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LINK TO DORSET COUNCIL VEARSE FARM (FOUINDRY LEA) PLANNING APPLICATION

It is not to late to comment on the planning application. Although the deadline was 17th January Dorset Council have promised to consider all responses received.

Please find below the link to the planning application. Click on this link or cut and paste onto your browser. This will take you to the DC planning portal. You just need to click accept on their terms and conditions (bottom of page).

This will take you to the application. You will then be able to click on the box “make comments” at the bottom righ hand side of the page and then submit any comments you want to make.

On the first page of the application you can click on documents tab at top of page to see all the various documents associated with the application and also see all the public comments.

https://planning.dorsetcouncil.gov.uk/plandisp.aspx?recno=377403

ADVEARSE RESPONSE FINAL VERSION

Below is the link to the final version of our response to the Foundry Lea reserved matters application. We will be uploading this onto the Dorset Council planning portal tomorrow (Sunday).

http://www.advearse.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2022/01/Advearse-response-DRAFT-9.doc

Monday 17th is the deadline for responses – so if you have not already responded please take the opportunity to register your views. We would be grateful if you refer to our response – hopefully to say you are in agreement. Please feel free to use any part of our response in your comments!

There are now over 100 public comments – the vast majority objecting to the plans and highlighting a large number of deficiencies.

The reality is that if these plans go through in their current state the downsides for Bridport will be severe and far outweigh the claimed benefits.

We don’t expect the whole application to be thrown out – but demand delays while a large number of urgently needed improvements are made to the plans. Also, we can expect to have the planning application determined at a public meeting so the views of Bridport residents can be heard.

BRIDPORT TOWN COUNCIL PLANNING COMMITTEE MEETING MONDAY 10TH JANUARY

BTC Planning Committee meeting will be discussing the Foundry Lea (Vearse Farm) application this Monday. The issues and concerns that they have already raised will be under discussion. There will be an update from the Foundry Lea working group which holds meetings with various parties including the developers.

Members of the public are invited to call in using Zoom and can if they wish raise points with the committee during the public forum at the beginning of the meeting. To do this you need to contact Will Austin who will allocate you a three-minute slot to speak). Alternatively you can just listen in on the discussion!

Please find attached below link to the the agenda with the Zoom meeting link included.

A-10-01-22-1.pdf (bridport-tc.gov.uk)

COMMENT ON DETAILED PLANS

A comment on the detailed plans has been lodged by Phil George. Phil has rightly questioned how the required level of scruitiny of these plans can be made in such a short time. Oversights made now will have serious consequences – most likely for the people of Bridport and not the developers or Dorset Council!

“I am writing to express concern over the latest stage of the proposed Housing development at Foundry Lea / Vearse Farm, Bridport. In particular the potential lack of due process,diligence and questionable practice which comes with such a limited time frame. 

It seems  inconceivable that a planning officer can process hundreds of vital, complex, detailed documents and plans with essential multiple consultations and the need for scrutiny and comments from multiple stakeholders,properly, in what amounts to fewer than 20 working days with the Christmas holidays in the middle of the period. I note that the so called ‘Consultees’ process with 30 parties started on the 6/12/21 ends on the 27/12/21, 13 working days? Why is this huge project which will have with enormous impact on Bridport, being rushed through this vital process and why is it being dealt with under delegated powers? 

Should proof of attention to detail be required, perhaps a visit to the literally hundreds of documents contained in the application would be a good idea. As within 30 seconds I noted the ‘detailed’ plans actually have the site name wrong? Not a great start I am sure you would agree?”

VF DETAILED PLANNING UPDATE

We have been in correspondance with Dorset Council to try and get some clarity on what is happending with the Detailed Planning Application for the VF development.

It has taken some time but we have an email response from James Lytton-Trevers, Lead Project Officer (Southern & Western), Economic Growth and Infrastructure. This is shown below in quotation marks.

Our biggest concern was that the detailed plans for VF might be approved by delegated authority (ie a council official) and not go to the planning committee. So there would be no opportunity for the people of Bridport to have their views heard at the committee meeting.

