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Miles Cross Roundabout Construction Traffic

An urgent plea to National Highways, Dorset Council and Barratt / Vistry as the developers of Foundry Lea

Concerning Miles Cross Roundabout Construction Traffic Management Plan (CTMP) and the Foundry Lea CTMP –

ADVEARSE has had communications over several years on this with National Highways.

Miles Cross Junction has long been a source of concern as evidenced by the long standing A35 working group which included the former MP and David Tett as a local councillor. This concern predates any additional construction traffic and is based on accident records and near misses. It is essential for those who are to take the decisions on the Vearse Farm development drive it to actually understand the dangers. Those who are not used to using the junction, get confused as to whether the right of way is with those waiting to turn right off the A35 or for those waiting in West Road to turn right onto the A35. Hesitation often occurs and this is compounded when the car turning into West Road sees a car speeding up the slip road off the East bound A35. Factor in busy times and frustration or nervousness and it feels like a black spot.

At present the planning conditions state that no occupation is possible until the roundabout is completed but construction can begin using an access road off the B3162 West Road. The CTMP for FL talks of 40/50 HGVs construction lorries per day plus 100 lighter vehicles. This amounts to 300 total journeys.

There are plenty of examples in the country – a good example being Crewe in Cheshire – where the roundabouts are installed before any development work commences. More locally, one is being installed in Chippenham prior to development commencing.

No CTMP for Miles Cross has been seen as yet. A CTMP for FL has been produced for Barratt and Vistry by GHPC. Dorset Council has indicated there is no formal right of consultation on this document or the discharge of Condition 20 in the OPP to which this relates, although the developers have indicated they are open to consultation.

We recommend that the planning condition related to this be revisited and urge

  1. that the roundabout be constructed before any construction traffic is allowed on site.
  2. That if this is not possible , no construction traffic approaching on the A35 from the east should be allowed to turn right into West Road
  3. That the CTMP for Miles Cross and that for the Foundry Lea site should be jointly prepared so there is a clear analysis of the risks of running both together .

Our key points

  1. Why does the FL construction traffic mean that the Roundabout should be completed before any construction begins on site? This is because of the dangers to road safety. A heavily laden brick lorry wishing to turn right off the A35 from the starting from a stop position with the limited visibility of traffic coming from the Chideock direction will be lucky to get across in time. National Highways spokesman has explained that the two schemes can work together for reasons of ‘proportionality and viability ‘. We commented to him that if by the latter he means Barratt need to sell houses to pay for the roundabout that is putting commercial gain above public safety and we would suggest that Barratt have plenty of reserves to pay for the roundabout.

2.There is no safe time in the day . Much of the discussion has centred on holiday traffic and the need to have limits on times when construction traffic can approach. We would argue that it is even more dangerous when the road is quiet and traffic, which has been slowed in Chideock, speeds down towards Miles Cross. The latest fatality took place at about 5.30 am! It should also be noted that the ‘holiday period ‘is no longer confined to the 6-week school holiday.

3.Both CTMPs should specify – No Right turn off A35 for construction traffic. In the early stages of the development at Vearse Farm there was talk that construction vehicles coming from the east (Crown Roundabout) would not be allowed to turn right into West Road. This would require the construction traffic to go to the Charmouth roundabout before turning and returning. The CTMP for FL is very vague on this and the matter needs a thorough investigation and a clear statement issued.

  1. Would temporary traffic lights help? We think not. This is at first glance a good suggestion and ,of course, our priority must be to provide safe driving conditions. In that sense, we would support it if it was the only option left.

However, when traffic lights were installed at Broomhills the National Highways insisted that there would be no right turn across the lights. Their argument will have been on safety grounds. We would assume they would object to a right turn at Miles Cross on the same basis. We would be very disappointed if we are prevented from turning right at Broomhills in a saloon car, but multimillion Barratt/ Vistry is allowed to have 50 HGVs a day turn right at Miles Cross.

