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 developers Magna Housing have given the public a chance to offer our views on this significant site, in advance of a planning application. We have responded in support of the general principle of redevelopment, which provides an opportunity to improve the harbourside environment and the character of the area. Of four potential design concepts, we prefer the layouts in Options 1 and 4, which more closely follow the line of the original North Quay houses, and at the rear we support the re-creation of the route of the ancient High Street, though not for through traffic.
The appearance of the buildings clearly needs very careful treatment. They should be well integrated into their setting, appropriate and sympathetic to the character of this historic quayside area. If contemporary design is chosen, an example is Townbridge House on the quayside opposite, which draws inspiration from the ancient warehouses adjacent to it. We have also suggested reference to Devonshire Buildings or Brunswick Terrace on the Esplanade, both rounded off at the end with a characteristic curved feature. The option of six-storey buildings is in our view excessive – they should rise to a maximum of five storeys, with a varied skyline to give interest.
With the loss of car parking facilities at Brewers Quay and the Council Offices, the area south of the harbour will be seriously in need of public car parking to encourage tourism and businesses and to provide for present requirements. We have therefore called for some public car parking to be included in the plan, in addition to adequate parking for residents.
HARRY’S AMUSEMENTS, 87-89 THE ESPLANADE
Major changes are planned for this group of three properties, including the removal of the glazed canopy as part of works to the frontage. These buildings, though much altered, are part of an original line of four houses built by eminent local architect James Hamilton between the present Royal Hotel and Gloucester Lodge, for which they are believed to have served as additional accommodation during King George’s visits.
As part of the works it is planned to put in modern shop fronts, which we think are inappropriate in this special historic setting, and which, by current retail trends, we are afraid could end up as unsightly vacant shop units. In contrast, we feel this offers an ideal opportunity to restore the original residential character to the ground floors, as has been successfully carried out elsewhere on the Esplanade, and which we have suggested to the Council. If that cannot be achieved, then we would prefer that the decorative canopy should remain in situ. Constructed as recently as 2004, it serves to give cohesion to the three buildings, drawing them together visually and masking the glazed fascias; it was part of general improvements to these properties at that same time, for which a Civic Society Commendation was awarded.
53 RODWELL ROAD
Once again we report on 53 Rodwell Road, at the junction with Rodwell Avenue, where a single house has been the subject of three applications for a large block of six apartments - the first refused by the Council and an appeal withdrawn, the second refused and an appeal dismissed, the third refused - and now an appeal lodged once again. We have consistently objected to this proposed development, and the Council’s refusals have been on broadly the same grounds as our own – unduly prominent, detrimental and inappropriate to the locality in scale, layout, massing and materials, and having a harmful effect on neighbouring properties. Watch this space!
EWELEAZE FARM, OSMINGTON – CAMPING
Our September/October Planning News reported the worrying prospect of camping over a wide area of coastal fields around Redcliff Point between Bowleaze and Osmington throughout the two main summer months. We had long been concerned at camping here each August, permitted under the 28-day rule, with up to 3,000 people per day (as reported in the planning application). We objected strongly to this proposed intensification, and were not alone – other objections came from the CPRE, AONB Officer, Osmington Parish Council and 53 other individuals. Now, thankfully, the District Council have refused the application, citing ‘a seriously detrimental landscape impact on the open character of this prominent coastal landscape, … the character of which should be respected, protected or enhanced for its intrinsic value’.
JAMES ‘ROBBIE’ ROBERTSON
We were saddened to hear that Robbie Robertson passed away on the 26th of January. He was a very long-standing member of the Civic Society, serving on the Executive Committee both as a member and also as Chairman of the Society.
He was also a valuable member of the Plans Group, which later developed into our present Planning and Environment Committee, to which he brought his wealth of experience and local knowledge, particularly on all aspects of Weymouth Harbour, the Pavilion Peninsula and other related matters.