A CAMPAIGN group has welcomed a delay in a meeting to decide if a controversial planning application for 760 homes will go ahead.

The application at Bridport's Vearse Farm was set to be heard at West Dorset District Council’s Planning Committee on Thursday, October 12, but it's now been taken off the agenda.

The delay is due to the district council’s planning department requiring time to agree the planning conditions and terms for the required legal agreement. This is part of the consideration of the statutory consultee responses to the amended scheme.

Cllr Ian Gardner, West Dorset District Council’s Portfolio Holder for Planning, said: “It’s important we wait until we have all the relevant conditions confirmed in order to give due consideration to the application.

“Anyone who has made representations on the application will be directly informed of the proposed date of committee when the agenda is confirmed.

“We’re anticipating the application to be heard at a planning meeting in November.”

The plan by Hallam Land Management proposes 760 homes, a new school and a care home at the site which lies within Symondsbury parish to the west of Bridport.

Campaigners have long had concerns about traffic issues along the B3162 which runs near the site, and claim the proposed development would ‘exacerbate’ them.

A spokesman for campaign group Advearse, which opposes the plans, said: "We had lobbied WDDC about the original meeting plans. We argued strongly that the meeting be held in Bridport and that the issue was of sufficient complexity that a whole day should be allocated to the application about Vearse Farm.

"WDDC has chosen to hold the meeting in Dorchester but we are delighted that the Council has seen sense and a full day has been allocated for consideration of Vearse Farm. 

"The delay also gives extra time for local people to make their feelings known to WDDC Councillors. We would urge people to contact their local councillors and ask them to pass on their concerns to those who will consider the application. Better still they may wish to make direct representation to the two local WDDC Councillors who are on the group who will make the decision – Simon Christopher and Frances McKenzie. 

"As the decision to reject a planning permission for a major development on the outskirts of Exeter shows it is possible to stop such unwelcome and unnecessary developments but it is essential the councillors know the strength of local concern."