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 Preferred Options document of the Local Plan Review has now been approved by Weymouth & Portland and West Dorset Councils ready for the public consultation, which runs until the 8th October. Our Committee will be discussing it during this period with a view to responding in due course. It can be seen on www.dorsetforyou.com/planning-policy-consultation, or at the Council Offices, and at an event at Redlands Sports Centre on Wednesday 12th September, 10am-7pm.
The main changes envisaged are for additional housing sites. Portland has no sites proposed, while in the general Weymouth area there are three: Wey 14 – Wyke Oliver Farm (in the fields that lie to the north of Brackendown Avenue, extending northwards), Chic 4 - Land west of Southill, and Chic 5 - former tented camp at Mandeville Road and Camp Road overlooking the Fleet. The original consultation on housing sites had involved a large number of small sites, including several on Portland, which would have had serious effects on their localities, all of which are now deleted.
A major item missing from the Local Plan Review is the Western Relief Road (‘Jurassic Coast Highway’), which has occupied some column inches in the Dorset Echo recently. The Weymouth Councillors came to within a whisker or two of supporting its inclusion, but the main part of the route is in West Dorset, and their Council made no mention of it in approving the document for public consultation. At least we are glad that a proposed housing site on Chickerell Road, to which we had raised strong objection because it lay on the potential route of the Relief Road, is no longer being considered.
PORTLAND NEIGHBOURHOOD PLAN This draft consultation document prepared locally on Portland, takes an in-depth look at problems and opportunities on the Island. We share the concerns shown in the Plan, and have written in general support of the policies and proposals aimed at protecting Portland’s unique qualities, historic buildings and landscape, and noting the positive attitude and imaginative proposals contained in the Plan.
Many proposals for residential development that we see are in our view overdevelopment of the sites in question, often involving blocks of flats replacing single houses. Here are three examples.
53 Rodwell Road – Six Apartments. Number 53 Rodwell Road, a single house in a modest garden plot at the junction of Rodwell Road and Rodwell Avenue, is for the third time the subject of a planning application to demolish it and replace it with a block of six apartments. We reported on this in the May/June issue, at which time an appeal by the applicants had been dismissed, but only on the grounds of the effect on the neighbouring property, while the Inspector was quite satisfied with other aspects which so concerned us, the local people and the Council. Now for the third time we have objected strongly to this proposal as overdevelopment, totally inappropriate, out of character with the general area, too close to the road at this busy junction, and with difficult car parking arrangements.
23 Greenhill – 10 Apartments.
A full planning application has now been submitted for ten apartments on a single plot fronting Greenhill – the rather distinctive house with a tower feature at the side - following the dismissal of an appeal for the demolition of this house. The intention now is to keep the house, but with major enlargements and alterations, including wide ‘bi-fold doors’ on the first floor and full-depth French windows set in the roof – all with balconies; and a long and large rear extension. We have written to the Council expressing the view that this is inappropriate for this house and for the Conservation Area in general, and that the whole scheme is overdevelopment of the site.
Sunnybank House, 4-6 Wyke Road – 11 Apartments.
No sooner have details for the 2016 permission for converting this property to 8 flats and a duplex dwelling been finally approved, than a new application appears – for 11 flats. This listed grand end-terrace property of the early-mid 19th century had been a residential home, and the conversion was originally to be within the body of the existing house. Now the same applicants have put in this new proposal which involves a large second-floor extension at the side of the property, highly visible along Wyke Road and affecting the front façade of the building. We have objected to its bulky and over-dominant proportions, which we consider would be detrimental to the historic character of the building and degrade its design. We are also concerned at the apparent proposed loss of the characteristic balcony with railings across the frontage, and some aspects of the windows; also the inadequate car parking provision in an already congested area. The Council’s Design and Conservation Officer has also written that he is unable to support the current proposals for this historic building.
Site north of Littlemoor Road – Proposal for 24 Flats.
This is an unusual case - improved plans, with fewer units. A planning application was submitted to the Council last autumn for 36 flats on land described as ‘Caravan Sales Area, Goulds Garden Centre’. We objected to this four-storey development as intrusive, excessively dense and out of keeping with the area. The Council’s Planning and Urban Design Officer also expressed serious concerns, considering the proposal overdevelopment. Now we have been pleased to see a totally new plan, reduced to 24 flats in three 2-storey blocks, designed with imaginative features and composition, which we consider a great improvement on the previous plans. It is in outline only, but from experience we find that detailed plans tend to follow closely an outline approval.
We had objected to two planning applications, each for four houses, at Corfe Hill near the Wey Valley, on land defined as of Local Landscape Importance, outside the development boundary. Now we are pleased to see that one has been withdrawn and the other refused by the Council.
ENQUIRIES ON HISTORIC BUILDINGS
From time to time the Society’s assistance is sought in relation to historic buildings. This may involve asking for any information we have on the historic background of particular buildings, and we are happy to try to help with any knowledge we may have. Recently we received an enquiry on the details of an award the Society made a number of years ago for the restoration of a historic building, while another wished for our views on their house as a possible candidate for statutory listing as a building of historic interest. Of course, we may not necessarily respond in the way the enquirer wishes, as the Society needs to act according to its best judgment.
Nominations are now invited for this year’s Civic Society Annual Awards. Suggestions can be made by email to firstname.lastname@example.org, or by writing to the Secretary of the Planning and Environment Committee, at 71 Roman Road, Weymouth, DT3 5JH. Please see the ‘Awards’ page on this website for further information and past winners of the awards.