Secondly, the temporary lights would presumably involve a filter system. As we know from the Bridport Town Hall lights, this means that the traffic coming from the direction without the filter has less time to negotiate the lights and the queue is that much longer. Imagine the queue back through Chideock over the summer.

Our other concern with the temporary traffic lights is that, should they appear to be working OK, the roundabout will never be built. This is the expectation of many people anyway who fear Dorset Council has little leverage over the developers.

  1. Informing the Bridport Public It is interesting to note that local people are assuming that the roundabout will be completed first. We have yet to meet a single person who agrees that it is possible to do other.
  1. Enforcing the CTMP – Dorset Council has responsibility for monitoring the CTMP – Who thinks Dorset will have the resources to do this? We are in danger of seeing restrictions on construction traffic repeatedly ignored.

We would like to see in writing the sanctions for breaking the CTMP.

Conclusion – We as a group have warned about this issue for many years . As we get nearer to the actual start of work it is urgent that the issues are addressed .

The chaos and potential risks which will result which will result from this failure to plan properly for the road construction must be addressed . We ask that you collectively revisit the issue and engage with local people in the decision making. We would appreciate a detailed response to our concerns and an explanation of what decision you make.


We understand that the developers (Barratts and Vistry) will be making an effort to rectify the damage as best they can.

This will involve replacing the 19 trees that were chopped down with 25 semi-mature native trees from a local company. Although the hedgerow root system is still in place and will grow back, they will also be planting new hedgerow too.

If anyone sees any of this activity then please let us know.

Press Release on Foundry Lea – the destruction of hedgerows

ADVEARSE is aware of the widespread anger which has been created by the destruction of two large lengths of hedgerow at the sites of the planned entrances to the Foundry Lea development . We understand that there was a mistake made by those carrying out the work.

The developers announced that the preliminary site clearance work would be “….the removal of small sections of the hedge line ..” and comply with the “Hedgerow removal” on the tree retention plan 10042-E-D approved by the Dorset Council Tree Officer.

Instead contractors working for the developers have been responsible for wanton destruction of decades-old mature trees and ancient hedgerows.

We are at a loss as to how this could have occurred when the plans for protecting and retaining these trees and hedgerows were clearly spelt out. The developers claim that they will put this destruction right is laughable. Dorset Council must launch their own investigation and take legal action against the developers to ensure that this transgression does not go unpunished. Also additional monitoring of the developers actions are put in place with these additional costs being paid for by the developers.

The start of the work has brought home to residents the reality of what such a massive development will mean within the Dorset AONB . The developers have set out in their plans to preserve some of the environmental features on the site. But this will by no means cover all the hedges and trees. We hope that residents will continue to monitor the work being carried out to ensure that the developers stick to the conditions of the planning consent.

Supporter Feedback Request

Last month Foundry Lea received the reserved matters approval with the help of the votes of our local Bridport councillors on the Dorset Council planning committee. This means that we have no leverage to ask for any changes in the detailed plans or improvements in the local infrastructure.

Any changes or improvements now rest on the goodwill of the developers or Dorset Council.

We have a good relationship with the developers who told us directly that they would be open to consider ideas from the local people but any which impact on their profits of extend the Foundry Lea timescale would be rejected. We have found it very difficult to secure any constructive dialogue with Dorset Council.

At present we are continuing to secure better outcomes on some of the main issues which concern our supporters. We are pressing hard for the construction of the roundabout to be completed before any construction traffic can enter the site . We will also be chasing up concerns about sewage discharges and will be attending a meeting called by the local business Chamber with Western Power about ensuring there will be sufficient capacity of electricity. We are reflecting hard on how our efforts may be best targeted. We see no real prospect of getting anywhere on our other main requests eg increased use of renewables, further independent assurances on flood risk, bringing forward the provision of employment land, improved traffic safety, medical centre funding etc.

On a positive note Bridport Town Council have set up a Foundry Lea Working Group which includes some local councillors, local interest groups, the developers and a Dorset Council representative. The aim of this group is to facilitate the Foundry Lea development. Advearse have been invited to join this group and will attend the next meeting

At our last meeting we discussed the latest situation and considered the future of Advearse and its role going forward. We would really welcome your feedback as we decide what to do.

