on the Plan. This was a formal consultation so we also received comments from many public bodies, including West Dorset District Council, Wessex Water, the Environment Agency and Dorset AONB.

We are currently considering the responses, their effect and the changes that need to be made to the Plan.

There are still some outstanding issues, particularly with the exception site at South View and we intend to arrange a meeting in the near future at the school to clarify the position on this.

The next formal step in the process is to submit the amended plan and supporting documentation to the inspector for his consideration of our due diligence.

Paul Johns, Working Group Chairman

Pre-submission Consultation - 20/09/2015




20th SEPTEMBER - 31 st OCTOBER 2015

It is most important that we have a plan to safeguard the Piddle Valley, its villages, settlements, and the surrounding countryside for the next 15 years.

After the drop-in event at the school, we have edited the first draft and made changes to take account of the views of the community as expressed in your feedback forms. These changes are listed below.

The final draft of the plan has now been produced and a copy can also be found on the side index to the left of this screen. Under the Localism Act we are now required to have a statutory six week consultation period where changes can still be made. After this period we will again take into account people's views before we submit the plan to West Dorset District Council for their approval and for an independent assessment. Once this is complete we will have a referendum to decide whether we as a community accept the plan.

Any final comments should be made in writing and be returned to the Piddletrenthide PO stores before 31st October 2015.

Copies of the final draft plan will also be available for viewing in the pubs and Shop within the Parishes and also from members of the Working Group or your Village Representatives :-

  • Sara Milne, Piddlehinton. 01300 348400
  • Jane Willitts, Piddletrenthide. 01300 348722
  • Colin Dean, Alton Pancras. 01300 348524
  • Steve Brackstone, White Lackington. 01300 348132
  • Peter Chance, Plush. 01300 348311
Proposed amendments to the 1st Draft Piddle Valley Neighbourhood Plan

The consultation drop-in event to review the 1st foramal draft Piddle Valley Neighbourhood Plan was held at the Piddle Valley First School on Saturday 25 April 2015. All residents in the community were invited to attend, via a flier delivered to every household, an announcement in the March/April 2015 edition of the Piddle Valley News and Views, and on the Piddle Valley website. Arising from comments made at the event, and from responses on feedback forms, a number of amendments have been made to the 1st Draft Neighbourhood Plan, which affect particular areas of the Plan and reflect the views given by a majority of the respondents. Briefly, the amendments are as follows: The policy regarding the replacement of redundant farm buildings has been amended in line with the Local Plan. The policy concerning development within settlement boundaries has been divided into two separate policies. Indicative sketches showing possible schemes for development sites have been removed.

Alton Pancras
  • The northern settlement boundary has been extended to include Little Holcombe, and will follow the west side of the B3143 road.
  • The boundary will follow the east side of the road at Burnt House Bottom, Plush
  • The village description now indudes a statement regarding the openness of the village and that the rural character of the lanes should be maintained. The paddock at Plush Bottom is no longer a designated green site
  • The policy on Kingrove Farm has been amended to state that should vehicular access to the site be provided via Wightman's Orchard, then opportunities to relieve the on-street parking congestion in Wightman's Orchard must be secured.
  • The road access to the West Cottage site has been amended to that agreed by the West Dorset highways officer, via the existing bridleway. The re-routed bridleway is maintained across the site.
White Lackington
  • The settlement boundary now follows the road at the eastern end of South View after the exception site

Further minor amendments that do not affect the content have been made to the 1st Draft, resulting in the document being presented as the draft for pre-submission consultation. The statutory period for public consultation is 20th September to 31 st October 2015.

News Letter No 15 - 01/07/2015

Thank you to everyone who came to the presentation of the first draft of the Neighbourhood Plan in the First School on the 25th April 2015, we had a very large turnout.

Thanks also for returning your feedback forms and suggestions, the majority of which were very supportive. We are still going through these and will let you know our thoughts when we have finished. Where many people have made similar comments we will publish a reply in this magazine, those with more specific concerns will be addressed on an individual basis. A revised version of the Plan will be published taking into consideration those amendments which are supported by the majority of opinions.

We were sorry to say goodbye to Dot & John Browning who have now moved away from the valley. They have both worked tirelessly and been very keen, active and supportive members of the Neighbourhood Plan giving up considerable amounts of their time and energy from the start. They will be sorely missed and I would like to thank them for all their extremely hard work.

Paul Johns

News Letter No 14 - 01/05/2015

The News Letter format has changed and instead of being by Focus Group, it now relates to the emerging Neighbourhood Plan Document itself. This newsletter is therefore in .pdf format and will open in a separate window when you click on this link News Letter No 14 - 01/05/2015

News Letter No 13 - 01/03/2015

To all residents and friends of the Piddle Valley

The Neighbourhood Plan is moving forward. In the last couple of months we have thought through all your much wanted ideas which have led to quite a big change in direction. Based on all the information received and what you have said, we have now begun to draft the Plan and its policies. We have the help of a professional planning consultant to help us to get this right.

