Category Archives: Meetings

Annual Report for 2020


The Judicial Review was held in Cardiff in February. Ultimately the Judge found against us on two of the three grounds. We did see, however, many positives. The Judge’s criticisms of WDDC and his finding in our favour on one ground justified the bringing of the case.

The quality of our input / support was helpful to our Counsel. Our case stacked up well in court. The Judge accepted our case about the amount of costs which should be awarded against us and for the Council. This meant that we stayed in budget – not a mean feat!

We maintained the support of our donors and supporters and are grateful for their support.

We held up Hallam for at least a year.

We won the argument if not the case.

  • After JR –We have chosen to stay in existence with a refocused brief. There are 3 broad aims:
  • Ensuring that Bridport gets the maximum benefit from whatever development happens on the site
  • Seeking to address the deficiencies in the current scheme e.g. the dangers for traffic and pedestrian access to the town centre.
  • Ensuring that the commitments in the S106 agreement are met in full

During the year we have followed a number of strands e.g. we involved a Traffic consultant to advise us on the impact of VF on traffic and pedestrians in Bridport. The consultant identified a number of areas where we can (and will) use traffic regulations to challenge deficiencies in the current scheme.

We have been in communication with Dorset Council about the conduct of the Detailed Planning application stage. We are pushing for full public access to the plans, a proper consultation process of adequate length and full involvement of our elected members in the decision process.

We maintain a constant watch on the Land Registry site for signs that the ownership of VF has changed. A change in ownership of VF would occur when house builders have bought into the scheme and development would commence in earnest.  We also maintain a watch on Hallam’s website and use our contacts to keep up to date on any possible moves in relation to VF.

Flood risk is an issue that we have repeatedly raised with the Council for the last seven years. Many of our supporters have raised this as a continuing major concern. The risk of serious flooding on the VF site has been dismissed by the planners as a once in a hundred years event despite plenty of climate change evidence and lived experience to the contrary. We have little confidence in the planned VF flood defences and are logging all cases of flooding on the site. We will continue to apply as much pressure as we can on flood risks as the consequences for Bridport are extremely serious.

We have continued to meet on a monthly basis – using an online meeting programme as a result of Covid restrictions.

The website is kept up to date with news of our activities and other relevant developments. We also maintain an Advearse email account for communication with supporters and other interested parties.

We have issued press releases and other media communications during the year, particularly around the time of the JR. This included coverage on national media.

  • Making Connections with wider Dorset Devts

The current proposed changes to the Planning system together with post COVID move out of South Eastern England will put extra pressures on West Dorset. We have continued to build links with others interested in sustaining the glories of West Dorset. This work has included:

  • Helping with two local cases involving unwarranted development
  • Links to the Dorset AONB committee
  • Supporting the campaign for designation as a National Park 
  • Links to groups similar to ADVEARSE in other parts of Dorset via Pan Dorset Group – On hold due to COVID

We are realistic about the chances of stopping VF but are satisfied we can continue to have purpose

Thanks to all of the Steering Group and all the supporters of ADVEARSE.

Change in Advearse objectives, membership & AGM

As previously reported, ADVEARSE has now moved on to a new phase focusing on ensuring the planning obligations and promises made by Hallam, such as the provision of 35% affordable housing (at around 80% of usual market value) and improvements to the A35 Miles Cross junction, are honoured.  We will also be closely examining aspects of the development that do not appear to meet legal requirements, including pedestrian safety. Our supporters can be assured that we will fight any attempt to back track on developer and council commitments

Sarah Carney has left Advearse in view of her role as a Bridport Town Councillor and possible conflicts with also being a member of Advearse. We would like to thank Sarah for all her years of great work with Advearse. David Tett (former Town and District councilor) rejoined and brings a wealth of local government experience that will be invaluable.

We held our AGM on 26 October and will be shortly posting the annual report on our website.


This report has been compiled following the AGM, held on 2 December 2019. It is essentially a summary of key developments. Please contact the group if you would like more detail on any item

A year dominated by the Judicial Review

Our monthly meetings and ongoing activity have been dominated by the JR. At the start of the year we had no idea when the decision notice would be published (the Outline Planning Permission had been agreed in November 2017!). We knew that we would have just 6 weeks to launch a JR after the publication of the DN.

The DN was published in May and we spent the months before then

  • Selecting chambers who could lead a JR; negotiating fees; understanding the JR process.
  • Using the Chambers to prepare a PAP (Pre-Action Protocol) letter. This would be sent to the Council on the publication of the DN setting out our case.
  • Researching our case
  • Researching fundraising options – These largely involved crowd funding companies. We chose crowdfunder
  • Holding a public meeting in the WI Hall – which proved very successful
  • Building the support base. In this regard we were very much more active in using the website and social media.
  • Publicising the case. We obtained extensive coverage in the Telegraph with a smaller piece in the Times. A full half day with Anna Varle resulted in substantial coverage on BBC Spotlight.
  • In addition we leafletted the town and took out a large advert in the Bridport News

Applying for the JR

Following the publication of the DN we had just 6 weeks to refine our case and secure the funding (our target £34,000). We are extremely grateful to CPRE Dorset who agreed to match fund our efforts up to £10.000. This gave the momentum to our efforts and we made the target. What a wonderful response. CPRE support has provided a professional backdrop to our work.

