Care home in Weymouth to be demolished

Care home in Weymouth to be demolished

Published by George Sharpe at 12:01am 7th September 2019. (Updated at 9:05am 9th September 2019)

REDEVELOPMENT plans for a Weymouth residential home will go ahead as proposed – despite fears about extra traffic and over-development.

Marchesi House at Southill, Weymouth will now be pulled down and the site used mainly for affordable housing – doubling the amount of people on the site.

The plan allows for replacing the existing 25 flats with 18 houses and 13 flats, all of them described as ‘affordable’ with its new tenants being drawn from the general housing waiting list.

Existing residents in the sheltered scheme will be helped by the Bournemouth Churches Housing Association and Dorset Council to find somewhere else to live. The Association was unable to say when the re-development would start, but the development is expected to take 18 months to complete.

Plans for houses/ flats to replace Marchesi House in Southill, Weymouth
Plans for houses/ flats to replace Marchesi House in Southill, Weymouth

There had been substantial local opposition to the scale of the scheme and fears about the risk from extra traffic to children attending the nearby primary school, but most accepted that the building was no longer suitable and has to be replaced.

Marchesi House resident Stephen Hairsine said after the meeting that most of the residents would be pleased, after three years of talking, that a decision had now been made.

He earlier told the committee:

“People have realised they have to move out. The stress was caused not by the development itself, but by the delay.”

He told the committee that some of the objections did not ‘bear scrutiny’ and urged councillors to follow their officers recommendation and approve the re-development.

Could increased traffic be a risk to the local school?

Marchesi House is less than 200 meters from Southill Primary School

Despite concerns from neighbours Dorset highways had no objection and  planning officers said the proposal is acceptable in its design and general appearance and there would be no ‘significant harm’ to neighbours.

But several residents appeared at the committee to argue the point. Beth Chalker said the extra people would create more disturbance and extra traffic. She believed that the association was trying to get too many flats into too small a space which she claimed was in contravention of planning policies.

Jonathan Dixon said the new housing would triple the number of people on the site and claimed the parking spaces were inadequate which would lead to extra cars in nearby roads.

Ward councillor Pete Barrow shared many of the concerns of resident including worries about a loss of privacy. He questioned if the application was in line with some planning policies and is worried about the risk to children from traffic, calling for a new access off Radipole Lane.

Town councillor Christine James said that the town council planning committee had voted unanimously against the scheme because of the density of the development and the effect on the amenity of residents.

“I would like to see Bournemouth Churches go back to the drawing board and find something more acceptable to residents,” she said.

Support for the application came from the housing team which say the application for 13 one-bed flats in two blocks, 12 two-bed houses and 6 three-bed houses in a mix of affordable rent and shared ownership will help meet the local need for lower cost housing.

Cllr Louie O’Leary said that to compare the density of the scheme to flats in the town centre was misleading:

“This is a big development for the area and would bring a large increase in the number of people. It’s a completely different ball game to compare it to the town centre.”  

He was one of a handful of councillors to vote against.

Cllr Nick Ireland said the situation could be helped by moving the proposed flats to the top of the site, rather than the bottom, adding that the scheme would provide more business for local shops and the pub

By Local Democracy Reporter, Trevor Bevins

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