DETAILED PLANNING RESPONSES DEADLINE

As previously posted the deadline for comments on the detailed planning applciation is 10 January. We have asked Dorset Council to extend this deadline to reflect the short time available for the detailed planning documents to be considered and for local people to raise any concerns or issues.

The response we received stated “The statutory consultation period for applications is 21 days. Any submissions made after the closing date by email or letter, will be added to the application for the officer’s consideration”.

So in effect late responses will be considered. Despite this assurance we are keen to ensure we get our responses in by 10 January. But it is important not to be deterred from commenting even after the 10th January. Any comments made will go on the planning portal and be open to public viewing.

Bridport Town Council will be commenting and will make their comments public. Plesse keep an eye out for the Town Council response as there may be points that you would like to pick up on when making your comments.

COMMENT ON DETAILED PLANS

A comment on the detailed plans has been lodged by Phil George. Phil has rightly questioned how the required level of scruitiny of these plans can be made in such a short time. Oversights made now will have serious consequences – most likely for the people of Bridport and not the developers or Dorset Council!

“I am writing to express concern over the latest stage of the proposed Housing development at Foundry Lea / Vearse Farm, Bridport. In particular the potential lack of due process,diligence and questionable practice which comes with such a limited time frame. 

It seems  inconceivable that a planning officer can process hundreds of vital, complex, detailed documents and plans with essential multiple consultations and the need for scrutiny and comments from multiple stakeholders,properly, in what amounts to fewer than 20 working days with the Christmas holidays in the middle of the period. I note that the so called ‘Consultees’ process with 30 parties started on the 6/12/21 ends on the 27/12/21, 13 working days? Why is this huge project which will have with enormous impact on Bridport, being rushed through this vital process and why is it being dealt with under delegated powers? 

Should proof of attention to detail be required, perhaps a visit to the literally hundreds of documents contained in the application would be a good idea. As within 30 seconds I noted the ‘detailed’ plans actually have the site name wrong? Not a great start I am sure you would agree?”

detailed planning application LODGED

The developers of Vearse Farm (now Foundry Lea) have lodged their detailed planning application (reserved matters stage) for approval.

These are on the council website with the link below. Initially the deadline for comments was 3 January which given the Christmas/new year holidays was a ridiculously short period. This has now been extended to 10 January. There are 250 documents associated with the application and so highly complex and still with limited time to look at and comment!

https://planning.dorsetcouncil.gov.uk/plandisp.aspx?recno=377403

There remain serious concerns about this development and the possible negative impact on Bridport. We will be looking at the concerns and how they are addressed in the detailed plans.

These concerns include:

  • Planning committee – Currently the detailed planning application is to be decided by the planning officer on delegated authority – so it will not go before the planning committee and be open to public scrutiny. This is a huge issue and it is vital that pressure is put on the council to not allow this application to be decided on the quite away from the public gaze.
  • Sewage/flooding – The recent article in Bridport News from Wessex Water stated that ‘the Bridport area has a very high risk of sewerage incapacity and frequent storm overflows.’ We are communicating with Wessex Water on this and hope to get more clarity. Flooding has been and still is one of the biggest issues with the massive VF development.
  • Electricity supply issues – We have had credible concerns raised about the Bridport electricity supply infrastructure being inadequate to cope with the size of the VF development with the potential for problems effecting residents beyond just VF. We are aiming to get more information on this and will ask for assurances that this issue is being properly addressed.
  • Road works & Miles Cross roundabout – There are serious implications for road use not just on the A35 but for the whole of Bridport and the surrounding area during and after the VF building phase. We are in contact with the council and the Highways Authority on this issue.
  • Climate change and the lack of sustainability – It seems that a move to low carbon houses (eg solar panels, sustainable heating, suitable building materials etc) is not being considered. Whist there are some communal electric bike stores and some electric car charging points it is an opportunity missed not to properly address the climate change emergency that even Dorset Council have declared!
  • Environment – The plans are not clear on which trees/planting are staying and the promised mitigation measures to offset the environmental harm.
  • S106 promises – These include affordable housing, cycle routes/paths, employment land etc. These benefits to Bridport were promised as an integral part of VF development going ahead. We will be looking at the plans for how these will be delivered. In the case of the employment land this is owned by Symondsbury Estate and so up to them to provide. We will follow-up on this.

Over the next few weeks we will be posting detailed updates on these and other concerns. These can be incorporated into comments that you may want to make on the planning application.

There is an option on the above link for comments to be made directly on the council planning portal– and we encourage this as the more comments received the better the chance that it will get some traction with the council.