It is a long email response and the process described is complicated. The bottom line is that there is still no guarantee that we will get the detailed plans presented to the planning committee.

“I refer to your undated letter to Cllr. David Walsh and I, which you forwarded to the Chief Executive on 29 September 2021. You also mentioned that you had sent this to us in August, but in all honesty I did not receive it or I would have replied.

You refer to my reply to a different question on 1 August 2021 which I have included below for clarity for the other recipients of this. Thank you for acknowledging the position of the Local Planning Authority (LPA), although I would maintain that the LPA does take a robust approach to these matters if breaches occur. However, in this instance no breach of planning permission has occurred and there is no action I could take.

There is currently no planning application for reserved matters before me, so I cannot say what path such an application would take to reach a decision until such time if and when I receive it. However, I can explain the typical process that the LPA would follow on receipt of, say, an application for reserved matters for a development somewhere in the Dorset Council area. It would be improper for me to comment specifically on someone’s land and what they might want to do on it where there is nothing before me

An application for reserved matters would be advertised with notices in the usual way on and around the site. Consultations would take place with statutory consultees and non-statutory consultees including both a Parish Council and a Town Council (if it lay in both). The ward members would be notified. During the ensuing period there is an opportunity for consultees to make consultation responses and members of the public to make representations. This period would normally end after 21 days.

Once the consultation period has expired, if there are minor issues which have been raised by the consultee comments, representations or the LPA which can be resolved, the LPA may seek to resolve these. Once the LPA has sufficient information on which to reach a decision, an Officer of the LPA would normally prepare a report which would include a recommendation. In most cases a decision to grant or refuse planning permission is delegated. For example, if there is a planning application for a development which the parish council, ward member and LPA support, the decision is normally delegated. It is when the contrary happens that the Scheme of Delegation is triggered.

If an application needs to be referred to the Scheme of Delegation, the way in which the decision is taken, whether it be delegated to a nominated officer of the LPA or referred to a committee of elected members, would need to pass through the Scheme of Delegation process which is set out in the Dorset Council Constitution. In simple terms, this is a cascade system where consultee comments received from parish and town Councillors are referred to the Chair of the planning committee, Vice chair and Ward Members, whom can comment accordingly whether they consider the application should be delegated or referred to committee. Any responses received would be referred to the Head of Planning who would have regard to the planning application, consultee comments, representations and the recommendation. The Head of Planning would then reach a view whether or not to delegate a decision or refer it to a committee.

It is important to note that the Scheme of Delegation is seen as a fair way in which to decide the course of an application for planning permission. It has to be fair to the public as well as the applicant. So, for example, if there were an application which received some support from some, but for which despite some support, there was overwhelming objection by consultees and the public, it did not comply with Local Plan policy, etc and the LPA recommended refusal of it, it would not normally be necessary to refer it to the Scheme of Delegation. And vice versa.

I cannot comment further than this as at this point in time where there is no application before me. I have explained the process through which all applications made to the LPA need to pass through. The LPA could not single out specific applications for special scrutiny for the reasons I have set out above.

I hope this helps explain the process to you and let me know if I can explain further. I have copied this reply to Cllr. David Walsh and the Chief Executive as you sent your original letter to them.”

UPDATE ON MILES CROSS ROUNDABOUT

A lot of concerns have been raised with us about the traffic management plan for the Miles Cross roundabout. Particularly the impact on Bridport and the potential for work during Summer 2022. We have raised these concerns many times with Dorset Council and Highways England.

The most recent update was in October from Highways England. Their comment is shown below in quotation marks. We already know that the building of the roundabout will take at least 6 months and given the official responses it seems that there is not a rush to get on with building the roundabout. Our view is that no work should be carried out during the Summer holiday period because of the chaos it would cause on the A35 and surrounding roads!

“One of the planning conditions for the Vearse Farm development is that a ‘Construction Traffic Management Plan (CTMP) must be submitted to and approved in writing by the local planning authority’ (see condition 20 in the attached decision notice).It is the planning authority (now Dorset Council) who will approve the CTMP (not National Highways), although we willexpect them to consult with us.

