investing in strategic infrastructure


Housing plays an important role in the economy. The right mix of housing at prices people can afford is essential in attracting and retaining the local workforce and enabling businesses to thrive and grow. Conversely, a lack of housing that is unable to meet local need and aspiration impacts on business and economic performance, the effective and efficient delivery of services and amplifies spatial economic disparities. 

Housing choice and affordability is extremely poor in Dorset. The area has some of the highest house price to earnings ratios in the country, with house prices and rental values often far exceeding local incomes. The area is a popular holiday and retirement destination attracting significant numbers of second homes owners and people retiring to the area.

The lack of suitable housing at affordable prices makes it very difficult for younger people and families to move to the area to work.  The area continues to experience a loss of young people and those of working age. 

To support local economic growth and address acute issues of housing affordability Dorset needs a range of housing that responds to and balances the economic, social and environmental needs of the area.

Our housing report Supporting Dorset’s Economic Growth – Future Housing Provision highlights the opportunities for addressing key growth barriers in housing affordability and availability.


A reliable, high-speed digital infrastructure is critical to ensure economic competitiveness and is a platform to improve the quality of life for residents and the economic prospects for businesses. Dorset has a thriving digital economy and a world leading digital sector. However, due to its rural landscape, digital connectivity in some areas of Dorset still remains slow. Poor digital connectivity is one of the main barriers to productivity.

To support local economic growth and to address Government’s four grand challenges detailed in its national industrial strategy, Dorset will require ubiquitous connectivity to run and deliver services in the future.

Dorset has around 150,000 residents that lack basic digital skills. It also faces the challenge of not retaining digitally skilled professionals. There is a requirement for a ‘Dorset Digital Skills Partnership’ to help raise productivity through collaboration in digital skills acquisition including in an ageing workforce.

Horizon 2038 outlines what we are currently doing, plan to do and our request to Central Government to achieve growth from digital.


Dorset has the benefit of two commercial ports, an international airport and direct line rail links to London. However, the area suffers from a weak road network, poor connectivity and an overall lack of integration within the transport network placing major constraints on economic development, growth and suppresses productivity. Congestion, particularly in the Bournemouth-Christchurch-Poole conurbation but also across the North-South and East-West axes of the county, is among the most severe in England and has worsened in recent years, costing approximately £275 million per annum in productivity.

To meet Dorset LEP’s economic growth and productivity ambitions over the next twenty years, our accessibility to markets must be improved. We need to:

  • Manage and enhance road access to/from Dorset by increasing its effectiveness, maximising the use of public transport and ensuring infrastructure is in place to support the transition away from petrol and diesel vehicles to electric cars, including the expansion of cycling and walking routes.
  • Improve rail access to/from Dorset and services to key employment sites and housing.

To achieve this, Dorset LEP will support local and national economic competitiveness, productivity and growth by delivering reliable and efficient transport networks. This will help address the Government’s Industrial Strategy ‘Future of Mobility’ Grand Challenge.

Clean growth

By 2038, Dorset will become a leading low-carbon energy economy, driving efforts to deliver affordable energy to enable productivity and clean growth while protecting our natural environment.