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Georgian vision of Weymouth's former fire station wins over planners
A NEW approach to building flats for elderly people at Weymouth’s old fire station has won over local planners.
It’s second time lucky for fire chiefs who have been looking to dispose of the North Quay site since Weymouth crews switched to a new base two years ago.
Retirement living specialists McCarthy & Stone teamed up with Dorset and Fire Rescue Service to develop it. But it went back to the drawing board when a previous application was fiercely opposed and thrown at an inquiry for being too overbearing and affecting the character of the nearby buildings of old Weymouth.
Architects who have worked closely with Poundbury master planner Leon Krier were recruited and they have come up with a traditional scheme for 43 apartments, including communal facilities and parking, influenced by Georgian Weymouth and designed to blend in with historic buildings.
Although it gives the impression of separate buildings, it is still a single block of flats.
Planning agent Alex Child told Weymouth and Portland Borough Council’s planning committee that the developer had not only ‘gone back to the drawing board’ on the design but it had ‘thrown away its own rule book.’ Council planning officer Andrew Martin described it as a ‘fabulous scheme for a landmark site’ which addressed the misgivings the authority had before.
He added: “I think we can take reassurance from the detail that has gone into the drawings.”
Councillor Margaret Leicester said the plan was a ‘vast improvement’ on the previous scheme but raised concerns about putting flats for the elderly in a high pollution area.
Coun Paul Kimber said the design was ‘worthy of our town’ and successfully pressed for Portland Stone to be used.
Coun Christine James asked for assurances that residents could speak to site managers as building progressed.
Coun Kevin Hodder joked that the previous plan must have taken inspiration from the council’s Municipal Offices while this application was inspired by old Weymouth.
The committee approved the scheme subject to conditions.
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