The Aims we are trying to achieve are:

  • 1 To protect the important green open and wooded spaces within and around the settlements, protect links and views of the wider countryside.
  • 2 To protect the gaps between the different settlements which help keep their separate identities.
  • 3 To protect the wider, open countryside, particularly the higher rolling landscapes which are largely undeveloped and offer important long distance views.
  • 4 To protect and enhance the animal and plant biodiversity within the Valley, including the Piddle River and its characteristic chalk river habitats.
  • 5 To avoid adding to the current groundwater problems and help provide solutions where possible for reducing surface water run-off from the surrounding slopes resulting in damage to properties.
  • 6 To ensure that where building takes place sewerage provisions are fit for purpose and that no buildings are constructed that would exacerbate existing problems until a solution exists.
  • 7 To avoid adding to the current traffic and parking problems and reduce the problems where possible.
  • 8 To ensure new buildings are located and designed to complement and/or add to the local character of the Valley and their immediate surroundings.
  • 9 To protect dark skies and prohibit light pollution from new developments.
  • 10 To help make buildings environmentally sustainable and where possible use recycled materials.
  • 11 To support leading edge communication with underground connectivity.
  • 12 To provide in perpetuity more low cost housing for local people within the Valley. This will help local people stay or return to the valley who couldn't otherwise afford to buy or rent here.
  • 13 To allow some open market housing, to provide opportunities for local people to down size, and to help bring in new people to the Valley to ensure a thriving community into the future.
  • 14 To provide more opportunities for people to work locally, either from home or new live-work units.
  • 15 To support changes to farms that would reduce the amount of large farm vehicles and tractors driving along the roads through the valley.
  • 16 To keep, and if possible extend, the range of community venues that bring people together. These include the halls, churches, school, shops, pubs and sports and recreational facilities.

I hope you agree with these Aims but we do need to include more of what you think, so will be presenting the initial draft Neighbourhood Plan for your further comments on Saturday 25th April at Piddle Valley First School. The feedback from that day of consultation will go into a second draft. We will circulate more details of this meeting nearer the date.

First Consultation of Draft Piddle Valley Neighbourhood Plan.

Saturday 25th April 2015

10 am-4 pm

Piddle Valley First School, Piddletrenthide

Paul Johns, Working Group Chairman

Flooding Questionnaire - 01/01/2015

You can print additional copies of the Flooding maps questionnaire for your village, from these links

Flooding map questionnaire - Alton Pancras

Flooding map questionnaire - Piddletrenthide

Flooding map questionnaire - Plush

Flooding map questionnaire - White Lackington

Flooding map questionnaire - Piddlehinton

News Letter No 12 - 01/01/2015

At the end of last year we held a series of meetings in each of the villages to find out your views on the draft proposals for the Neighbourhood Plan. I found the meetings enjoyable and informative. It was gratifying to find that the vast majority of you are in favour of having a Neighbourhood Plan; however the devil is in the detail and there were different views on the Plan's content.

Thank you to all who came and filled in the Housing questionnaires. We have not yet had time to analyse these fully so unfortunately the results will be in the next edition of News and Views. (Because of printing deadlines I am writing this at the beginning of December with Christmas just two weeks away.)

We have proportionally far more feedback from Piddlehinton than the other villages. This is in part due to a form being delivered to each of their houses so that they could be completed by people unable to attend the meeting. We think this was a good idea and so this month we will be doing the same for the other villages. I encourage you to fill these out - it is your plan and we need to know what you think. These forms will be delivered separately from News and Views so that all villages are treated in the same manner.

A topic that was regularly brought up at the meetings were the existing problems with flooding and sewerage. Indeed it was the dominant issue for Piddletrenthide. The correction of the existing problems is out of scope for the Neighbourhood Plan which is about the future. But the Plan must not exacerbate these problems. It is clear that more information at a detailed level, only known by local people who experience the problems first hand, is needed to address this now and in the future, so we have included yet another questionnaire. We have enlisted the help of our MP Oliver Letwin who has agreed to visit the Piddle Valley later in January to inspect the problems that many continue to experience. Your response and supporting information will be greatly appreciated.


led by John Cox, Chairman, Piddle Valley Parish Council - / 01300 348454

With the impending village and settlement meetings planned for November and December 2014, the Working Group considered the benefit of an independent facilitator and recorder. This decision was taken to ensure that the control and reporting of the meeting would be completely unbiased and funded from monies the Parish Council has received to produce the Neighbourhood Plan from Locality, Dorset Community Action and West Dorset District Council. The major proportion of this funding had to be spent by December 2014 and failure to spend the funding would result in any unspent monies being returned.

