All posts by Phil Summerton

Fundraising target met!

After tremendous support we have just reached the £34,000 fundraising target! This includes the pledges from the Crowdfunder appeal which closed at 6pm on 17th June. A huge Thank You to all our donors and also to the CPRE for their £10,000 matched funding pledge.

As mentioned in the last post, we went ahead with the Judicial Review claim. The papers for the claim were lodged on 12th June and have been acknowledged by the court. The Defendant (Dorset Council) and Interested Party (Hallam) have now been formally served them with the claim and have 3 weeks to respond (ie by 10 July).

Next there is a permission stage to the Judicial Review process where our case will be assessed by a judge. This is likely to be between 2-6 weeks after the 10 July. So most likely we will get news on this during August.

If we obtain permission then we progress to the full hearing in the Administrative Court which if held in London probably won’t be earlier than December 2019. However, there is a high chance that the case will be transferred to the nearest regional Administrative Court (in our case Bristol) in which case it would probably be heard in the Autumn (eg around October).

We will continue to post updates as our claim progresses!

Crowdfunder deadline extended

We have been able to extend our crowdfunder deadline by 7 days to 17 June. This gives more time to collect the remaining funds to meet the Judicial Review fundraising target. We have also been able to make a special pledge of £5,000 onto crowdfunder based on the direct donations received.

We are talking to some media outlets and hope that the campaign will now attract wider media attention.

Thanks for your fantastic support!

Update on Judicial Review

After much deliberation and discussion with our lawyers, ADVEARSE have made a decision to go ahead with the judicial review (JR) to challenge the outline planning permission for the Bridport urban extension on area of outstanding natural beauty (AONB) land at Vearse Farm.

We are just over £2,500 short of the funds needed to meet the costs of the JR and have five days left to raise this remaining sum. But we have every confidence that our supporters and donors will help to reach this target.

On Friday 31 May we had a long call with our lawyers to discuss the strengths and weaknesses of our case after receiving a reply from Dorset Council to our pre-action protocol letter which set out our case for challenging their planning decision. As the arguments were complicated we took time over the last few days to raise further questions and make sure we had a clear understanding of the situation and all our options.

We also discussed the legal advice with Dorset CPRE who have confirmed their £10,000 matched-funding support.

We are humbled and grateful for the fantastic support of local people and people from wider Dorset and beyond. We have close to 300 donors who have made direct donations and pledges on our Crowdfunder campaign site. The overwhelming support and feedback we have received has been a great motivating factor in our decision to proceed with the JR.

This is a vital environmental case because this is set to be the biggest ever development to be built on AONB land and, if left unchallenged, it will set a dangerous precedent allowing developers and councils from ignoring the rules protecting the countryside nationwide.

Please help by donating via our Bridport-based Crowdfunder page

Or you can send a cheque to ADVEARSE at 10 West Mead, Bridport, DT6 5RU

Update on legal position

Yesterday (Friday 31 May) we had a long phone call with our lawyers. They went through the reply from Dorset Council in great detail pointing out their updated view on the strengths and weaknesses in our case.

The situation is complicated and over the weekend we will be assessing all the information we have been given and also going back to the lawyers with further questions to make sure we have a clear understanding of the situation and all our options.

We will also be discussing this with Dorset CPRE on Monday to obtain their views. By Tuesday we should have completed all these discussions and be able to give you a further update.

Fundraising milestones tumble!

Thanks to your excellent support we now have just under £4,000 to raise to fund the Judicial Review against the massive and damaging Bridport urban extension on AONB countryside. Some wonderful CPRE members are rallying to our cause with personal donations. Most of the donations are coming direct, but we are encouraging people to make pledges on Crowdfunder.

We received a reply from Dorset Council to our PAP letter – needless to say they dismissed our arguments as “without merit”.

We will find out later today our lawyers view on this! Fingers crossed, our lawyers will still assess our chances of winning in court as better than 50%. This will give us the green light o go ahead and launch the JR.


Fundraising milestone!

Thanks to all your donations and pledges we now have just under £7000 to raise for the JR!

With 13 days left to complete the fundraising we have a few more milestones to hit along the way. We will make sure that we announce these so you can keep track of how we are doing.

Thanks for all the support – keep it coming!!

View from the Legal Eagles

You may have seen our earlier post about Dorset Council procrastinating with their response to our Pre-Action Protocol (PAP) letter sent to them announcing our plans to launch a Judicial Review (JR).

Well Dorset Council have now said they will reply on Wednesday 29 May which is an improvement, but still slower than the normal time frame for a reply to a PAP letter.

We will be talking to our lawyers on Friday 31 May at 5pm. By then our lawyers will have been able to assess the council’s response and be able to give us their reassessment of the chances of success with the JR. If the chances are still better than 50/50 then we will go ahead with launching the JR subject to having raised the necessary funds.

Thanks for the great support and please join me in having your fingers crossed that on Friday we get the green light to go for the JR! We will of course let you know as soon as we have the news!

Where is our Press Release?

You might have seen our post last Monday with a press release about Dorset Council procrastinating over their response to our lawyers pre-Action Protocal letter. We passed this to Bridport News to go in last Thursday’s edition (ie 23rd May). But it did not appear – it went missing!

What happened? Quite simple, as newspapers like to give the interested party a chance to comment they went to Dorset Council for a comment. And the Council, despite having plenty of time, failed to respond and hence our press release did not get published.

We are hoping that it will appear this week with or without the Council’s comment.

Maybe we’ve upset them! Perhaps they prefer the type of local democracy where they ask our opinion on a plan and then ignore us and expect us to just give up.