MORE housing, jobs, investment and prosperity are the key drivers behind a new master-plan for Weymouth.
The borough council will be holding a series of public events next month to show the ideas for creating a ‘thriving town centre that is a vibrant place to live, work and play.’ The approach includes looking at developing everything from traffic and transport to shops, restaurants and facilities. It wants businesses and residents to get involved and shape the plan as it develops.
The area the plan will cover includes the Pavilion peninsula, harbourside, town centre shopping area, Esplanade and area around the train station.
First steps for developing a vision include a series of pop-up events for the public to attend which are expected to be held in August. Dates will be published shortly.
The council says community involvement is at its heart of the plans and attracting investors to ‘buy into’ the vision is a crucial part of taking the project forward.
Cllr Ray Nowak, briefholder for economic regeneration, said: “To achieve economic growth we need to attract investment and make best use of our great assets such as the harbour. To realise this vision we need a strategic plan for the town centre.
“It’s an ambitious, long-term plan and we want everyone to work together for the benefit of the town. We’re having very positive, progressive meetings so far with a number of partners including Weymouth BID, Chamber of Commerce, Dorset LEP and Dorset County Council.
“We want to bring more housing and jobs into the town centre and look at ways to best use vacant and underused sites.
“There is also a focus on creating a thriving waterfront, busy shopping area and look at how traffic, pedestrians and public transport is all managed.
“It is an all-inclusive approach, but it will require investment from commercial businesses.
“We are intending to complete the strategic plan within six months and hope this will enable us to secure forward looking investment opportunities.”
The plan will clarify the vision for the town over the next 15-20 years.
The plan will also take into account the business cases for both Condor Ferries’ continuation alongside the development of the peninsula as part of the strategic economic vision.
The borough council is leading the plan and says it is limited in the amount of investment it can make directly, but funding is hoped to be raised by working in partnership with developers. The council also can’t change things like business rates which are set by central government or control the cost of rent, house prices or cost of premises.
After feedback from the public and businesses, a working group made up of councillors with cross-party support will look at providing a direction and focus to develop the plan.
It is hoped an agreed strategy will be in place by early 2015.