News Letter No 11 - 01/11/14

To all residents and friends of the Piddle Valley

I hope that you have seen the ideas of the Neighbourhood Plan that have been published in previous issues of News & Views, and also displayed at each of this year's fetes. We now need to gather your views further, especially about housing, to see whether or not you are in agreement. To that end five meetings have been arranged, one for each of the communities within the Valley, details of which are below. Please try and come because the Neighbourhood Plan should be what the majority of you want. The volunteers working on it are here solely to facilitate your views. It is hoped that all residents will attend their Village Meeting to contribute view and comments and discuss the developing Piddle Valley Neighbourhood Plan

Last month we had a lively and encouraging "dress rehearsal" for these meetings in Piddlehinton. After that meeting there is some background to the Neighbourhood Plan that I think is worth reiterating. The Government and the opposition both want to encourage more houses to be built and make it easier for these to be bought. They are changing planning policy to make it easier to build and there is a presumption in favour of building affordable homes. This means that there will be development in the Valley in the coming years.

What then is the purpose of the Neighbourhood Plan? It is so local people can influence the location of the sites and the number, type and size of housing each contains.

More importantly to many people, the Neighbourhood Plan can protect green spaces and views so that they are not developed in the next 15 years, the life of the Plan.

There is a balance; for the Plan to be accepted it cannot only designate protected green spaces it has to offer some housing sites in return. There are other benefits that can come out of the Plan. Conditions can be attached that can have other benefits to the community such as the provision of a new village hall.

We know from the survey we carried out last year that there are people born, brought up and now working in the Valley who would like to live here, but cannot afford it. There are also people living here, who brought their families up here but whose houses and gardens are now too large for them, that would like to downsize.

These are the people we are trying to help. So please try and come to the village meetings, especially if you have or know of a need for local housing.

Paul Johns, Working Group Chairman.

Village Meetings - Please make a note of the Village meeting dates and come along and "have your say" - we really do want your input and views.
ALTON PANCRASSt Pancras ChurchWednesday 19th November7.30 pm
WHITE LACKINGTONPiddle Valley First SchoolThursday 20th November7.30 pm
PIDDLEHINTONVillage HallWednesday 26th November7.30 pm
PIDDLETRENTHIDEPiddle Valley First SchoolThursday 27th November7.30 pm
PLUSHThe Brace of PheasantsWednesday 3rd December7.30 pm

News Letter No 10 - 01/09/14
To all residents and friends of the Piddle Valley

Planning rules are changing - nationally and locally. A new draft version of the West Dorset, Weymouth and Portland Local Plan, is about to be adopted. (These are the guidelines upon which planning officers make their decisions and can be found on the Dorset for you website.) There is a lot of press coverage about the national shortage of housing. The Government is 'relaxing' planning regulations in order to encourage building, and this is being reflected locally. No longer will villages be discouraged as housing sites and development will be concentrated on sites with good transport facilities around main roads and railway lines.

So what can a village do if it wants to protect views or areas from development? Define those areas in a Neighbourhood Plan that, if accepted, will become part of local planning law. But to be credible and to pass scrutiny we have to provide housing somewhere in the Valley. Where should we build? We all know the answer to that - 'anywhere but next door to me'.

Over the past months people have suggested sites within the Valley that may be appropriate for new housing. We have collated these suggestions and the plans are now open for all of you to comment on. They appear on the Housing Group report and we need you to tell us what you think, especially if you are in favour of any of the identified sites. These are not definitive, they are a first draft; it is fine if you want to object to a site but please don't stop there, suggest an alternative. In the autumn we will be holding separate meetings in each of the five villages so that we can receive further specific feedback, after all it is the residents of their village that should decide where in their village is developed and what is preserved.

The Neighbourhood Planning Group is made up of people who eighteen months ago volunteered to take the project on, many of whom come from Piddletrenthide and Plush. We need fresh ideas and more help, especially from the other villages. So if you are interested in playing a more active role then please get in touch.

Paul Johns, Working Group Chairman. Telephone 01300 348154

email or

News Letter No 9 - 01/07/14

I have recently taken over the chairmanship of the Neighbourhood Planning Group from John Browning. I would like to thank him for all the work he has achieved over the last 18 months, since the inception of the group, to bring us to where we are now. He proposed that the chairmanship should rotate every six months, so his has been a sterling effort.

John steps down having guided us to a point where our research and ideas are forming nascent policies. These policies, based on the feedback you've already given us are outlined in the following pages.

