View from the Legal Eagles

You may have seen our earlier post about Dorset Council procrastinating with their response to our Pre-Action Protocol (PAP) letter sent to them announcing our plans to launch a Judicial Review (JR).

Well Dorset Council have now said they will reply on Wednesday 29 May which is an improvement, but still slower than the normal time frame for a reply to a PAP letter.

We will be talking to our lawyers on Friday 31 May at 5pm. By then our lawyers will have been able to assess the council’s response and be able to give us their reassessment of the chances of success with the JR. If the chances are still better than 50/50 then we will go ahead with launching the JR subject to having raised the necessary funds.

Thanks for the great support and please join me in having your fingers crossed that on Friday we get the green light to go for the JR! We will of course let you know as soon as we have the news!

Where is our Press Release?

You might have seen our post last Monday with a press release about Dorset Council procrastinating over their response to our lawyers pre-Action Protocal letter. We passed this to Bridport News to go in last Thursday’s edition (ie 23rd May). But it did not appear – it went missing!

What happened? Quite simple, as newspapers like to give the interested party a chance to comment they went to Dorset Council for a comment. And the Council, despite having plenty of time, failed to respond and hence our press release did not get published.

We are hoping that it will appear this week with or without the Council’s comment.

Maybe we’ve upset them! Perhaps they prefer the type of local democracy where they ask our opinion on a plan and then ignore us and expect us to just give up.

Fundraising update – 27 May

Our Crowdfunder appeal is going slowly with only £5,440 raised and 14 days left before the 10 June deadline. But then Crowdfunder tell us a lot of pledges are made towards the end when time is running out and the fundraising appeal become even more urgent!

But the good news is that we continue to receive donations directly via cheques and payments into our bank account. We recently received a £1000 donation which is fantastic. As a result the actual amount left to raise is £7500.

But we can’t get complacent as the time is ticking by so please encourage every one you know to help with the campaign.

Latest Video appeal released

We have just released our latest video appeal to raise the funds needed for the Judicial Review against the massive and damaging Vearse Farm Bridport urban extension.

This is a real call to arms as we now only have 18 days left till 10th June when time will have run out to launch the Judicial review and time will have also run out for Bridport and West Dorset Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

20 Days left – Fundraising Update!

We now have over 250 people supporting the campaign through either direct donations or Crowdfunding pledges.

With all this great support we have now just over £10,500 left to raise to hit our £34k target to fund the Judicial Review and try to stop the massive and damaging Vearse Farm Bridport Urban extension.

But we have just 20 days left to raise this money – so please keep the donations and pledges coming in. This is a really worthwhile cause to stop the loss of our precious AONB countryside, prevent the spoiling of Bridport and pressure Dorset Council to build genuinely affordable eco-friendly houses for local people using available brownfield sites

PRESS RELEASE – Dorset Council procrastinate over judicial review legal deadline

Dorset Council have asked to defer the deadline to respond to a lawyer’s letter setting out ADVEARSE’s proposed claim for a judicial review against the outline planning permission for the Vearse Farm development.  Officially, a response should be expected within 14 days of receipt of the pre-action protocol letter sent by Leigh Day Solicitors. 

The official decision notice granting outline planning permission to Hallam Land Management was issued on election day, Thursday 2 May.  ADVEARSE has just six weeks from this date (deadline 13 June) to apply for the judicial review.  In accordance with legal requirements, Leigh Day sent the pre-action letter, addressed to the council’s legal department, on 8 May.  Dorset Council says the letter was received on 9 May but that it took a further four days for it to reach the legal department through internal mail.  In their interim reply the council has said it cannot make the deadline of 23 May and has asked for a further extension to 6 June, four weeks after the letter was received.  It says it needs the time to prepare a response, despite reporting in Local Government Lawyer on 21 March 2019 that it was aware of ADVEARSE’s intentions.

ADVEARSE Chairman Barry Bates says ‘The decision notice was issued on the afternoon before a bank holiday weekend and before the new council had a chance to be elected.  Luckily, we and our lawyers have been on standby awaiting the decision notice for almost 18 months since the planning committee made its initial decision to allow the development to go ahead.’ 

While the council’s delays will not affect the time limit for the judicial review application, its failure to meet the 14-day deadline may be taken into account by the court and costs sanctions imposed.  Leigh Day is asking for a compromise deadline of 27 May. 