Traffic management will also need to be agreed as part of the legal agreement they will be required to enter into with us for the design and delivery of the roundabout scheme, as well as to satisfy the requirements of condition 24.

I can assure you that we will consider the proposals in the CTMP very carefully and will be actively working to mitigate the impacts as far as possible (ie we would expect HGVs to only operate outside peak hours with measures to avoid right turning manoeuvres if possible). We will also check traffic flows on the A35 and advise the developer the periods traffic levels are at their lowest.”

Watton Lane/Broad Lane planning applications saga

The house building mania in and around Bridport continues. You might have thought with the Vearse Farm plan for 760 houses (which the local plan wants to raise to 930 houses) there would be a reticence from Dorset Council to approve yet more housing particularly on land designated as AONB (Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty). But further house building plans and work continues on many sites.

The reality is that we are seeing a progressive urbanisation of Bridport without the investment in or capacity for the necessary infrastructure. Bridport’s status as a small market town counts for nothing with the council seeing it as an easy and desirable place to meet their government imposed housing targets.

An application to build a single bungalow on a field adjoining Watton Lane and Broad Lane was approved in 2018. This field is AONB designated and forms part of the panoramic view from West Bay.

It does not matter to the council that Broad Lane is totally unsuitable (largely single track, no footpaths, no lighting etc) for more housing or that the occupants will have to be car users making a mockery of their climate emergency declaration and intention to only build houses in sustainable locations.

In 2019 a further application was made for 2 more houses. The planning committee for the reasons given were totally unimpressed and rejected the application by an 8 to 1 majority. However, an appeal was made by the land owner, Mr Norman, who was in the news recently when he was fined for multiple food hygiene breaches after his Bradpole based slaughterhouse was found to be significantly unclean.

Despite all the objections the planning inspector decided to grant the appeal and approve the planning application ignoring local democracy and the firm views of the councillors on the planning committee.

Now the saga continues with a further application to increase the number of houses to three – two of which are 4 bed houses covering a much larger area than in the original application.

It looks like there is a “salami” style process going on where new applications are made for increasing number of houses in the expectation that the planning committee/officers will find it difficult to refuse each successive increased application having approved the previous one. It should be noted that the site could potentially allow for 20+ dwellings!

The councils actions are scandalous – this application has been marked for delegated approval and will therefore not come before the planning committee preventing neighbours and other interested parties from presenting their objections in person. Also the notification of the application has not been sent to neighbours. It almost seems the council want to get this application through on the quite with the minimum of objections.

So much for just one bungalow in the corner of the field!

So what can you do? Please help to get this latest application properly considered and refused by:

Going on to the council planning website and putting in your objections. The link below takes you to the application (P/FUL/2021/01762) and you can click on the box at the bottom right of the page to make comments on the application. The deadline is 1 September so please be prompt.

https://planning.dorsetcouncil.gov.uk/plandisp.aspx?recno=236530

Emailing the following with a request that there is proper consultation with the application being discussed in public at a committee meeting. Just quote the application number in your email and say you object.

Mr Shortell,Chair of planning – [email protected]

Mr Pipe, Vice Chair – [email protected]

Mike Garrity Head of planning – [email protected]

Vearse farm/pine view pedestrian/cycle link

A planning appication has been made for the construction of a pedestrian/cycle link between Pine View and the Vearse Farm development (granted outline planning permission in May 2019 under planning reference WD/D/17/000986).

This link is essential for providing a route from the development into the town without using the busy and dangerous West Road. There are however issues in relation to Pine View which is very congested with parked vehicles and through traffic avoiding the busy West Road into the town. Naturally there are concerns that introducing further pedestrian and cycle traffic into Pine View could make matters worse and increase risks to pedestrians, cyclist and mobility scooter users.

If you have any concerns or comments in relation to this planning application then please look at this application on the Dorset Council website (https://www.dorsetcouncil.gov.uk/planning-buildings-land/planning/planning-application-search-and-comment) using application number P/FUL/2021/01895.

You will then be able to add your coments and also look at comments lodged by others.