Poole Local Plan, adopted in August 1998, was the first statutory local plan to cover the entire Borough and superseded the following statutory local plans:-
i) The Poole Town Centre Local Plan (adopted 1987);
ii) The Broadstone-Creekmoor Local Plan (adopted 1987);
iii) The Poole Coastal Local Plan (adopted 1992).


The Borough covers an area of just over 6,400 hectares (about 25 square miles) and enjoys an environment of remarkable richness and diversity. The town is most famous for its location on the northern shores of Poole Harbour, one of the largest natural features of its kind in the world. The Harbour is of ecological, recreational and commercial importance, a balance which, in many ways, characterises the town. Poole lies within the South East Dorset conurbation, which has an overall population of about 445,000 in 2001.

Issues and strategy

Poole is at a cross-roads in its history. The last 30 years have been characterised by growth, prosperity and the provision of new facilities. Success has been based on the development of a varied local economy and new communities have been integrated into the Town. The current economic climate has only served to reinforce the Council’s view that the retention of this varied economic base must be a high priority. However, it is a goal which must be promoted in a wholly different context.
The period of outward expansion is set to end. Adopted plans have drawn the Green Belt tightly round the built up area, an approach supported by the Secretary of State because of the unique environmental quality of the area. Nevertheless, the Borough must continue to embrace change if Poole is to remain the dynamic place it has become.
This, then, is the essential issue which the Local Plan must address: to maintain a sound economic base; accommodate change; and protect and enhance the local environment, both natural and urban.


In publishing its White Paper, This Common Inheritance (1990), the previous Government signalled its commitment to a “moral duty to look after our planet and hand it on in good order to future generations”. This responsibility is confirmed by the Declaration on Environment and Development, signed by the majority of the world’s nations at the Rio Earth Summit in 1992. The Declaration sought to establish a set of principles for sustainable development, a goal which has been incorporated into Government advice on the preparation of development plans. The Council’s own commitment to sustainable development is demonstrated by its participation in a European Local Agenda 21 initiative. Sustainable development is defined, in general terms, as development which does not “deny future generations the best of today’s environment” The United Nations’ definition focuses on improving our quality of life as an integrated part of, rather than an alternative to, the environment: sustainable development is considered to be “…development which improves people’s quality of life within the carrying capacity of supporting ecosystems”. Development plans have a role to play in this process, a role enhanced by the importance now attached to a plan-led planning system and the need for those plans to take account of the environment in its widest sense.

Buillt environment

Part 1
The built environment of Poole has some unique areas, including the Old Town and Quay. However, it is the setting of buildings within the landscape that gives the built environment of Poole its particular character. Pressure for development has been strong in recent years, and while Poole is now a predominantly urban area, the legacy of a well-treed landscape, the remnants of open land and undeveloped high ground have left an overall green character.
Recent development has been typified by large scale residential estates on greenfield sites, the design of which has been guided by the accommodation of higher levels of motor car use. There has been a trend towards large areas of single use and large buildings, lacking a sense of identity and divorced from their surroundings.
Part 2
There are over 200 buildings on the "Statutory List". These are structures or groups of buildings listed by the Department for Culture, Media and Sports as being of Special Architectural or Historic Interest. Most are located in the Old Town, Quay, High Street and Canford Magna Conservation Areas, though there are others located throughout the Borough.
Listed buildings form an essential part of the Borough’s heritage and there will always be a presumption in favour of their preservation. As well as resisting any proposals for demolition of listed buildings, the Council will seek to ensure that any alterations or extensions are kept to a minimum and relate sensitively to the existing building in terms of scale, architectural detailing and the selection and use of building materials. It must be emphasised that these considerations apply to the interior as well as the exterior of all listed buildings.

