A DEVELOPER has won its case to build homes on open space in Weymouth.
A government inspector has ruled in favour of Betterment Properties which has proposed a major development at Curtis Fields near Lanehouse.
An application for planning permission was submitted to Weymouth and Portland Borough Council last year but Betterment referred it to the Planning Inspectorate after the council’s planning committee deferred the decision so members could visit the site. Councillors later said the application should be rejected.
Part of Curtis Fields, also known as Markham and Little Francis, is also subject to an ongoing battle by campaigners to get it re-registered as a Town Green, but this area is not included in the proposed development.
An eight-day appeal into whether planning permission should be granted for Betterment’s scheme was held at the sailing academy in November 2013 with planning inspector Christina Downes in the chair.
She said the arguments to be discussed would include whether the proposals are needed to meet the borough’s requirement for affordable housing, the effect on the function of the site as an open gap, as well as design, layout and highways issues.
Betterment argued the council had adopted a ‘dismissive attitude’ towards the application which it said was ‘sustainable’.
The council said there had been significant objections to the plan, which was earmarked for an ‘important open gap’.
The inspector has decided to grant planning permission for the scheme, which includes demolition of existing derelict farm buildings and the formation of 64 residential dwellings, 19 flats, a convenience store, and office premises together with alterations to the existing watercourse, drainage, highways and landscaping. Outline permission was also granted for a second phase of development for a further 97 dwellings.
The inspector said the development would make an important impact on the shortfall of housing required over the next five years.
Malcolm Brown Planning Director at Sibbett Gregory, which acted on behalf of Betterment, said: “Based on the requirement for the provision of housing over the next five years in Weymouth and Portland, combined with the limited supply of development land, the scheme offered obvious benefits to the borough with negligible impact.
“It was for this reason that we considered Weymouth and Portland Borough Councils’ decision to reject the application was flawed.”