In particular:

Do you see a value in Advearse continuing and if so want do you think its aims should be?

Do you think Advearse should take up the seat on the Foundry Lea Working Group?

Would you like to be a member of the Advearse team and take an active role in furthering these aims?

Notes from August Advearse Meeting

On 22 August we held an Advearse meeting and discussed the outstanding issues and actions we had after the recent reserved matters approval.

We noted that this approval meant there was no leverage that we could bring to bear on the developers or Dorset Council to force changes to the development plans. Any changes remain at the goodwill of the developers.

Bridport Town Council have set up a Foundry Lea Working Group which will periodically meet with the developers and other interested parties during the course of the development over the next 5+ years. This should provide a means for local people to raise concerns about the development and its impact on the town. Advearse have been offered a seat at this group and we are considering if/how to take this up.

We are also considering the future of Advearse and will be having a meeting on 14 September to look at our options. We would be very interested to hear from supporters about what they think we should do.

A quick update on our actions and the outstanding issues is noted below:

  1. We wrote our local MP to ask for his support in asking for changes to the development plans. His response was that it was too late to request changes.
  2. We have written to Dorset Council raising yet again our ongoing concerns with pedestrian access from Foundry Lea to the town centre and the local area. These concerns were dismissed at the recent reserved matters planning meeting as being immaterial and that the narrow footpaths were considered to be safe!
  3. We are in correspondence with National Highways regarding plans to start the construction of Foundry Lea alongside the building of the Miles Cross roundabout. There are serious traffic congestion and safety issues about these happening at the same time.
  4. We have made an official complaint to Dorset Council about how the reserved matters application was conduction. For example limiting the ability of the public to speak at the meeting and the failure of the council planning officer to directly address the questions/concerns raised.
  5. There are legal issues relating to the development not complying with the 2010 Equalities Act by failing to provide sufficient housing which addresses the needs of disabled or elderly people. The council have dismissed these concerns so we will be raising with relevant organisations and charities to see what else can be done.
  6. Concerns about the impact of Foundry Lea on the local electricity network remain unanswered. These were ignored when raised at the planning meeting. Western Power have told us that the Bridport electric network is out of date and not suited to a mass housing development of the size of Foundry Lea. But as the development has been given permission they have no choice but to provide access to the local network.

Will Foundry Lea impact Bridport electricity network

Bridport Chamber of Trade and Commerce are concerned about the impact of Foundry Lea on the local electricity network and are holding a Zoom meeting on 4 October to dicuss this issue.

Their intention is to gather support and put pressure on Western Power to take action to ensure that Bridport power supply is safeguarded.

Anyone interested or concerned should join the meeting. We will provide full details in a later post.

Will the Foundry Lea development impact local river bank stability?

A local resident on Magdalen Lane has raised concerns about the Simene river bank not being in a stable stable condition. This issue would not only impact their house but also other residences in the locality.

The river banks are weak and will not tolerate extra water pressure which could come as a result of the Foundry Lea development which is next to this stretch of the river.

It is well known that the field next to the river floods every winter. Flood precautions are promised but work is also needed to protect the river banks ensuring the integrity of the river Simene from the proposed application site to its joining the river Brit.

Works would be needed to the development side of the riverbank especially where the foot/cycle path is and where run off pipes for surface drainage are positioned. Strengthening works to only one part would put more strain on parts not addressed especially with the additional water flow.

We have raised this concern with Barratts/Vistry and are awaiting a response.


On 4 August Dorset Council Western & Southern Planning Committee granted the reserved matters planning application for Foundry Lea (Vearse Farm).

This is a huge disappointment to Advearse who have campaigned for the last 9 years to have this plan refused because of its impact on an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) as well as the negative impact on a small market town with limited infrastructure to support the influx of over 2,000 new residents. This represents a massive 20% increase in the local population.