If you have any thoughts or identify any other points regarding the detailed plans then please let us know.

VF DETAILED PLANNING UPDATE

We have been in correspondance with Dorset Council to try and get some clarity on what is happending with the Detailed Planning Application for the VF development.

It has taken some time but we have an email response from James Lytton-Trevers, Lead Project Officer (Southern & Western), Economic Growth and Infrastructure. This is shown below in quotation marks.

Our biggest concern was that the detailed plans for VF might be approved by delegated authority (ie a council official) and not go to the planning committee. So there would be no opportunity for the people of Bridport to have their views heard at the committee meeting.

It is a long email response and the process described is complicated. The bottom line is that there is still no guarantee that we will get the detailed plans presented to the planning committee.

“I refer to your undated letter to Cllr. David Walsh and I, which you forwarded to the Chief Executive on 29 September 2021. You also mentioned that you had sent this to us in August, but in all honesty I did not receive it or I would have replied.

You refer to my reply to a different question on 1 August 2021 which I have included below for clarity for the other recipients of this. Thank you for acknowledging the position of the Local Planning Authority (LPA), although I would maintain that the LPA does take a robust approach to these matters if breaches occur. However, in this instance no breach of planning permission has occurred and there is no action I could take.

There is currently no planning application for reserved matters before me, so I cannot say what path such an application would take to reach a decision until such time if and when I receive it. However, I can explain the typical process that the LPA would follow on receipt of, say, an application for reserved matters for a development somewhere in the Dorset Council area. It would be improper for me to comment specifically on someone’s land and what they might want to do on it where there is nothing before me

An application for reserved matters would be advertised with notices in the usual way on and around the site. Consultations would take place with statutory consultees and non-statutory consultees including both a Parish Council and a Town Council (if it lay in both). The ward members would be notified. During the ensuing period there is an opportunity for consultees to make consultation responses and members of the public to make representations. This period would normally end after 21 days.

Once the consultation period has expired, if there are minor issues which have been raised by the consultee comments, representations or the LPA which can be resolved, the LPA may seek to resolve these. Once the LPA has sufficient information on which to reach a decision, an Officer of the LPA would normally prepare a report which would include a recommendation. In most cases a decision to grant or refuse planning permission is delegated. For example, if there is a planning application for a development which the parish council, ward member and LPA support, the decision is normally delegated. It is when the contrary happens that the Scheme of Delegation is triggered.

If an application needs to be referred to the Scheme of Delegation, the way in which the decision is taken, whether it be delegated to a nominated officer of the LPA or referred to a committee of elected members, would need to pass through the Scheme of Delegation process which is set out in the Dorset Council Constitution. In simple terms, this is a cascade system where consultee comments received from parish and town Councillors are referred to the Chair of the planning committee, Vice chair and Ward Members, whom can comment accordingly whether they consider the application should be delegated or referred to committee. Any responses received would be referred to the Head of Planning who would have regard to the planning application, consultee comments, representations and the recommendation. The Head of Planning would then reach a view whether or not to delegate a decision or refer it to a committee.

It is important to note that the Scheme of Delegation is seen as a fair way in which to decide the course of an application for planning permission. It has to be fair to the public as well as the applicant. So, for example, if there were an application which received some support from some, but for which despite some support, there was overwhelming objection by consultees and the public, it did not comply with Local Plan policy, etc and the LPA recommended refusal of it, it would not normally be necessary to refer it to the Scheme of Delegation. And vice versa.

I cannot comment further than this as at this point in time where there is no application before me. I have explained the process through which all applications made to the LPA need to pass through. The LPA could not single out specific applications for special scrutiny for the reasons I have set out above.

I hope this helps explain the process to you and let me know if I can explain further. I have copied this reply to Cllr. David Walsh and the Chief Executive as you sent your original letter to them.”

UPDATE ON MILES CROSS ROUNDABOUT

A lot of concerns have been raised with us about the traffic management plan for the Miles Cross roundabout. Particularly the impact on Bridport and the potential for work during Summer 2022. We have raised these concerns many times with Dorset Council and Highways England.

The most recent update was in October from Highways England. Their comment is shown below in quotation marks. We already know that the building of the roundabout will take at least 6 months and given the official responses it seems that there is not a rush to get on with building the roundabout. Our view is that no work should be carried out during the Summer holiday period because of the chaos it would cause on the A35 and surrounding roads!

