HJA was commissioned by all of the District Councils in Dorset to develop an evidence base and help to develop a programme to support Dorset’s high growth potential market towns. The initial development of the Dorset Strategic Economic Plan (SEP) by the Dorset Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) included proposals for support for the County’s market towns, but these were rejected by Government because of the lack of an evidenced business case. HJA worked with the District Councils to build a robust evidence base, identifying the challenges and opportunities for the County’s market towns. We helped to select those with high growth potential, both for the town itself and its rural hinterland. We then worked with the Councils’ lead officers to develop a programme to maximise growth in rural Dorset through supporting its growth towns.
HJA’s work on the evidence base and programme development led to the Growth Towns programme featuring in the final Dorset SEP, and funding for this programme being secured.