MORE housing, jobs, investment and prosperity are the key drivers behind a new masterplan for Weymouth.
Councillors and businesses wish to create a thriving town centre by developing transport and traffic, restaurants and facilities.
Residents and businesses are being asked to get involved and shape the plan as it develops at pop-up events to be held in August.
The plan will cover the Pavilion peninsula, the harbourside, town centre shopping area, Esplanade and the area around the train station.
A spokesman for the borough council confirmed the master-plan would have to be in accordance with what is set out in the Local Plan once approved.
The local plan sets out a long term planning strategy for the area up to 2031 to meet future housing, employment and leisure needs.
The examination of the plan was suspended in March for six months to allow additional evidence to be prepared on housing issues.
When asked about the Pavilion peninsula in particular, a spokesman for the borough council said: “We have to have discussions with all the various stakeholders before any other plans are put together.”
Discussing the masterplan, Cllr Ray Nowak, briefholder for economic regeneration at Weymouth and Portland Borough Council, said: “This is different in as much as it’s taking a holistic approach.
“There are really some great opportunities to look at this, not one bit at a time but looking at the town as one.”
Cllr Nowak said whilst this could be seen as reaction sparked by recent criticisms of the town in national media, it was a ‘political commitment’ that had been made for a while.
He 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.”
Cllr Nowak said the all-inclusive approach would require investment from commercial businesses.
He added: “We are intending to complete the strategic plan within six months and hope this will enable us to secure forward looking investment opportunities.”
The early stages of the plan were revealed to the Weymouth and Portland Economic Group in June by David Evans, the borough council’s director of environment.
Julie Cleaver, president of the Weymouth and Portland Chamber of Commerce, attended the meeting.
She said: “It was just really interesting and quite encouraging really to hear his vision for the area.
Mrs Cleaver said the plan was something that had been growing over the past few years.
She added: “The more input we can get from residents and businesses, the better.”
An agreed strategy is hoped to be in place by early 2015. The plan will clarify the town’s vision over the next 15-20 years.
Funding is hoping to be raised by working in partnership with developers. A cross-party working group of councillors will develop the plan.
Dates and locations for the pop-up events are still being decided.
- Keith Treggiden, manager of the Rendezvous, said he hoped he’d be able to make his points known at the pop-up events.
He said: “One of the things I would encourage for the town centre is pedestrianising both sides of the harbour.
“It is one of the biggest visited areas in the town. It should be a lot more friendly than it is.”
Mr Treggiden said he’d also like to see action taken on 24-hour restaurants in the town centre.
He added: “I think there needs to be a limit on the times these 24-hour restaurants are open. The town needs to have a separation between night time and day time.”
- Alistair Clarke, joint chairman of the Weymouth Business and Improvement District (BID), said they’d have a lot to contribute to the council’s master-plan.
He said: “It’s a good thing they’re talking about it and they’re trying to get a strategy in place.
“We would certainly be very happy to work with the council if they wanted to work together.”