ADVEARSE has today initiated pre-action legal protocols and launched a Crowdfunder appeal to raise funds to apply for a judicial review (JR) against Dorset Council’s outline planning permission for the Vearse Farm development (see: https://www.crowdfunder.co.uk/save-west-dorset-aonb for further information). Almost 18 months after West Dorset Council (now Dorset Council) members ‘reluctantly’ granted outline planning permission to Hallam Land Management (3 November 2017), the official decision notice allowing the building of 760+ houses on AONB-designated land was issued on Thursday 2 May just before the bank holiday weekend. ADVEARSE now has just six weeks to raise the remaining £16,000 it needs to challenge the council’s decision in court.
ADVEARSE’s lawyers worked over the weekend and have written to Dorset Council to outline the challenge and ask questions about the legality of the planning application.
The people of Bridport have already donated an incredibly generous £8,800 towards the JR so far. Thanks to the Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE) match funding (up to a maximum of £10,000), and taking into account pre-JR legal costs, a further £16,000 in donations is needed to reach the £34,000 target required to proceed with legal action. ADVEARSE launched its online Crowdfunder fundraising campaign on Monday 6 May with the aim of reaching a much broader range of concerned people.
Because Vearse Farm is the biggest development ever to be allowed on AONB land, the JR will have important implications for the protection of the countryside all over the UK.
Barry Bates, Chairman of ADVEARSE, says: ‘Local people are angry because their concerns about traffic and the strain on our infrastructure and medical and care services have been ignored by the council; and because despite the gross oversupply of expensive houses the council plans to build all over the West Dorset countryside, it admits it will still fail to provide the affordable housing needed by local families.’