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Weymouth Civic Society

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WEYMOUTH CIVIC SOCIETY

PLANNING AND ENVIRONMENT COMMITTEE NEWS       March 2017



LOCAL PLAN REVIEW


We have now submitted our comments to the Council, concentrating in particular on:  

  

Housing Site Ch2 and the Western Relief Road.
 The primary concern is with suggested Housing Site Ch2 on Chickerell Road just west of Budmouth School.  This is directly on the line of the Western Relief Route which was first proposed in the early 1990s and protected in the Weymouth and Portland Local Plan until 2015 (although dropped from the West Dorset Plan much earlier).  Its aim is to alleviate the congestion and air pollution on the two present main routes through Weymouth from the harbourside by ASDA, Boot Hill and Portland Road, and the other route via Lanehouse Hill and past Wyke Church.  We have asked that Housing Site Ch2 be deleted from the plan and that the Western Relief Route should be once again safeguarded for the future, for the sake of better conditions in Weymouth and improved prospects for businesses to flourish on Portland.  In this respect we have contacted the local authorities, as well as companies and individuals, to convey our concerns.


Of course a Local Plan covers a wide range of topics.  In our formal response we have commented on some of these, as follows:


Level of Housing Growth.  The number of new houses needed seems to be based on outdated projections of a more buoyant economy and high population growth.  We have suggested that the more recent projections of lower growth should be used.  This is an important feature of the Local Plan, as an unnecessarily high projection means that more open fields are allocated for housing than may be needed.  


Defined Development Boundaries.  We have supported the proposal to continue strict control of development outside these boundaries.  Pressures to build on green fields outside the boundaries continue, and in our view such piecemeal development should be firmly resisted.


Housing Sites.  A number of new, large sites are proposed for housing development.  Accepting that there will inevitably be some land allocated for housing, we have limited our objections to just three sites, including Ch2 above.  Other suggested sites of course will affect the local residents of neighbouring properties, and they will make their own views known.


Site W2, Upwey.  Two fields lying between the railway line and the Relief Road north of Icen Lane and south of Chapel Lane are put forward for housing development.  While the southerly site borders on existing housing, the field to the north is more prominent, and clearly rural in appearance, and we think that this part of the site in particular should not be developed.


Site P2, Portland.  Land on either side of Weston Street is suggested for housing.  This general area has already been partially developed, with Pennsylvania Heights at the east end of the road and small groups of houses elsewhere.  However, we think that the open land on the south side of the road is an important gap, extending southwards to the coast, and should not be developed.


Green Infrastructure  –  Golf Courses.  Perhaps by an oversight, golf courses have not been listed as categories of ‘Green Infrastructure’, and we have recommended their inclusion.


Design – Space Standards.  We have supported the proposal that new housing must comply with

national space standards.  In planning applications we have seen very small, cramped layouts in

proposed housing developments, and this prCastle oblem is of concern nationally.


Coastal Change.
We have endorsed the proposal for a firmer policy stance to the effect that no new permanent residential development should occur on notably unstable coastal land.  Our Society has continually commented to this effect in planning applications on coastal sites, in particular on the land in Old Castle Road, by Castle Cove.  Permission for three houses has already been granted here, and a further two are now being applied for, on which we have written expressing our concerns to the Council.



MOUNT PLEASANT CARE HOME – REDEVELOPMENT


The last ‘News’ reported the undecided outcome of the Council’s Planning Committee meeting in January, when the members voted to defer the planning application for 18 houses on the site of the former care home in Mount Pleasant Avenue South because of their concerns about the proposal. With only minor modifications made to the plans – to which our Society and many local people reiterated our views that this was overdevelopment of the site - the application was further reported to the Council’s Planning Committee in March, with a recommendation of approval.   In the end, we were very pleased that the Councillors voted to refuse the application, on the grounds of its being a cramped form of overdevelopment of the site, detracting from the character and appearance of the area.  



PLAISTERS LANE,  SUTTON POYNTZ


The very worrying situation with proposals for housing on an open field bordering Plaisters Lane at the edge of Sutton Poyntz has been much improved – at least for now.  The first applications were refused by the Council, but the applicants appealed, while concurrently a revised plan was also submitted later last year, with a more rustic design.  The whole proposed development generated strong and widespread local opposition, including from our Society.  Now, the more recent application has been withdrawn, and the appeals have both been dismissed.  The Inspector concluded that it would be inappropriate and would erode the landscape character and quality, causing significant harm to the character and appearance of the AONB and the Conservation Area.  



MIKE MARTIN


One of the most long-standing and dedicated members of the Society Mike Martin sadly died on the 18th February.  In addition to his service in other aspects of the Society’s work (Nothe Fort, main Committee etc), Mike’s involvement with the planning side dated back to the days of founder Ernest Wamsley Lewis, about whose lively character he reminisced on occasions.  Mike was one of the original founders of this Committee, previously called the Plans Group, and was its Chairman from 1990 onwards until he retired owing to ill health in 2014.  He worked with great dedication at the tasks involved, carefully studying all the hundreds of plans and documents which came before us. He created the first Weymouth Town Walk leaflets, led Town Walks at times, and took part in a range of other initiatives including the Society’s Annual Awards from their earliest beginnings in 1979.  Our sympathies are with his widow Jean and his family - Richard, Penny, James and Katherine.

Chickerell - Part of housing site CH2
The safeguarding line is at the back of the field.

Cove Site - from the beach and from Old Castle Road