Local people asking to speak against the Foundry Lea (Vearse Farm) reserved matters planning application on 4 August are being told that there is a limit of 3 people permitted to speak. A number of us have been told that the limit has been reached and so we are being silenced. The papers for the meeting are on the council website and the brief summary of objections made do not do justice to the large number of detailed objections made. We believe that the best way for the councillors on the planning committee to understand the depth of local concerns is to hear them first hand.

Please help with getting the council to change their mind by emailling the chair of the planning committee David Shortell ( and the Chief Executive ( to complain about this arbitrary rule and lack of local democracy. Please ask anyone else you know who may also be concerned to do the same.

Below is our email to Mr Shortell asking for his help in righting this injustice.

Dear Sir,

Ref: Committee Meeting 04 August 2022

I am writing to ask you to exercise the Chair’s discretion and allow all that wish to speak on the agenda item relating to Vearse Farm to do so.

I have been sent the guidelines which restrict speaker numbers to 3 in favour and 3 against the proposal. Whilst the restriction might be reasonable for a small development, I would argue that for an application of this size and of such public interest all who wish to should speak.

ADVEARSE has tracked responses to the revised plans and anticipates that numbers will be lower than those who spoke at the OPP stage. It may well be that numbers are manageable and even, if the meeting was as a result to last the full day, then it would surely be worthwhile in terms of local democracy. We have had criticisms about the consultation processes stretching back to the WDDC Local Plan. I can give you details of these if you wish.

I appreciate that Barratt and Vistry should be consulted before you agree to the request but they like Dorset Council have little to lose and much to gain by allowing full open discussion of the proposal.

It would be helpful to have a speedy response because some potential speakers may have been deterred by the limit on speakers and there is little time left to prepare and submit a request.

With best wishes

Barry Bates

Vearse Farm Planning Application Meeting on 4 August

The planning committee meeting to consider the reserved matters application for Foundry Lea (Vearse Farm) has been confirmed as 4 August and will be held in Dorchester.  The link below is for this notification and sets out details of the meeting and how to registrer in advance to speak at the meeting.

Click to access vearse-farm-planning-application.pdf

The notification refers to only 3 people being allowed to speak against the application. We challenged this with Dorset Counci and they have promised that there will be no limit applied.

This is the last opportunity for us to raise concerns about this massive housing development and the impact on Bridport. Our representations to this and previous applications have set out these concerns in detail and we know they are shared by many local people.  

Outline Planning permission was granted in 2017 and this means there is no realistic chance of this application being completely rejected by the planning committee. But there is scope with persuasion and effort to convince the planning committee to refuse the application as it stands and require major improvements or assurances which are in the best interest of Bridport and the local people. 

If they approve this application on 4 August then there is no chance of getting any of these improvements made. For example delivering the promised employment land as the houses are being built, improving the Bridport infrastructure to cope with the impact of 760 new houses/2000+ new residents (eg medical facilities, road/paths, parking, electric grid etc), tackling climate change issues (eg providing independent assurance on the resulting increase in flood risk, better use of renewable energy etc). 

Please do your best to attend the meeting and register to speak so you can make your views known directly to the planning committee members. We cannot rely on the Dorset council planning officer to properly represent local views. We know these will be presented in a very brief and dismissive way and buried deep in a written report amongst all the other papers provided to the committee.  

Please ask anyone else you know who is interested in looking after the best interests of Bridport to also attend and speak up! 


Revised Plans – Comment submitted by Barry Bates (note Advearse comment is being drafted and this is Barry’s personal comment)

I made a response to the original submission and, in framing this new response, I have examined the responses made by other individuals and organisations to the original submission and looked through the revised submission. Via ADVEARSE, I have been involved with correspondence with organisations such as Wessex Water and National Highways to explore the issues on which I am commenting. I am happy to supply further details as required.

