PUTTING all the options on the table for residents is “the right way” to consult on key areas, according to BCP Council’s deputy leader.

Councillor Philip Broadhead told the Daily Echo the local authority needs to find out what residents’ views are on all the key issues and options before progressing with a draft Local Plan.

“When you are go out with the options for public consultation, you have got two choices,” said Cllr Broadhead.

“You can either pick what you think is palatable or your favourites, take the green belt for instance. We could say we don’t think that site is bad or we don’t like any of them and go to consultation on that.

“Or you can go, here is everything we are going to have to consider, let’s get people’s views on everything.

“I really do feel that is the right way to do it because we don’t know best and you don’t know what people think until you actually ask them.”

Cllr Broadhead said the local authority is continuing to challenge the government and study the housing supply figures. He expects the target figure currently quoted in the draft issues and options consultation document to be lowered.

Discussing the upcoming consultation, subject to cabinet sign off, Cllr Broadhead said: “This isn’t the plan. All this is, is an exploration of some of the things we are going to have to consider as we start to come up with a Local Plan strategy.

“We are absolutely determined that as we move to that next stage, which is starting to make decisions on what type of homes go where, which of the major sites should or shouldn’t go where, we need to know from local people and from local businesses what they do like, what they don’t like, what type of thing they would like to see and what type of thing they wouldn’t like to see.”

The portfolio holder for regeneration, economy and strategic planning said BCP Council has a “duty to cooperate” with neighbouring Dorset Council, and possibilities for future development on some sites could see housing figures shared between both local authorities.

He added: “Every Local Plan results in you getting there, you just have to do the journey.

“It is really important before we get to that stage where we start to have those conversations about do we need a new town in Dorset somewhere, do we need to even want to open up any of our green belt and if we do, where. We have got to figure out what people think about these things.”