WE'RE thanking Alan Wolsey today for unearthing a fascinating Weymouth Town Plan from 1966.

The plan is an interesting insight into the vision for the borough of Weymouth and Melcombe Regis 51 years ago.

There was even a service road bridge was proposed over St Thomas Street in the town centre which never saw the light of day.

Another ambitious plan which was never fulfilled was to create a high level giant roundabout with a flyover road at King Street. Perhaps more Los Angeles than Weymouth!

Planners suggested this a a solution to traffic congestion. The plan said the King Street roundabout could be raised and a loop road built to divert traffic away from the town centre. Pedestrians would be able to walk under the roundabout, the plan said, and process through to the bus station and railway station.

Another plan to make Weymouth more pedestrian friendly would be to close the Esplanade to traffic between Gloucester Street and Statue House.

Measures were also proposed to take traffic to the Pavilion, pier and to steamers bound for the Channel Islands from the St Thomas Street and St Edmund Street junction - a new distributor road. The reason for needing such a road was 22,650 people recorded travelling in one direction in the month of August, 1964, the plan says.

"The road would terminate in an adequate turning circle in front of the Pavilion, encroaching a little onto the beach below high water mark only," the plan says.

More car parks were needed, the plan said, and proposals were made for a series of three storey car parks which would provide 4,000 spaces to meet the future requirements of the central area. Additional capacity could be provided on the roofs of these car parks, the plan said.

Some of the plans were carried out, such as pedestrianising St Thomas Street and St Mary Street and diverting through traffic out of the centre (including the seafront) and providing service roads to all shops and making room for adequate car parks and bus lay-bys close to the shops.

Another proposal which proved successful was to locate principal bus stops along Commercial Road.

Planning chiefs said they needed to deal with 'the huge increase in the number of vehicles on the roads of Britain'. It predicts an extra 15 million vehicles on the road.

It states: "There is evidence that traffic volumes on roads in Weymouth are at present increasing at a greater rate than in the country as a whole. This enormous additional burden will compel some drastic change in the design or use of the roads in the town centre. It is this fact which dictates a new concept in town centre layout in which the motor vehicle is made to serve man without dominating him or his surroundings."

The plan points out areas in the town centre with 'an environment of high quality worthy of preservation and enhancement', and these are the Georgian sea front, the Georgian terraces at the southern end of the esplanade on two sides of Alexandra Gardens, the intimate shopping street (particularly St Alban Street), other groups on the east side of St Thomas Street and individual buildings such as St Mary'c Church, the Guildhall and the Golden Lion and the harbour scene.

The plan says: "The quality of our physical surroundings, an inheritance from the days of pedestrian movement, is menaced by the sheer volume of motor vehicles filling the streets, bringing danger, anxiety, noise, fumes, vibration, severance and visual intrusion into the urban scene."

People were invited to express their opinions on the draft planning proposals and write to the town clerk at the municipal offices.

Thanks to Alan for sharing this vision for Weymouth from the 1960s!


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