LOCAL residents are invited to give their views on the impact of housing development on the long term future of Dorset heathland.
Residents can comment on the Preferred Options document for the Dorset Heathlands during the public consultation, which will run for a period of eight weeks up until Thursday 28th March.
The document, developed by Bournemouth, Christchurch, East Dorset, Poole and Purbeck local authorities, forms part of a longer term strategy to reduce or avoid the harmful aspects of future housing development on internationally important heathland across South East Dorset. The plan will eventually replace the Dorset Heathland Planning Framework Supplementary Planning Document, which came into effect in September 2012.
Over recent years Dorset's heathland has been affected by acts of arson and vandalism. Together with recreational activities such as walking, dog walking and cycling, damage and disturbance can be caused to the plants, animals and birds that contribute to the unique landscape and character of the heaths. The plan sets out options and draft policies designed to protect and enhance this valuable habitat by providing a range of measures aimed at reducing activities which damages the heaths.
The public consultation is being coordinated by Borough of Poole and the Preferred Options document will be available to view and download from Borough of Poole’s website, at local libraries and at the main offices of the five councils. The website also provides details of how residents can submit their comments on the options and draft policies.
Councillor Mike White, cabinet portfolio holder for planning and regeneration, Borough of Poole, said: "The heathland is a valuable asset and plays an important role in residents' enjoyment of their local area. We would like to hear from everyone who has an interest in the heathland so that their views and comments can be taken into account in policies aimed at protecting this important landscape."
The document can be viewed and downloaded at boroughofpoole.com/dorset-heathlands-preferred-options.