Natural environment

Part 1
Poole’s natural environment is one of its most distinctive, valuable and attractive features. The Borough possesses a unique character in which coast, town and countryside all play a part. Open countryside occupies the northern third of the Borough and the shores of Poole Harbour and Poole Bay define its southern boundary. Much of the town enjoys outstanding views of water, islands and distant hills. Natural features are also very much a part of the character of the town: in the wooded chines and low-density development of Branksome Park; in the linear open spaces which feature in many new developments; and in the Sites of Special Scientific Interest within the town.
Much of Poole’s natural environment is widely valued in terms of its landscape and habitat. A significant part of the Harbour landscape is within an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and contains extensive sections which are designated as Heritage Coast, while the habitats of the principal Sites of Special Scientific Interest, the heaths and the Harbour, are of international importance.
Part 2
Although much of Poole is urbanised it has an outstanding nature conservation resource which includes sites of national and international significance: the Harbour, Lytchett Bay, Holes Bay and areas of heathland, as well as other sites of importance. If sustainability is to be pursued as an objective, it is necessary to ensure that this resource is retained and protected.
Wildlife conservation involves the protection both of areas of wildlife habitat and of protected species. It also requires the effective management of sites so that their wildlife interest can be maintained. For example, invasive species can easily result in the loss of more sensitive flora and fauna if not controlled.
The Local Plan has a strong commitment to safeguarding areas of nature conservation value and protected species. The Council will manage its own land in a responsible manner and will seek agreements with private landowners that will ensure the retention and enhancement of wildlife habitats.
Part 3
The harbour, beaches and coastline in the Plan area are synonymous with Poole and are its most familiar features, with resident and visitor alike. The coast is a scenic feature but also provides an important tourist asset, a recreational resource, employment opportunities and extensive wildlife habitats. Its protection, enhancement and future management are vital to the well-being of the town of Poole. The coastline has a very varied character with a range of uses including Poole Quay, the commercial port, public open spaces, cliffs, industrial sites, boating facilities, housing, flats and hotels, and secluded areas of landscape and nature conservation value. The Harbour and coast, therefore, face sometimes competing demands for a variety of different uses.
In considering policies for the coast, it is necessary to distinguish between the coastal zone and the shoreline. The coastal zone will vary in width depending on topography and relationship to the sea. The shoreline, on the other hand, is the meeting point between the land and sea but is still part of the coastal zone.


Part 1
Transport is a necessary part of everyday life. The efficient movement of people and goods contributes to a healthy economy while freedom of movement adds to quality of life. The level of car ownership has increased, enabling greater freedom of travel for those who have cars. In Poole, 82% of the population live in households with one car or more, which is higher than the national average of 73.2% (2001 Census).
The effects of increasing dependence on the car are well known. Congestion is estimated to cost the economy between seven and nineteen billion pounds each year, traffic is a major contributor to air pollution, land has been taken up by roads, and built development has spread outwards. Poole’s rapid expansion through the 1960s, 70s and 80s led to large employment and residential developments on the edge of the town such as Creekmoor, Canford Heath and Merley. Distances to work, schools, shops and services have therefore increased, often making them difficult to get to for those without access to a car. The resulting land use patterns have also made it difficult to operate bus services economically. Many areas of Poole have only an hourly service to the Town Centre and there are few orbital connections. In fact bus travel accounts for only 5% of journeys to work in Poole (2001 Census). It is expected that the expansion of the leisure and tourism industries will put added pressure on the Borough’s transport network and forecasts indicate a potential increase in road traffic of 18% in the next ten years.
Part 2
Public off-street car parks are owned and operated by the Borough Council and private companies. PPG 6 recognises that some good quality parking is important in order to maintain the vitality and viability of town centres and for existing retail and leisure uses to flourish. In the Town Centre, it is, therefore, important to ensure that long stay parking is discouraged in favour of short stay car parking and that the most conveniently located spaces are available for shoppers, business and leisure use. However it is important to recognise that some long stay parking will be essential to the economic prosperity of the town centre.
Detailed studies of town centre car parking in 1991/1992 and 2000/2001 show that there are several areas of the Town Centre where long stay parking, mainly by commuters, is prevalent. Most commuters travel at peak hours, causing congestion and they occupy parking spaces which could be used by shoppers or residents and their visitors.
In order to limit congestion and promote increased use of alternative modes to the car, there has been a progressive reduction in unrestricted on-street parking in and around the Central Area, with an increase in short stay parking provision. It is expected that, due to the intensive mixed use development proposed for the Central Area, the total number of car parking spaces will need to increase. However, the proportion of spaces available for long stay use will reduce.
Part 3
There are major problems caused by the absence of a route of adequate standard between the A3049 dual carriageway in Poole and the A31 trunk road. This is recognised in the Bournemouth, Dorset and Poole Structure Plan, July 2000. Both the Regional Planning Guidance for the South West and the current review of the Structure Plan recognise the need to increase accessibility from the A31 into the conurbation, and improve transport links to the Port.
The absence of a suitable link to the A31 trunk road causes problems for the western side of the conurbation and, in particular, Poole and its port. The economic vitality of the Borough is compromised by poor communications, and business leaders have recognised the issue as their top transport priority. Therefore, the Borough of Poole remains committed to securing the A31-Poole link and will seek all means to achieve this through the Structure Plan and Local Transport Plan process.


