PROPOSALS for a new bus information kiosk on Weymouth Esplanade have divided opinion among town councillors.

Operator First Buses wants to install a portable cabin close to K7 bus stop to act as an information point for tourists and residents.

If plans get the go-ahead, the facility could serve a similar role to the former Tourist Information Centre - albeit on a much smaller scale - by providing leaflets for tourism businesses or areas of interest.

It would operate from 9 to 5 every day from the start of July until the end of September this year, and from February to October in 2022.

Dorset Echo: The kiosk could be themed to look like a busThe kiosk could be themed to look like a bus

The kiosk - which would be designed to look like a bus - would not be connected to water or electricity supply - however a small solar panel may be installed to charge a tablet or phone.

A planning application is currently being considered by Dorset Council. If approved, a licence would also need to be granted by Weymouth Town Council - the conditions of which, including the rent, were the subject of a debate by the town council's Finance and Governance Committee last week.

Although the plan was broadly welcomed, concerns were raised about the location on a busy area of the promenade - with many councillors of the view that an alternative site should be sought.

Members of Weymouth Town Council's Planning and Licensing Committee had previously objected to the plans on the grounds of clutter and possible pedestrian congestion.

Councillor David Northam said: "This was debated quite vocally - it is quite an encumbrance on a narrow part of the pavement which frequently overflows with queues of people waiting for buses.

"We wanted more discussion with First Bus with regards to having a better site. It's not convenient and could present a hazard."

But councillor Graham Lambert said he was "extremely concerned" that an opportunity to promote the town could be missed.

"I can't think for the life of me why this would be turned down at Planning," he said. "From my point of view I see this as a great opportunity for the town to support an initiative from the bus company.

"The buses in question are the ones displaying advertising about our Jurassic coast - it's very easy to come to Weymouth and not realise that we're at the centre of a worldwide attraction. I really think we should be taking every chance we can to make this a reality - we do not have any kind of TIC - it would be extremely helpful to residents and tourists alike."

Councillor Richard Nickinson added: "I think it's an excellent idea - the siting needs to be near the bus stops - we should just get on with this - we don't want to make this a dealbreaker with the bus company."

Councillor Luke Wakeling brought the discussion back to the terms of the potential license agreement - after commenting that the kiosk design "looks like a plastic portable cabin in a conservation area.

"I don't think all months should have equal rent - we should be asking for half a year's rent for those three months (of the summer,)" he said.

Agreement came from councillor Howard Legg, who said: "I suggest that when you're in a tourism related sector (rent) has got to be weighted by the months of the season."

The committee then took a vote on the terms of the potential license for the remainder of this year, and 2022.

The terms put forward by officers were agreed unanimously, with an amendment that the three business months for the remainder of this year should be charged at 50 per cent of a full year's contract, subject to negotiations.