I have no complaint about Barrett and Vistry who have been proactive and professional in their relationship with the ADVEARSE group. My complaint remains with the national planning process and the handling of this development by the planners in Dorchester. I am, however, grateful that the submission has been referred to the Planning Committee.

At the Outline Planning Stage, the Planning Committee were told that they were only to rule on the issue of access and that there would be a fuller opportunity to discuss the broader issues at the next stage. We are now at that stage, and I would urge Councillors on the Planning Committee to provide that democratic input into the decision-making process. I fully recognise that it would take a brave Council to decide to stop a development such as this at this stage.

I would, however, ask that the Planning Committee to

  1. Recognise that the scheme is inappropriate
  • It remains the largest development incursion into AONB ever in the country. Such developments in AONB should be granted in ‘exceptional circumstances. No such circumstances have ever been demonstrated at Vearse Farm.
  • Taken as a whole the responses to the original submission demonstrate that a massive development on this scale is inappropriate for a town the size of Bridport.
  • The site itself was, as Taylor Wimpey stated at the Local Plan stage, is inappropriate in so many respects.

A number of Councillors at the OPP decision voted in favour ‘with reluctance’. I am asking the members who will consider these revised plans to take on board the reservations which were expressed in the original consultation; to actively consider whether or not to approve the scheme and (if acceptance is inevitable) at least reflect in the decision the deep concerns of the residents they represent.

  • Withhold approval until the remaining concerning issues have been tackled and in doing so demonstrate that they can actually secure improvements.

The revised plans are largely to do with the Design Codes. Barrett and Vistry have indeed responded to the initial responses and the improvements made are to be welcomed. ADVEARSE has analysed the revised submission in relation to the other issues which attracted critical comment and questions in the original submission. We find most have not been addressed and, even worse, some of the papers in the revised submission are merely a rehash of those submitted in December2021.

The fact that the developers have improved the sections on the Design Code in response to criticisms should encourage the Committee to withhold approval in order to affect more improvements. This is such a major event in the history of Bridport and once approval is given it will be too late.

So why should the Planning Committee withhold approval?

  • There are no plans for the employment land. The scheme was passed as a mixed-use scheme and the number of houses were justified because of the new employment and additional benefits which will be brought to the town. Planning Committee should wait until the scheme as a whole is available for approval.
  • OFWAT has put Wessex Water on the list of water companies about which it has ‘serious concerns. The concerns that sewage will be discharged into the sea or rivers together with concerns about drainage of rainwater are very real. We have only the vaguest sketches of plans to deal with the extra created by Foundry Lea. I urge the Council to seek independent assessments on both issues before approving the scheme.
  • Climate Crisis – Barret and Vistry are racing to obtain approval so that they can avoid the upcoming challenges of new building regulations. Other respondees have written in great detail about what more could be achieved. Councillors should heed the crisis and demand a higher level of sustainability. At the very least we need greater clarity on 2 issues
  • What sources of heating will be used on the site?
  • Can Bridport’s electricity supply be guaranteed granted the extra demand FL will bring?
  • Although there are the window dressing items – allotments, riverside walk within the scheme- in reality, the scheme has not planned anything to manage the impact of all those households on the town as a whole. I would highlight just three
  • Car parking which is already over capacity on market days and in holidays
  • The dangers of access on the narrow pavements and road junctions from Foundry Lea into town from both Skilling and on West Road.
  • Medical services- Already the Ammonite Practice is writing to patients advising of the stresses the system is under. We cannot recruit GPs and Dentists to serve the current population.

I appreciate the reasons why the Planning Committee might feel pressured to approve this scheme. Yet there remain compelling reasons why the scheme, as it stands, remains a massive failure to plan a sustainable future for the area.

Updated planning statement – a useful read!

There are well over 200 documents on the planning portal for the Vearse Farm applociation. A lot of these are highly detailed and difficult to read/understamnd.

