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Weymouth Civic Society

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WEYMOUTH CIVIC SOCIETY

PLANNING AND ENVIRONMENT COMMITTEE NEWS       January / February 2017



THE LOCAL PLAN REVIEW


Our November/December issue reported the start of the new Local Plan Review, which is mainly to find more housing sites to fulfil government requirements.  There are a number of areas where sites are proposed which may be contentious.  We have until the 3rd April to compile the Society’s response to the Council, and of course everyone individually can send in their own comments.  


The plans can be seen at the Council Offices and libraries, and on the Council’s website at www.dorsetforyou.com/planning-policy-consultation – look for the ‘Issues and Options’ document, which includes ‘Options for Growth’ maps for Weymouth, Portland and Chickerell, on which the development sites are marked –  at a very small scale.  Additional land is shown on the small maps titled ‘Broad Areas of Search’, which look rather alarming in the great extent of their coverage, although it is pointed out that only parts of these areas would be appropriate for development.  We have not yet fully considered all this, but there is much food for thought.

 

 

THE WESTERN RELIEF ROAD

Western Relief Road Route  Feb 2017 (7).jpg

One Local Plan Review site in particular causes us great concern – development site Ch2 (on the Chickerell map), by Chickerell Road just beyond Budmouth School.  We discovered that it lies exactly on the line of the Western Relief Route to Portland.  This route was designed in some detail by the County Council in the early 1990s as the last section of the whole sequence of new roads from the Ridgeway to Portland.  It runs from Chickerell Road, skirting round the back of the Wyke built-up area, towards Ferrybridge, well away from the national nature designations of the Fleet throughout most of its length.


This route was originally an important part of the Local Plans for Weymouth/Portland and West Dorset, but was dropped by the authorities, so that the land is no longer safeguarded from other development.  If the proposed housing site Ch2 is not deleted from the plan, we fear that it will be very quickly taken up by a developer and covered with housing.  If this happens, it would appear to put paid to any hope of ever relieving the present heavily congested route via the notorious ASDA junction, Boot Hill and Portland Road, or the narrow, tortuous road past Wyke Church with the humped mini-roundabout - and all the air pollution that arises from the slowly crawling traffic.


We are contacting various people and bodies who may be concerned about this situation.



LAND SOUTH OF NOTTINGTON LANE

The planning application for 340 dwellings on land south of Nottington Lane behind the Dorchester Road houses was refused by the Council last July for reasons of implications for traffic and flood risk, contrary to the officer’s recommendation of approval.  This proposal had generated numerous objections from local people.  Our Society’s concerns were about traffic problems and the excessive size of the development, to which we had originally drawn attention when the site was first proposed for housing in the Local Plan.  Now the applicants have appealed.  


A second tract of land, immediately to the south of this site, is now also marked in the Local Plan Review as one of the potential areas for new housing.  While very large, it does not extend as far westwards as the fields bordering on the River Wey’s flood plain.



HOUSING PROPOSALS IN RODWELL


The Council has now refused permission for the demolition of a house in Netherton Road and its replacement by a block of eight apartments – in our view a cramped development with inadequate space for parking.   It had caused considerable local concern, with dozens of objections from residents, and from our own Society, and we were pleased at the Council’s decision.  


Another application involved the demolition of a house at the junction of Rodwell Road and Rodwell Avenue, to make way for six new apartments.  These appeared to be squashed tightly on a very limited piece of land, again with inadequate car parking arrangements.  This was still being considered by the Council when the applicants appealed, following the ‘non-determination’.


Elsewhere in the Rodwell area, the conversion of the 1820-40s Sunnybank House at 4-6 Wyke Road to eight flats has now been approved by the Council, despite local residents and our Society drawing attention to the lack of proper car parking for the flats and the already congested neighbourhood where space is at a premium.



MOUNT PLEASANT CARE HOME

The planning application for 18 houses on the site of the former care home in Mount Pleasant Avenue South was considered by the Council’s Planning Committee in January.  It was recommended for approval by officers, but there was considerable local opposition as well as our own concerns about the excessive development for this relatively small site, and amount of car parking needed for such a large number of properties.  At the meeting various issues were aired, with suggestions that fewer, larger properties would be more in keeping and would generate less of a problem with car parking.   Members’ discussion then revolved around the unadopted status of the end of Mount Pleasant Avenue and the resulting problem of bin collection for such a large number of houses (the mind boggles at the prospect of 54 bins ranged around the turning circle on collection day!)   Eventually the Council voted to defer the application for further discussions.



PARKS  AND GARDENS

It will be recalled that as part of the Society’s 2016 Annual Awards, we sent a Letter of Appreciation to the Council for its good work in maintaining the parks and gardens in the Borough and the Esplanade flower beds, despite the current straitened circumstances.  At the same time we expressed our appreciation to the various Friends of the Gardens groups for their hard work in their voluntary activities in support of the Council.  


This year we plan to emphasise the value of the parks and gardens in the Borough by highlighting them in celebrating the nationwide Civic Day on the 17th June.  Meanwhile, we are pleased to write in support of the Friends of Radipole Park and Gardens in their Lottery bid for funding to carry out a range of works including improvements to the paths and play area, more planting, drainage work and the creation of a café.