We have identified a need for smaller homes, both for those who want to buy their first homes and those looking to downsize. Do you think these should be built, and if so, where ?

I think it worth reiterating that the Neighbourhood Plan is about the future. If accepted by you, and ratified by the inspectors, the policies within it will become the planning policies for the Valley for the next 15 years.

The Piddle Valley plan could include a policy that "No public house should be given change of use into a residential property". If that were so and the Plan were in place now, that would be the case. But we live in the present and the Piddle Inn has just ceased trading. If you want to keep the building as a pub, please come and talk to us at the fetes. As soon as more information is available, it is hoped a village meeting can be arranged open to the whole Valley, at which the community could make representations.

Paul Johns, Working Group Chairman, telephone 01300 348154

email or

News Letter No 8 - 01/05/14

The busiest parts of the Neighbourhood Plan work in this last month have been in housing, communications and community energy fields about which you will read more in these centre pages but we are working towards producing informative material for residents to discuss with the Working Group at the summer fetes, now not far away.

Two presentations from the Wessex Community Land Trust Project team of Steve Watson and Alison Ward with Paul Derrien from the WDDC have shown how low cost local housing can be provided in the next 15-29 years. The Community Land Trust concept is becoming popular all over the country which is why this advisory group has been set up. Such a Trust could be formed outside the Neighbourhood Plan operation and can be a very helpful vehicle to achieve what is needed, with local people involved, and can be used in time to take on many other local roles, such as in protecting the future management of housing (successful at Buckland Newton), amenity land and the future of the shop and pubs as a few examples.

Our vicar Tony Monds has taken an interest in this beneficial initiative so if you feel you might wish to join him, please get in touch with us so that work can get started.

Many have been interested in the activities of Wessex Internet after they spoke about the future of high-speed broadband at our public meeting in the School recently; now 62 people have returned their expressions of interest on the forms in the last edition of the PVNV.

Elsewhere this week we have made an inspection study of six areas of local woodlands, an initiative supported by the owners. We commissioned a specialist forestry advisor to carry this out and he is now preparing a report for the Plan, soon to be available for public view and copies sent to landowners involved. The focus is on management of woodland for sustainability, managed regeneration, fuel generation, climate change plantings, community access and amenity protection, all as part of our energy and environmental objectives under the Plan.

News Letter No 7 - 01/03/2014

During a period when we have been only too aware of the fragility of the valley infrastructure, we have been taking note of your comments and advice in seeing how our Neighbourhood Plan can incorporate additional measures to help make the landscape of the Valley more sustainable in these extreme but perhaps recurrent conditions, by managing the power of the water, run-off and soil drainage, planting and natural absorption. This clearly affects housing design but this is not new so we need to work with the authorities to develop this programme and include plans within our new policies.

Housing, community and business needs continue otherwise to provide the greatest focus otherwise for our attention in view of the complex issues surrounding these subjects but we believe that real progress is being made and this enables us to concentrate on formulating policies that will underpin the basic structure of our Plan.

At the same time as this all moves forward, we still address the effects of fast moving traffic and alternative, safer means of circulation within our countryside. The schoolchildren's 'Keep Us Safe' placards still encourage drivers to keep speeds within limits, particularly now that speed monitoring is also in operation.

HighSpeed Broadband has come to a more informed head recently; we now know what people manage with at the moment and what is planned for 2016, if in a less than complete way and two years ahead, but it may be possible to bring a scheme forward earlier and more comprehensively. A private technology company is operating effectively elsewhere in Dorset and might work here. You will find a form in this issue inviting you to express your initial interest in exploring this further.

The community energy investigation is now combining with landscape and climate change considerations to outline a way forward by giving this whole subject some backbone for future plans. More will be available soon on this subject.

John Browning

Piddle Valley Neighbourhood Plan Time frame - At 01 March 2014
Information gathering ends March 2014
Drafting Plan Policies endsMay 2014
Strategic Environmental AssessmentJune 2014
Statement and summaries by endJuly 2014
Liaison with WDDC endsJuly 2014
Approval from Parish Council August 2014
Community Consultation for 6 weeks September 2014
Independent Examination October 2014
Further adjustments after Examination November 2014
Submission to WDDC December 2014
Referendum January 2015

News Letter No 6 - 01/01/14

The Housing Survey forms are in, so thanks to all who took part and for attending our meeting at the school in November. Progress continues in all areas but it is housing on which we concentrate most space again this time.

Just over a year ago, our MP, Oliver Letwin, joined a meeting of our working group and gave us an encouraging start. This exercise was repeated recently when he came again to look at our progress and gave us very helpful advice. He suggested our survey questions might have limited the response so we shall compare our findings with those received from neighbouring communities at Cerne Abbas and Buckland Newton. We have still to include data collected by the District Council. He could see that second homes are affecting communities, particularly Plush.

