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Weymouth Civic Society

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WEYMOUTH PENINSULA CONSULTATION



Please note that what follows below is the collective opinion of the WCS Planning & Environment Committee, counting as a single response to the consultation. All other people, including all individual members of the Society, are entitled to submit their own views on the planning application, and are strongly encouraged to do so.


WEYMOUTH PAVILION PENINSULA REDEVELOPMENT  -

PUBLIC CONSULTATION   March 2018

COMMENTS BY WEYMOUTH CIVIC SOCIETY                  


The Civic Society welcomes the aim to regenerate the Pavilion peninsula.  This is an opportunity to create a fine quality year-round destination for both residents and tourists.   It should be a “flagship” site for the town for future generations.  We wish to comment on the proposals as follows.


MAIN POINTS

- The local authority should maintain adequate control of the development of this important site.

- We agree that buildings on the peninsula should be low-rise, no more than 2 and 3 storeys, as described.

- Current proposals for car parking provision are in our view seriously inadequate and should be substantially increased.

- We agree that attractive all-weather leisure facilities will be an important factor for the success of the site and the future of the town.

- We support the proposal for good pedestrian walkways around the perimeter of the whole peninsula, which will be of major importance to attract visitors to the site.

- We believe that the main vehicular access route on the peninsula should be on the south side of the Pavilion, with good separation from harbourside pedestrian walkways.


PAVILION THEATRE

The Pavilion Theatre is an important asset to the Borough, and it is vital that it is retained, enhanced and supported, with good access and parking provided to enable it to thrive.  Its continued success should be of major benefit to the development and to the town in general.  Good, covered access to the Ocean Room and the Theatre from the car park should be of mutual benefit.  The Pavilion has the potential to provide significant off-season space for conference and similar activities which could be developed in conjunction with, and enhance the viability of the new hotel.


APPEARANCE OF THE DEVELOPMENT

The development of this unique site presents a major opportunity to enhance this run-down area.  Buildings should be well designed to present as attractive an appearance as possible, complemented by good landscaping, to beautify the site and its surroundings. The peninsula should promote the whole town as a special place to visit.


HEIGHT OF BUILDINGS

We strongly agree with the plan to limit the height of buildings to no more than two and three storeys as shown on the illustrative elevation, and consider this an important requirement.  The peninsula will be visually dominant from both the Esplanade and the Nothe, and any disproportionately high buildings would damage the important visual quality of the whole curve of the Esplanade.  The preservation of the sight lines through the development as indicated in the proposals is also a key factor.



TRAFFIC CIRCULATION AND PARKING


MAIN VEHICLE ACCESS ON THE PENINSULA

We are of the view that the main access route on the peninsula should be on the south side of the theatre, as in the draft arrangement presented to us in November 2016.  The circulation shown in the current plan is tortuous, crossing from north to south and back again to the north in order to service the various uses on the site.  The route on the south side has the advantage of simplifying the access.  It also preserves the leisure-oriented more pedestrian-friendly area on the north side of the theatre, which should be free from commercial vehicles, especially large, heavy lorries such as those related to the proposed fish quay.  It should be possible to provide pedestrian walkways on the south side of the peninsula separated from the vehicular route for much of its length.


PARKING

In our view the size of the proposed car park is seriously inadequate:  it is essential that sufficient parking is provided on the site to service its activities.  We suggest that this can be achieved by the construction of a two-level car park on the site indicated on the plan.  This would have very little detrimental visual impact compared to its benefit.  This provision is essential to ensure the continued success of the theatre, especially as additional parking will be needed to support all the new uses proposed. The purpose of the development is to bring visitors and residents to the site.  The proposed significant reduction of car parking spaces would be likely to exacerbate the common problem of vehicles circulating the nearby roads in search of a space.  If adequate parking is not provided, there is a grave risk that the theatre and all the other uses will fail.


