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Peninsula plans criticised over loss of parking

Weymouth Peninsular redevelopment - artists impression

7:44am 21st June 2018

Weymouth's Peninsula development has attracted criticism for the loss of 300 car parking spaces.

Comments on the planning documents just submitted also raise fears for the future of the town’s hotels and guesthouses.

The Borough Council application asks for outline planning permission for the demolition of existing buildings and the redevelopment of the site with a 120 beds of hotel space, mixed use pub/diner with guest accommodation, restaurants and cafe, indoor leisure buildings, a commercial fishing area and a mixed-use harbour building.

Both the Pavilion Theatre and Jurassic Skyline viewing tower will not be affected by the proposals.

Weymouth Peninsula - Consultation 2018

The documents show a reduction from the existing 629 car parking spaces to 327 and an overall increase of more than 9,500 square metres of ‘commercial space’ – something which the council says will create more than a hundred new jobs.

Initial comments to the public consultation on the outline planning proposal have been mixed.

One resident criticised the council for commissioning a consultants’ report which suggested that the town had enough mid-range hotel and b&b beds, saying what it needed was more up-market accommodation – but then ignoring the advice and is now suggesting a mid-range hotel.

Said hotelier Karen Harris, of The Esplanade: “There is no doubt that Peninsula site is in need or upgrading and improving in terms of what it offers to both local residents and visitors to the area. The current plan offers very little that is new or innovative…

“As a hotelier I am not averse to competition as it can be helpful and generally raise standards but adding more of the same to the town is short sighted and could potentially cause some guest houses and hotels to go out of business.”

She says that further reducing the car parking is ‘not a common sense approach.’

Another Esplanade resident, John Adams, shares concerns about the loss of parking: “I also feel the character of the Georgian see front will be damaged by new permanent structures as will the ability of the general public to find parking in the area along with the many local activities that start and finish at the peninsula such as the carnival ,motorbikes on the beach, prom night, Pavilion shows etc.”

Katherine Pearse of Carlton Road South says in her comments on the application that she does not believe the site is the correct place for more hotels and suggests that it would be a better location for an all-weather leisure venue, including a competition-size swimming pool.

Jim Groves, who runs a guesthouse on the Esplanade, says he objects to a bus terminal near the Devonshire Buildings and is also concerned about the loss of parking and the possible effect that might have on the Pavilion and the town.

Roger Harrington of Spring Road asks in his submission for some flats on the site which he says would keep the area alive when the commercial outlets are closed.

“This is probably one of the best sites likely to become available in Weymouth in the medium term, and the submitted proposals do not by any means make best use of such a prime site,” he said.

Comments on the outline application remain open and can be made via the Dorset For You website, or by calling at the council offices.

By Trevor Bevins, Local Democracy Reporter.

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