Part 1
Poole has seen very rapid growth in recent years. Inward migration has accounted for most of the town’s growth and a significant part of this has been for retirement. Over the last 40 years there has been an increase of over 100% in housing stock from some 30,000 in 1961 to approximately 62,700 in 2004.
The Borough offers a diversity of housing types in distinct residential areas meeting a variety of needs and demands. The supply of adequate housing in both number and type has been important for the success of Poole’s economy.
The different residential areas have faced different housing pressures. Areas of detached houses in large plots have been under pressure for plot severance and for more intensive use for flat or rest and nursing home development. Areas of high demand on the coast and with sea views have seen considerable flat development.
The majority of house building during the 1970s and 1980s was on sites identified in local plans but, with those allocated sites now largely complete, housing development in the next decade will be increasingly on unidentified sites.
Part 2
Special needs housing includes housing for people with physical handicaps, those with learning difficulties, the young homeless, those with mental health problems and the very elderly. The Council’s Housing Strategy Statement sets out the priorities for accommodation for these special needs.
The 2001 Census indicates that 18.5% of the households of Poole have one or more person with limiting long term illness. In Poole at September 2004 the number of residents registered with the Social Services Department as physically disabled totalled 3,094. These statistics provide an indication of the numbers who would benefit from specially designed housing. The programme for Care in the Community is likely to increase the demand for such housing.
The Council strongly supports the provision of housing to meet the requirements of people in special need of help or supervision where conventional housing may not be suitable. Policies in the Plan for hostels, sheltered housing and rest and nursing homes will apply. Where there is evidence that residents will have a lower than average demand for car parking, relaxation of the Parking Guidelines may be achieved through a Section 106 Agreement to control occupancy.
Part 3
As some parts of Poole were originally developed at low densities there are areas which, due to the availability of large sites, high land values and an attractive setting frequently with coastal views have already accommodated extensive flat development.
Areas where there has already been a large amount of flat development have been defined as “flat character areas”. This is firstly to allow detailed policies to be applied to control the scale of flat development and also to ensure that these areas are not taken as the norm for developing sites adjacent to the areas at the same intensity of development.
Some flat development within the flat character areas presents a very “hard” visual appearance. It is often out of scale with the site and area, with insufficient space and excessive ground coverage. Design details themselves may accentuate the perceived size of the building.
Many of the flats are located in the most attractive and sensitive areas of the Borough and in order to protect the character and amenity of these areas it is very important that the scale of new development and redevelopment is controlled.


Part 1
The Borough of Poole has a diverse economic base, which provides a wide range of employment opportunities. This is important to the continued prosperity not only of Poole but also of Dorset. In 1997, 33.6% of the County's manufacturing jobs and 20.9% of its service industry jobs were provided by Poole. The importance of Poole as an employment centre is apparent in the fact that its economic activity rate of 83.9% (1997) is the fourth highest of any district in Dorset. In addition, unemployment levels have remained low for some time now, standing at 1.0% in the Poole travel-to-work-area in February 2004.
One aim of the Local Plan is to allocate adequate land for the future needs of all sectors within the economy. This should be achieved in a way which does not harm the urban or natural environment, or the amenities of residents.
Part 2
ole Harbour has been used as a base for maritime trade and industry since before Roman times and by 1810, over 90% of the workforce derived their livelihood from the sea or harbour. This proportion reduced to 20% a hundred years later with the arrival of the railway and industrial development. The port activities increased again from 1973 when the "Truckline" freight ferry service to Cherbourg was inaugurated and again with the introduction of passenger services to Cherbourg and the Channel Islands.
For the purposes of this Plan the port includes: land on New Quay Road up to the east side of Bridge Approach. This area is shown on the Proposals Map.
There are various industrial, storage and other uses which rely largely upon the port location, such as boat building and repairs, the freight/ passenger ferry service, and a marine aggregates wharf. The port area also contains various tourist and leisure related uses including sightseeing cruises from the Town Quay.


