Re: Petition against loss of the central car parking in Bridport.

The parking noticeboards at the central car park by the bus station and in the car park behind Waitrose (Rope Walks car park) bear the logo of West Dorset District Council (WDDC).

Is WDDC wanting to clear the way to sell off some of this land for future development?

With the government telling local councils they cannot generate income by using car parking revenue for other expenditure, has the ownership of car parks become less attractive?

In the proposed Local Plan the vision for Bridport includes ‘encouraging alternatives to the private car’.

Whilst I am sure that most of us would agree that this is a laudable idea, how realistic is it to reduce the amount of car parking space in central Bridport?

There is a high percentage of elderly people in the area.

How would they manage with getting their shopping on and off buses?

How many people who live in the villages that Bridport serves can actually get to Bridport by bus, especially with all the cuts to bus services?

How many bus timetables allow people to get to Bridport from other towns at times when they can reasonably do their shopping?

The Local Plan states: “In 2031 Bridport will.... still be seen as a working town with a good balance between housing and jobs and a vibrant town centre providing shopping, cultural and other facilities to the rural hinterland.”

How is this to be achieved if the amount of car parking space in central Bridport is reduced?

Professional guidance to the National Planning Policy Frame-work (NPPF) says that there needs to be an increase in parking where there is development.

Vearse Farm proposes 760 new houses – a major development.

Paragraph 185 of the NPPF indicates to me that a Neighbourhood Plan has to demonstrate its general conformity with the strategic policies of the Local Plan.

The Local Plan currently reads: “Land at Rope Walks and Coach Station Car Park, as identified on the Proposals Map, will be the preferred location for future expansion of the town centre area. Any scheme will need to retain an appropriate amount of public car parking.”

The Proposals Map also encompasses the bus station.

What will this ‘appropriate amount of car parking’ look like?

If these central car parks and the bus station are in the approved Local Plan it will make it far easier for developers to get planning permission to develop some of this central car parking space and the bus station.

Please sign the petition against loss of central Bridport car parking.

It’s on the 38 degree website under campaigns by you, hopefully under the link ‘SaveBridport’.

It is also in many independent shops in Bridport.

I am pleased to say that I have now learnt that it is not necessary to book to attend the hearing in public of the Examination of the Local Plan re: Bridport, at West Dorset District Council’s offices in Dorchester, provisional date December 4, after Beaminster.

Indeed I understand that there are no booking arrangements.

I had understood that booking would be necessary. I apologise for the confusion.

SARAH HORNIMAN Address supplied