Projects: Town Centre

How could we make things better?

The Neighbourhood Plan believes that these projects, already identified, will address some of the issues raised by residents


Project TC1 – Making better use of empty shops

Turnover is inevitable as high streets evolve, but empty shops create a bad impression of Shaftesbury. A project to encourage more creative use of empty shops should be investigated. A scheme would help to establish short-term leases for pop-ups. This could benefit business start-ups, not-for-profit organisations and also landlords. The project would need to work with landlords and would be led by the Chamber of Commerce supported by Shaftesbury Town Council.


Project TC2 – Market day review

Many local residents value the traditional High Street market on Thursday. A project is proposed to review the market and the monthly Sunday markets and whether more could be done to support them and enable the markets to flourish. Shaftesbury Town Council would oversee this.


Project TC3 – Tidying and decluttering

Formal planning policies are important in reducing and limiting unnecessary signs. Regular tidying and de-cluttering can enhance the appearance and attractiveness of our town centre. Shaftesbury Civic Society undertook an audit of the High Street in July 2018 and they identified many signs, posts and other structures that were redundant, poorly placed and dirty. Some buildings and road surfaces were poorly maintained.

As part of a proposed project, groups would list areas that needed attention. This would be repeated on a regular basis and used to draw up a list of desirable improvement. The audits would be carried out by the Civic Society and used as a basis for the Town Council to select its priorities.

The Council would distinguish between situations where it has the direct authority to make improvements and where it will need to use its influence to encourage other parties.


Project TC4 – Managing congestion and parking demand

A project is proposed, led by the Town Council, in collaboration with the Shaftesbury Transport Forum, with the following aims:

  • Work with Dorset Council to review parking restrictions and enforcement in locations such as ‘The Narrows’ on the High Street.
  • Work with Dorset Council to introduce signage that include real-time information to guide users to a car park with spaces
  • Work with Dorset Council and site owners to keep under review the pricing structure and length of stay for town centre car parks and on street provision
  • Investigate the potential for an electric/ultra-low emission shuttle bus to provide access into the centre from the surrounding residential areas.

Planning policies that seek to increase parking provision are unlikely to be sufficient on their own. Practical measures are needed to manage demand. The recent Shaftesbury Parking Study proposes options including using signposting, altering the length of stay and better enforcement.


Project TC5 – Create pedestrian friendly public spaces

A project is proposed to look at the potential of pedestrianising or reducing traffic in the town centre. This will need to consider practicalities, cost feasibility, impact on deliveries, footfall and retailers.


Projects: Housing and Employment

How could we make things better?

Background: Affordable Homes for Local People

The median price paid for a new home in North Dorset in 2017 was £250,000. That’s £30,000 more than the median price of homes across England. Let’s see how that relates to wages, salaries and affordability.

The average annual earnings of single women in North Dorset is £21,000. Single men earn, on average, £25,800. The average household earnings are £33,000.

If you consider that mortgage lenders often consider up to four times combined household salaries, then an average household could support a £132,000 loan. A 15% deposit would cost £28,300. The lack of affordable housing is apparent.

Published data suggests that there is a local need for 1- and 2-bedroom homes for rent or affordable means of purchase. There is an assessed need for 215 affordable dwellings in Shaftesbury. However, no new affordable dwellings were completed in the period March 2017 to March 2018.

They are split by household size and banding. Gold, Silver and Bronze indicate the level of housing need they are in. Those classed as ineligible are wanting shared ownership.On the North Dorset Housing Register there are currently 949 households, of which 215 have indicated they have a connection to Shaftesbury, as highlighted in the table above.

The Neighbourhood Plan believes that these projects, already identified, will address some of the issues raised by residents.
The delivery of affordable housing is important to our residents and 75% of respondents believe that there should be more affordable accommodation built for local people and essential key workers in Shaftesbury.


Project HE1 – Affordable homes

A project is proposed, led by the Town Council, to work in collaboration with the Local Planning Authority, Dorset Council, on the Affordable Homes Strategy and ensure that local needs are prioritised.


Project HE2 – Community Land Trust

A further project could involve exploring the viability and potential need for a Shaftesbury specific Community Land Trust.

What’s a Community Land Trust?

A Community Land Trust or CLT is a not-for- profit organisation. CLTs must benefit a specific community. The Trust owns the land on which affordable homes are built.

Recently, the government announced funding to support CLTs. This could be in partnership with Housing Associations or landowners who want to promote affordable housing. The CLT arranges the building works and then manages the homes when they are ready to live in.

These houses or flats remain exempt from the right-to-buy rules. The CLT must make sure that the homes remain affordable.



Projects: Green Infrastructure

We hope to work with Dorset and Wiltshire’s local planning authorities to provide clearer local community input into strategic planning decisions.

There are concerns that the development of land across the county boundary in Wiltshire could impose additional strains on Shaftesbury’s infrastructure and resources.

At present these adjacent areas of Wiltshire do not lie within any of the identified towns in Wiltshire for which housing expansion is being considered,

In the compilation of the audit, a number of issues and concerns were raised. These are highlighted alongside each entry and will provide a basis for actions and desired outcomes from the following projects:


Project GI1 – Conserve and enhance the Green Infrastructure

Protect eligible open spaces through Fields in Trust where suitable. The aim will be to achieve multiple benefits from each Green Infrastructure element – including recreational value for all ages, enhanced biodiversity, educational opportunities, food growing, mitigating climate change and the reduction of pollution risk.


Project GI2 – Make best use of our green spaces

Where new green spaces become accessible to the community, use the national standards for space provision, compared with what exists in the town, alongside the need for climate change mitigation and biodiversity enhancement, to determine priorities for use and management of the space and to decide on funding allocation.


Project GI3 – Development of suitable maintenance planting schemes

Work with local landowners, developers, relevant local groups and experts to manage and maintain our green infrastructure in ways that mitigate climate change and enhance biodiversity. This will include tree and other planting schemes and provision for the care of mature trees made vulnerable by changing environmental conditions.

Where practical, planting and maintenance will also enhance the appearance of the town – screening recent development or managing trees that may otherwise block an important view.

Amongst other initiatives, this project will continue work to identify sites and then plant and nurture many new trees and, working alongside the Tree Group and other local experts, will maintain up-to-date guidance on appropriate species for planting around the town (as provided in Appendix J of the Neighbourhood Plan).


Project GI4 – Protection of our dark skies

Town Council premises should be reviewed to ensure they are using Dark-Sky compliant lighting.

By collaborating with Cranborne Chase AONB, ensure that people and businesses in Shaftesbury know how to convert existing lighting to become dark skies compliant, thereby reducing light pollution from their homes and workplaces.

Explore the feasibility of setting up a Shaftesbury community renewable energy project. This could be in the form of a cooperative, to identify a suitable scheme (or schemes), develop the project and raise funds through running share offers within the locality.


Projects: Community and Leisure

How could we make things better?

The Neighbourhood Plan believes that these projects, already identified, will address some of the issues raised by residents


Project CL1 – Research into community facility on eastern side of town

A sum of £335,024 from developer contributions (section 106) has been allocated to a Neighbourhood Hall facility and/or towards a central Community Hall which would serve the town as a whole. These funds are being held by Dorset Council for the benefit of Shaftesbury East residents.

Consultation is planned as per project CL1. The Masterplan dates back to 2004. Further consultation will establish the current needs of the community and research will be undertaken to provide a realistic and sustainable solution to any proposed community facility.


Project CL2 – Investigate the potential for improving existing venues

Nearly 60% of respondents in the initial consultation in February 2019 thought it important to improve the existing community halls in Shaftesbury and this approach should be supported over providing a new venue.

The Neighbourhood Plan Advisory Committee recommends that further research is undertaken to scope out the potential opportunity for improving existing venues. Use the assessment of existing provision against standards to guide decisions on project funding to improve and make the best use of existing community facilities.


Project CL3 – Improve signposting to key tourist facilities

Work with Dorset Council to improve signposting of key pedestrian and cycle routes from the car parks to key tourist facilities.


Project CL4 – Improve signposting within the town

Work with Dorset Council to improve signposting of existing and potential key pedestrian and cycle routes within the town.


Project CL5 – Improve diversity and attractiveness of existing footpaths and cycle routes

Work with Dorset Council and local landowners to make the existing footpath and cycle path network more biodiverse and attractive and introduce bicycle wheeling ramps in stepped areas across the town.


Project CL6 – Develop and improve cycleways to extend the network to the hinterland and beyond

Work with Dorset Council and Sustrans to develop an extended network of cycle routes for locals and visitors to enjoy routes beyond the Shaftesbury boundary.


Project CL7 – improve sports and leisure facility requirements:

A total of £386,677 (as at October 2019) of section 106 funds are being held by Dorset Council for a play area and facilities for the benefit of the residents of East Shaftesbury.

Further consultation will establish the current needs of the community and research will be undertaken to provide a realistic and sustainable solution to any proposed community facility.

Projects: Design and Heritage


Project DH1 – Article 4 direction:

Investigate whether Dorset Council would consider making an Article 4 direction to prohibit the use of UPVC type windows and doors within the conservation area.