Today the National Park Authority has adopted the Development Management and Delivery Plan (or ‘DMD’ as we know it). This document was 3 years in preparation during which time we attended around 30 community engagement events, and received nearly one thousand individual comments (or ‘representations’) on the plan – positive and negative, as it progressed to examination. We submitted the plan to the Secretary of State in May 2012; the examination by an independent Inspector from the Planning Inspectorate lasted 12 months, and included 5 days of public hearings and two additional periods of consultation.
So what do we have at then end of all this!? The DMD replaces the remaining ‘saved’ policies from the 2004 Local Plan, and, together with the Core Strategy is now the development plan or ‘local plan’ for the National Park. It includes 47 ‘general’ policies covering topics like affordable housing, landscape, the historic environment, farm diversification, renewable energy, and economic development. These will be used in our day to day decision making on planning applications. The DMD also includes 19 site specific policies which include development sites like those already moving forward at Chagford and Ashburton, as well as areas specially protected from development, such as the conservation area at South Zeal. ‘Allocating’ development sites in this way aims to provide certainty for communities and developers around where it is considered are the most appropriate sites for new development to take place.
The two plans together look forward to 2026, but will be kept under regular review.
That doesn’t mean us Forward Planners now get a rest, though! We’re currently busy supporting communities and developers in bringing some of the allocated sites forward through masterplans and development briefs, we’re working on an Affordable Housing SPD, a range of research projects, and will be looking at how we update the Minerals Local Plan. That’s plenty to be getting on with before we start all over again with a new local plan! But for the moment we can at least rest easy that (as required by national policy) Dartmoor is covered by a range of robust and up to date planning policies; aiming to enable communities to thrive whilst protecting the National Park’s valuable environment.