It was reassuring to hear we can be as specific as we wish in the type, character, size and specification of housing and free to locate housing where needed and appropriate, and in small groups as necessary. Redundant farm buildings have been the subject of debate for a long time but it is now becoming possible to see them converted where appropriate to residential use, workshops or for local community needs. He accepted that the contour restrictions set out in the Village Design Statement will avoid intrusion into the wider landscape. Land, as well as redundant structures, have been offered by several landowners. We shall be discussing this in more detail with them to help build the overall picture for what is available in the Valley and could go a long way towards what we eventually turn out to need. The procurement route for low cost housing as well as community facilities may well be best achieved through the medium of a community land trust, not unlike the scheme utilised at Buckland Newton. Another useful route might be the setting up of self-help groups where the efforts of individuals can be channelled into the shared objective of building sustainably. These can be exciting options that will bring residents into the latest techniques of energy saving passive construction.

John Browning

News Letter No 5 - 01/11/13

This month we would like to reserve our main message for the subject of our Housing Needs and Land Survey which gives us an invaluable snapshot of wishes, needs and resources throughout the Valley settlements.

You will find the Housing Survey with the Nov/Dec 2013 copy of News and Views but if you need more copies, photocopy a blank one. It should not take long to complete and give us a much clearer understanding of the present position.

All forms should be sealed in the accompanying envelope and handed to one of the individuals who have agreed to collect them, for onward delivery to our office. This needs to be done by the end of the month of November 2013 for a summary to be prepared for publication in the next issue of this magazine.

The form is fairly general in coverage at this stage but once we are able to assemble our summary, we shall be in touch with all those who have contributed for a discussion in enough detail for us to show ways in which these needs can be met. It will give us the best possible basis for including specific policies in our plan and help designate possible sites in an area in which external surveys of Dorset have shown is most in need of help. To put minds at rest, we do not envisage significant blocks of housing appearing anywhere but rather better use made of existing land and buildings, possible new workplaces for individuals and the attraction of more, enterprising young people to live and start a business or provide more facilities for visitors and tourists.

We live in a beautiful environment but we need to make it sustainable for the future. The Neighbourhood Plan will be the over riding document in terms of the development and protection of the Piddle Valley over the next 10 to 15 years so we must make every effort to get it right.

News Letter No 4 - 01/09/13

Progress continues as members of our focus groups generate much more specific evidence and begin to outline the main subjects which are emerging as the issues that residents would like to see included for incorporation in the future Neighbourhood Plan to serve the five villages for the next 15 years or so.

The main subjects of interest remain traffic speed and danger along the main road, a valley cycleway, affordable housing and a village centre to serve the whole valley population.

Although we do now have a good number of people involved in what are becoming very interesting studies, we would still welcome more of you to come forward and join the discussion at the regular meetings, usually once a month for each group, when they plan actions to be undertaken for the period ahead.

We also have a need for a computer-literate secretary to the main working group for their monthly meetings to help record and distribute notes and information to those involved which helps them plan the work they undertake.

Do get in touch with me if you feel able to help in any of these spheres.

John Browning, Working Group Chairman

telephone 01300 348981 - email or

Piddle Valley Neighbourhood Plan Time frame
Responses from residents on plan structure described in this issue of PVNVSeptember / October 2013
Preparation of DraftOctober / December 2013
Presentation to residents of Draft Plan January / February 2014
Feedback incorporated in Plan March / April 2014
Submission to West Dorset District Council April 2014
Public Consultation (6 weeks) May 2014
Further adjustments from public feedback June 2014
Independent Examination July / August 2014
Further adjustments after Examination September 2014
Notification period for Referendum October 2014
Final Publication and Referendum November / December 2014

News Letter No 3 - 01/07/13

Progress in the last two months has widened significantly now that we have more people contributing in the various focus groups. This is giving us a much more comprehensive impression of the future needs of Valley residents so if you feel you can add more to what we are gathering you are very welcome to do so by speaking to the group leaders or direct to me either by email or telephone. Every contribution is welcome and all will be carefully recorded.

Picture of Marquee

We have been noting all your comments and conversations at the various village meetings and Fetes from our small white marquee - you can't miss the large banner!

