COMMENTING AND RAISING OBJECTIONS ON LOCAL PLAN (UPDATE)

We have been asked by some supporters how to go about putting in comments/objections on the local plan. Below we set out to do this.

Follow this link to Dorset Council Local Plan page:

https://www.dorsetcouncil.gov.uk/planning-buildings-land/planning-policy/dorset-council-local-plan.aspx

There is a “Comment on Dorset Council Local Plan” box. Click on that and it will give you an opportunity to make comments. The system takes you to a comment box for each section of the Local Plan. You only need to comment on the parts you are interested in. Just leave the other sections blank.

Alternatively you can email your comments in to [email protected]

Below is a link to Bridport Town Council’s page on the Local Plan and a video presenting a summary of the Local Plan. This is a really useful short video so please feel free to share this link with anyone else who may or should be interested.

The council’s response to the Local Plan is due to be publicly available after being signed off by their Planning Committee meeting on Monday 22 February.

The CPRE have also set out their concerns with the Local Plan and lack of proper consultation with the people of Dorset. See link below:

https://dorset-cpre.org.uk/news/current-news/item/2268-dorset-cpre-slams-local-plan

The most important section for us in the Local Plan is the West Dorset Functional Area – Section 36 – Bridport.

Vearse Farm plans are covered in Section 36.5.3 which notes “The whole Vearse Farm site could deliver around 930 new homes. This includes about 760 on the main consented part of the site with around a further 170 homes on three residual sites, namely: land at Vearse Farmhouse; land west of Coronation Road; and land to the west of Pine View”.

As a result of losing the judicial review the 760 houses are now “consented” and cannot be opposed/stopped. However, the proposed extra 170 houses will need Outline Planning Permission. The issue for us is that if these extra houses remain in the Local Plan and it is approved by the planning inspector then it will be extremely difficult to stop them from receiving planning permission. Even if we could persuade the Planning Committee to go against their own planning officer recommendation and refuse the planning application the developer could appeal and the Planning Inspectorate would inevitably side with the developer.

So our best chance to oppose this expansion of the VF urban extension is by trying to get it dropped from the Local Plan. To have any chance we need to build up a groundswell of opposition. So the more supporters sending in objections the better! So please ask family/friends to also object.

Points to bear in mind are:

  • The housing planned for Bridport totals 1,139 which is 75% of all the houses included in the plan for the whole of West Dorset. Given the area this is a huge focus on Bridport, which is by many measures is a small market town.
  • The housing target for Dorset for the next 17 years is 30,481 as set by government, but Dorset Council are proposing 39,285 houses. So they plan to build 8,804 (29%) more houses than required by the government!
  • Central government’s housing targets are 47% higher than the existing Local Plans in Dorset and  are way in excess of any sensible forecast of local housing need.
  • The Government’s targets and algorithm are based on outdated and flawed population and household projections.
  • The central housing targets are unrealistically high not least because the central algorithm increases assessed local housing need by 40% to reflect high house prices. The apparent justification for this increase in numbers is that if you build more, then prices will come down!

In addition there are plenty of other grounds for opposing the expansion to the VF urban extension: further building on and erosion of the Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB), increased flood risk of the site and surrounding area, extra load on overstretched Bridport infrastructure (eg car parking in town centre), increased traffic volumes on an unsuitable road (West Road), increased traffic risk to pedestrians/cyclists and failure to provide suitable affordable eco housing for local people.

We will be putting our own draft comments on the Local Plan on our Advearse website early March for our supporters to see and submit our final comments to Dorset Council by their 15 March deadline.

One thought on “COMMENTING AND RAISING OBJECTIONS ON LOCAL PLAN (UPDATE)”

  1. My comment on the W. Dorset Local Plan was as follows. Kind Regards, April
    I am specifically commenting on the decision to approve 760 homes at the Vearse Farm site and that now there appear to be plans afoot for a further 170 bringing the total to 930! This is a designated AONB; not for much longer. It will materially and adversely affect the beauty and value of the site. How will Bridport cope? Already clogged during Summer and holiday periods, the centre of Bridport is not a pleasurable nor inviting place to be. Infrastructure will be overwhelmed and the urban sprawl devalue the area. How anyone can think it acceptable or proportionate to destroy this AONB (designated so for good reason). I object to such a large scale decimation of the nature and wildlife and object to any expansion (the further 170 homes planned) at Vearse Farm. What a travesty for locals and for wildlife. How ugly this will be. Why should do much of West Dorset’s new housing be concentrated on Bridport when there are other sites to spread the burden? And why build in excess of the Governments targets (30% more)? It’s almost as if West Dorset Council are actively trying to devalue and destroy this precious habitat and green space. Did Vearse Farm really need to be so expansive? At what cost to local residents and rural communities? And where will the so important green spaces be in future when West Dorset seems so determined to rip up their AONB? What a claim to be able to make that West Dorset has the largest housing development on an AONB! What an achievement! I realise my objections may come across as impassioned, but some things really are worth fighting for so I make no apology for this. PLEASE RECONSIDER and, at the very least commit not to allow a further 170 homes at Vearse Farm? It’s already sad that so many homes have been approved. Pound bury mark 2 perhaps? Perhaps it will be only with the benefit of hindsight that West Dorset Council will see the loss and how sad it is for future generations.

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