A NEW review of possible sites for a Bridport waste transfer station has put “a big nail in the coffin” of Dorset County Council’s controversial choice of Gore Cross.
Top Tory councillor Ronald Coatsworth, who is chairman of West Dorset District Council and county councillor for the Bride Valley, said DCC should now change its position.
A new consultants’ survey suggests five other locations around Bridport as serious alternatives to Gore Cross. Coun Coatsworth said this was “a step forward”.
But he argued the report was “spoilt” by being produced two and a half years after the county council originally chose a stretch of open countryside north of Gore Cross, and then spent hundreds of thousands of pounds following a decision that now could, and should, be overturned.
“And we still have to wait another few months for the final, definitive report,” he added.
“My hope is, that at the next stage of this process, honesty and reality will prevail… but the truth is that the search for the best site should have been made before the site at Gore Cross was chosen.”
Five sites off the A35 are now included alongside Gore Cross on the final shortlist of six possibilities: two locations near Miles Cross, one near the Eype picnic area, one at Broomhills Farm, and one at the Green Lane nursery on the so-called Walditch Plain.
Coun Coatsworth said: “I have always believed that Miles Cross or Broomhills would be the most suitable sites because they are relatively isolated and have natural cover compared with the very open and visible site proposed north of Gore Cross.”
He argued that their suitability would become even more obvious if the consultants had used a grading system with more than three points.
“This leads to sites in the open countryside such as Gore Cross being give a grade 2 and more concealed places such as Broomhills being given the same score.
“I think we would be better served by a five point scale which would give a greater degree of discrimination.”
He went on: “Planning gain, by which the whole community benefits from a development, has been ignored, and there have been some mistakes.
“One example is the ‘potential land use conflict’ at Broomhills.
“Broomhills is given a 2, and the remark that a development could ‘conflict with the proposed re-opening of the railway’. There can be no re-opening of the railway because there was never a railway on this site, and a railway with a link into Bridport and a Park and Ride facility would be a community asset, not a conflict of interest.
“A site at Miles Cross with a roundabout would also be a much needed community asset.
“Much of the report is concerned with traffic and closely follows the results achieved by the St. Andrew’s Residents Association Traffic report.
“It illustrates very clearly that a site on the A3066, or east of Bridport on the A35, would increase traffic on Greens roundabout and decrease it on the Crown roundabout. [Greens roundabout is the official name for the roundabout on the eastern edge of Bridport, near the petrol station, the fire station, the end of East Street, etc]
“A site west of the Crown roundabout would have the reverse effect.
“The report also shows the increase of traffic is quite small in relation to the total traffic. “From information I have gleaned from the report and other sources, the estimated number of vehicle movements to and from a waste transfer station is between 42 and 60 per day – say 4 to 6 per hour a 10 hour day. For a household re-cycling centre the number of vehicle movements are about 285 per day, or about 30 per hour.
“It clearly indicates that the worst effect on traffic on Greens roundabout would come from a site either at Gore Cross or on the A35 east of Bridport.
“A big nail in the coffin”
“Greens roundabout is the key to hold-ups. Eastbound traffic flows easily from the roundabout after it has been held up from sometimes as far back as Charmouth. Westbound traffic also tails back from Greens roundabout but possibly not to such an extent.
“This is clearly a big nail in the coffin of the Gore Cross proposals. Additional traffic at this site is clearly inappropriate.
“Greens roundabout requires some attention and I would remind readers that before Lidl got planning permission they had to pay the Highways Agency a sum of money for a study on how to improve this roundabout.”
Coun Coatsworth also argued that planning inspectors had said that a waste management facility at Gore Cross would only ever be appropriate if the site was designated as an industrial site, that is, surrounded by other industrial units.
“That position,” he said, “has never materialised.”