THE draft access and movement study (Bridport News 9th September) reveals the fundamental problems of the ill-conceived Vearse Farm development.

It could be argued that the Vearse Farm site, if one ignores its AONB status, is an ideal place to build 760 new homes; however the requirement to encourage sustainable modes of transport has left the planners with a very difficult problem – how to safely provide pedestrian and cycle access from the new development to Bridport Town Centre.

With a colleague I met Dorset County Council Highways officers in December 2017 to discuss access from the site into the town. It was quite clear that they were not familiar with pedestrian routes beyond the bus station, at that time the bus station was outside the Town Centre Zone. We had to explain that the pavements from there into the town were narrow and suggested that it was wrong to persuade pedestrians to use them.

Specifically, at the western end of West Street adjacent to the oriental takeaways pedestrians frequently step into the road to pass especially if wheelchairs or mobility scooters are present.

Suggested alternative routes are longer and do not follow the “desire lines”, it’s doubtful if they would be used much. Multiple photographs of cyclists using the pavement on West Road were sent to the planning authority who said the were useful and subsequently advisory cycle lanes were added to the revised planning application.

Later the idea was dropped, possibly because somebody realised that leaving only four metres of carriageway for two-way vehicular traffic on West Road when cyclists were present was a bad idea; a bus is 2.4 metres wide!

These are just two examples where, in order to facilitate new development, common sense has been thrown out of the window.

Despite these shortcomings residents will be encouraged to walk or cycle into town; a Travel Plan Co-ordinator will be employed to actively persuade residents of the new development to adopt sustainable modes of transport.

Dorset Council has a duty of care to the public and must ensure that these routes are safe for all to use, they face a very difficult task – the consequence of an ill-conceived plan.