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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Thornlow School, Connaught Road
Finally, after two withdrawn planning applications and one approved one, the work to redevelop the former Thornlow School with nine flats and one house is under way. This differs from the withdrawn applications as it retains much of the original school buildings.
However, we also think that this is overdevelopment, largely because of the new house proposed in the grounds, which takes away the space that could otherwise be available to help provide sufficient car parking and amenity space for the flats.
53 Rodwell Road
It looks as if this is the end of the long saga of 53 Rodwell Road, as Dorset Council has finally agreed to approve the plans for this very controversial development of six flats.
There was little reasonable likelihood of any other decision, in view of the comments and conclusions of two planning inspectors, and the strong risk of costs being awarded against them again if there were a third appeal.
Weymouth Football Stadium
Dorset Council has voted to refuse the detailed plans for a major housing development on the Weymouth Football Stadium site by Radipole Lane, overturning the planning officer’s recommendation of approval. We objected to the loss of the stadium, especially as we cannot see another suitable site for its replacement, and were also unhappy about the appearance of four blocks of flats which would run in a rather solid line, three storeys high, fairly close to the main Chickerell Link road.
In fact, the principle of development seems to have been set, since outline permission was granted in 2014, although, as we understand, no such development could take place until a new stadium is built and ready for use, which seems a remote prospect.
We are pleased that Dorset Council has refused plans to demolish a house at 10 Westerhall and build twelve one-bedroom flats. We had objected to this as overdevelopment, with inadequate and unsuitable car parking arrangements, and the Council’s refusal was on similar grounds.
The highly visible frontages of the historic buildings on the harbourside are increasingly tending to become painted with signs. We are not opposed to wording or images - some have historic precedent, and some can be very attractive, but they should be appropriate and proportionate in size to the buildings on which they appear. Of course we make our views known at application stage, and are pleased that the Council does tend to negotiate for more moderate signs, but with the continuing pressure for more signage, the cumulative effect is at risk of becoming excessive.
We are currently concerned at a large image planned for the front wall of the ancient Ship Inn, when there is already an even larger image on the newer side wall.
A recent proposal to which we have also objected strongly is for ‘window vinyl’ on the large windows of the Rendezvous, in what we feel is quite unsuitable jazzy patterning – another variation on forms of signage!
Old Fish Market.
We have been happy to support the proposals by the owners of the Fish Market to create a restaurant on the upper floor.
This would go hand in hand with a new layout for the ground floor to suit their operations. It is good to see enthusiastic new ideas to make ingenious use of this important harbourside building and ensure its continued existence in good condition.
14 Trinity Road.
We have supported the return of this house to the original bow-windowed appearance, which has now been carried out. While there is a loss of the previous restaurant use, the building had stood empty for some time, and its reversion to a private dwelling seems entirely appropriate.
The Ferry Steps.
The Council is completing the major works to this quayside area, to create a new and much strengthened harbour wall, at the same time demolishing the old brick kiosk and opening up a wider walkway.
The Society’s contribution, after all this is completed, will be a new information board, marking the D-Day embarkations of American troops for France in the Second World War on this important site where so far there has been nothing to inform people of its significance.
Two planning applications for residential development appeared on the Council’s register at about the same time early this year, both of which we feel are trying to squeeze too much into the space available, and have expressed our views to the Council:
96 and 98 Buxton Road.
These are a pair of semi-detached houses on fairly generous plots situated towards the west end of Buxton Road. The proposal is to demolish them and construct ten new houses. Not only do these seem to be an excessive number for the site, but the design proposed, with a series of pointy gables stretching across the frontage, looks quite out of character with the more open suburban surroundings.
St.Nicholas Church site.
Now that the church of St Nicholas has become redundant, the site is available for development, and plans for affordable housing have been put forward. While this seems a worthy re-use of the church land, the plans show a rather dense development of eighteen flats.
It is clear that the design has in some respects been carefully devised to address the problem of how to fit them on to this modest piece of ground, but we nevertheless feel that it is excessive. Furthermore, the design makes scarcely any reference to the fine Victorian villas adjacent, which form the key character of the Conservation Area in which the site is located, which seems unfortunate and a lost opportunity.
POTENTIAL INCURSIONS INTO OPEN FIELDS
There is a small field or paddock on the east side of Dorchester Road, which forms part of the open gap separating Redlands from Broadwey. There is now a proposal for nine houses on it, closely fronting Dorchester Road, to which we have objected. The power lines that cross the southern part of the field preclude development underneath them, so at least the houses are limited to the northern half of the site. There is already a large new housing area just east of this little field, and we feel that this last remaining gap is important and should not be eroded.
East of the railway line at Upwey and north of the Littlemoor housing, the open fields extend away across the Relief Road towards the Ridgeway, with the occasional farm buildings. There is now a plan for five houses to be built on Icen Lane in this area. While the number is small, they would be breaching a natural boundary between the major main housing areas and the countryside, and we have therefore objected to this proposal.
Land East of 61 Bowleaze Coveway.
We objected to an application for up to six holiday units on the open meadow running down to Bowleaze Cove, and were pleased that it was refused by Dorset Council. This decision was contrary to the officer’s recommendation for approval, however, and to our disappointment the applicants have now lodged an appeal. This is another example of potential encroachment into lovely open countryside; and in the Bowleaze area in particular, with its huge caravan sites, there have over the years been continual pressures to develop the remaining fields.