500-home plan 'will leave a ‘wasteland’ in the borough and divide the community' (From Thisisdorset)
When news happens send us your pictures, video and views. Text BE to 80360 or contact us by email
500-home plan 'will leave a ‘wasteland’ in the borough and divide the community'
A NEW 500 home development on the edge of Weymouth will divide a community and leave a ‘wasteland’ in the borough, it has been claimed.
Opponents have attacked proposals for a major development north of Littlemoor which is being allocated space in the proposed Local Plan.
The ‘Littlemoor Urban Extension’, which falls within West Dorset, would include hundreds of homes, a new school, community centre, public open space and industrial units.
The site is among those being identified to support future growth.
Weymouth and Portland Borough Council says land in this area has the potential to deliver employment and new homes being at the ‘gateway’ to the relief road, near to a railway station and opposite the existing Littlemoor estate.
Opponents of the scheme will make their views known when details of the draft Local Plan are examined by a government inspector at an inquiry later this year.
As well as the visual impact and the pressure it would put on the local area’s infrastructure, Littlemoor councillor Rachel Rogers said Littlemoor was already a divided community geographically and new housing to the north will ‘further fragment’ the area.
She fears focus on the development and its new services could lead to the existing estate being neglected, if not abandoned, leading to a ‘wasteland’.
Coun Rogers said she was also concerned the new school would be a replacement for existing Bincombe Valley primary.
“If a replacement school is built on the opposite side of the dividing road it will tear the heart out of the community,” she said.
A number of Littlemoor residents have raised objections to the development including Peter Ruffell who said: “Littlemoor has its own problems it is trying to rectify and a few more hundred people on top of what we’ve already got is not going to help matters. The infrastructure isn’t here to support it.
“Plus it will spoil a beautiful valley. The land identified for this is an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.”
Malcolm Beeson added: “When one starts encroaching on AONB it doesn’t stop. Also, Littlemoor has no employment apart from the shops. It’s a deprived area and people have no money to travel.
“If anything we need light industry.”
Mr Beeson added: “If they were to build the only people able to afford them is retired people and Weymouth doesn’t need any more retired people. It needs working people.”
Key local development sites as proposed in the draft Local Plan
- Littlemoor urban extension – Land to the north developed to include new homes, at least 12 hectares of employment land, public open space and land for a new primary school (in West Dorset boundary)
- Markham and Little Francis – Should be able to deliver in the region of 320 homes to the north of Cockles Lane, while creating open space country park on land to the south, including area for Town Green
- Land off Louviers Road, Littlemoor – More homes, including development at Destiny Fields where the first phase of a development has begun, and further land to the south has permission
- Wey Valley – Land west of the A354 Dorchester Road to the south of Nottington Lane has the potential to deliver in the region of 400 new homes over the plan period, (development mainly in the latter period, 2021-2031)
- The railway station and Swannery car park – Transport hub, including a mix of retail, commercial businesses and residential to help improve the first impressions of area n Ferry Peninsula – Redeveloped as leisure/tourist area, supported by possibly housing and including provision for ferry service
- Westwey Road and North Quay – Redeveloped for mixed uses include residential, hotel, commercial and small-scale retail
- Bincleaves Cove – Support development at former employment site appropriate to location (Planning permission for mixed-use scheme for the site has since lapsed)
- Future economic opportunities for Portland based on maximising the potential of existing major employment sites and Portland Port
Sites eyed for development as councillors talk strategy
NEW housing and employment sites around Weymouth and Portland have been earmarked as council chiefs plan for the future.
Housing at Lanehouse and in the Wey Valley plus a development north of Littlemoor have been identified in the Local Plan, a long-term strategy.
Currently in draft stage, the plan includes a housing requirement of up to 3,500 homes in the borough over the next 20 years.
The plan, which has been two years in the making, will be studied by Paul Crysell from the Planning Inspectorate who will weigh up the evidence during public examination and assess whether the plan is ‘sound’.
The date for the start of the examination hearings has not been set but it is likely to be towards the end of the year and last around three weeks. If approved, the plan will be adopted next year.
It sets out a long-term planning strategy to meet future housing, employment and leisure needs.
It also looks at how climate change can be tackled, the environment protected and how future developments can be made more sustainable.
The plan also covers important issues such as where housing could be built, how the economy can be boosted and what infrastructure may be needed.
For the first time, the Weymouth and Portland plan – which covers up to 2031 – is a joint document with West Dorset District Council.
Labour councillors unsuccessfully attempted to amend the Weymouth portion at a council meeting, including removing housing from Markham and Little Francis near Lanehouse, already the subject of a planning application from Betterment Properties wanting to build up to 600 homes.
The firm is going to appeal on this as the council has not considered it in time.
The Local Plan allocation for Markham is 320 homes at the northern end with a country park reserved for the southern half.
Coun Lucy Hamilton complained that building new properties was not the solution to the housing crisis as prices increase and mortgages remain out of reach.
But environment spokesman Ian Roebuck warned that new amendments at this late stage would significantly delay the process, as it would have to go to consultation again, and remove the council’s ability to defend decisions which the Local Plan aims to protect.
Coun Gill Taylor also pressed the point that if there was no Local Plan in place there would be no defence when Betterment’s appeal is heard and the inspector will find in favour of the developer.
The Littlemoor Urban Extension to the north of Littlemoor Road, with around 500 homes, a school and employments sites is also included, although it’s within West Dorset’s boundary.
Labour councillors are concerned that the development, even outside the borough boundary, would rely on local services and the borough would receive no payment under the New Homes Bonus.
Comments are closed on this article.