Hampshire County Council
Executive Member - Environment: North Hampshire and Spatial Strategy
26 July 2005
South East Dorset Sub Regional Strategy
Report of the Director of Environment
Contact: John Sulzmann, ext 6764 email: firstname.lastname@example.org
1.1 This report examines the content and implications for long term planning and transportation in Hampshire of the emergent Spatial Strategy for the South East Dorset sub-region.
2.1 The South West Regional Assembly (SWRA) has commissioned a sub-regional study of South East Dorset to 2026 to inform its work on preparation of the Regional Spatial Strategy (RSS). The study is being led by the three strategic planning authorities - Bournemouth Borough Council, Dorset County Council and Poole Borough Council - and is being undertaken in partnership with all local authorities in the area, including Hampshire County Council and New Forest District Council, and other key partner organisations. Councillor Chapman has represented the Executive Member for Environment: North Hampshire and Spatial Strategy at the Member meetings progressing the study.
2.2 The Assembly requested the South East Dorset authorities to submit an "initial draft strategy" for South East Dorset by early June 2005. The initial draft submission was a brief document and contained only the broad strategy, incorporating a sub-regional vision, spatial policies, infrastructure requirements and a key diagram. The final sub-regional study, including completed technical and supporting topic reports, is due to be submitted mid-September 2005.
2.3 Finally, a panel meeting of Members from SWRA and the South East England Regional Assembly is due to be arranged within the next few months to consider potential cross-boundary matters that could require a joined-up approach to implementing spatial policies in both Regional Spatial Strategy documents. This report draws attention to those issues where there is potential for common ground between the strategy for South East Dorset and the future policies for adjoining communities in the south-western part of Hampshire.
3. Initial Spatial Strategy
3.1 At the request of the South West Regional Assembly, the South East Dorset authorities have tested various scales of future development ranging from continuing the current Regional Planning Guidance (RPG) development rate up to 50% above RPG. This represents a range: 45,500-57,500 new dwellings 2001-2026. The Initial Strategy Document proposes provision for 43,000 dwellings, of which 87% (37,200) would be within the existing built-up area of Bournemouth/ Poole/Christchurch.
3.2 The Dorset strategic authorities have formulated their spatial strategy with a strong focus on the continuing provision of housing, commercial and economic development within the existing built-up areas of the principal Boroughs of Bournemouth, Poole and Christchurch. Around 90 per cent of new housing construction 2001-2026 is anticipated to be delivered in the urban areas in a way that reinforces the essential structure of the urban area, and contributes to a genuinely sustainable urban form within an internationally valued countryside and coastal environment. The strategy promotes a limited number of proposed urban extensions to the existing built-up areas, each requiring a review of Green Belt boundaries through the LDF process, to release opportunities for both local housing and employment needs. The assessment of greenfield capacity for urban extensions amounts to around 4,100 dwellings.
3.3 Apart from the limited opportunities to extend current settlement boundaries, the strategy is founded on the crucial importance of the protection and enhancement of the area's key natural and built environmental assets, including internationally valued habitats and unique coastal and landscape characteristics. The study explored the potential for strategic scale allocations elsewhere around the sub-region - including a possible option for a settlement of 2,750 or 7,000 dwellings west of Poole. However, these options were considered incapable of implementation due to overriding environmental factors or constraints on the provision of necessary transport infrastructure.
3.4 The policy framework for South East Dorset includes a number of elements that are closely related to neighbouring parts of Hampshire:
(i) confirmation of the proposed strategic employment land allocation (80 hectares) at Bournemouth Airport as a focus for air-related and knowledge-based industries. Policy would seek to prevent a significant proportion of office development at this important site;
(ii) directing large scale office developments (exceeding 2,000 square metres) into commercial business areas within the built-up areas of Bournemouth and Poole; and
(iii) delivering a package of transport measures to improve access to Bournemouth Airport, including a new link road to the A338 Bournemouth Spur road.
4. Implications for Hampshire
Provision for New Housing
4.1 In December 2004 the Dorset strategic authorities carried out a formal public consultation exercise on future issues and growth options for South East Dorset, looking ahead to 2026. In response, the then Executive Member for Spatial Strategy on 15 February 2005 decided that Hampshire County Council should register concern that development within South East Dorset could potentially have adverse impacts on adjoining areas of Hampshire and seek assurances that the scale of development eventually chosen will be accompanied by adequate and timely improvements to infrastructure. Also, that the County Council should express concern at the possible implications of development on traffic flows between Hampshire and South East Dorset, and that it would oppose any substantial development within Hampshire around New Milton/Barton-on-Sea and asked that this option should not appear in any strategy for South East Dorset.