“One of the planning conditions for the Vearse Farm development is that a ‘Construction Traffic Management Plan (CTMP) must be submitted to and approved in writing by the local planning authority’ (see condition 20 in the attached decision notice).It is the planning authority (now Dorset Council) who will approve the CTMP (not National Highways), although we willexpect them to consult with us.

Traffic management will also need to be agreed as part of the legal agreement they will be required to enter into with us for the design and delivery of the roundabout scheme, as well as to satisfy the requirements of condition 24.

I can assure you that we will consider the proposals in the CTMP very carefully and will be actively working to mitigate the impacts as far as possible (ie we would expect HGVs to only operate outside peak hours with measures to avoid right turning manoeuvres if possible). We will also check traffic flows on the A35 and advise the developer the periods traffic levels are at their lowest.”

Statement on the Employment Land at Vearse Farm

We have had a lot of questions about whether the employment land on Vearse Farm will actually be used for employment/business purposes or ultimately end up being used to build yet more houses. The owner of the land has issued the following statement. Please let us have your thougts on this statement. In particular do you feel it gives you any more confidence in what will happen to the “employment land”?

Statement on the Employment Land at Vearse Farm
The Symondsbury Estate continues to own all the land allocated for
Employment (including care home and local centre) and is now
considering the future of that land as part of their wider vision for the
village of Symondsbury and the Estate of which this land has long been an integral part.
Symondsbury already runs two small business parks and takes seriously
the future of Symondsbury village, Bridport and the surrounding area, the need for employment, and to support the local way of life and the obvious attractive character of the area.
Symondsbury consider it important properly to consult the next
generation on the development appropriate to meet the future vitality of
the village and town and this will take time to be completed. The Estate
also recognise that until the roundabout on the A35 and access is formed, due to the obligations of the neighbouring housing development, that nothing can be delivered or promised, and it would be unwise to raise expectations to do so too early.
Hallam Land have no residual interest in the Employment land; and so, it
is BDW/Vistry as the major landowner, and any other relevant parties,
who should engage with Symondsbury on matters of design, landscape
and planning as these topics are brought to bear on the employment area of the scheme in the context of the much more extensive profile of the residential development and over which Symondsbury have no control.
Please engage with Symondsbury Estate via their agent Chesters
Harcourt.
Dated 21 July 2021
Chesters Harcourt contact is Philip Kerr 01823 444097 or [email protected]

Watton Lane/Broad Lane planning applications saga

The house building mania in and around Bridport continues. You might have thought with the Vearse Farm plan for 760 houses (which the local plan wants to raise to 930 houses) there would be a reticence from Dorset Council to approve yet more housing particularly on land designated as AONB (Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty). But further house building plans and work continues on many sites.

The reality is that we are seeing a progressive urbanisation of Bridport without the investment in or capacity for the necessary infrastructure. Bridport’s status as a small market town counts for nothing with the council seeing it as an easy and desirable place to meet their government imposed housing targets.

An application to build a single bungalow on a field adjoining Watton Lane and Broad Lane was approved in 2018. This field is AONB designated and forms part of the panoramic view from West Bay.

It does not matter to the council that Broad Lane is totally unsuitable (largely single track, no footpaths, no lighting etc) for more housing or that the occupants will have to be car users making a mockery of their climate emergency declaration and intention to only build houses in sustainable locations.

In 2019 a further application was made for 2 more houses. The planning committee for the reasons given were totally unimpressed and rejected the application by an 8 to 1 majority. However, an appeal was made by the land owner, Mr Norman, who was in the news recently when he was fined for multiple food hygiene breaches after his Bradpole based slaughterhouse was found to be significantly unclean.

Despite all the objections the planning inspector decided to grant the appeal and approve the planning application ignoring local democracy and the firm views of the councillors on the planning committee.

Now the saga continues with a further application to increase the number of houses to three – two of which are 4 bed houses covering a much larger area than in the original application.

It looks like there is a “salami” style process going on where new applications are made for increasing number of houses in the expectation that the planning committee/officers will find it difficult to refuse each successive increased application having approved the previous one. It should be noted that the site could potentially allow for 20+ dwellings!

The councils actions are scandalous – this application has been marked for delegated approval and will therefore not come before the planning committee preventing neighbours and other interested parties from presenting their objections in person. Also the notification of the application has not been sent to neighbours. It almost seems the council want to get this application through on the quite with the minimum of objections.

So much for just one bungalow in the corner of the field!

