Not happy at Happy Island homes bid

Dorset Echo: PLAN WOE: Ron Coatsworth, right, with Chris Savory at the site of the proposed development on Happy Island PLAN WOE: Ron Coatsworth, right, with Chris Savory at the site of the proposed development on Happy Island

OPPONENTS of development on a Bridport beauty spot are angry to see it could be back in the draft local plan – despite West Dorset District councillors voting to reject the site.

Coun Ronald Coatsworth will be asking questions of council leader Robert Gould at Friday’s council meeting. He wants to know why officers propose to refer the possibility of building 40 homes near Happy Island in the public consultation on the plan after councillors twice voted to take the proposal out.

He said: “Local residents, who had objected vociferously at the inclusion of the site in the first place, are hugely disturbed and disappointed as the removal of this site was by a resolution of the council.

“I want to hear what the arguments are which could dissuade the public from feeling that this is just a way of giving developers another opportunity to exploit a piece of land which has been rejected on at least two occasions for development.”

Chris Savory, who spearheaded the original opposition, said they were angry and disappointed – but ready to fight again.

He said campaigners put together a cast-iron argument against the development, adding: “We will just have to gear ourselves for massive opposition again.

“Despite the fact there have been two consultations and three votes the landowner has been able to put it up again. The council said they were worried about the human rights of the developers which I found bizarre in the extreme.”

Campaigners have been told the inspector looking at the plan won’t necessarily see all the original consultation documents – which includes their objections to Happy Island Way.

West Dorset District Council spatial and community policy manager Hilary Jordan said: “The council has not put Happy Island Way back in to the draft Local Plan for consultation. We consulted on the draft plan in June and July.

“During this consultation period we received a representation from the owner of Happy Island Way, suggesting that it should be looked at again.

“All such representations will be reported back to full council, and will be considered by the inspector who holds the public examination into the plan.”

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