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Weymouth Civic Society

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These Planning Notes are prepared by the the
Planning and Environment Committee
who meet each month to discuss planning issues and review recent planning applications.

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Planning News & Notes
July - August  2020

Updated 01-09-20

Click HERE to download the original PDF version of these notes
for printing.

The Planning and Environment Committee continued to work ‘virtually’ for the July meeting, but in August we had our first get-together, with a small group, conforming to Covid requirements, meeting out of doors at the appropriate distancing.  The weather was fortunately warm, indeed almost too sunny, though with a few drops of rain that threatened but did not materialise.

The Society’s Annual Awards will be deferred from this autumn until next summer.   However, anyone who may wish to suggest a scheme for our consideration can do so at any time, and it will be noted, ready for next year.


Land East of 61 Bowleaze Coveway. There is good news that a Planning Inspector has dismissed the appeal against the Council’s refusal of permission for six holiday units on the meadow running from the last of the houses on the heights, down to Bowleaze Cove.  We had been worried at the possibility of further encroachment into the open countryside around Bowleaze, which, with its huge caravan sites, has seen continued pressure over many years to develop some of the last remaining fields.

We feared that this particular scheme, though itself small, had the potential to become the thin end of the wedge, encouraging others to push for development.  The Inspector found the ‘undeveloped, open and verdant appearance’ of the site ‘highly attractive’, noting how it is viewed from various points, and that the development ‘would erode the link between the open space at Furzy Cliffs and the open rural landscape inland of this’.

Land North of Lorton Lane, by Dorchester Road.
In the May/June News we reported that the Council had refused permission for a development of nine houses on part of the small field or paddock on the east side of Dorchester Road in Broadwey, the last remaining open gap on the whole built-up route.

Now, however, an appeal has been lodged, one of a number we have seen in recent times for housing development on sites around our area.  We feel it would be a pity for development to occur on this well-loved little field.

St. Nicholas Church, Buxton Road.
The proposed block of 18 flats to replace St Nicholas Church has now been approved by the Council, subject to a legal agreement that they should be 100% affordable homes.  We have no objection to this proposal in principle, but we think that the modern design is out of keeping with the fine Victorian villas which create the special character of this Conservation Area.  Our other main concern is the large number of flats to be accommodated in this limited space, resulting in the building covering a high proportion of the site.

96 and 98 Buxton Road – Ten Houses.     We are pleased that the proposal to build ten houses on the site of two semi-detached houses at the west end of Buxton Road has been refused by the Council.  This was a typical case, where far more is planned to be crammed into ordinary suburban plots than seems appropriate to many people.  The continuous line of five gabled houses across much of the frontage would look densely urban and out of place in this locality, while five additional houses were planned in what is at present the back garden area of the two properties.

15 Park Lane – New Dwelling.    A planning application for this new property was included in our May/June News as an example of attempts to develop houses on very small sites.  Now this has been refused – for very similar reasons to our own views:  inadequate plot size and usable amenity space, impractical parking arrangements, out of character with the area and loss of landscaping.

Sign at Junction of Dorchester Road and Mercery Road.
Consent has been granted for a new tall free-standing ‘Weymouth Gateway’ sign on the grassy area at this junction.   While we have no objection to this, being a logical answer to the need to provide information on various uses, we had hoped that this could be amalgamated with the existing Sainsbury’s sign to avoid unnecessary clutter with two large, tall signs side by side, and had written to suggest this.  


We reported in the May/June edition on the landslip by Old Castle Road and the threat to the future existence of this only vehicular access to a range of uses.  These include many homes, Sandsfoot Castle with its much-loved Gardens, Castle Cove Sailing Club and the small caravan park.

The proposed alternative access is very tortuous and involves the small, narrow residential cul-de-sac of Boleyn Crescent, a children’s play space, and a crossing of the cycle/pedestrian way of the Rodwell Trail.   All this makes it vitally important that Old Castle Road should remain open.

