WEYMOUTH has taken a big step forward in drawing up its town centre masterplan.

The community came together for the second of two workshops in the ongoing development of the plan, a blueprint for the future.

It was led by Feria Urbanism, an independent planning and design practice that was appointed by Weymouth and Portland Borough Council to advise and help the council engage with the community.

The event saw residents, business owners and public figures split into groups to debate and capture a vision for the future of the town centre over the next 10 years.

It examined in more detail some of the outcomes from the previous workshop held in October such as development potential of sites, travel and movement within the town and how different quarters in the town centre could interact with one another.

Both events followed on from the pop-up sessions that have been held across the town centre over the last few months, and hundreds of people have already had their say.

The borough council is leading the strategy and wants to put community involvement at the heart of the plan.

It 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 and other partners such as the Dorset LEP.

Economic regeneration spokesman for the borough council Cllr Ray Nowak said: “This event has been fantastic in highlighting how engaged the community is with this important project. There has been lots of participation into the vision, which will enable us to be progressive in the ideas that come forward, and crucially change Weymouth for the better.

“There is unity from residents and commercial sector in the aim of creating a thriving town centre that is vibrant that can offer diversity in housing, retail and leisure, etc. The workshops have been creative but also helpful to explore the conflicting issues as well as what’s best where.

“A clear strategy will ensure Weymouth makes the most of its stunning landscape setting, wealth of listed buildings, attractive waterfront and busy harbour. A new vision for Weymouth will show the potential and the commitment to making it the jewel on the Dorset coast.”

A draft masterplan is expected to go out for further consultation in early 2015.