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Businesses Plea To Keep Relief Road An Option

weymouth and portland

1:35pm 17th October 2012

More than 50 businesses and residents on Portland have made an 11th hour plea to transport bosses not to close the door on the Western Relief Road.

Council planners will make a decision today on whether a new development next to the Ferrybridge Inn can go ahead.

If it does it will spell the end for any future link road to Chickerell.

Portland Port wants the best transport connections to boost the regional economy. The Port has sent out 200 questionnaires asking islanders what they think ahead of a crunch council meeting that could see the fate of the relief road decided once and for all. Port chiefs fear that if borough planners give a Ferrybridge planning proposal the go-ahead on Wednesday, this will stop the Western Relief Road dead in its tracks.

The Port received 54 questionnaire responses. All of them called for proper debate and consultation on the Western Relief Road; 50 said the Western Relief Road is essential to the local economic growth of Portland, and 51 said the Western Relief Road should be safeguarded until such a point when proper debate, consultation and evidence demonstrates it is or isn’t needed.

Ian McQuade, Commercial Manager at Portland Port, said: ‘If the Ferrybridge proposal goes through on Wednesday, that means the Western Relief Road will never happen. We are certain this would spell disaster for Portland’s local economy, and the buoyancy of the whole regional economy as a whole. We have over 50 businesses and residents telling us they want a proper debate, consultation and evidence informing decisions by Dorset County Council, Weymouth and Portland Borough Council, and West Dorset District Council regarding issues on highways connections to Portland. We need them to listen to us before it is too late.’

Sandie Wilson, Portland Port’s Environment and Planning Manager, said: ‘We were interested to see what the local community are saying on Portland. The results are quite surprising – it adds weight to our argument that making any decisions now could deal a fatal blow to the lives of residents and the livelihoods of businesses.

‘The Western Relief Road does not just have benefits for Portland, it could also relieve congestion in Weymouth Town Centre and Wyke Regis too. A proper debate will ensure all transport options are considered, factoring in all of the economic, community and environmental needs.’

Scores of leading businesses have also supported Portland Port’s call for debate including: Sunseeker International; Hull Gregson & Hull Portland Ltd; The Boat That Rocked, The Heights Hotel; Osprey Leisure Centre and Manor Marine.

Angie Mustill at the Heights Hotel said: ‘This would be a vital link that would assist with tourism to Portland. Our customers regularly complain about the congestion and delays in getting directly to the Island.’

Deborah Sare, who runs Contemporary Cottages, said: ‘It is absolutely crazy to let this development go ahead and lose the option of the Western Relief Road altogether.’

Katy Pascoe, of Island Community Action, said: ‘Such a major decision about Portland’s future growth potential NEEDS informed proper debate and consultation – let local people’s views be heard!’

John Why, a resident of Sea View on Portland, said: ‘At a time when local government has allowed Weymouth Harbour to lose its most valuable customer it is essential that all efforts should be made to ensure the commercial future of Portland Port.’

The other businesses that have also called for debate on the relief road are Portland Gas Storage Limited; Portland Plant Hire; Flair Hair and Beauty; Smile Horizons Ltd; Quality Time Ltd; Portland Sport and Leisure, Portland Engineering Co Ltd; The Aqua; On The Water Training Ltd; D and C Plumbing; Portland Holiday Let;

Portland Island Homes; Brian Jung Photography; Island Gallery; Jones The Pipe; Craft Care Marine Services; Jackson Gallery; Hyde Fabrications; Portland Retreat & Portland Hideaway; Portland Stone Farms Ltd; J-Tech Developments; Jurassic Coast Railways; Easton Motor Services; WL Bussell and Co; Portland Bill Lighthouse; Transmitter Station, Portland Bill; South Coast Crane Hire; South Coast Stoma Ltd; Print Team (Dorset) Ltd; Cove Holiday Park.

John Greenslade, Development Services Manager at Weymouth & Portland Borough Council, said: “An application to develop the Ferrybridge Inn site, which includes the development of a new restaurant and 30 residential units, will go to Weymouth & Portland Borough Council’s Planning and Traffic Committee tomorrow.

“Councillors will have the opportunity to listen to those speaking at the committee, consider the application and comments made about it before making a decision on the proposal.

“The borough council publicises and consults on all planning applications once they have been registered by an applicant.

“Details of all planning applications are available on the council’s website and residents are able to log their comments with the borough council by post or using the www.dorsetforyou.com planning portal at any time during the consultation process.

“The processing of most planning applications also includes direct notification of immediate neighbours or, where there are no neighbours, the posting of site notices.”

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