The fundraising has made it increasingly important that we maintain excellent contact with our supporters and donors. The increased use of the website and social media has been at the heart of these efforts.

Progress on the JR

After an initial set back when the ‘paper review ‘of our case saw the judge agree with the Council position, we received an oral hearing in the Courts at Cardiff in October. Our barrister faced the Council Barrister and 2 QC’s from Hallam the developers. The Judge agreed our case is arguable and should be heard in full court. We await the date of the hearing which should be Spring 2020.

Since October we have been in dialogue with our Chambers to improve our case and to prepare our response to the Council/Hallam defence case.

Links to others nationally and locally

In the past year we have helped individuals who sought our advice/experience to help a planning appeal. We are increasingly contacted by other protest groups across the country. There are plans for joint meetings and actions from the 6 groups in Dorset who are opposing the creeping suburbanisation of Dorset.

Ongoing research and strategy

We are planning ahead on all scenarios. If the JR is lost, we intend to challenge the detailed plans. This will bring back into play factors not currently within the JR. An example of this is the safe access of pedestrians, cyclists and traffic along West Road with its narrow pavements. Any developer can expect a rough passage!

What keeps us going?

As 2020 begins ADVEARSE will begin its 8th year. Above all we highlight the fact that VF will be twice the size of any other development in the country in an AONB. (Look up the FARTHINGLOE case). We believe the planners prejudged the allocation and misled the Planning Committee into agreeing with the development. We are sustained by the vast number of people who totally oppose it.

So, a year of real achievement. A small steering group has sustained a complex fight and has had the courage to take on the Council and developer. This could not have been achieved without public support. Thanks to all.

So, the prospect of a National Park for Dorset, renewed concern about climate change and the needless loss of farmland, more awareness of brown field sites, Let us win the JR and re open the debate about the exceptional circumstances to justify VF.  It is a fight worth sustaining.

Barry Bates – Chair


Thanks to the 50 local residents who packed the WI Hall in Bridport last Thursday (24th April) to discuss the latest situation regarding the Vearse Farm urban extension. The public meeting was hosted by Advearse the campaign group.

The guest speaker was Mr Richard Nicholls, Deputy Chair of West Dorset CPRE, who set out the vital importance of opposing this massive and destructive development in order to protect AONB (Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty) land both in Bridport, but also across the whole of England.

With council plans to add another 170 houses to the Vearse Farm development it will, with 930 houses, be double the size of the previous largest build on AONB land. This would set a precedent that would make AONB land an easy target for developers.  

The audience were shocked to hear about the large number of brownfield sites available in Briport and the whole of Dorset that were being ignored by the local Council in favour of large scale green field developments fuelling easy profits for developers and house builders.

Sarah Carney made a strong plea for the young people of Bridport, in particular, who were being let down by this focus on satisfying developer greed and not housing need. The number of second homes in the Bridport area has been assessed as far higher than reported by the Council. These second homes remain empty for a large part of the year whilst young local people have no chance of affording even the Government’s “so called” affordable homes.

All of these failings result in the wrong houses being built in the wrong places for the wrong people.

Lewis Gerolemou detailed the many objections raised by local people including the massive increase in traffic congestion, lack of car parking, pressure on an already stretched medical centre and impact on wildlife and landscape.

Donations of over £500 resulted from the meeting in support of the Judicial Review challenge against the Vearse Farm urban extension. With CPRE support a total of £17,200 has been raised to date towards the £34,000 needed for the JR.

Barry Bates closed the meeting by calling upon all concerned people in Bridport and elsewhere to join us in our fight against a totally destructive, unnecessary and misguided development.

Boundary changes affecting VF !

