THE numbers of new homes to be included in the planning blueprint covering future development in Purbeck could be reduced, it has emerged.

Currently, as part of the Purbeck Local Plan review, district leaders have been told to set out preferred development sites for up until 2033.

National planning guidelines, established in a bid to address the current UK housing shortage, had called for Purbeck to build an additional 3,080 homes over the next 16 years - on top of the 2,520 already identified.

However, more recent government consultation could amend this figure, it is understood.

Purbeck District Council (PDC) leader Cllr Gary Suttle said: "The government's consultation indicates housing need in Purbeck has reduced from the number calculated in previous assessments based on government policy and guidance.

"We are currently considering the number of new homes required to be built, based on the government's new proposed guidance, as well as environmental restrictions and anticipated further changes to government policy in the future."

The district council's 2016 consultation on the partial review attracted 3,300 comments and highlighted a range of concerns, including worries about possible new housing at Wool, Wareham, Lytchett Minster and Lytchett Matravers.

Earlier this year the Pan Purbeck Action Campaign (PPAC) issued stinging criticism of the PDC's handling of the local plan consultation.

PPAC chairman Peter Bowyer has accused council officials of failing to properly answer his members' questions on the local plan issue, in particular questions relating to the numbers of and sites for new housing in the district.

Now Cllr Suttle said: "Once we have completed our studies, we will go out to public consultation enabling everyone to have their say.

"As we have said before, this is about the getting the right number of houses in the right places and the government's new proposals enable us to ensure we get this right for Purbeck."