NOT ONE letter sent into the Planning Inspectorate supports the redevelopment of the South West Quadrant of Bridport.
The proposed “regeneration” of the area, which includes St Michael’s Trading Estate, is going to be fought over at an appeal hearing in West Bay in January.
If landowners Haywards get approval for their scheme, which was first drawn up with West Dorset District Council, it will have a bigger effect on Bridport than any development since the 1970s.
Forty-three letters went to the Planning Inspectorate. One – from the Highways Agency – raised no objections provided certain conditions were met. The rest were all opposed.
To help round off 2009, and to carry us through into 2010, here are a few of the most eye-catching bits.
“This fake new utopia”
Alan Ross of Burton Bradstock writes: “Should this development go ahead, my wife and I will never visit Bridport again, taking our business to places of character such as Beaminster!”
The letter is also signed – you’ll be relieved to hear – by Mrs Susan Ross. (I didn’t like to think of her being unilaterally barred by her husband from visiting her nearest town… But as it stands, that’s what you call a resolution.)
Mr and Mrs Ross say they object to the idea of Bridport becoming a clone town, yet another victim of the process which sees a vibrant artistic area created, then developers cash in, wipe the slate clean, and cram in houses, “outpricing this fake new utopia to the local people who were instrumental in building, and had pride in, their inter-reliant community.”
“A sterile town”
Antonia Fraser, Pymore: “Many of us think that what is being proposed at present will turn Bridport into a sterile town with smart shops and bijoux cafes of the kind found in the South East of England.
“The alternative is that Bridport retains its authentic Dorset character, rooted in its artisan base.”
“It is honest, it is human and it is real”
Rex Johnson, Nettlecombe: “St Michael’s trading estate is a trading estate and is bound to look a little shabby in places. SO WHAT?
“I find the current and ongoing mania for tidying everything up disturbing, totally distasteful and utterly superficial.
“Bridport is an historic and characterful market town and a characterful, shabby trading estate is very much a part of that.
“It is honest, it is human and it is real.
“The very last thing I would wish to see happen to St Michael’s trading estate is for it to be transformed into yet another Poundbury…”