There is one document (Planning Statement Addendum) that sets out the changes to the planning statement. Although 32 pages long it is reasonably accessable and gives an overview of what the developers have changed since the original detailed planning applciation made at the end of last year.

It is not easy to find on the council planning portal so we have copied onto our website for ease of access. Please click on the link below to access it.

Click to access P-RES-2021-04848__220531_Planning_Statement_Addendum.pdf

Planning update – deadline is 8 July for comments

As noted earlier the revised plans are expected to be heard at the 4 August Planning Committee with a 3-week planning consultation.

We are concerned that Dorset Council have yet again failed to ensure that the public are being properly informed. We contacted them and their response was that they have put up 32 planning notices on lampposts etc around the site and that is sufficient to make the effected local people aware.

Of the hundreds of people who objected to the previous applications none have been contacted. Dorset Council say this is normal practice and only the statutory consultees are contracted.

We have requested that the application is properly publicised and a longer consultation period with the Foundry Lea application put back to a later planning committee meeting. Despite the massive impact on Bridport and surrounding area we have little expectation that anything else will be done by the council to raise awareness. There is no mention in the local media which we are trying to correct.

The current deadline for comments is 8 July so it is important to get your objections/comments made. This can be done via the Dorset Council planning portal:

We are currently drafting our response to the revised detailed plans and will be discussing these at our next meeting on 30 June. We will then post the draft response on our website by 3 July and issue a final version by 8 July.

We will be attending and speaking at the planning meeting on 4 August. There will be an opportunity for the public to take up to 3 minutes each to present their views to the committee. We encourage as many people as possible to attend and share their views.

Notes of meeting with developers

ADVEARSE had an online meeting with the developers Barratts/Vistry (B/V) on 13 June. Notes of meeting set out below. Please feel free to contact us with any questions. A further update on the planning application will follow shortly.

