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Have your say on the future of Greenhill's chalets
12:40pm Friday 4th April 2014 in News
DOZENS of residents have been making their feelings known at a consultation into the future of Greenhill's chalets.
The two-day process has seen people streaming through the doors of the Mulberry Centre in Weymouth to find out more about plans to potentially offer up Greenhill chalets, Esplanade chalets, the Greenhill Play Gardens and chalets, the Greenhill toilets and the associated facilities for a 125-year tender.
People have until 4pm today to pop down and have a look.
The drop-in sessions are part on an ongoing consultation process by Weymouth and Portland Borough Council and interested parties have until noon on May 9 to submit comments.
The borough council will also be holding consultations with stakeholder groups including the friends groups and the bowling club.
The council believes a new operator will be able to maintain and improve the chalets and associated facilities to a better standard than the council can afford to.
Boards around the consultation highlighted key factors, one said that structural engineers have reported corrosion of the steel reinforcement to the Esplanade Chalets which requires about £885,000 of remedial works.
However, the plans to offer the areas for tender have proved unpopular. The gardens have been described as the 'jewel of the seafront,' with chalet users fearing rents will be put up and public space will be lost by a new development.
Head of the Estate team at Weymouth and Portland Borough Council Greg Northcote said: “We have had a constant trickle of people coming in here.
“They have another month to give feedback.”
He said people's main concern was if a private lease holder took over and proposed redevelopment.
But Mr Northcote said that the public could be reassured on that if it happened, because the council would remain the free holder, there would be a lease and this was the 'strongest way to control the activity of a tenant,' there are covenants on the area that any prospective developer would have to comply with and any redevelopment would have to go through the planning process. Mr Northcote added that further to this the building was listed and was in a conservation area.
Barbara Dubben, Chairman of the Friends of Greenhill Gardens, spent time talking to the council team.
She said: “We are waiting to see what comes out of this. We do appreciate where the council's coming from. We appreciate they have a problem with the funding and we appreciate something has to happen, but it has to be within the covenants.”
Iain Campbell from FOGG said they were 'lots of imponderables,' like whether the council would find anyone to take the area on. He said: “We are very keen to keep that area as an open space area for the benefit of locals and holiday makers.”
But one person, who did not wish to be named, said: “I think it's a shame the council aren't looking at other options.”
Request a copy of the consultation from 01305 252356 or consultationtracker.dorsetforyou.com.
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