4.2 Previous concerns about possible urban extensions around New Milton/ Barton-on-Sea arose because of an illustrative plan in the consultation leaflet that appeared to indicate potential for urban extensions on the Hampshire side of the county boundary. This does not appear on the initial strategy draft Key Diagram. It includes the boundary of the New Forest National Park, which was not on the plan in the consultation leaflet.
4.3 The concern expressed about future increases in traffic flows between South East Dorset and Hampshire and their implications for road improvements and the environment in Hampshire has not yet been resolved. Transport officers are continuing to explore those issues with their colleagues in Dorset (see paragraphs 4.8 and 4.9 below).
Provision for Employment
4.4 The 'initial' projections of the future labour supply available in South East Dorset show an emerging labour shortage in the very long term, getting progressively larger between 2016 and 2026.
4.5 The initial draft strategy suggests that some of the shortfall in the later part of the projection period could be made up by reductions in the number of workers commuting out of South East Dorset for their work. Another possible balancing factor might be an increased level of commuting into South East Dorset from the adjoining parts of Hampshire, Wiltshire and the remaining parts of Dorset County.
4.6 The potential for increases in commuting in the long term from southern and western Hampshire is likely to be of concern to the Hampshire authorities. It could limit or restrict the availability of specific types of skilled labour in areas such as South Hampshire and add to traffic flows between the two counties. This is an issue which will need to be kept under review to examine the possible impact of generated traffic across the New Forest National Park and on specific settlements in Hampshire. The three strategic authorities in Dorset will do some further work on this in the next two months.
4.7 The proposed location of much of the residential development requirement within the existing Poole-Bournemouth Urban Area is welcome, as this is seen to offer the greatest potential for providing sustainable locations and minimising traffic generation. However, Hampshire County Council should reiterate its previously expressed concern at the potential effect of the scale of proposed development on the road network in the south-west of Hampshire and through the newly designated New Forest National Park. Bournemouth International Airport is also proposed as a major strategic employment site which would potentially increase traffic on the Hampshire road network.
4.8 Further technical information, in the form of a transport model, is still awaited and so it is difficult to be any more specific at present in assessing the potential impacts the development of South East Dorset will have on Hampshire's road network. This is expected to be ready to feed into the final submission to the South West of England Regional Assembly in September.
4.9 Ongoing joint work with South East Dorset authorities on transport infrastructure improvements is required if Hampshire County Council is to be satisfied that the transport implications of proposed development are acceptable within Hampshire. Improvements could include junction improvements and localised widening to the A31 on the Hampshire/ Dorset border, which may have an impact upon traffic flows and access to the A31 on the Hampshire side. Hampshire officers will wish to keep this under review as part of the ongoing discussions on transport.
5. Impact Assessments
5.1 The main environmental impacts arising within Hampshire involve the potential impact on the National Park environment, including additional recreational and traffic pressures on the Park, and impacts on air quality, noise and pollution levels in rural communities in some parts of Hampshire. These impacts can only be considered properly once the studies on generated traffic levels and possible effects on rural roads have been completed. As noted elsewhere in this report, joint working with Dorset officers on the traffic and environmental impacts is still continuing, so there is no firm conclusion on the impact of the initial spatial strategy at this stage.
6.1 The Initial Sub-Regional Strategy adopted by the Dorset authorities should be supported in principle. In particular, the clear emphasis on concentrating the majority of new development within the Christchurch-Bournemouth-Poole built-up area is to be welcomed. This is expected to minimise the generation of additional car traffic beyond the South East Dorset sub-region, and seems likely to have fewer implications for adjacent areas in Hampshire.
6.2 Hampshire County Council officers will continue discussions with colleagues from the South East Dorset authorities over the transport implications of the proposed development on Hampshire's road network.
That Bournemouth Borough Council, Poole Borough Council and Dorset County Council be advised that Hampshire County Council:
(i.) supports the initial draft strategy to concentrate the major part of new development within existing built-up areas, but remains concerned that development within South East Dorset, particularly at the higher growth scenarios could potentially have adverse impacts on adjoining areas of Hampshire and seeks assurances that the scale of development eventually chosen will be accompanied by adequate and timely improvements to infrastructure; and
(ii) maintains its previously expressed concern at the possible implications of development on traffic flows between Hampshire and South East Dorset and therefore reserves its position in relation to the appropriate scale of future development pending the receipt and analysis of further technical information on the traffic implications.
Section 100 D - Local Government Act 1972 - background papers
The following documents disclose facts or matters on which this report, or an important part of it, is based and has been relied upon to a material extent in the preparation of this report.
NB the list excludes:
Documents which disclose exempt or confidential information as defined in the Act.
South East Dorset Sub-Regional Study: Initial Draft First Detailed Proposals, 27 May 2005 - File D3/12 (1)
South East Dorset Sub-Regional Study: Growth Testing, 27 May 2005 - File D3/12 (1)