It has been
a few months since we posted any updates or sent out any communications to our
supporters. Since the Judicial review ruled against us in April 2020 things
have been quiet on the Vearse Farm development front. But there are now a few
updates to provide you with.
Sale of Vearse Farm development
reported in June the development had been put up for sale by Hallam Land with a
requirement for bids to be made by 15 July for all or parcels of land on the
been monitoring Hallam’s website and relevant news sources and we have not seen
any updates on how the bidding process went.
Land’s Interim Business Update for the end June 2020 states that:
“Our house builder
customers are at differing stages in returning to the land market. Nonetheless,
we are receiving bids for land at prices not noticeably impacted by CV-19,
although we do not expect these deals to contribute to this year’s numbers.
However, pressure on land pricing and average returns per plot has continued,
with the forthcoming changes to building regulations likely to have a growing
impact in the medium term.
As we enter
H2 Hallam Land is in a strong position, with all its budgeted business for the
current year contractually exchanged. Additionally, we are in advanced
negotiations on further disposals of plots, which we expect to complete next
highly likely that if Hallam had been able to complete any deals with house
builders for Vearse Farm this would have been publicised. Hallam’s business
model is to facilitate the sale of the approved outline planning development as
soon as possible so that they and the land owners can take their cut of the
proceeds and leave the house builders to get on with the detailed planning applications
and the long term building work.
that this lack of progress is as a result of the current economic uncertainty
and the delay resulting from the judicial review. Most probably bids received
didn’t meet Hallam expectations and are subject to ongoing negotiations.
Vearse Farm working group
group was formed in a couple of months ago and has representatives from Hallam,
Dorset Council, Bridport Town Council and other local organisations with an
interest in the Vearse Farm development.
group’s draft objective is:
facilitate, through the active discussion and participation of the various
local stakeholders, public engagement and communication, the next stages in the
planning of the Vearse Farm development with particular focus on the design
aspects and the delivery of the S106 obligations and benefits it affords for
the residents of Bridport and its surrounding parishes.”
following link for the report on the group’s latest meeting:
were not invited to join the working group – which given the legal challenge
and our unpopularity with Hallam is not surprising!
fully support the working group activities and their objective mirrors exactly
what our focus will be going forward. It is good to see that Bridport Town
Council will be making the work of this group public.
We will of
course be ready to raise with the working group any issues that need their
attention to make sure that Bridport gets the absolute maximum benefit from the
Vearse Farm development.
Proposed change to planning application
Hallam have submitted an application that seeks to vary two
conditions of the previously granted outline permission, relating to the two
vehicular access points on West Road (East Access is opposite Lodge Lane and
West Access is opposite the entrance to Crepe Farm)
Hallam wants the flexibility to build these two accesses in
the order that matches the eventual order in which the development is delivered
– previously the conditions required that the eastern access be delivered
The decision on this would most likely be made by Dorset
Council planning officials and not be required to go to the planning committee
and receive comments/objections from the public and interested parties.
Whilst it may seem a small change it is worrying development
as it could set a precedent for other changes to be requested to provide “flexibility. Further amendments
could be requested that reduce the benefits set out in 106 Agreement (e.g. provision
of Affordable Housing, Miles Cross roundabout, cycle/pedestrian routes etc).
Given Dorset Council’s inability to stand up to developers we could see a
steady erosion of the benefits from the Vearse Farm development and this
Advearse will be watching and applying pressure that Hallam sticks rigidly to
and complies with all the conditions of the Sectiion 106 Agreement.
application documents will be accessible on the Dorset Council website from
We will be
pressing for the decision on this change to go to the full planning committee
so that it can be discussed in a public forum rather than be a quiet deal
passed by unaccountable council officials.