CAMPAIGNERS have expressed concern amid claims planning conditions have been breached connected with the 760-homes Vearse Farm scheme on the outskirts of Bridport.

Developers have started work on the project, known as Foundry Lea, but it has been claimed certain conditions connected with the proposed roundabout at the A35 Miles Cross junction should have been met before building of the homes began.

When the Foundry Lea scheme got approval from Dorset Council, no part of the housing development was allowed to commence unless 'a detailed scheme’ for the Miles Cross junction ‘had been submitted to and approved in writing by the local planning authority’. 

A new, improved junction will be needed because of the increase volume of traffic connected with the huge development.

National Highways, which is responsible for that section of the A35, confirmed to the News it is not 'completely satisfied with the arrangements for managing construction traffic and its impact on the A35 junction' and has not yet agreed to the discharge of conditions 20 and 24 in respect of the development at Vearse Farm.

Condition 20 refers to a construction traffic management plan and condition 24 refers to a detailed scheme for the A35 junction.

National Highways said it remains in discussion with developers.

READ: Foundry Lea development gets under way at Vearse Farm

Bridport and Lyme Regis News: Barratt David Wilson team breaking ground at Foundry Lea siteBarratt David Wilson team breaking ground at Foundry Lea site (Image: Barratt David Wilson)

Sarah Carney, Bridport town councillor, said: “The Foundry Lea Working Group has been asking and asking Dorset Council and the developers for over two years now for details of how traffic will be managed during the roundabout’s construction and for the chance to input the plans for this junction, which has a long history of accidents and near misses.

“I am greatly concerned about safety in terms of construction and other traffic turning right into West Road (B3162) and the impact on traffic on the A35, particularly during the summer months."

Bridport and Lyme Regis News: Foundry Lea site near BridportFoundry Lea site near Bridport (Image: NQ)

This concern is exacerbated by the fact that there is expected to be a daily peak of 100 HGV delivery lorries at the site.

READ: Final details of Vearse Farm/Foundry Lea development

Bridport and Lyme Regis News: A35/West Road Miles Cross junctionA35/West Road Miles Cross junction (Image: Google Maps)

Barry Bates, chair of the Advearse campaign against the development added:

"We are very concerned. Elsewhere in the country major infrastructure such as the Miles Cross roundabout are completed before construction work commences on site.

"Dorset Council has ignored our repeated requests to reconsider.

“It is Dorset Council’s responsibility, in the public interest, to ensure enforcement of the Decision Notice conditions."

READ: Campaigners concern at Vearse Farm Foundry Lea after floods

Bridport and Lyme Regis News: Flooding at the Foundry Lea site in December 2023Flooding at the Foundry Lea site in December 2023 (Image: Graham Hunt Photography)

The development has been shrouded in controversy ever since the council included it in the Local Plan in 2015.

READ: Residents share fears over Vearse Farm housing development

Bridport and Lyme Regis News: Ancient trees and hedgerow mistakenly cut down by developers at Foundry LeaAncient trees and hedgerow mistakenly cut down by developers at Foundry Lea (Image: Bridport Town Council)

Residents are concerned that it will not deliver enough much-needed affordable/social housing for local people and will, instead, bring a 15 to 20 per cent increase in population. 

The group believes this will seriously challenge the infrastructure of the town, including medical and social care services, electricity and sewerage capacity, as well as increasing traffic congestion and further the risk of flooding.

Developers were also forced to apologise in December 2022 after mistakenly destroying trees and hedgerow on land that did not belong to them.

Mr Bates added: “Advearse has already received a number of complaints about the construction traffic approaching the site, including parking on West Road.

"We have yet to see the construction traffic management plan which should be in place. 

"We have been flagging up this issue for many years."

A spokesperson for the developer Barratt Wilson Homes said: “We received technical approval for Miles Cross Roundabout from the highway authorities (National Highways and Dorset Highways) in April and these plans were then submitted to the local planning authority to discharge the conditions.

“Having initially submitted a Construction Traffic Management Plan (CTMP) in November 23 we have now been asked by National Highways to provide an updated CTMP which will be completed in the next two weeks.

"We will then resubmit this to the planning authority (and National Highways as a consultee) under conditions 20 and 24.

“We remain in regular contact with the highway and planning authorities regarding these conditions and our commencement of work on site.

"Both parties are fully aware of our position and our willingness to fully provide the information requested. 

"In the meantime, we are progressing the Foundry Lea project to build much-needed homes for Dorset.”

A Dorset Council spokesperson said: “National Highways advised the applicant what further information was needed regarding the Miles Cross part of the works, and the applicant is due to submit this to Dorset Council, the planning authority.  

"If Advearse believes there is a breach of planning control, then they should formally report it to us through our planning enforcement process so we can investigate and determine if further steps are needed.”