Dorset Council staff have evidently been working hard to try for a solution.  They have reported their success in contacting the new owner of the site where the landslip has occurred, and have agreed with them ‘that the slipped land will be stabilised as part of its development, which will also stabilise the road’.   This they hope to be carried out during the autumn.  We are pleased at the prospect of a solution to the problem, but we do have concerns:  it appears to us that this development may in fact be the construction of three large houses, which are the culmination of many years of different schemes to develop this land.  We have always had serious fears that the major groundworks involved might destabilise the land further rather than improving the situation, and we also wonder whether the timescale for carrying out these works is realistic.


The great achievement of the Town Council and Friends of Radipole Park and Gardens in securing a National Lottery grant of over £1 million towards a major improvement project has been reported by the Council and Friends.

This includes a new heritage cafe, toilets, sensory garden and drainage system, as well as various upgrading works.  We supported them in their bid and have now written to congratulate all concerned and wish success in its implementation.


The new ‘superloo’ is now open and operating.  At the outset, we were of course fully in favour of the provision of adequate toilet facilities, but voiced strong concerns about the design of this building, in particular the arrangement of the cubicles, with a long line of doors opening individually directly on to a narrowed part of the Esplanade walkway, in this very busy central location.

We had also pressed for a new Tourist Information Centre in the building, which of course was originally the resort’s TIC, and regret the evident lack of provision for this in the new arrangement.  Nevertheless, we still hope that some solution can be found to provide one.


We have responded to a planning application to convert the old Adult Education Centre at 45 Dorchester Road into a children’s home, with a new building at its side for extra accommodation.  While we appreciate the potential benefit to the town of proper provision for disadvantaged children, and are pleased at the removal of the old modular annex, we are unhappy at the design of the new building, in particular the fibre cement ‘rainscreen’ panelling proposed for the walls.  We feel this is entirely inappropriate in this significant setting of three handsome villas – 43, 45 and 47 Dorchester Road, and the old Weymouth College buildings opposite, all in the Conservation Area.  Other newer buildings nearby are built in brick of a similar tone to the main houses, sympathetic to them and to the character of the area, and we think the proposed development also presents an opportunity to construct a pleasing building in this important location.


A major issue at national level is the large number of listed historic buildings which are not in good condition and are deteriorating, especially in our town centres.   At the local level, this is one of our Society’s most serious concerns and always has been.  Weymouth town centre in particular has a high proportion of older properties and has been designated as  ‘At Risk’ by Historic England.  

This puts into jeopardy the continued existence of our built heritage – the historic core of our towns, which are under increasing stress from out-of-town centres, internet shopping, high parking charges and other factors.  It is gratifying to know that the Council has for the past year been working with owners of buildings in St Mary Street and St Thomas Street, encouraging them to undertake repairs, and carrying out enforcements where necessary.  Each building is being surveyed and assessed for their condition and to check on any unsuitable unauthorised works.   Already 21 ‘cases’ are reported to have been closed, with the properties brought back to a satisfactory condition, and we hope that this good work will continue with further success.  

OLD ASSEMBLY ROOMS, TRINITY STREET – Work of the Society’s Board Members

The condition of this ancient stone house known as the Old Assembly Rooms in Trinity Street, Weymouth, which was a part of the town’s original assembly Rooms in the 18th century, has for some years been a cause for concern. In 2016 we wrote to Greene King, who had newly acquired the property, and to Weymouth and Portland Council.

The Enforcement Officer concluded that as refurbishment work was planned to begin in the new year there were no major concerns, and he would be contacting the company to advise them on the works required.   However, to the best of our knowledge repairs have not begun.  Greene King later proposed some internal alterations, approved by the Council last September.   We are still not aware of any work to carry out repairs, so our Planning Committee Chairman together with other Board members are taking the matter up again, seeking action to achieve a proper refurbishment to secure this very important building for the future.  

View of site (centre) from Redcliff Point