Tourism makes a major contribution to the economy of Poole in its generation of wealth, economic development and employment opportunities. Poole offers a diversity of both natural and built attractions ensuring that the tourist industry does not rely too heavily on one area of the market. Decline in domestic seaside holidays has been balanced by growth in business tourism and short break holidays. Self catering accommodation is a growing market for holiday-makers while serviced accommodation is adjusting to new demands. Poole has been flexible and adapted well to changing tourism trends.
Visitors to Poole are attracted by the area’s natural coastal scenery, beaches, the Quay and the opportunities for water sports. Individual attractions draw day visitors and provide facilities and entertainment for visitors and local people. Poole also serves as a link by the Sandbanks Ferry to Purbeck, from the Quay to Brownsea Island and from the ferry terminal to the Channel Islands and Cherbourg.

Leisure and recreation

Part 1
The Harbour and heathland, together with the surrounding countryside, which includes the Purbecks, “Hardy” country and the New Forest, combine to create the tourist’s image of Poole. These features are an important recreational resource and are under pressure. However, Poole is a working town and the additional leisure facilities introduced during the last 30 years have not always kept pace with the remarkable growth which has taken place during that period. In addition, the financial restraint of more recent years has meant that some of those facilities which have been provided are out of date and will be ill equipped to meet the demands of the growth which will undoubtedly continue into the future.
The expansion of the Borough since 1960 has been characterised by major housing development on large green field sites. Such development has supported the provision of adequate open space and, in some areas, other leisure facilities. However, many older parts of the Borough are less green and less well served but it is within the existing built up area that future growth, largely in the form of in-fill development, will take place.
Part 2
Of the Borough’s 6,400 hectares, approximately 1,800 lie within the Green Belt. The countryside, both within the Borough and beyond, is an accessible recreational resource for most residents of Poole. Indeed, recent market research indicates that nearly 64% of the local population visit the countryside for recreational purposes, far more than use indoor recreational facilities or participate in active outdoor sport.
Lying, as it does, on the periphery of an expanding conurbation, it is a resource under pressure and the need for careful management is particularly important, given its sensitive character. The Green Belt already contains Upton Country Park, golf courses and planning permission has been implemented for sports facilities at Moortown Aerodrome. Given that much of the remaining area is made up of the Stour Valley and heathland Sites of Special Scientific Interest, there is little scope for introducing more formal recreational facilities, without destroying the character or viability of what little agricultural land remains.
It is therefore proposed that only that land between Moortown Aerodrome and the Canford Heath Site of Special Scientific Interest, including the existing mineral workings and waste disposal site is suitable for formal recreational activities.


Shopping is an integral part of our daily lives. It is both a necessity and a leisure pursuit. The large number of consumers involved in the process creates a complex set of forces that influences the distribution of shops. Poole has a significant role in the provision of retailing in the South East Dorset conurbation, with the town centre serving a catchment beyond the Borough’s boundary.
Until the mid-1980s, shopping was distributed in a relatively clear hierarchy of principal centres, district centres, neighbourhood centres and local centres. The growth of Poole prompted new investment in shopping facilities, including the up-grading of the town centre and the provision of new neighbourhood centres to serve large new housing estates. Between the mid-1980’s and early 1990’s, there was considerable growth in retail floorspace outside traditional centres. A network of free-standing food superstores has evolved in Poole as well as retail warehouse parks serving a catchment area beyond Poole’s boundaries. The mid 1990’s witnessed a decline in the condition of some of the retail parks while the market for large convenience stores had been met by significant new store openings in the early part of the decade. More recently, Poole has witnessed a complete refurbishment of one of its retail parks.


