Issue details

Church Knowle parish area - Designation of a neighbourhood area

Reason for the decision


Neighbourhood Area designation


Dorset Council has received a neighbourhood area application (Appendix A) from Church Knowle Parish Council.


The Neighbourhood Planning (General) Regulations 2012 (as amended) state under regulation 5A that:


(1)    …where­­─


(a)  a local planning authority receives an area application from a parish council;


(b)  the area specified in the application consists of the whole of the parish council’s area; and


(c)  if any part of the specified area is part of a neighbourhood area, none of that neighbourhood area extends outside the parish council’s area.


(2)  The local planning authority must exercise their powers under section 61G of the 1990 Act to designate the specified area as a neighbourhood area.

At the same time regulation 5A paragraph (3) outlines that under the circumstances set out in paragraph (1), above, there is no requirement for a local planning authority to consult on the proposed neighbourhood area.


These provisions are summarised in Paragraph 032 (Reference ID: 41-032-20170728) of the neighbourhood planning section of the national Planning Practice Guidance (PPG). This states:


‘Where a parish council applies for the whole of the area of the parish to be designated as a neighbourhood area, the local planning authority must designate the whole of the area applied for. This includes where a parish applies to extend its existing neighbourhood area to its parish boundary. Exceptions to this are where the area applied for:


·       has already been designated as a neighbourhood area which extends beyond the parish boundary; or


·       forms part of another application that has not yet been determined.’


Church Knowle Parish Council has applied to have the whole of its parish area designated as a neighbourhood area. The area specified in the application does not extend beyond the Church Knowle parish boundary and does not overlap with other neighbourhood areas already designated or applied for and awaiting determination.


Regulation 5A of the Neighbourhood Planning (General) Regulations 2012 (as amended) therefore applies to the application received from Church Knowle Parish Council. To this end there is no requirement to consult on the application and Dorset Council must exercise its powers under section 61G of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 to designate the Church Knowle parish area as a ‘neighbourhood area’.


Alternative options considered and rejected


Business Area


Section 61H of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990, as amended by the Localism Act 2011, requires that when designating a neighbourhood area, a local planning authority should consider whether the area concerned should be designated as a ‘business area’. If a business area is designated, local businesses would have the opportunity to be more involved in the formation of the neighbourhood plan and would get an opportunity to vote (alongside registered electors) in the later referendum on whether the neighbourhood plan should come into force. However, this section of the Act is clear that a neighbourhood area should only be designated as a business area if it is ‘wholly or predominantly business in nature’.


Church Knowle is a village and civil parish on the Isle of Purbeck. Whilst some businesses are located and operate in Church Knowle, the parish is predominantly rural in nature. Therefore, the Council is not aware of any evidence to suggest that it would be appropriate to designate the proposed neighbourhood area as a business area.


Any conflict of interest declared by any member consulted



Any dispensation granted in respect of any declared conflict of interest


Decision type: Non-key

Decision status: Recommendations Approved

Notice of proposed decision first published: 25/05/2022

Decision due: 23 May 2022 by Officer Delegated Decision

Lead member: Portfolio Holder for Planning

Lead director: Executive Director, Place

Contact: Ed Gerry, Prinicpal Planning Policy Team Leader Email: