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Council told to stay out of estate plans
Bridport town councillors are fuming after being told the detail of the controversial St Michael’s Trading Estate development scheme has nothing to do with them.
A letter from West Dorset District Council’s chief executive made it clear planners would not be in touch with the town over the conditions and small print of the outline planning permission to create 105 homes and workspace units on the site in the town’s south-west quadrant.
Furious councillors at last week’s town council meeting dubbed the letter ‘insulting’ and said it made ‘a mockery’ of new localism laws and vowed to not let the issue rest.
The go-ahead for the scheme to revamp the run-down estate was given by the district council in June amid scenes of chaos and recrimination when councillors rejected a 33-page report from their own planning officers recommending the application by landowners Clive and Norman Hayward should be refused.
The letter to town clerk Bob Gillis from David Clarke made it clear that despite “some confusion” at the development control meeting in Dorchester, he felt the council had obeyed the rules and the committee’s decision was correct.
Mr Clarke’s letter said: “Therefore as things stand, planning permission and conservation area consent will both be issued once the terms of the existing committee resolutions have been met. The resolutions clearly set out the heads of terms for the section 106 agreement and the required conditions.
“None of these directly involves Bridport Town Council so there will be no need for you to be consulted further at this stage.”
Bridport town and district councillor Ros Kayes said she and town Mayor David Rickard were disappointed by the letter.
“It makes a mockery of the localism agenda and it really underlines the need for us to have a neighbourhood plan,” she said.
“It is insulting to be told that issues which include the number and type of homes is not a matter for our concern.
“I believe it was quite clear in the planning officers’ report that there were significant urban architectural and design issues and that the National Planning Casework Unit is wrong not to call it in.”
Councillors voted to write back to the district chief executive and demand they should be consu