Community facilities embrace a wide range of functions, including educational, social and health provision. The principal providers within Poole are Poole Primary Care Trust and Borough of Poole, with an important contribution from the private and voluntary and community sectors. The Borough of Poole became a Unitary authority in 1997 and took over the responsibility of providing services previously supplied by Dorset County Council, while continuing to ensure that planning policies and land use allocations provide an adequate supply of sites. Through planning agreements the Local Planning Authority can secure planning benefits, and it is a commitment of the Council to secure facilities for community use through Section 106 agreements where appropriate.

Central Area

Part 1
The Central Area of Poole is the focus for commercial, recreational, social and cultural facilities and represents much of what is unique about Poole. It includes Lower Hamworthy and The Port, The Quay, High Street, Dolphin Shopping Centre, Seldown, West Quay Road and The Stadium area (see Proposals Map Inset Map 1). Throughout Poole’s history the Central Area has been the focus of activity as a place where people live, work and trade. Today the Central Area continues to face pressure for change and part of the success of Poole has been its ability to meet changing demands while protecting that which is important to the long term prosperity of the town. The Council in partnership with the community is committed to supporting the economic prosperity of the Borough while safeguarding the natural environment and improving the urban environment of Poole.
The Central Area provides the opportunity to meet many of the challenges facing the Borough today in an accessible location for all the Borough’s residents and visitors. Over 50 hectares of vacant or under used land has been identified much of which has waterside frontage. This chapter will demonstrate how Poole will utilise brownfield sites in the central area to help meet the needs of the Borough.
Part 2
The Central Area audit has looked beyond Holes Bay Basin and the delivery of the Poole Bridge Regeneration Initiative and identified other opportunities to provide sustainable development in a central location. On the edge of the regeneration project lie a number of potential redevelopment sites some of which will be directly affected by changes to the transport network as a result of a new harbour crossing and associated development. Land between West Quay Road and West Street is a good example of this and already the Council has approved a planning application submitted by RNLI to develop the former Merck land to the south of the existing RNLI building. Part of this site is required for a new link road to facilitate the proposed transport network and this is shown on the Proposals Map.
To the south of the proposed link road are a couple of ‘tired’ office blocks and a row of attractive residential units, the listed Queen Mary public house and the vacant former Terrace Row land. This land could be redeveloped for mixed use development, providing commercial high vitality uses on the ground floor with residential or office space above on the West Quay Road frontage. Any development proposed should have regard to the urban design issues outlined in the area specific. Greater detail of potential opportunities in this area can be found in the SPG for the central area.

Local centres

The local centres play an important role in the Borough’s retail hierarchy, but more than that they are social centres and places of employment. There is a cross section of local centres within Poole, ranging from the mere handful of units located throughout the residential areas of the Borough, to the larger centres of Upper Parkstone, Broadstone and Ashley Cross. They are all established centres serving the function of providing mainly convenience shopping and community facilities to a local area. These centres have had to compete against the modern wave of large out-of-town centre superstores and the general change in retailing patterns.
There are two generations of local centres within Poole. There are the historically based centres which have developed as population centres have grown and expanded, and the modern neighbourhood centres which have been provided within the new housing areas of Bearwood, Canford Heath and Creekmoor. The two are naturally different in the problems they experience and opportunities available for the future.


The seven key aims of the Local Plan have been set out in Chapter 3 and the objectives for topic areas and the town centre and local centres are included within the relevant chapters. The achievement of these aims and objectives will be through the implementation of the Plan’s policies with the necessary resourcing.
The Plan will be implemented through development by the private sector, the Borough of Poole and other public bodies and by the determination of planning applications for development by the Local Planning Authority in accordance with the policies and proposals of the Plan.
The Local Plan in the plan-led system is the first consideration in the determination of planning applications and will provide guidance and certainty to developers. It is intended that the policies are sufficiently robust to be relevant through the Plan period with the review process permitting flexibility where circumstances change.
The cost of land assembly and of the necessary infrastructure required by any particular development will influence its feasibility. The Borough of Poole will provide funding for programmed schemes and improvements but developers will be required to pay for infrastructure and other provisions which are directly associated with the development.