MORE than 50 new homes, shops and a 60-bed hotel look set to be created in a major economic regeneration project at Osprey Quay on Portland.

The first phase of the project, a public space called Liberty Square, was unveiled yesterday.

It has been described as the centrepiece of the proposed mixed-use Castle Court development which will eventually include housing, retail and leisure elements plus 1,000 square metres of workspace.

The square has been developed with a £500,000 loan from the Dorset Local Enterprise Partnership Growing Places Fund, and a £150,000 investment from the Homes and Communities Agency, working with Weymouth and Portland Borough Council.

Now the Homes and Communities Agency (HCA),which owns the site, will target potential investors to develop the plot.

Future plans also include the refurbishment of the former Royal Naval air station.

Bruce Voss, HCA area manager said: “The completion of Liberty Square as a landmark public space should unlock wider investment in new homes and jobs.

“The site aims to provide more than 50 new homes, with affordable housing, a few small shops including a convenience store and we also have planning permission for a hotel with potential for up to 60 beds.

“We are excited to see the first phase complete and hope the development will be a big visitor attraction.”

The new square features soft landscaping such as lawns, flowerbeds, shrubs and trees, plus raised levels, paving, re-surfaced roads, walkways and seating.

Weymouth and Portland Borough Council spokesman for economic development Ian Munro-Price, said: “We’re confident that the completion of the public space will increase interest from developers around the square and the wider Osprey Quay area – and act as a catalyst to spread further development.”

Dorset Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) Growing Places chairman, David Ramsden, added that Liberty Square was a ‘fantastic example’ of how the LEP can co-ordinate and allocate significant resources to create jobs and long-lasting economic impact in the county.

He added: “The finished development brings a high-quality space for residents of Weymouth and Portland and visitors to enjoy, and Dorset LEP is delighted to have been able to unlock the potential of the site.”