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A message from the P&E committee members.
We have been living through strange times in the last couple of months, and what a contrast to the start of the year. We would like to offer our very good wishes to all Society members and other readers of this ‘News’, hoping that you have kept well and safe from the Coronavirus. Our Planning and Environment Committee has continued to operate on an electronic basis, as have also the Dorset Council planners and Weymouth Council, which is the best we can all do in such circumstances.
AROUND THE HARBOUR
Old Fish Market
It is good to see that the Old Fish Market has been newly renovated and is now open for business, with consent granted for further structural work.
The proposed change of use to a restaurant on the upper floor is still undecided at the time of writing. This is a project which we have been happy to support.
9 Custom House Quay – Deheers Warehouse. Plans for the revitalisation of this historic Victorian warehouse, with a restaurant on the ground floor and five apartments above, have moved a step closer, with planning permission granted and construction now in progress. Further details of windows and doors are at present awaiting a decision.
It is hoped that the completed work will give a fine new lease of life to this tall and imposing building on the harbourside.
A number of recent planning applications were for residential development on open land beyond the development boundaries. We are pleased at the outcome of these applications where permission has been refused:
Land at Chesterfield Place, Upwey. This contentious proposal for 17 dwellings situated in the Upwey Open Gap on land at the rear of Dorchester Road houses has been dismissed by a Planning Inspector. This follows a previous refusal for the same site. If this and other planning applications for housing on land in this Important Open Gap had been allowed, nearly half of it would be built over.
Icen Lane. There has been a good outcome to this recent proposed development of five houses on a small bosky area by Icen Lane east of the railway line at Upwey, where the fields stretch away northwards. We opposed this as an incursion into the rural lands of the Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and potentially harmful to wildlife. The application was for Permission in Principle, which is designed to speed up the planning process, and indeed it was refused in a little over one month from start to finish, though with enough time to have generated 35 letters of objection.
Martleaves House, Wyke Regis. Similarly, permission has now been refused for four houses on a site at the edge of Wyke, overlooking the Fleet and Lyme Bay, which we reported on in the November/December News. This land is also designated – in this case it lies within the Heritage Coast.
375 Dorchester Road - the North Lodge of Corfe Hill House
Situated opposite the BP petrol station is Number 375 Dorchester Road, not apparently of any more interest than any other house thereabouts when seen from the road. However, part of this house is the original North Lodge to Corfe Hill House, dating from around 1837, with an elegant frontage to the lane leading to the main house. There is now a planning application to demolish the whole building and replace it with six houses – all on a single residential plot.
We have objected to this application as overdevelopment, with the buildings crammed into the space available. We have highlighted the poor access at an awkward pinch point on Dorchester Road, suggesting possible access from the rear. We have also asked for a full assessment of the historical value of the Lodge and suggested that consideration be given to retaining it within the layout, and recommended the planting of suitable trees to replace the mature trees felled last year.
498 Littlemoor Road – former New Inn
There are revised plans for the long-closed former New Inn, which now involve retaining, converting and extending it to form three dwellings. We had objected to this planning application last year, when it was proposed to demolish the whole building and replace it with a line of three small houses, breaking the continuity of the attractive group of cottages of which the inn forms a part. The rear area is already being developed for housing under an earlier planning permission, but as so often happens with what could have been ‘enabling development’, the historic property itself has been left to deteriorate further.
We have written to the Council supporting the retention of this historic building with its low profile, in character and scale with the neighbouring cottages. However, we are very concerned at an extension proposed at the east end of the building, higher than the cottages and over-dominant. Furthermore, the car parking provision has been reduced from the previous plans, with only one space per dwelling in an area that already has parking problems.
Ferrybridge Inn site
The planning history of the Ferrybridge Inn site goes back to the first applications in October 2014. Following a torrent of objections (the file had 475 ‘documents’ registered), permission was granted for up to 29 residential units and a pub/restaurant. Our Society objected to the loss of the Ferrybridge Inn as a valuable community asset, the height of the proposed buildings, and the risk to the future of the Western Relief Road, as the development impinges on the original safeguarding area for the road. Details for the scheme were then approved in 2018, and now applications have been submitted for construction matters to enable it to go ahead, including proposed piling and noise levels. Meanwhile the poor old Inn continues to sit, shabby and useless, no longer an asset to the community but more an eyesore in this significant location on the way to Portland.