Criticism of 100 home development planned for Portland

Criticism of 100 home development planned for Portland

Published by Maria Greenwood at 7:12am 26th February 2020.

A 100-home development on the Royal Manor Arts College site, Portland has been criticised by local people and a number of key organisations.

Many say it will be out of keeping with the area and put pressure on local services.

One official suggests withdrawing the application and starting the design process again.

Dorset Council is working on an outline planning application to demolish the existing buildings on the Weston Road site and build up to 98 homes.

The school site has stood empty since July 2016.

former royal manor school, weston road, portland
Former Royal Manor School, Weston Road, Portland


The comments, in response to a formal planning application, comes after public consultation events which, organisers claimed, largely showed support for homes on the 2.5 hectare site.

The Homes England application says the site would have 74 open market homes, 17 social housing units and seven described as ‘intermediate’. 

The majority of comments submitted to Dorset Council object to the scheme – mainly because of the effect on the open space in the area, extra traffic, pressure on local services with some commenting on the design and layout details.

Weymouth Civic Society says it believes the northern part of the site, which it says was not shown at the public consultation in 2017, should be removed from the proposal.

housing plan

The council’s design and conservation officer, Stefan Ganther, says he is unable to support the proposals as submitted:

"The design statements and supporting Heritage statements are considered as not reflecting the true characteristics of the location and … the indicative layout fails to preserve the setting of the adjacent heritage assets.

"The layout and plot size are considered as not in keeping with the general pattern and reflect a grid at odds with its surroundings."

He suggests withdrawing the scheme and re-evaluating the effect it will have on the look of the area.

The NHS locally say it would expect a financial contribution from the scheme as it is likely to bring an extra 235 people into the area which will put pressure on their resources.

The council’s housing team has welcomed the additional homes but says it would be preferable to see a higher number of 2-bed houses.

Dorset Wildlife Trust has objected to the application because of the lack of a Biodiversity and Mitigation and Enhancement Plan.

It says that the extra people will put pressure on surrounding designated habitats, including the Portland Quarries Nature Park.