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New hope to save chalets from a sell-off
CAMPAIGNERS have been given new hope after a decision to lease off chalets at Greenhill has been referred to a scrutiny committee.
The decision by Weymouth and Portland Borough Council’s management committee to offer up chalets at Greenhill for tender will be the subject of a scrutiny and performance committee meeting tomorrow to see if the decision was ‘outside policy framework’.
Councillors will have to consider the call-in and either request that management committee reconsiders the decision or take no action and allow the decision to stand.
But the tendering process has been criticised by the Friends of Greenhill gardens who say they have been ignored by the council.
In an open letter to all councillors, penned by chairman Barbara Dubben, they say: “Friends of Greenhill Gardens would like to express our dismay and extreme concern regarding the Greenhill chalets tendering process.
“We have not been consulted. If we had not viewed the management committee agenda would not have been aware of these proposals.
“We sincerely trust that this matter, in the very least, now having been passed to the scrutiny committee will follow the guidelines to which the council is duty bound to adhere.”
At the original meeting on November 5, councillors agr-eed to encourage offers for a 125-year lease of the Greenhill Garden chalets, Esplanade chalets, Greenhill play gardens and chalets, public toilets, Pebbles Café, the putting green, tennis courts and sandpit and paddling pool area.
Greenhill Gardens themselves would be kept by the council.
The councillors also agreed that if no-one came forward then short-term chalet licences would be offered for the summer of 2014, while the property is remarketed.
But councillor Gill Taylor has requested the decision be looked at, stating that under legislation, the area was designated as local green space and subject to legislation of the Local Government Act 1972.
The act states that a council may not dispose of any land consisting or forming part of an open space ‘unless before disposing of the land they cause notice of their intention to do so, specifically the land in question, to be advertised in two consecutive weeks in a newspaper circulating in the area in which the land is situated, and consider any objections to the proposed disposal which may be made to them.’ Cllr Taylor said it was therefore ‘premature’ for the management committee to have considered a decision to tender and lease land designated as open green space.
Cllr Taylor said: “It’s an open space – there should have been consultation before the decision was made.”
- For more on this story see See Have Your Say, page 8
Chairman of the Chalet Users Community Group, Sue Bray, said they welcomed the meeting and hoped the councillors would now follow a suggestion from the group to defer the decision for a year and consult with the whole of Weymouth.
She said: “We are pleased the call-in is going to happen and they will look at their processes.”
She added that Greenhill chalets and associated facilities were an important asset for Weymouth and therefore the people of Weymouth should be able to have their say.
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