Further to the meeting convened by Symondsbury Parish Council on  8th May, I sent the following letter to Allington Parish Council……
Dear Allington Parish Councillors,
I attended the meeting hosted by Symondsbury Parish Council (SPC), on the proposed boundary changes instigated by Bridport Town Council (BTC). This I understand would put the Vearse Farm Housing development under the control of the Town Council not SPC.
The mechanism of BTC’s request is that the Democratic and Electoral Services Dept. (DESD), WDDC, have appointed a representative to initially generate a consultation (a Community Governance Review), for SPC and individual parishioners to comment on the proposed changes, the deadline for submissions being 4th July 2018.  Responses are to be sent to 
The appointed representative, Jacqui Andrews (Corporate manager, DESD) ( gave a short presentation outlining the consultation process, on Tuesday evening. We were informed that all Symondsbury parishioners were in receipt of a flyer, alluding to the proposed consultation process.
As an Allington parishioner, I felt that this fell short of the democratic process, as I had not received this information. I believe there is a significant issue here in that a significant portion of theVearse Farm development footprint is actually in the Allington parish to the south of the B3162. Historically, this, on grounds of simplification we were told, has been included in the SPC protocol for Vearse Farm. Ms. Andrews was unaware of this anomaly, when I mentioned it in the subsequent Q&A session. Many of you will be aware that the proposed, contentious access to the site is within this portion of the Allington Parish boundary. Furthermore, there is a proposed ribbon development of housing on the southern side of the B3162, from the Toll House westwards to the proposed access to the site. This area is significantly prone to flooding.
Therefore, is it not correct that this situation be redressed such that Allington PC claim responsibility for this sliver of potential, significantly important development land? Here is an opportunity to do so perhaps?
Thank you.

Richard Freer

I’ve received the following email from Allington PC today (23/5/2018), having suggested an open meeting with Allington and Symondsbury Parish Councils to discuss this important issue.

Perhaps in the light of the reply from the Allington Parish clerk, like-minded, concerned residents should attend this meeting on the 12th June……..?

Hi Richard

We will discuss the proposed boundary changes at our next parish council meeting in June and will make any comments directly to Jacquie (I have already messaged Jacquie about this in the first instance who pointed out that ‘The District Council has not yet considered whether any boundaries should be altered but are merely gathering evidence from 
local people at this point in order to inform their deliberations’.), 
however, we have been advised that at this point in time they have only 
been asked to look at the Symondsbury/Bridport boundaries and not 
Allington’s even though there is a small sliver of Allington ‘land’ 
within the Vearse Farm development. As per Jacqui’s discussion, 
residents etc are being asked for their views in the first instance, and 
the views of our parish council will be reported to her before the 4th 
July deadline.

Kind regards

Parish Clerk
Allington PC

ADVEARSE proposals at last night’s Town Council meeting

Here is a synopsis of what was discussed at last night’s meeting.

The most significant development was that Town Clerk, Bob Gillis informed the meeting that a decision from WDDC is due on Friday 29th September, as to confirm the date of the outline planning meeting. Perhaps delaying by another week to the 19th October, if it requires 3 weeks notice !?

Based on my italicised speech that follows Cllr. Sara Williams suggested that we garnered support ourselves, by contacting the other councillors cited in my speech !

Subsequently, we ADVEARSE attendees discussed this and felt this should be the responsibility of our elected Town Council representatives to achieve this aim, not us.

    If anyone reading this wishes to contact any of our local councillors independently please email whereby we will furnish you with relevant addresses !
    Speech for outline planning meeting with Bridport Town Council 25th September 2017

Regarding the imminent Vearse Farm outline planning meeting to be held on 12th October, in Dorchester, I as a representative of ADVEARSE, ask that the relevant Bridport Town councillors (typically those here this evening) and West Dorset District Councillors representing Bridport and Symondsbury please liase/ally with the ADVEARSE campaign Group on this issue.

Over the past four years ADVEARSE have compiled a plethora of information on housing, flood-risk and traffic issues. We would therefore be delighted to convey this information to Town Councillors some of whom are also District Councillors and who are intending to speak at the aforementioned meeting in October.

We ask this because….

· We residents are only allowed 3minutes during the initial democratic session, thus it is very limiting !

· WDD councillors could speak additionally on our behalf with issues that are common to both parties, and without a time limit !

· We feel that this proposed outline plan is in fact a holistic issue, not just relating to vehicular access (to which the Town Council have objected) but also to its importance to cite additionally the lack of potential low-cost housing, flood-risk issues and more recently discovered, it would not be in the spirit of the Equalities Act 2010, limiting the mobility of the disabled.

· Unfortunately, our Group numbers will be depleted on the 12th October due to holiday and other commitments, thus limiting our ability to convey all of our objections in depth.

Could we therefore ask that the Town Council canvass the elected, representative Bridport District Councillors; Brown, Coatsworth, Day, Kayes and David Rickard, to please support this common planning objection and voice their disapproval on 12th October. Failing that, would they please publicly convey why they’ve taken the opposite stance, and have agreed with the planning application ?

Furthermore, perhaps more importantly at that meeting, in the addition of a recorded vote being implemented, we ask that Councillors Frances McKenzie and Simon Christopher who represent Bridport and Symondsbury respectively, (the latter being the site of the proposed build) are asked to convey to all, why they’ve very likely voted to support the planning application ?

Thank you

Dates for your diaries……

Don’t forget the two meetings at the Town Hall, Bridport on Friday 6th November (17.00 to 19.00) and Saturday 7th November (10.00 to 15.00), to discuss the Neighbourhood Plan. Steering Group representatives will display information on the working groups.

Monday 9th November (at 19.00), Bridport Town Hall to discuss the Hallam Land Group planning application.

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