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.