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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The chairmanship of the Planning and Environment Committee has now passed to Pauline Crump, an active member of the Committee for several years, who brings a lively interest in all the matters that the Committee is involved in. Our retiring Chairman Pru Bollam has been a Committee member for many years, making her own knowledgeable and invaluable contribution, both to this Committee and to the Society as a whole. We are very pleased that Pru will be continuing as a member of the Committee.
THE COUNCIL AND PLANNING APPLICATIONS
Following a lull in the early part of this year, more planning applications have now appeared on the Council’s register. We had wondered whether the absence of applications was a result of the Christmas holidays, or a Brexit phenomenon, or related to the impending change of our local authorities. Now the latter has happened, and we are in an odd limbo, with no local Councillors until May, and a totally new ‘Dorset Council’ joining us all together, with combined staff presumably trying to grapple with the new arrangements. One consequence of this is a completely different website for looking up information on planning applications, which we have had to learn afresh. At least the planning application information is still there, once we have found it. What will happen to the local plan preparation, now that ‘West Dorset / Weymouth & Portland’ has been merged with the other local authorities, we have yet to discover.
16 LANSDOWNE SQUARE, RODWELL There has been a happy outcome to concerns about the planning application for residential development on a single bungalow site at the end of the road in Lansdowne Square (see our comments in Sept/Oct News). The proposal, originally for six houses crammed on to this modest site, was objected to as heavy overdevelopment by our own Society and numerous local residents. After a while the number was reduced to five, but still appeared to us excessive. Potential effects on the Rodwell Trail were also noted, as the new layout included a building close to the slope down to the Trail. Now, despite a recommendation of approval by the planning officer, it has been roundly refused by the Council as overdevelopment, unduly cramped, with a dominating and overbearing impact by reason of its mass and scale.
84WYKE ROAD We have made a strong objection to the proposed demolition of 84 Wyke Road and its replacement by a new modern house of starkly contrasting character. The existing detached dwelling is well integrated with the pleasant suburban neighbourhood, forming a pair with the adjacent house. We find the design of its proposed replacement to be awkward, with multiple elements and an assortment of window shapes and sizes. Its three-storey front section would project several metres forward of the other nearby houses, dominating the scene. In both its form and materials it would be an intrusive element among the surrounding, more traditional houses.
CURTIS FIELDS DEVELOPMENT – JUNCTION WITH LANEHOUSE ROCKS ROAD
We had expressed serious misgivings about the proposed access from the major new housing development of Curtis Fields on to Lanehouse Rocks Road at a point half way up the steep hill that leads to Wyke. Unfortunately, as we acknowledged, this location had already been indicated when outline planning permission was granted for the housing development, so it is no great surprise that in the end this has been approved. The effects on traffic on this already awkward main route to Portland are yet to be experienced!
80 THE ESPLANADE
Permission has now been granted for the works to remove a modern shopfront and restore this building’s façade to its original Georgian appearance – a proposal which we have supported. As this is a complicated undertaking, opening up the basement area, with new railings, the Council has wisely applied conditions to ensure that the final details are appropriate to this historic building.
FORMER INFORMATION CENTRE, THE ESPLANADE
To help deal with the problem of lack of toilet facilities on the Esplanade, the Council has come up with a proposal to convert the former TIC building near the King’s Statue (described in the application as ‘Beach Control Office’) to public conveniences. There is to be an enlarged Beach Control Office on the first floor, in an over-sailing extension jutting out towards the beach. We very much support the provision of facilities at this central location, but we envisage problems with the proposed arrangement – that is, a long line of 15 unisex WC cubicles opening outwards directly on to the main promenade, all along the seaward side of the building. We can envisage numerous problems with this arrangement, including the unattractive aspect of such a long row of toilet doors, and the embarrassment and discomfort of those waiting their turn in this very public and often windswept location – much of which would be solved by a conventional arrangement with internal facilities in an enclosed space away from the elements and from obstructing the promenade at this narrowed point.
SOME REASONS TO BE CHEERFUL As reported in the Dorset Echo
Wonderful news about the new steps to Castle Cove Beach – the result of tremendous efforts by the Friends of Castle Cove Beach and many other bodies and individuals.
King George III and his accompanying lion and unicorn have now undergone a splendid restoration, thanks to the Borough Council – a worthy project achieved just before the Council's disappearance.
Also deserving of accolade is the fine refurbishment of the Victorian seafront shelters.
The Pavilion Theatre’s new lighting has received much acclaim, added to the improvement works to the building itself.