Dorset Council have justified this development on the basis that it is “appropriate” and in the authority’s housing plan. Serious concerns that Advearse have being raising over the last 9 years have been repeatedly dismissed or ignored by Dorset Council or its predecessor West Dorset District Council. The fact that the Vearse Farm development was included in the Local Plan was used as an excuse to force approval by the Planning Committee at the Outline Planning Application (OPP) in 2017. The fact that the OPP had been approved was used last Thursday to persuade the committee members that the plans were set in stone and that they could not be amended. Sadly only two councillors saw fit to object to the application and demand that more was done to at least make the application carbon neutral.

In 2019 Advearse challenged the OPP via a Judicial Review. Although building on the AONB is only allowed in exceptional circumstance the judge took the view that building housing in a county which has a large amount of AONB designated land was sufficient reason to dismiss our JR.

Since 2019 our focus has been on campaigning for the best outcome for Bridport from this development. Alongside others we have been able to prompt the developers to improve the detailed plans submitted in December 2021. The amended plans submitted in June 2022 do not go far enough in addressing the serious concerns raised and requests by us and others for further changes were rejected by council officers.

Astonishingly, instead of setting aside a full day for study and comprehensive discussion and debate on an application of such huge scale, which will massively affect the future of Bridport, the Council shunted this critical application into an agenda with several other minor planning issues. Moreover, in the last few days before the meeting – and despite strong urgent written objections from Advearse and individuals to the Chief Executive of Dorset Council – objectors were astonished to learn that the number of members of the public and organisations who would allowed to speak against the application would limited back to just six people, each having a mere 3 minutes to speak: 18 minutes for a 760 home application. Sadly, a councillor’s request there should be a Site Visit was then voted down.

As a result due to the negligence of Dorset Council this development as it stands will over the next decade see real risks and damage to the Bridport and its residents. Our continuing concerns include:

  1. Risk to pedestrians using narrow footpaths on busy roads walking from the development into the town centre given the large increase in traffic that Foundry Lea will bring.
  2. Lunacy of the current plans to allow construction traffic for the building site to go ahead at the same time as the building of the Miles Cross roundabout on the A35. This will greatly increase the risk to road users.
  3. The planners have ignored the Council’s own CLIMATE EMERGFENCY DECLARATION and will allow over 300 homes to be built with gas boilers. There is minimal provision for solar panels.
  4. As yet there are no plans actually agreed with Wessex Water regarding the management of the sewerage and ground water run off which the site will create with increase in discharges of sewage into the sea whilst the prospect of flooding elsewhere in Bridport and West Bay is ever more likely.
  5. At the approval meeting the planners could offer no guarantees from Western Power about whether it can provide for Bridport’s electricity needs once Foundry Lea is underway.
  6. Lack of any plans at all for the employment land promised as part of the mixed use development.

Advearse will be holding a meeting later this month to decide on our next steps and how we can hold the council and developers to meeting their promises to the people of Bridport.

Advearse would like to thank the individuals who have supported our campaign and also Dorset CPRE who have been steadfast in their opposition


The Foundry Lea (Vearse Farm) reserved matters application was granted by the Dorset Council Planning Committee this afternoon.

This is needless to say a great disappointment given the multiple issues and concerns raised by ourselves and many Bridport residents over a long period of time. The councillors on the committee also raised concerns but the council officers made it clear that the councillors had in effect little choice other than to accept the reserved matters application as it stood without any changes.

We will say more in due course about what transpired at the committee meeting and the serious concerns that were raised and how these were denied or circumvented. We will be issuing a press release and hope that the local media and newspapers will publish it.

We can now expect work to start on this development in the near future as the developers want to build/have started 318 houses by June 2025 (phase 1) to avoid having to meet the new 2025 building standards. The Miles Cross roundabout will commence early 2023 and take 6 months to complete.

Whilst there are positives from Foundry Lea such as the affordable housing there are many negatives for Bridport that will only start to be fully realised in the years to come.