The communities of Allington, Bradpole, Bothenhampton, Bridport, Symondsbury and Walditch – are working together to create a Neighbourhood Plan for their area. The Plan is an opportunity for local people to shape the development and growth of the area and set planning policies to determine planning applications. The next stage of the project is establishing Working Groups to look at issues identified as important in recent public consultation.
The Neighbourhood Plan Steering Group is hosting a public launch for the Working Groups, where everyone is welcome to find out more and volunteer to join a Working Group. People can drop in to Bridport Town Hall at any time between 5pm and 7pm on Friday 6 November or between 10am and 3pm on Saturday 7 November.
Phyllida Culpin, Chair of the Neighbourhood Plan Steering Group said that “the Steering Group of 13 volunteers drawn from across the plan area is working to deliver the Plan but this must be a Plan that has the support and backing of the whole community, which is why we have a number of consultation stages. This summer we have focused on asking people about our vision and objectives and what issues they would like to see covered in the Plan.”
In the consultation, issues raised included affordable/low cost housing, the need to protect green spaces, transport, the need for employment sites including comments on the future of St Michael’s Trading Estate for small business units, and tourism. There were concerns relating to possible over-development of the area (with a number of comments specifically mentioning Vearse Farm) but this was set against concerns on housing and employment availability. The loss of young people, due to limited opportunities, was also a general theme as was traffic and parking problems, along with losing the character of the town as it grows further.
Phyllida Culpin added “Following the responses received to the consultation, the Steering Group has now agreed to set up a number of Working Groups, that will begin the work of looking in detail at each of the areas that people have told us are important, drawing up a good picture of the current position on issues like housing, public transport etc. and then to consider what options there are, that we can take forward through the Neighbourhood Plan. We had our first meeting to discuss the working groups last week with interested people and representatives from the Bridport Local Area Partnership and we now want members of the public to get involved in the groups by coming along to the Town Hall on 6 and 7 of November.”
There are working groups covering the Environment, Climate Change, Housing, Local Economy (employment, retail, tourism), Community facilities (education, health, culture), Transport, and Land Uses.