‘Eyesore’ extension at Greenhill to be knocked down

‘Eyesore’ extension at Greenhill to be knocked down

Published by Maria Greenwood at 8:22am 4th October 2019.

An ‘eyesore’ of an extension to the listed Weymouth Greenhill beach chalets will be torn down.

It was last used for changing and kit storage by the Weymouth Bay Sea Swimmers club from September 2016 until the end of March this year.

Since then the club has been locked out of the building and is now involved in a legal dispute with the Greenhill Community Trust which owns the building.

Dorset Council members sitting on the area planning committee were told on Thursday that the row had nothing to do with the planning application.

Greenhill chalets Cllr Kate Wheller
Cllr Kate Wheller

Proposing that the extension be demolished Weymouth councillor Kate Wheller also made a plea for somewhere else to be found for the sea swimming club.

She said that the building should have been demolished years ago but the former borough council had not enforced its own planning consent.

She said:

"It is an eyesore. It does nothing for the building but it has been a useful home for the sea swimmers, a great community organisation, and its incumbent on us to encourage and help them find a permanent home."

"We have a lot of assets. There must be something we can do outside this committee."

None of the planning committee voted against the proposal to demolish.

'What the sea swimmers say'

Jason West from the swimming club used his three minutes to tell councillors of some of the 17 reasons in planning law he believed supported the argument for keeping the building.

Greenhill chalets Jason West
Jason West from the swimming club.

He said that key to this was that protection should be given to buildings in community use.

Mr West, a director of the community interest company behind the swimming club, said it was ridiculous to get rid of a useful building and replace it with open space – which would result in a loss of £1,000 in rent the club would have paid to the Greenhill Community Trust each year.

'Background'

The ‘temporary’ addition to the chalets had been agreed in 2001 by Weymouth and Portland Council for use by the RNLI which, since 2011, had relocated its look-out post to the beach.

An officer report said that the removal of the temporary building would “preserve and enhance” the chalets and “result in a positive visual impact within the character of the area.”

By Trevor Bevins, Local Democracy Reporter