LACK of parking and fears over second home ownership were among the concerns highlighted as residents had their say about proposals for key sites in Weymouth – as moves are made to submit a planning application.

It comes after Dorset Council launched a survey about its proposals for the North Quay and Weymouth Bowl sites.

As revealed in the Echo in January, the council intends to demolish the former council offices and build luxury homes on the site, and also build a new affordable housing development on the site of the derelict former bowling alley.

The council said its proposals for both sites were 'well received' following a four-week consultation – although only 340 people took part in the exercise.

It comes after an archaeological dig took place at North Quay uncovering the remains of two medieval buildings - the future of the site will be determined once the council receives a report on the investigation.

A council spokesman said: "Overall, the North Quay site proposal was popular; overwhelmingly respondents commented that the design was sympathetic to Weymouth’s heritage and the old High Street and they liked the aesthetic.

"Proposals for residential use of the site were popular, but there was some concern about whether the units might be used as second homes, holiday lets or retirement homes. Another concern was the loss of parking space and that it would be insufficient for residents and for visitors using local amenities.

"Survey respondents also showed a high level of support for the Weymouth Bowl site proposal. Respondents felt that it was a good use of a redundant site that needs regenerating and it would be a visual improvement, bringing more life to the area. Although the design was not as favoured as that of North Quay, the presence of residential units in the town centre itself was popular, as was the prospect of more affordable housing."

The council said its project team is reviewing the schemes for both sites, including consideration of any impact on the local area of any loss of parking space.

Meanwhile, the authority received several expressions of interest for use of the non-residential space on both sites from Friends of Weymouth Museum, the Nest, and a coalition of local environmental groups (the #WeymouthTogether network). These are to be considered, alongside expected commercial bids for space.

A planning application is expected soon and decisions on both sites will be made in around a year’s time. The schemes are expected to be completed in summer 2023.

Councillor Tony Ferrari, Dorset Council’s Portfolio Holder for Economic Growth, Assets and Property, said: “I’m glad that our proposals for both North Quay and the Weymouth Bowl sites have been well received. I want to thank everyone who took the time to respond to the survey, including those who made expressions of interest for how the non-residential space could be used.

"Given the failure of previous attempts to redevelop North Quay building, it is vitally important that Dorset Council develops a scheme with the broadest public support. We have listened to the numerous comments about the proposals and will incorporate as many improvements as we can into the final planning application."

Cllr Ferari added: "We have taken the first steps in bringing this fantastic waterside location into use, with the archaeological dig on the site. We will keep everyone updated as we progress towards building the development these sites have deserved for a long time.”