Read here how each focus group has been working to identify the key areas. The Business group has been recording all the commercial activities that many would not know are going on in our midst and evaluating what is needed to allow more employment to be provided, particularly for young people, as well as more suitable space for community uses, available to more people and much better located. Both the Housing and Environment groups are looking much more specifically at where redundant buildings could be put to good use in the future by conversion and adaptation, and new sites identified for low cost and open market housing in small areas of infill where they can support the present village fabric and infrastructure. Energy is concentrating on renewable sources, particularly from the river as the earlier mills would have done and possible future management of woodland for fuel combining with conservation objectives. The schoolchildren too have been enthusiastically contributing to energy and transport topics under their energetic head Tracy Jones. Transport has been a lively subject looking at traffic speed control measures, footpaths and the upgrading of the riverside bridleway for use as a cycleway alternative to the road.

Please read the individual group reports (see index above) and get in touch with one of us if you can.

Contact Working Group Chairman, John Browning - Telephone 01300 348981



News Letter No 2 - 23/04/13

Work on our Neighbourhood Plan has been moving apace in the two months since the last report. The January meeting of the volunteer working group saw the setting up of five focus groups (each of five/six people, now growing) to look in more depth at the way we all live and how we can direct change for the next ten or fifteen years. We see the Valley continuing to remain a conserved environment. Many problems and difficulties will be raised but they can be addressed in positive and imaginative ways, shaping development with the means of achieving the highest priorities for community benefit. The direction of the focus groups is becoming clearer so this is a summary:

Environment, landscape and farming

led by Peter Chance Tel: 01300 348311

Establishing a keynote in landscape protection, views into and out of the Valley, protection from new development, green publicly accessible areas, footpath routes and the settings of pubs and eating places, encouragement for farming diversity, limiting light pollution by planning, and restoration of traditional fingerposts.

Housing - both for open market and low cost for local people

led by Malcolm Johnston Tel: 01300 34869

Walks around all village settlements to understand and record the character, shape of each community, likely need for housing, particularly for local people, empty property, proportion weekend residents, possible sites at village centres, support for current activities, sustainable building, variation of development boundaries.

Business and community needs.

led by Ian Messer Tel: 01300 348580

Detailed study of Enterprise Park development policy, existing buildings, new building and landscape enhancement, level of small business activity in the Valley, demands for young people and existing residents needing new business space or live/work units to develop current small scale activities.

Community energy generation and low energy design

led by Dot Browning Tel: 01300 348280

Comparison of the different energy sources : coal, coke, wood, straw/dung, biofuels, solar versus gas and mains electricity. Water turbines, development of community solar farms and community woodland, recycling and insulation initiatives and involvement of the School in research

Transport, traffic speed, footpaths, cycleways and communications

led by Neil Herbert Tel: 01300 348479

Broadband situation, public transport facilities, bridleways, footpaths and cycleway network, maintenance, parking ideas and traffic speed reduction studies combining pinch points with pavement improvements and possible funding methods.


An overall programme has been set out for research and discussion with residents, local groups and societies. The plan boundary for study has now been officially approved and advertised and a date set for the next issue of News and Views on 1st July when we expect to set out the key areas we see forming the basis of our Plan. We shall be including a pull-out section for you to add your own comment and feedback to widen discussion with everyone able to offer a view - we hope that you will all join in for that.

This is becoming an absorbing and surprisingly inclusive and sociable activity for all who have become involved so far, but we would like to see even more people coming forward for information gathering. We meet for the various discussion groups in various houses and pubs around the Valley; it is great fun, so do look at the website, get in touch with group leaders and join in - a warm welcome awaits you!

Contact Working Group Chairman, John Browning, Tel: 01300 348981

email or

11th March 2013

The new working party, with several new faces, has begun to meet to talk about the way ahead.

The current members and the the various Focus Groups they are involved with are listed on the Working Group Membership page.

The main subjects for study are confirmed and focus groups have been created to take each aspect forward by looking at the experiences of residents and talking to them about the way they see the future character of the Valley settlements develop in the next 10-15 years. We shall be present at the various village meetings to listen to the local points raised by residents and discuss any concerns they may have in more detail. This is an essential part of the process of information gathering for the Neighbourhood Plan.

So far we have four or five people in each of these focus groups so if you feel able to join them, we would welcome your help. Please contact the Working Group Chairman John Browning on 01300 348981 or email

The next planned meetings are:-

  • 21st March 2013 7.30pm Working Group at The Thimble Inn
  • 11th March 2013 7.30pm Piddlehinton Village meeting at Piddlehinton Village Hall
  • 15th April 2013 7.00 pm Alton Pancras Village Meeting at AP Church

News letter No 1 - 01/03/13
newsletter No 1



If anyone is interested in any way in contributing their skills, knowledge or enthusiasm to any part of the work being undertaken by the Neighbourhood Plan Working Group, please would you let us know. This is your opportunity to assist in shaping the future of the Piddle Valley.

The next stage will involve quite a lot of work and as the saying goes - "Many hands make light work". The more help there is, the less the workload on any individual.

