Key Issues

Welcome to the ADVEARSE web-site – we are a group of Bridport residents who represent the growing concerns of local people about the proposed massive housing and commercial development on the beautiful and environmentally important hillside on the West side of the town.

We have been actively campaigning to raise awareness about a development that would change the face of Bridport and destroy the lovely hillside overlooking the forested Allington Hill and the famous Bridport iconic landmark, of Colmers Hill. The site lies directly above the River Simene and the associated important flood plain next to it. We are highly concerned about the disruption to drainage on the fields of the existing Vearse Farm, leading to a greater flood risk on the land leading to West Road.

A summary of the key concerns identified so far is given below for information:
1. Increased Flood Risk. The Vearse Farm site drains rainwater down to the River Simene and the flood plain. The river and flood plain are only just coping, with both flooding regularly for days on end, in heavy rain during the year 2014. Flooding has extended up on to the main West Road to the side of the flood plain, this being frequently evident in late 2015, and early 2016. The river and flood plain are doing their job – with natural drainage from above. If the land above is covered in concrete this will completely disrupt normal drainage and almost certainly exacerbate the flood risk. Before any further plans are laid for this development a full flood-risk assessment should be undertaken.
2. Traffic Implications. West Road is widely used by traffic, including buses and the many visitors, as the way in to Bridport via the A35 bypass junction at Miles Cross. The massive up-scaling of residential accommodation in this area would have a marked effect on the amount of traffic using West Road and the already dangerous junction at Miles Cross. In turn of course, it would lead to even greater congestion, as vehicles enter the town. There is likely to be a greater use of the ‘rat-runs’ through Skilling Hill and Broad Lane, with concomitant stress on local residents in these areas. With a development of this size, at least a 1000 extra vehicles would be using the road, and there would be a constant stream of lorries involved with the construction during the development and associated industrial units that are proposed. It would completely change the face of the town and the traffic flow in this part of Bridport.
3. Infrastructure. A development of the, presently proposed, 760 houses would result in an increase of 2000-3000 people – more than the residents of Charmouth parish (about 1800). The population of Bridport parish is about 7,500 and Bridport ‘built-up area’ including Allington, Bothenhampton & Walditch, Bradpole and Symondsbury, totals 14,500. This development would markedly change the size and feel of the town, and would require a substantial increase in infrastructure including schools, hospital, medical and dental practices.
4. Size of Development. The sheer scale of this proposed development adding, in effect, another ‘Poundbury’ to this attractive, rural part of Bridport, should mean that an active debate must occur, with full involvement and sounding-out of opinion from the residents of Bridport. We need to be kept closely in touch with proposals that are likely to have an marked effect on our much-loved town and way of life. This democratic procedure would be part of the delivered Neighbourhood Plan, and subsequent referendum, expected in December 2016.

5. Character of Bridport. Bridport has recently been doubly nominated in the Top Ten Market Towns and Top Ten High Streets in Britain – an extraordinary accolade and a tribute to the unspoiled character of the town. We feel this would be greatly damaged by an estate of 760 houses on the attractive hillside at the edge of town, within the Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.



3 thoughts on “Key Issues”

  1. I want to see more affordable housing for our young people in Bridport. How much of this proposal will truly be available to local families ?
    But I am concerned about the large scale of this proposed development and its effect on Bridport.
    To preserve their essential nature, market towns like Bridport have an optimum size which needs protection.
    The flooding issue is one which will only get more relevant given the likely increase in extreme weather due to climate change.

  2. All points raised by you regarding this development are fully endorsed. In addition, and at the risk of repetition, may I add:
    1) Every household in Bridport should have the opportunity to comment on an issue of this significance concerning it’s future. If this means the relevant authority writing to every address in Bridport, so be it. Not everyone has internet access. Every address/individual is contacted in relation to local elections, etc. and an issue as important as town expansion should command equal publicity and opportunity to express opinions. Let’s perhaps call it a referendum.
    2) The proposed 750 house development at Vearse Farm is totally disproportionate to a country town the size of Bridport. It would severely encroach upon a surrounding AONB and adversely affect the character of the town and it’s surroundings. There has been enough of that in the past. Does no-one learn from past mistakes! It is surely time to call a halt before it is too late and the soul of yet another beautiful vibrant English market town is lost to ‘development’.
    3) A local housing shortage for local people has not, to my knowledge, been established. There is certainly no shortage of lower priced property on the market at the current time. It is fair to say that very few local people are homeless. Any major new development, such as Vearse Farm, would be likely only to benefit retirees wishing to move to the area. Logical thinking surely suggests we cannot continue indefinitely to build to accommodate this market in an AONB. There are certainly few job opportunities locally to attract working age incomers. Bridport’s future, and that of the surrounding area, rests upon it’s ability to attract sustainable and profitable tourism. Heaven forbid that any governing authority should destroy that future by inappropriate and unnecessary development.

    1. There is a shortage of lower priced houses. I am a young married man looking to buy for my family and I can tell you 100% that there is nothing available. The majority that are left now are being bought for buy to let because the rental market is going mad.

      I cannot buy or rent in Bridport or the surrounding area at the moment.

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