So what can you do? Please help to get this latest application properly considered and refused by:

Going on to the council planning website and putting in your objections. The link below takes you to the application (P/FUL/2021/01762) and you can click on the box at the bottom right of the page to make comments on the application. The deadline is 1 September so please be prompt.

https://planning.dorsetcouncil.gov.uk/plandisp.aspx?recno=236530

Emailing the following with a request that there is proper consultation with the application being discussed in public at a committee meeting. Just quote the application number in your email and say you object.

Mr Shortell,Chair of planning – [email protected]

Mr Pipe, Vice Chair – [email protected]

Mike Garrity Head of planning – [email protected]

Vearse farm/pine view pedestrian/cycle link

A planning appication has been made for the construction of a pedestrian/cycle link between Pine View and the Vearse Farm development (granted outline planning permission in May 2019 under planning reference WD/D/17/000986).

This link is essential for providing a route from the development into the town without using the busy and dangerous West Road. There are however issues in relation to Pine View which is very congested with parked vehicles and through traffic avoiding the busy West Road into the town. Naturally there are concerns that introducing further pedestrian and cycle traffic into Pine View could make matters worse and increase risks to pedestrians, cyclist and mobility scooter users.

If you have any concerns or comments in relation to this planning application then please look at this application on the Dorset Council website (https://www.dorsetcouncil.gov.uk/planning-buildings-land/planning/planning-application-search-and-comment) using application number P/FUL/2021/01895.

You will then be able to add your coments and also look at comments lodged by others.

ADVEARSE MEETING WITH THE DEVELOPERS OF VEARSE FARM – MONDAY 10 MAY 2021

Members of the steering group held an on-line meeting with representatives from the developers of the Vearse Farm site. We were pleased that they had initiated contact with us as part of their community engagement.

Kathryn Pennington from Vistry Partnerships and David Matthews from Barratt David Wilson Homes are senior Directors in the South West. At the meeting we explained about the activities of ADVEARSE over the past 8 years and how our objectives as an organisation had developed as the situation moved on We reiterated that our reasons for opposing the scheme held good but that our approach was essentially constructive. We stressed that our current objectives were to ensure that Bridport should gain maximum benefit from whatever develops on the site.

We were able to ask questions about the Barratt / Vistry ( Thereafter B& V ) plans. We explored areas which are of most concern to us and those whom we represent. These included traffic and environmental issues. We stressed our expectation that the Dorset Council planning process should give sufficient time for consideration of the detailed plans . We welcomed the prospect of a website which will give local people information about the overall scheme and more detailed plans as they emerge. Despite the constraints of the ongoing pandemic Barratt and Vistry appear committed to consultation.

The following may be of interest

  • B&V are working with Highways England on plans for the roundabout at Miles Cross .
  • B&V are only providing the houses and school .The employment land and care home will be developed separately by the landowners.
  • B&V said that they are committed to using a Fabric First approach which is recognised as best practice in terms of energy efficiency and building practices.
  • Affordable housing – B&V are committed to providing the full amount per the S106 and hope to be able to exceed this amount up to a figure of approximately 40% of the total number.
  • The detailed planning phase is expected to be completed and approved by end 2021 and work on VF infrastructure will commence in early 2022.
  • B&V are willing to consider suggestions from local residents/groups for improvements in the detailed plans
  • The additional 170 houses on VF in the current local plan which is out for consultation are not on land that B&V are building on.
  • B&V have a sales name of Foundry Lea and consultation website of www.foundrylea.co.uk which will be going live shortly.

We found the representatives to be open and we have established the basis for ongoing discussions and communication. Please use the ADVEARSE website to alert us to any issues which you think should be raised. Both organisations are working with the Bridport Town Council and Symondsbury Parish Council. You may also raise any questions with them.

The Vearse Farm development represents the largest single development in Bridport’s history. It is important that the local community engages to ensure that it can benefit the whole town.

VEARSE FARM SITE CONTRACT PLACED

We have received a letter dated 18th March from Barratt Developments plc and Vistry Partnerships saying that they have secured a contract for the Vearse Farm site to bring forward the open market and affordable homes, associated infrastructure and all S106 obligations as contained within the outline planning consent.

The letter is an introduction and providing a point of contact.

The companies have also offered to have a virtual meeting to discuss any questions we might have at this stage. We have already replied to say that we will take them up on this offer.

Our next Advearse team meeting is on 29th March when we will discuss the questions and concerns that we want to raise with Barratt/Vistry.

If you have any questions that you would like us to raise then please email us or leave a comment on the website.

We will provide a web post on the questions we will be raising and we will provide feedback on the responses we receive.

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