Your contribution can be as simple as delivering leaflets or taking meeting notes right through to specialist technical knowledge and advice.

There is a simple form available here to let us know how you can help. Any assistance would be greatly welcome.

Piddle Valley Neighbourhood Plan Report

On 31 January 2012 it was decided to set up a working group to determine whether the Piddle Valley would benefit from a Neighbourhood Plan. This culminated in a public presentation at the school. Following this the community were invited to complete a short questionnaire (which was also available as a pullout section in the News & Views) to decide whether they felt Piddle Valley should develop a Neighbourhood Plan. 113 questionnaires were returned, 81 in favour, 31 against with one spoiled vote. This represented 11.3% of the electoral roll. There were also 37 offers of help.

Following the vote the Working Group presented their full report to the Parish Council at the meeting on 4th December 2012. There was some concern about the small number of votes and it was obvious from the comments received that the benefits and advantages of Neighbourhood Planning had not been fully understood. To clarify a few points:

  • Neighbourhood Plans can encourage structured development within a settlement which at present is not allowed under the West Dorset Local Plan; it can also seek to limit inappropriate development, protect green spaces and local community assets.
  • A Neighbourhood Plan has to represent the views of the community and to be adopted it has to have a majority at an election conducted by the local authority.
  • Planning applications will still have to be submitted to the District Council who will have an obligation to take the Neighbourhood Plan into account in their considerations.

The Working Group has realised that preparing a Neighbourhood Plan is a lengthy and difficult task and there have been differing views among the group. It's up to the community to decide what subjects to include - it can be as simple or complex as you wish.

The following are a few focus points which could be included:

  • Transport and Communications
  • Landscape and the Environment
  • Housing and Sustainable Development
  • Renewable Energy and Energy Conservation
  • Community, Business, Employment and Tourism

There will be another open meeting at the Piddle Valley First School at 7.30pm on Thursday 24th January 2013 to discuss the next stage and the subjects to include in the Plan. The Parish Council hope that as many people as possible will attend and support their Neighbourhood Plan. In order for the project to go ahead and succeed we need local support - please try and come along to the meeting with your thoughts and ideas.

Piddle Valley Parish Council


It had become clear to the PC that the Parish Plan, which was started in 2008 but never completed because of subsequent changes to the planning requirements, would be an important starting point from which to prepare any Neighbourhood Plan because of the amount of detailed research which had already been undertaken into the needs and aspirations of the Valley Community.

This has now been completed and a copy of the Parish Plan can be viewed here.

14/11/2012 - Enterprise Park Report

As part of the work to determine the feasibility of establishing a Neighbourhood Plan, the Working Party undertook a short study of Enterprise Park, Piddlehinton as a means of better understanding the activities undertaken there and to ascertain the priorities and concerns of the Owners and Tenants.

The Enterprise Park, Piddlehinton, report 2012 can be read by clicking on the link.


Following the very well attended Localism and Neighbourhood Plan exhibition at Piddle Valley First School on Saturday 13th October, may we remind everyone that the Parish Council needs you to indicate whether you wish them to proceed with the preparation of a Neighbourhood Plan, or to retain the status quo.

If nothing is done, then future planning decisions that affect the Valley will be taken by the District Council as they see fit. If the Valley has it's own Neighbourhood Plan, which sets out our wishes for things we both do and do not wish to see occur, then the District Council have to take those views into account in reaching their decision.

The Plan will take a lot of time and work to prepare, including further consultations, and must eventually be approved by a referendum of the Valley residents. It is important therefore for the PC to know that there is support in principle for the work involved.

Please "vote" on this by leaving at the Post Office, by the 16th November 2012, the completed questionnaire from the exhibition. If you do not have the questionnaire, please ask at the Post Office or contact John Cox on 348454.

01/09/2012 - Neighbourhood Plan


The Localism Act allows local communities to play a more positive role in planning decisions by drawing up a Neighbourhood Plan which may include specific policies to meet the needs of our particular community but which are not included in the present Local Plan. However, these have to be in line with the general strategy of the District Council. This new procedure could also accelerate the planning process.

The scope of a Neighbourhood Plan is not restricted to building development. It may involve issues such as business, employment, transport, local amenities, tree planting and renewable energy.

The Working Group has now met on 5 occasions and members have attended presentations by West Dorset District Council and the Campaign to Protect Rural England.

They have also benefited from the help of Cerne Valley Parish Council who have been one of the front runners in the implementation of their Neighbourhood Plan within West Dorset.

From this experience it has become clear that there are still a number of uncertainties about the Neighbourhood Plan concept, not least over the questions of the cost of such an exercise, the specialist skills required and the amount of hard work involved.

