All posts by Phil Summerton

Signatures hit 1,250+ !

A successful morning in Bucky Doo Square, Bridport was experienced by ADVEARSE members, on Saturday 25th October. The two combined petitions now currently total 1,290 signatures, opposing the housing development at Vearse Farm, West Road, Bridport ! More signatures are still expected to be submitted.

Thank you to all the local residents and visitors to the Town, who kindly signed our petition !

If you have missed today’s opportunity to sign up, please go to our electronic petition on …..

West Dorset District Council – Local Plan – Response to Further Consultation by ADVEARSE

[email protected]

    • ADVEARSE is grateful for the opportunity to respond to this further consultation. As we have stated to the Council before the decision to confine comments to changes to the plan is flawed and undemocratic.
    • Over the past year we have attended many meetings and been contacted by many people. Many people in Bridport including Town Councillors who made the point on record at a public meeting believe that the initial consultation was a charade. Bridport feels that it was not fully consulted about the original proposals.
    • We would urge you to accept comments which are wider than those based on the changes. We therefore ask that you confirm that this submission has been accepted.


    • After the dire performance of your previous consultant at the Inspectors initial hearing we are not surprised that you brought in a different set of consultants. They are building on previous work and it is revealing to note that many of these were found to be inadequate. There are so many variables which can change we have little faith in the revised figure of 775.
    • This is a thorough document, with on the surface of it, an impressive set of statistics. It certainly tries to challenge previous assumptions. At the end of the day it is however only producing policy driven evidence. We see no evidence in your revised submission to the Inspector that you have used both the Brett report and the delay in the Inspector’s consideration to revisit the fundamentals of the WDDC policy regarding the construction of this plan.
    • We note that the report states that (within constraints) Local Authorities can now set their own targets. Where is the evidence that you have actually engaged with this opportunity with for example the Bridport Town Council?
    • The fact the report covers the wider area including Weymouth and Portland is encouraging in that the housing demand can be seen in a wider context and spread where it is actually needed.
    • The report does however show a number of factors which would question the numbers proposed for housing. Firstly the impact of migration – By our own experience we know that if you build houses in West Dorset people from outside will buy them. That does not however mean that these were actually needed. It certainly will not fulfil the requirement to meet LOCAL housing need. Secondly – the completion figures are consistently below target. (6.26)


  3. Finally the report is focussed on housing, population, creation of households. It cannot be criticised for that since it is a report on Housing Market need. However, these issues need to be fed into all the other factors – employment, environment; transport…WDDC has never adequately addressed these. Other Local Authorities such as the South Hams have chosen to be more robust in taking all these factors into account. As a result the character of the area is being preserved from the ravages of over development.
    • Having listened to the Inspectors criticisms of the Plan we are surprised that the changes you propose are so minimal.
    • In what way is this ‘sustainable pattern of development’?
    • As indicated in the last section we do not see how you can justify the increased figure of 775 other than an attempt to mollify the Inspector.
    • FPC3 – where will these jobs actually come from? If you are accepting a more modest target for job growth who will actually buy the houses? In what way will this distorted housing market create a balanced demographic?
    • FPC5 / FPC6 /FPC7 – Tinkering with the figures is largely irrelevant.
    • Where is the analysis of affordable? The real need for housing exists on the housing lists – affordable housing for local people. Nationally there are many examples where builders are avoiding their obligations to provide affordable housing. Where is there any discussion of this critical issue in your consultations?


    • As Peter Brett’s report shows predictions of future growth be it population, housing need and the like are always imprecise and theoretical. Unfortunately they translate into specific proposals. In the case of West Dorset they are used to justify a massive development at Vearse Farm
    • WDDC has failed to take the opportunity of the delay to rethink the flawed Local Plan. For Bridport the plan proposes a development of a massive scale on a site which has many problems not least the impact of flooding and traffic management. Do we really wish to see the creeping suburbanisation of East Dorset here?
    • The Plan remains unsound on many levels. The veneer of statistical objectivity which has been used to tinker with the housing projections leaves the Plan as a whole inadequate for the future of West Dorset. The people have a right to expect more from those charged with taking a long term view.

ADVEARSE Steering Group – Summary of Meeting – 29 May 2014

Key outcomes

  1. New members- We agreed to invite 2 new members to join the group.
  2. We discussed the news that the Highways Agency have expressed increased concern about traffic issues particularly at Miles Cross. We agreed to contact the Agency to get a detailed briefing .
  3. We noted the outcome of the new consultant report on housing need in West Dorset and the fact that WDDC ‘s Local Plan is likely to be re-presented to the Inspector shortly. We agreed to be fully involved in the Inspection hearings.
  4. We agreed that our main focus should be the Neighbourhood Plan . We will aim to be involved in the process and the referendum which is required for its adoption. We considered tactics we might deploy should Vearse Farm be included.
  5. Website – 600 plus hits so far.
  6. Next meeting June 25

Press Release: Website Launched 15 April 2014



ADVEARSE has announced the launch of its website.

A spokesperson said ‘we have developed the site in response to the many requests we have received asking us to do so’.

The site gives the background to the establishment of the group to raise public awareness of the massive development proposed in the West Dorset Local Plan for the Vearse Farm area of Bridport. There is the opportunity for people to post comments on the site. The site has been developed by Roger Goudge who commented ‘the site is an early stage in its development and we will expect to build the content over the coming months’.

ADVEARSE is monitoring the growing number of similar protests across the country and believes the website will alert to the many people across the country who enjoy the area round Bridport and who will be shocked at the prospect of such a glaring scar on the entrance to the town.

ADVEARSE can also be contacted via the e-mail address

[email protected]

Open letter to local politicians from ADVEARSE

Open letter to local politicians from ADVEARSE

ADVEARSE, discussed in some depth at its April meeting the decision of WDDC to postpone for 6 months consideration by the Inspector of its Local Plan. Whilst we recognise the threat that any revision may include more proposed housing in Bridport and even at Vearse Farm we would urge you to view this as an opportunity to seek reconsideration of the proposals for Bridport. You may have noticed the Western Daily Press article of 29 March. Headline – ‘Green Belt is spared 800 homes’. The article tells how 3 councils in Gloucestershire had revised their Local Plan to reduce total numbers. Proposals can be changed!

With this in mind we are sending this letter to all local politicians. We would like to put on record our thanks to those of you who have responded positively to our previous contacts with you. We remain surprised and disappointed at the District Councillors who have yet to reply to us. A copy has gone to the local press and will be placed on our website. (

With the exception of Councillor Alford we have yet to hear from anyone who disagrees with our proposition that the scale and location of the proposed development is inappropriate for Bridport. We have yet to hear any argument in favour of Vearse Farm other than it is a convenient space to dump a large part of the West Dorset housing requirement. (and we all know these figures are actually based on fiction)

We are therefore asking

  • Could you as local politicians come together and exert your influence to have the whole concept of Vearse Farm reviewed.
  • Could you please reply to this letter to update about what you propose to do as an individual to contribute to the amendment of the Local Plan.

You are elected representatives – elected to represent the best interests of Bridport. We believe you can still halt this unwarranted development. We are not against development in Bridport – we simply want to see the organic growth of the community. We hope that after 6 months the need for ADVEARSE will go away but we are not naive. We are continuing to set up our organisation. The website will be launched this month and we have set up our constitution and bank account. We are aware that some of you will be seeking re-election in the coming years and would want to support candidates who have shown that they have exercised leadership at a crucial time in the history of Bridport. You have our commitment to work with you for a sustainable development of Bridport.

We look forward to hearing from you

Please contact us at

[email protected]