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Local Plan for the Christchurch area

The Local Plan sets out the vision, strategies and policies for development within the area. The following planning policies make up the Local Plan for the Christchurch area.

Core Strategy

The Core Strategy (2014) forms an important part of the Local Plan for the Christchurch area. We use these policies when we determine planning applications. It also:

  • sets out how the Christchurch area should develop in the future
  • sets objectives and policies for the Christchurch area
  • puts a delivery strategy in place to achieve the objectives
  • shows how the delivery of the strategy will be managed and monitored

A practice note sets out how the council will now apply Policy LN3 'Provision of Affordable Housing' following changes to national policy.

Policies map

The policies map shows the allocations and designations covered by policies in the Local Plan. You can view the interactive policies map or below you can download the:

Online map of planning policies

The online map of planning policies includes policies from Local Plans and Made Neighbourhood Plans in Christchurch. This map is not intended to replicate the definitive Local Plan policies maps, or all the maps in the ‘made’ neighbourhood plans. Only map-based policies are shown. Other policies can be found in the local plans and neighbourhood plans and may still apply.

Saved Policy - Christchurch Local Plan

Christchurch Borough Council's Local Plan (2001) sets out detailed policies and specific proposals for the development and use of land in Christchurch to 2011.

There are a number of saved policies that are still in effect. These are set out in a schedule of schedule of saved policies. Below are the parts of the Local Plan where you can view:

The Development Plan for the Christchurch area also comprises the:

Policy guidance

Supplementary Planning Documents (SPD), Supplementary Planning Guidance (SPG) and other guidance documents provide more detailed planning guidance to support the Local Plan. These are non-statutory documents but can be a material consideration in the determination of planning applications.

BCP Parking Standards SPD

The BCP Parking Standards SPD (January 2021) provides detail on parking requirements for new development proposals and is a material consideration when determining planning applications within the area.

Dorset Heathlands Planning Framework

The Dorset Heathlands Planning Framework (2020) and reference list sets out a strategy under which planning applications for residential development can be determined and avoid adverse effects on the integrity of the Dorset Heathlands. You can view an analysis of the effectiveness of the strategy since its introduction in 2007.

Residential development within 400 metres of the heathlands is strictly controlled and mitigation is necessary between 400 metres and 5km of heathland. This is through Heathland Infrastructure Projects (HIPs) and Strategic, Access Management and Monitoring (SAMM). HIPs are usually secured through the payment of Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) but SAMMs are secured by planning obligation. You can check if your property is within 400 metres of a heathland on this map.

Dorset Heathlands Interim Air Quality Strategy

The Dorset Heathlands Interim Air Quality Strategy 2020-2025 (February 2021) aims to address the adverse effect of airborne nitrogen from increases in traffic upon the Dorset Heathlands designated sites by contributing to the achievement of the conservation objectives for air quality and in doing so, facilitate the delivery of planned development. The strategy uses Community Infrastructure Levy funds to provide mitigation avoiding the need for developers to pay planning obligations.

Phosphates in the River Avon

Our April 2024 position statement sets out how we will deal with planning applications for additional homes and tourist accommodation in the Christchurch area. You can view the following additional information:

Housing and Affordable Housing SPD

The Christchurch and East Dorset Housing and Affordable Housing SPD (2018) expands upon housing and affordable housing policies set out in the Core Strategy.

Christchurch Borough-wide Character Assessment

The Character Assessment aims to help identify and protect the identity of the borough through a comprehensive assessment of urban and landscape character areas. Guidance is set out regarding the capacity of areas to accommodate new development and their unique sensitivity to change.

Christchurch Shopfronts and Advertisement Design Guide

The Christchurch Shopfronts and Advertisement Design Guide (2005) sets out the requirements of national and local planning policy to help people seeking planning consent for changes to shopfronts and aims to expand on Local Plan policy (and its successor) by setting out the basic principles of good shopfront and advertisement design.

Christchurch Town Centre Strategy

The Town Centre Strategy (2003) aims to clarify a vision for the development of Christchurch Town Centre. It provides a framework to manage future changes while protecting the range of high quality heritage aspects. Below you can find the:

Building Research Establishment Environmental Assessment Method (BREEAM) advice note

The BREEAM advice note (2021) sets out how applicants should consider BREEAM planning policy requirements for new commercial development and the approach that should be taken to change of use applications. It also signposts relevant external information and guidance.

Design advice note

The Design advice note (2003) sets out a number of considerations that we wish to see reflected in alterations and extensions to existing residential properties. The principles of good design apply whether your proposal requires planning permission or not. The aim of this note is to promote a better understanding of the options available to you in proposing to alter or extend your home.

Druitt Gardens Planning, Design and Development Framework

A Planning, Design and Development Brief (2005) for land west of Christchurch High Street including Druitt Gardens, the Lanes and Cornfactor sites create a cultural focus for the town. A masterplan and report were produced in 2008.

Waste and recycling

The BCP Council Planning Guidance 2023 guidance note provides standards developers should apply to dealing with waste in developments.

Evidence studies

The following evidence studies are also relevant to the Christchurch area.

Census based population and household projections for Christchurch

The Census based population and household projections for Christchurch (2012) forecasts the number of people and homes needed by 2031.

Christchurch Strategic Housing Land Availability Study (SHLAA)

The Christchurch Strategic Housing Land Availability Study (SHLAA) (2017) sets out the sites that make up the housing supply. The 2017 report provides the methodology but the sites are superseded by a 2019 SHLAA interactive map.

Strategic Housing Market Assessment (SHMA)

The Strategic Housing Market Assessment (SHMA), SHMA Summary and Christchurch SHMA Summary(2015) sets the population and household forecasts and household formation rates to 2033.

Christchurch and East Dorset Employment Land Review

The Christchurch and East Dorset Employment Land Review Stage 1 Main Report and Appendix 1 Christchurch Maps (2006) determines the quantity, location and type of employment land and premises necessary to meet the requirements of business to 2026.

Bournemouth Dorset and Poole Workspace Strategy

The Bournemouth Dorset and Poole Workspace Strategy (2016) provides employment land projections and business sector forecasts to 2033.

Joint Bournemouth, Christchurch and East Dorset Retail and Leisure Study

The Joint Bournemouth, Christchurch and East Dorset Retail and Leisure Study comprising:

  • Volume 1 Report (2017) which summarises the relevant policy context, describes the shopping hierarchy and provides a needs assessment for retail and other main town centre uses.
  • Volume 2 Report (2017) which relates specifically to the Bournemouth area which assesses the main centres, sets out recommendations and conclusions and includes health checks of each defined centre.
  • an Update Addendum Report (2019) provides a partial update and should be read alongside Volumes 1 and 2 and updates the retail and food / beverage floorspace capacity projections 2017 - 2033 taking into account implications of the revised National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) 2018, updated population projections and Experian's latest expenditure forecasts (2018)

Open Space, Sport and Recreation Assessment

The Open Space, Sport and Recreation Assessment (2007) determines the current standard and extent of provision of open space, sport and recreation facilities. Below you can view:

Flood risk assessment

The Local Plan is supported by a strategic flood risk assessment (SFRA) which includes a SFRA interactive map to check properties in Christchurch to see if they are at risk of flooding.

You can view the progress we are making in implementing the local plan policies on the monitoring and information page.

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