Notes of meeting B/V and Advearse – 13 June 2022

  1. Attendees – DM (B/V) KP (Vistry) BB (Advearse)
  2. Update from B/V – DM used a presentation to outline the changes which have been made in the revised submission and the current timescales. The notes below refer to the key points which emerged. The enclosed drawings though were presented to the Town Council working group and relevant drawings issued to them.
  3. Planning Process
  • B/V hope that the revised plans will be heard at the 4th of August Planning Committee. With delays and cost inflation B/V maintain the desires, principles and delivery of the extras and scheme itself but must have a delivery format in terms of a planning permission so the 4th is key to them and that is the target and PPA programme.
  • Ongoing and extensive detail has occurred with the Planning team
  • There will be a 3-week planning consultation (statutory timescale). BB expressed concern that public may not yet be aware. ADVEARSE will promote via website.
  • B/V have details on the Foundry Lea portal and ADVEARSE will provide their own link.
  • ADVEARSE will urge DC to promote the consultation period.
  • B/V remain open for suggestions from the local community and ADVEARSE happy to be a conduit for these.
  1. Design
  • B/V have submitted the revised design code which have now been approved in principle by DC – this being one of the conditions of the outline planning consent. The new designs do reflect the vernacular street designs in Bridport in terms of styles of building, details e.g., door arches, building materials, roof heights. These particularly provide the aspects on the main routes through the estate and further design work to ‘soften’ the views and create areas more of a rural edge (e.g. around Vearse Farm itself) has been put in place.
  • Areas around the listed building have become more of a ‘farmstead’ feel
  • 3 character areas / styles have been created.
  • B/V see these as improved and ADVEARSE accept that they do reflect the varied architectural styles in the town.
  1. Housing
  • Unit numbers stay the same
  • Affordables – the full 35% requirement will be met plus an additional 37. A contract is in place with the Housing Association for the Vistry affordable housing totalling 122 units.
  1. Sustainability
  • Overall, B/V are facing having to plan for 3 types of building regulations – present ones, new ones already agreed, the future regulations from 2025 which have yet to be determined . B/V’s strategy remains ‘Fabric First’ i.e., high degree of insulation.
  • Car charging points to be included with plots
  • On development communal car charging remains – both these will be looked after by the residents management company / relevant provider.
  • Bike hub- have been allowed for and B/V working with Town Council to identify parking hubs in town so they are integrated.
  • Trying to avoid using gas at any stage but the physical grid infrastructure and supply of technology at scale plus the cost of the upgrade to the Bridport electricity supply is a concern they are trying to address if possible. Cost and delivery to be confirmed.
  1. Miles Cross
  • Highways England have given technical approval to the design
  • DC yet to approve and are being notably chased as the present hold up.
  • B/V will go to tender once Planning Permission is granted – tender and approved HE contractors prepared –
  • Letter to the MP to be written by B/V
  • Aim for October start and 26-week build
  1. Sewage and Flooding
  • B/V acknowledge concerns in the community.
  • Wessex Water are working with the B/V following formal requests and payments from B/V to agree delivery and improvement works.
  • B/V will provide a formal update and note at the planning committee
  1. Sports pitches and facilities
  • In the plans as per Sports England requirements.
  • B/V have extended at B/V cost the changing building to now include a kitchen and covered terrace to give opportunities for clubs/organisations to raise income at the request of the authority (Sport England)
  • BB not convinced that this was tied into to a strategic view of the facilities in Bridport. This is not B/V’s fault, but it needs addressing as it would be a shame not to coordinate properly.
  • B/V expressed they did not want nor feel reasonable to have an objection from Sports England but committed as above to further post approval conversation
  1. Employment Land
  • B/V -will as per agreement provide the services up to the Colfox land.
  • Colfox talks of commercial interest but details not made available at this stage. B/V are confident that the employment land will come forward and have a good relationship with the agent but it is not in their control.
  • Colfox aware of the issue and S106 obligations. He has expressed via his retained agent to fully comply and has expressed buy-in to the ideology and delivery.
  • B/V maintain they want to see the commercial come forward for community benefit.
  1. Local working Group
  • B/V happy if a ADVEARSE rep joins the group.
  • B/V envisage this group continuing to advise on the project as it evolves in the build stages.
  1. Ongoing dialogue
  • B/V and ADVEARSE reiterated the value in a continuing dialogue and an open constructive relationship.
  • ADVEARSE had prepared a position statement ready for a planning hearing in say March. They will now prepare one to reflect the revised plans .

Barry Bates 14 June 2022

vearse farm amended DETAILED PLANS SUBMITTED

In the last few days amended detailed plans have been submitted for Vearse Farm (Foundry Lea).

The link to Dorset Council planning portal for this application is:

Advearse, along with many other interested parties and members of the public, submitted comments and objections to the previous detailed plans. For the last 6 months the developers Barratts/Vistry have been working with the council to amend the detailed plans.

We have an online meeting with the developers on Monday 13th June when they will present an overview of the changes made. We are keen to understand how they have addressed all the objections and concerns previously raised and will report back on the result of this meeting.

The closing date for comments is 8 July. During the next 3 weeks we will go through the amended plans and post our draft comments. This is a big task as there are over 250 new documents loaded onto the council planning portal!

Please feel free to send us any comments you may have or any issues you would particularly like us to look into. Also take the opportunity to make your own views known by commenting on the plans.

As previously reported these plans will go to the Dorset Council Western & Southern planning committee. No date has been set but given the closing date for comments it is likely that this will be 4 August, at the earliest, or 15 September or 13 October.

It would be great to have as many people as possible attend and speak at the meeting. Whilst it is not feasible to halt the application there is an opportunity to pressure the planning committee to make sure that the plans really do meet the needs of Bridport.

A further piece of news is that an Advearse member will be added to the Foundry Lea working Group, which includes representatives from Bridport Town council, the developers and other interested parties. We will use this as an opportunity to represent the views of local people as the development progresses.

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