DROP-OFF AND SHORT-TERM PARKING

There must be good provision of drop-off facilities in front of the theatre with clear entry and exit arrangements.  Adequate short-term parking should be available in this area, for accessing tourist information, purchasing tickets etc.  Arrangements for coaches to drop off should also be provided.


ROUTES FROM THE PENINSULA

The need for free-flowing routes away from the Pavilion peninsula should be a priority, and we hope that those in control of traffic management  in the town centre will re-examine the pinch-point at the Jubilee Clock to enable a freer flow of northbound traffic along the Esplanade.  We are of the view that Custom House Quay must remain open to traffic, as a secondary exit from the area to relieve pressure on the Esplanade.  



PROPOSED USES


LEISURE USES

We support in principle the plan for leisure uses on the site, which was the original intention of the Local Plan, and which our Society has always supported.  Good provision should be made for families on holiday, and indoor wet-weather facilities will be especially valuable.  We agree with the proposed location of Leisure Unit 2.  


RESTAURANTS AND HOTEL

We are pleased to see the proposal for low-rise buildings on the north side, which will provide a more attractive view from the beach and Esplanade than the large and bulky Leisure Unit.  This location is ideal for the proposed restaurants and hotel, overlooking the bay.  The two uses are complementary and should support each other.  As they will be very prominent in the view towards the peninsula, they should of course be well designed to enhance the area.  We concur with the proposal that the restaurants should be two storeys only, with the hotel at three storeys.


CONFERENCE FACILITIES

We see an opportunity to link the main hotel with improved and better developed conference facilities in the theatre complex, with direct access between them.  This could be beneficial to both the hotel and theatre, and would contribute to the economy of the Resort.


BOUTIQUE HOTEL

We are of the view that there should be no more than one hotel on the site.  We are not in favour of the proposed ‘boutique hotel’, and particularly not in the proposed location by the forecourt of the theatre.  Significantly, it would block off the suggested vehicular access on the south side of the theatre, which in our view should be the main access route to the peninsula.  It would also compete with Esplanade businesses, which will hopefully continue to improve.  


MARINE USES

We agree with the proposal for marine-related uses along the south side of the site.  This is a sensible use of the harbour frontage, and with good pedestrian access, will also be an attraction to bring casual visitors to the site, with benefit to other businesses.  It is, however, important that the various commercial harbour users, whether fishing or tourism based, are satisfied with the provision and that their interests are not sacrificed.

 

PUBLIC CONVENIENCES

There should be provision of Council-operated public toilets in at least one location on the site, accessible from the beach and the peninsula.  These should be under separate control from any of the businesses so as to be fully available at all normal times.  Accessible toilets and their design and maintenance are factors in the award of the important “Blue Flag” for the beach.



OPEN SPACE ON THE PENINSULA


PERIMETER WALKWAY

We strongly support the provision of a good broad public walkway around the perimeter of the whole peninsula, with places for seating.  


COVERED WALKWAY TO THEATRE FROM CAR PARK

Good, attractive direct pedestrian access from the car park to the Pavilion Theatre is important.  We wish to make a strong suggestion for a fully enclosed covered walkway linking the upper level of the car park to the first floor of the Pavilion building.  This will further support the economy of the theatre and will afford protection from the weather, especially the strong winds that are prevalent in this area.  Similarly the proposed hotel could be linked to the theatre complex to improve facilities for conferences.


THEATRE FORECOURT

We agree that there should be a shared-surface forecourt at the front of the theatre.  However, the landscaping should be such that this area is kept open, with good paving, preserved as a public space for flexible uses as the need arises.   In our view there should be no hotel in this general forecourt location (see above).  At the west end of the forecourt, we would suggest a clear pedestrian walkway directly from the Esplanade across to the harbour at the Ferry Steps.


VIEWS TO AND FROM THE NOTHE

We appreciate the effort to provide views to the Nothe Fort from the beach and Esplanade.  The removal of the suggested Boutique hotel from the plans will also allow the fine existing views to be retained, both towards the Nothe Peninsula from the Esplanade and also from the Nothe Steps across to the beach and Esplanade.



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