Problems with making online submissions about the review of a Local Plan could have contributed to a poor public response.

The deadline for comments on the Weymouth and Portland and West Dorset Local Plan review has been extended by a week.

The combined councils issued a news release late on Tuesday afternoon admitting they have had technical problems and would be giving people an extra week, until midnight on October 15.

“The consultation has been extended due to some technical issues taking place with our email account on the final day of the original consultation period. This meant a number of responses weren’t able to be submitted," the release said.

The authorities originally denied there was any problem with their online site, despite many residents reporting difficulties.

Some are reported to have tried to make their submission online but found it too complex and gave up.

Less than one per cent of the area’s population decided to comment on the plan, though it will shape developments in both areas until 2036

Cllr Ian Gardner, West Dorset District Council’s portfolio holder for planning, said: “This provides a further opportunity for anyone who may not have found the time to have their say on the ‘Preferred Options’.

“I encourage anyone interested in the future development in the area, to read the proposals and share their views.”

The first part of the West Dorset, Weymouth and Portland Local Plan review took place in early 2017 on the issues and options available. As a result, a ‘Preferred Options’ document has been produced and had been out for consultation with a deadline of October 8.

At the time of the original deadline, the review had received around 900 responses.

Part of the plan relates to Bridport and includes future town expansion, identifying the Rope Walks and coach station car parks as preferred locations.

It also covers land at Vearse Farm and identifies the site's capacity to deliver 930 homes, as opposed to the 760 first envisaged.

The plan was first adopted in October 2015, when an inspector’s report, following the public examination of the plan, required an early review to be undertaken. This was in order to identify additional land capable of fulfilling the housing needs requirement to the end of its plan period and for the following five years – up to 2036.

Once the extended consultation ends at midnight on October 15, planning policy officers will analyse the responses and work up a final draft of the local plan review. This revised plan will be consulted on in the future and is expected to be summer 2019.