Demolition begins at former retirement complex

Demolition at Hollly Court, Weymouth <i>(Image: Cristiano Magaglio)</i>
Demolition at Hollly Court, Weymouth (Image: Cristiano Magaglio)

Demolition has begun at a former Weymouth retirement complex.

The demolition of Holly Court on Dorchester Road has officially started in order to make way for a new development.

Machinery has been seen tearing down the side of the building adjacent to Waverly Road.

Dorset Echo: Demolition at Hollly Court, Weymouth
Dorset Echo: Demolition at Hollly Court, Weymouth

A large blue fence was also erected last month to shield the the demolition works from the main road.

This comes two years after Storm Eunice caused significant damage to the roof of the building, forcing elderly residents out of their homes.

The demolition will make way for 34 one-bedroom flats and three two-bedroom flats for social rent for those aged over 55, with communal facilities including a lounge with kitchenette for social activities and purpose-built storage for scooters.

It is anticipated that the works will be completed in 2025 after planning permission was granted last year.

Part of the demolition works will involve a full Health and Safety Executive compliant strip-out of asbestos, a substance which can cause cancer.

Anchor is working alongside local building company C G Fry and Son to complete the development.

The new homes will be more sustainable and energy efficient, with a fabric first approach design providing above building regulation requirements for insulation and a high level of PV panels to reduce residents’ consumption costs alongside new electric vehicle charging points.

The scheme will also provide a 10 per cent net biodiversity gain compared to the previous development.

Dorset Echo: Demolition at Hollly Court, Weymouth
Dorset Echo: Demolition at Hollly Court, Weymouth

Several residents had previously campaigned to keep the existing building, which was finished in 1973, but Anchor Housing, which owns the site, claimed the option is not viable, compounded by the presence of asbestos.

Elderly residents who were forced to leave Holly Court faced months of upheaval with some moving around multiple times between temporary lodgings.

Nick Hodgskin, Senior Development Manager for Anchor said: “We are delighted that we can now make a start on redeveloping Holly Court after we carried out a full and detailed assessment of the options available.

"Redeveloping the site allows us to provide homes which are fit for purpose, creating more and better affordable housing for older people.”