THE controversial 760-home Vearse Farm development has moved a step closer to reality after housebuilders exchanged contracts to deliver the project.

Regeneration specialist Vistry Partnerships and housebuilder Barratt Developments Plc will work together to create the sprawling housing development at the farm on the outskirts of Bridport.

Contracts have now been exchanged to acquire and transform the site.

The plans has been controversial since they were first proposed and have led to protests, objections and a plea for the Secretary of State to call in the application – which he rejected.

Bridport campaign group, Advearse, lost a judicial review in 2020 - after arguing that the council's decision to grant outline planning permission for the farm was open to legal challenge.

The main focus of their objections was the fact the development area lies within the Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

The development is set to include 120 affordable homes, areas of public open space and wildlife and ecological enhancements. Homes will range from apartments and two-bedroom houses to larger four and five bedroom homes.

A total of 515 of the new homes will be delivered by Barratt Developments under both the Barratt Homes and David Wilson Homes brands. Vistry Partnerships will deliver the remaining 245 homes, selling their open market homes under the Bovis Homes brand.

Stephen Teagle, CEO of Vistry Partnerships, said: "I'm delighted we've formed this partnership with another leading housebuilder in Barratt Developments. As our proposals progress, we will be engaging stakeholders ahead of submitting a detailed planning application this summer. By working together and pooling our resources we can accelerate the number of new homes across all tenures and deliver important community infrastructure that will leave a positive and lasting legacy for the community as a whole."

Outline planning consent has also been granted for the development of a new primary school, a 'mixed use local centre', four hectares of land for employment and a care home, alongside an orchard, allotments, cycle routes and footpaths.

Philip Barnes, Group Land & Planning Director, Barratt Developments, added: "We're proud to be working with our partners at Vistry to bring forward a vibrant new community for Bridport, delivering much-needed new homes and supporting local jobs, businesses and the Dorset economy. As well as a wide range of new homes, the development will include substantial open space from recreational areas to allotments, footpaths and cycle ways celebrating and protecting nature and the environment and supporting health and wellbeing."