The developer building controversial new homes at Vearse Farm in Bridport has offered to make ‘reparations’ after they tore up an ancient hedgerow on land they do not own.
At an emergency meeting hosted by Bridport Town Council, the development consortium admitted a series of ‘weaknesses in the administrative, communications, and supervision processes’ led to the unauthorised removal of shrubs on West Road.
Workers were supposed to be clearing land for the controversial new Foundry Lea development, which will see 760 new homes built at Vearse Farm in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.
Bridport Town Council leader Dave Rickard said: “We are of course very unhappy with what has happened and made this clear to the developers.
“We accept that the deeply saddening devastation was the result of a series of mistakes and omissions rather than any deliberate act, but it was a poor start to their work in Bridport and it must not be allowed to happen again.
“We welcome the commitment to reinstatement of the hedgerow and the other compensatory actions – and have been reassured that these will not be funded from money to be used for the development itself. We have also received a commitment to better communications with local residents, and regular schedules so that we can see what works to expect in future.”
A Bridport Town Council spokesperson said the authority hosted a meeting with the Foundry Lea development consortium and local stakeholders in the ‘aftermath of works that wrongly removed trees and hedgerow’ alongside the Foundry Lea site west of the town.
The spokesperson said: “At the emergency meeting, representatives from local councils and other stakeholder groups heard from the developers, who set out weaknesses in the administrative, communications, and supervision processes that led to the mistaken removal of trees, hedgerow, and shrubs on West Road, outside the development site.
“They then set out work they are doing to ensure there is no repeat of the error, and how they will reinstate the hedgerow, including semi-mature replacement trees, and native hedgerow species.”
The council also said developers have ‘also offered other forms of reparation’, which will include working with the town council, the Wessex Community Assets group, and Raise the Roof, to train people to ‘re-use the wrongly removed trees’ with the aim of providing a ‘legacy made from the wood’.
The other forms of reparation will include sending ‘consortium staff to carry out local community volunteering activities’ and working with schools to provide ‘student-designed hedgehog houses and highways’.