Members discuss planning issues at the monthly meetings, and each month the Planning and Environment Committee meet to review recent planning applications and other planning matters. They also consider follow up actions which may be taken on behalf of members. The notes are prepared and edited by Brenda Pickett.
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PAVILION PENINSULA DEVELOPMENT – PLANNING APPLICATION
Since our April ‘News’, the planning application for the so-called ‘Weymouth Peninsula’ has been available to the public to see and comment upon. It is an outline application only, which sets the principles of the future development of this important site, but any detailed proposals will come at a later stage. The outline plan and copious amounts of wording in reports etc. are all available on the Council’s website (ref. WP/18/00403/OUT).
The scheme appears to be basically the same as in the public consultation. It includes a hotel, a ‘pub/diner with accommodation’ by the front of the theatre, a large building for leisure uses, and a smaller one, and restaurants overlooking the bay. We have submitted our main views to the Council, which are virtually the same as have been available to read on the Society website.
We have objected strongly to the gross lack of car parking proposed, which could be at least improved by a two-level car park; also to the ‘pub/diner with accommodation’, which would block the fine views to and from the Nothe Peninsula. It would also obstruct the route for a possible new access road to the peninsula which we think should be relocated to the south side of the theatre, so as to leave the north side facing Weymouth Bay as a pedestrian space. The Pavilion Theatre must be retained, enhanced and supported, and we have suggested better developed conference facilities. There must be adequate dropping-off facilities for vehicles in front of the theatre – something seemingly lacking in the plans - and the forecourt should be kept open as a public space for various uses.
Throughout the peninsula, buildings should be well designed and low-rise – no more than 2 and 3 storeys. Attractive all-weather leisure facilities will be important. The proposed opening up of a full walkway all around the perimeter of the peninsula will provide a great new amenity, while the use of the harbour frontage along the south side of the peninsula for marine-related activities seems a good and sensible plan.
Included in the documents submitted are proposed traffic arrangements off-site, including the removal of car park spaces on Custom House Quay and on the east side of Alexandra Gardens (these latter to be replaced by a northbound bus lane), and a bus turn-around and bus stop directly in front of the first terrace of houses on the Esplanade. We shall be looking at some of these additional matters at our next meeting.
Of course, these major proposals are of great public concern generally, and members are urged to send their own comments to the Council on this important matter.
ESPLANADE LIGHTING SCHEME
As has been reported widely in the press, plans for the design of the Esplanade lighting scheme have proceeded, with the return of fairy lights ruled out as impracticable. At our members’ May meeting the matter was discussed, and the result conveyed to the Dorset Coastal Connections project co-coordinator and the chosen artists. The views were based on the proposal in question - for vertical lines of moving coloured lighting fixed to the existing street light columns. The general consensus was summarised as follows: ‘The proposal is acceptable, as the sweep of the bay would be outlined without the clutter of wiring or additional posts. The preference is for a less-gaudy, restricted colour palette, gently-moving and static light sequencing, with consideration given to the structural integrity of the restored Victorian cast iron columns at Greenhill’. It was further reported that some of our members were against the whole concept - of these, most wishing to see a return of the fairy lights and improved light levels on the Esplanade. (Click here to watch the Council video)
CIVIC DAY, 16TH JUNE – CELEBRATION OF SIR JAMES THORNHILL.
The Society organised an exhibition for Civic Day, celebrated by Civic Societies around the country under the umbrella organisation of Civic Voice. This took place in two locations with strong links to the renowned artist Sir James Thornhill (1675-1734) – St Mary’s Church, where his painting of the Last Supper was a gift to the town from him, and his house and reputed birthplace – now the ‘White Hart’ in Lower Bond Street. He was ‘Serjeant Painter’ to King George I, and his works included the great Ceiling of the famous Painted Hall, Greenwich, the interior of the dome of St. Paul’s Cathedral, and the ceilings of various major stately homes of the day. Locally, he was MP for the town (Melcombe Regis) from 1722 onwards. He was the father-in-law of William Hogarth.
53 RODWELL ROAD – 6 APARTMENTS. The appeal in respect of this planning application has now been dismissed. The Society had objected most strongly, as had many local people, to this proposal for a dense development covering the site of a house and garden on the corner of Rodwell Road and Rodwell Avenue. Disappointingly the Inspector did not agree with our view and that of others that this proposal was totally inappropriate in design, out of character with the local area, and an excessively dense development, with inadequate car parking and poor access on to the road. On the contrary, he dismissed the appeal on the grounds of the harmful effect on the neighbouring property.
LAND WEST OF WATERY LANE
A third planning application has been received by the Council for seven houses on a field to the west of Watery Lane just south of the old railway line – the two previous applications for the same development were withdrawn by the applicant. We have repeated our same strong objections, principally on the basis of intrusion and extension into the open countryside. This proposal is contrary to the adopted Local Plan in several respects, reinforced by the new draft Local Plan Review, which intends to keep this land open and undeveloped.
NEW PLANNING APPLICATION - FERRYBRIDGE INN DEVELOPMENT Since our last meeting a new planning application (WP/18/00388/RES), giving details of the proposal for up to 29 residential units on the site of the Ferrybridge Inn, has been placed on the Council’s register for public consultation. This is a bulky development of 4 storeys and a basement, sited very close to the main road. As it has already been approved in outline (WP/14/00921/OUT), only the details of the scheme can be commented on now.