(Please note, this is NOT Ian Johnson who owns West Road garage, West Allington. Amended 29/6/2017)
I wish to object to Mr Ian Johnson’s letter entitled Too Selfish. Firstly, I presume he did not attend the recent Town council (13/6/2017) meeting to which he refers, but justifies his sentiments by his perusing of the photos printed in the Bridport News. I found his comments unpalatably ageist ! He and the youth of Bridport have had their chance to comment on this development at that meeting, but for some reason they chose not to. Furthermore, if he had attended the discourse, he would have heard that mature residents are very much in favour of providing low cost housing, in fact low-cost being the ONLY caveat as to not totally objecting to any new builds ! Note, I do not refer to low-cost as affordable as affordable dwellings (at 80% of the market price) are still outside the range of most of our young and destitute residents. Mature retirees having zero or very little remaining mortgage have achieved their aspirational goal of completion of their loan, some years later. I for one struggled to pay my mortgage at very high interest rates (15% in the early 1980’s) and the concomitant high income taxation.
I do admit that it is now prohibitive for the young and destitute folk to get a foot on the housing ladder but this is due to government policy not the legacy working people of the past. House prices in this country (particularly in London, the feeder venue for Bridport purchasers) have escalated NOW due to the inept monitoring by HMRC who have failed to address and omit the generation of legislation to combat the presence non-dom house purchasers, many of whom never occupy, but just await the expected price increase, then sell and avoid payment of CGT !
Furthermore, is Mr. Johnson aware that SHMA housing figures are inflated to the extent of 30% (figures from the Office of National Statistics and Campaign for the Protection of Rural England).
The building of more open market housing in our locale, will not fix the current [national] housing crisis !
What is very obvious is that Mr Johnson is rather deluded regarding his bizarre objections; he cites and states dog walking and spoiling [desecration] of the countryside. However, it is the more significant argument against the proposed traffic access, pedestrian & cyclist safety and the perceived flooding issue(s),that are the key objections.
The argument therefore should be holistic not iterating mono or dual specifics, as there are several pertinent issues in this complex, local housing situation.
There is a very apathetic attitude conveyed by Bridportians, across the whole demographic that is tangibly exemplified by those, supporting the development of Vearse Farm NOT convening meetings to express that view, en masse. It is a sad indictment that younger residents do not publically express their views, at the aforementioned meetings, than that only on social media.
So Mr Johnson, if you wish to support Vearse Farm development, may I suggest you undertake some reading and research as many of us have over the past 4 years, in our campaign group, ADVEARSE and then have your say at the council meetings and not denigrate campaigners, who truly care about the future of our town, in the local press.
Group backed by Malaysian investors rows back on plan to construct 636 affordable homes, citing ‘technical issues’
Bridport Area Neighbourhood Plan Housing Group – Response to Magna Housing decision to Sell Social Housing in West Dorset
Cllr Ros Kayes’ dismay that Magna Housing intend to sell social rented homes is understandable. Whatever Magna’s reasons, this news is difficult to reconcile with the fact that 283 households (about 1 in every 30 in the Bridport area) are on the Housing Register as being homeless or “unsuitably accommodated”. These residents are unlikely ever to be able to buy a home, they struggle to meet private rental costs, endure overcrowding and often share with others. We must all find this unacceptable.
Consequently the Bridport Area Neighbourhood Plan Housing Group strongly supports the need for more social rented housing. They have identified an across-the-board need for lower-cost open market housing at prices more in reach of locals, in preference to housing built predominantly to serve affluent second-home owners and retirees from outside the area. ‘Social rent’ for a three bedroomed home will, Magna advises, cost around £105 per week. That is affordable by local standards.
Around 1,000 new homes are currently planned for Bridport of which 250 should be a mixture of ‘social rented’ and ‘affordable rented’. However ‘Affordable’ rent is specified by the government as being up to 80% of private rent, equating to at least £150 per week for a three bedroomed ‘affordable’ home. Nationally accepted criteria show that over half the households in Bridport simply cannot afford this. It is misleading to say that rents priced at 80% of private market rents are ‘affordable’ here.
Housing Associations prefer to provide ‘affordable rented’ homes – they get a much better return on their investment and since the government does not subsidise social housing the chance of many ‘social rented’ homes being built in Bridport is slim.
Spokesmen of both local and central government keep reassuring us that ‘affordable’ housing is on its way. Yes, more housing may be on its way but affordable it isn’t, at least not to those in housing need. It is of concern that the District Council simply does not know how many new social rented properties are to be built in Bridport, having no power to dictate the number.
The sad fact is that the District Council’s 2015 Local Plan is not going to help those desperate people on the Housing Register and those suffering housing poverty. The people of Bridport need to understand this.
Dear Mr Greene
(Legal Services Manager, Head of Property & Litigation and Monitoring Officer, WDDC)
RE ADVEARSE PETITION
Thank you for your letter of 22 January which gave your response to the decision of the Chief Executive to refuse to accept our petition. ADVEARSE has considered its response and I am replying on behalf of the group.
We are disappointed that you have failed to give any detailed consideration to the protocol concerning petitions to the Full Council. Most of the letter consists of the list of consultation activities which must have taken at least 2 minutes to copy and paste. We have already received this information on several occasions. We have explained that whilst it might persuade you and colleagues that consultation has been carried out that Bridport Councillors and residents feel that there were failures in the information and consultations process.
We would accept that the Councillors were unlikely to have accepted the demand of the petition and withdrawn Vearse Farm from the Local Plan. This would be especially true granted the particular stage we are at in terms of the Inspection process. We did however wish to achieve two objectives
- Ensuring that Councillors as a whole appreciated the strength of opposition to the proposal
- Ensuring that the public could actually hear an open debate on the issue.
The latter point is paramount. The local press is giving unprecedented coverage to concerns in the community as a whole about West Dorset District as a Council. In particular it is about the sense that ‘cabinet ‘government is not serving local democracy well.
We have collected names and asked for the debate in accordance with the protocol. What would actually have been wrong in actually having the debate and giving the reason for rejecting its request the points which Matt Prosser and you have given? You have given reasons why the Councillors would reject the request but not why the petition should not have been heard. In my initial response to Matt Prosser I suggested that it was bad politics to reject the petition. Weeks on with yet more negative publicity about a high handed council that remains my view. We will certainly be issuing a press release about the matter.
‘Chief Executives decision’- (page one). We note that no councillors were asked for their opinion. Might it have been useful to get their perspective ? Or outside the cabinet members are Councillors to be treated as stooges?
Conclusion of stage III – Thank you for clarifying that we are at the conclusion and pointing us in the direction of the ombudsman. For the record can we note that despite offers on our behalf for other avenues the Council has chosen to deal with us exclusively by e-mail/letter?
To confirm our next actions
- We will be issuing a press release about the rejection
- We will be contacting the Ombudsman
- We will be asking our local councillors for support and guidance
- We will consider how best to network with others who feel disenfranchised by the undemocratic processes of WDDC
Sketches of a development plan proposed for an area of outstanding natural beauty have been released.
Hallam Land Management submitted the designs as part of discussions surrounding a local plan for West Dorset, Weymouth and Portland.
The plans show drawings for a development of up to 760 new homes to the west of Bridport at Vearse Farm.
A campaign group, Advearse, has collected thousands of signatures opposing the idea.
PRESS RELEASE FROM ADVEARSE
WEBSITE LAUNCHED – 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