In the meantime, ADVEARSE has, after initial legal and other costs, just over £12,000 left to raise of its £34,000 target money.  It must raise this money before 13 June or the legal action cannot be actioned and the Vearse Farm development cannot be stopped. 

ADVEARSE Treasurer Phil Summerton says ‘People wouldn’t object if this was a smaller-scale development of genuinely low-cost housing for local people.  But this is set to be a luxury estate for second-home owners and will bring in retirees on a massive scale.  This goes against national protections for AONB land, but local democracy has let us down and now the only recourse appears to be to the law.  This is our very last chance to stop the Vearse Farm development.’

Bridport residents have rallied round contributing direct donations of £10,000 and these have been matched by a donation of £10,000 from Dorset CPRE.  A further £3,560 has been raised through the Bridport-based Crowdfunder website: https://www.crowdfunder.co.uk/save-west-dorset-aonb.

Support is now being sought from further afield in recognition that Vearse Farm, the biggest development ever to be allowed on AONB land, will set a dangerous precedent for urban sprawl all over the UK countryside.

<ENDS>

Further information

Information about ADVEARSE can be found at: http://www.advearse.org.uk/about-advearse/

Email: [email protected]

Facebook: www.facebook.com/ADVEARSE/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/advearse

Crowdfunder: https://www.crowdfunder.co.uk/save-west-dorset-aonb

Canvassing in Bucky Doo Bridport

We had a great morning canvassing in Bucky Doo Square on Saturday 18th May! Here is a photo of some of the team campaigning against the massive and damaging Vearse Farm urban extension of Bridport.

The most important thing we took away from canvassing people on Saturday was that they were very interested to know that something could be done! Also they were shocked by the fact that it was our LAST AND ONLY CHANCE to try to stop this development. There is a real sense of urgency – particularly as the remaining funds are needed by 10 June or the bulldozers will be in!

Our flawed planning system

One of the most repeated comments we hear in relation to Bridport’s (Vearse Farm) urbanisation is – “How on earth can this happen?”

It is incredibly difficult to understand how Dorset Council could possibly grant planning permission for this massive development on AONB land on the outskirts of Bridport. Also, grant this permission in the face of massive local people, Town Council and Parish Councils opposition.

But then articles like the one linked below demonstrate just how dysfunctional and corrupt the whole planning system is. Best to sit down when you read it as it is guaranteed to make your blood boil.

But there is something increasingly local communities are doing where disastrous planning applications are granted – using Judicial Reviews to challenge and overturn these terrible planning decisions. Please join us in our campaign to stop Bridport’s urbanisation.

https://www.theguardian.com/cities/2017/jan/31/britain-land-housing-crisis-developers-not-building-land-banking

Dorset Council Hypocrisy!!

Following on from an earlier post regarding Bridport Town Council declaring a climate emergency we now have Dorset Council doing the same! But in DC’s case this is just rank hypocrisy!

Below is the Bridport News article link:
https://www.bridportnews.co.uk/news/17644385.dorset-council-declares-climate-emergency-after-morning-of-protests-outside-south-walks-house/

The article says “DORSET Council has declared a ‘climate emergency’ following a morning of protests.” Also “A photo tweeted by the council showed that 69 Councilors were in favour of the motion, while two Councilors were against and six abstained from the vote.”

Talk about shameless virtue signalling and hypocrisy!

18 months ago West Dorset County Council (DC’s predecessor) Planning Committee passed Vearse Farm planning application in the teeth of massive opposition by 11 votes with one lone councilor objecting. Would DC now pass such a planning application with all the environmental and climate change damage?

Lets help Dorset Council recover their virtue by giving them a chance to halt the Vearse Farm development!

Help us raise the funds for the Judical Review and then DC can do the right thing – not oppose our JR and consign the massive and destructive VF plan in the dustbin. They can then get on with plans that don’t damage the environment and which actually provide genuine affordable housing for local people!

Bucky Doo Canvasing!

Advearse members and supporters will be canvasing for support against the massive Vearse Farm development in Bucky Doo Square, Bridport on Saturday 18 May from 10am to midday.

Please come and join us and help raise appreciation of the huge damage that this development will inflict on Bridport and the wider AONB status. We only have 24 days left to raise the remaining money to launch a Judicial Review against the development. This is Bridport’s last chance! After 10 June nothing will stop the massive 10+ year construction from starting with plans for at least 930 houses.

Here are some of the team at the last Bucky Doo Square session!

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