A community group has hired a law expert to challenge the council’s plans to develop Weymouth peninsula.

It comes after a crowdfunder page was launched by Jason West, co-founder of Weyforward, last Tuesday.

Weyforward has smashed its target of raising £1,500 and is now in talks with law expert Charlie Hopkins to find a way to challenge the borough council and tweak its plans.

Weyforward is a group set up to encourage economic development and social transformation in Weymouth.

It is keen to see development at the landmark peninsula site but believes there should be more community space and inspiring design features.

Speaking about the fundraiser, Mr West said: “We set the crowdfunder period to two weeks because we wanted to try and hire Charlie Hopkins as soon as possible.

“It’s been great, it took a while to get going but we managed to keep people’s interest. We’ve had some big donations from local businesses.

“I think we’re all stakeholders in this, even if you don’t have a local business. If you live here, then you have an interest in that piece of land. This is the most important piece of land the council owns."

He added: “We’ve now managed to get Charlie Hopkins working for us, he’s currently looking at documents.

“We think mainly his input will be useful with the planning and outline planning application which will go to committee at the end of November.”

“He’s done a lot of stuff around the country representing communities where they felt they were given a raw deal from the local authority. He knows his stuff."

An announcement made on the crowdfunder page on Tuesday revealed that the group has been able to pay for two days of Mr Hopkins' time and is continuing to raise money for the campaign.

Mr West said: “I would like people to keep donating. We are going to get Charlie Hopkins’ opinion and share it with everyone openly and transparently.”

“We will attend the full council meeting on Thursday, October 11 and I would like to encourage people to attend because your presence will make a difference to how the council will vote.

“We don’t want to stop this, we want the council leadership to see sense and we want something fantastic, inspiring and good for Weymouth and the businesses of Weymouth.”

“This site will set the tone for the next 50 years.”

Weymouth and Portland Borough Council has responded to the campaign.

Cllr Jeff Cant, Leader of Weymouth & Portland Borough Council, said: “We are confident in the process we have undertaken so far. It has taken three years of thorough work with economic studies, market studies and public engagement used to inform plans.

“Further public engagement will take place following a decision on our outline plans – which are purely seeking to establish whether the type and scale of the development would be acceptable.

“The peninsula is a prime part of a wider masterplan to regenerate the town centre. The site will be a leisure led development that includes undercover all-weather attractions as part of the offer. It will grow our economy and enhance the area for both residents and visitors.

“Outdoor community space has been detailed on the plans through walkways along the water’s edge and open space in front of the Pavilion.

“Free indoor community space on the site isn’t financially viable nor suitable for this development. There are existing community halls and sports centres which are more than suitable should there be a need for indoor community facilities.”

For more information visit www.crowdfunder.co.uk/make-weymouth-council-tweak-the-peninsula-plan#start