On the other hand, some issues have become very clear to the group, such as the need to identify the particular needs of the local community and to produce a practical working plan for local people to use over the next decade.

It is vital that all who live and work in the Piddle Valley can play an active part in shaping its future by expressing their views. To this end there will be a Public presentation on the Neighbourhood Plan on Saturday 13th October 2012 at Piddle Valley First School, followed by a chance for everyone to have their say on the possible way forward.

Further details of the event will be given in the Jul/Aug '12 issue of News & Views, but please put the date in your diaries now!

Parish Council Report 31/01/12

Localism was discussed at the Piddle Valley Parish Council Meeting on 31st January. Councillors questioned what was involved, what was possible and what was required of the Council. Chairman John Cox informed all of the impact and opportunity that Localism offered in the Piddle Valley. Councillors were concerned on the timescale to produce a Neighbourhood Plan, were they required to do so, how it could be achieved, what it would constitute. They concluded they needed time to familiarise themselves with the Localism Act.

District Councillor Jacqui Cuff explained why the Localism Bill was so important now and into the future and outlined how the community could help shape their settlements and environments. She pointed out that, unlike many other areas, the Piddle Valley was very fortunate in having the Piddle Valley Design Statement. This document had been accepted by West Dorset District Council and can be used as a basis from which to move forward, and expanded to control the planning of our infrastructure and environment for the future.

Councillor Cuff used an example of an application for a new dwelling on a farm site in Plush which, under current regulations, would be automatically refused. Under Localism, if there was support for an application for a new building, restoration of existing, removal and clearance of unsightly and dangerous buildings on this site, and it was included in the Piddle Valley Neighbourhood Plan, then a planning application could be considered for approval.

Councillor Cox invited those attending to contribute to the discussion. Peter Chance, who represents CPRE, attended the Cerne Abbas presentation when they reported on their progress as a Neighbourhood Plan Trial Area (see Jan/Feb 2012 PVNV ). He stressed the importance of preparing a Neighbourhood Plan in offering the opportunity for the community to play a far greater role in the development of many aspects of Valley life. John Browning, who had been part of the Working Group producing the Piddle Valley Design Statement, suggested looking at the helpful guide on the Communities and Local Government website.

After further discussion on the structure of a Piddle Valley Neighbourhood Plan, the expertise needed and involvement of Councillors, it was accepted that the Parish Council would set up a Neighbourhood Plan Working Group to develop the Piddle Valley Design Statement. Councillor Cox welcomed their confirmation that such a group would be willing to set out a structure to go forward so the matter can be discussed at the next meeting. It was stressed that the Working Group would involve at least 2 or 3 Councillors, have direct contact with all the villages and involve specific expertise and skill throughout the Valley.

District Councillor's Report

Neighbourhood Planning is one of the 5 key measures in the Localism Act and gives communities, for the first time, 'a new way for communities to decide the future of the places where they live and work', 'a real voice in the look and feel of development in their area'. My personal request to each and every one of you is ask that you investigate what this means for you as an individual and for your community as a whole. Consider especially the potential impact on your future and the future of your family. Do you live adjacent to a patch of land that is ripe for development? Do you have an aspiration for a future enterprise in your area? What services do you think your community would benefit from? What do you want to preserve - is there a particular building, landmark or area you feel is important? Can you identify areas that need improvement or could be better utilised? Please become engaged in the process by making your thoughts and views known, these will make up the pieces of the whole jigsaw that will become the statutory planning document for your area.

Jacqui Cuff

There is also an article by Peter Chance in the January 2012 issue of News & Views explaining the importance of the Localism Act, how it may affect us in the valley and how we may affect it! It is well worth reading.


The Localism Act came into force in 2011. It provides, amongst many other things, that the Local Community (in this case the Parish Council) will become much more involved in the decision making process of Local Government. In our case that particularly means the Planning Process.

Generally, if the Parish have a formally adopted Neighbourhood Plan, which sets out their expectations of things they do and do not wish to see in their community, the Distict Council must take this into account when making planning decisions. If there is no Neighbourhood Plan, the District Council will be entitled to decide as they think fit. This may not suit the Community or it's needs.

On 31st January 2012 the Parish Council therefore decided to set up a Neighbourhood Plan Working Group to consider the issues, reflect local aspirations and opportunitites and develop and update the existing Village Plan and Piddle Valley Design Statement. How this is progressing is in the Working Groups reports (see Index).

Links to the Legislation

A copy of the Localism Act can be found at

Plain English Guide to the Localism Act" (NB. The link given for this on page 47 of March 2012 News and Views has been superseded)

The following websites may also be of interest:

Government Planning Portal for Neighbourhoods

Neighbourhood Planning

Localism and Planning