Multi-million pound development in Weymouth slammed over lack of affordable homes

Multi-million pound development in Weymouth slammed over lack of affordable homes <i>(Image: Juno Developments)</i>
Multi-million pound development in Weymouth slammed over lack of affordable homes (Image: Juno Developments)

A multi-million pound waterfront development in Weymouth has come under fire as no affordable homes are included in the proposals.

As reported, developer Juno Developments wants to build a complex of residential dwellings, care home, and commercial and leisure facilities at Newton’s Cove.

The developer has taken feedback on board and revised the scheme, lowering the height of some buildings.

But when the latest plans went before Weymouth Town Council’s Planning committee this week, councillors and residents expressed disappointment that there are still no plans for ‘affordable’ housing, despite this having been flagged up by the town council as a key issue.

The committee thanked Juno Developments for making concessions but passed a unanimous vote of objection to the revised plans. Other concerns include inadequate parking, traffic congestion, flood risk, loss of employment land, and impact upon the World Heritage Coast.

Of particular concern was the fact that the developer has reduced the number of parking spaces at the site by 10 per cent. Local ward councillor Luke Wakeling fears this could exacerbate problems on nearby streets - including Barrack Road and Chapelhay - where parking is already “a nightmare.”

Cllr Wakeling also wants to see height restrictions stipulated in metres, rather than the number of storeys.

Dorset Echo: No affordable homes are included in the proposals at former Bincleaves QinetiQ site, Newtons Cove Weymouth
Dorset Echo: No affordable homes are included in the proposals at former Bincleaves QinetiQ site, Newtons Cove Weymouth

No affordable homes are included in the proposals at former Bincleaves QinetiQ site, Newtons Cove Weymouth (Image: Juno Developments)

Objections from the Environment Agency over flood risk also rang alarm bells. Councillor Jon Orrell said: “The Environment Agency rarely objects to anything these days - so for them to put in such a strong word carries a lot of weight.”

Juno Developments says the scheme would not be viable if it were to include affordable homes – however resident Marguerite Wells, who spoke at the meeting, disagrees with the figures.

With thousands of households currently on the local housing register, she wants 35 per cent of the development to be affordable, in line with policy.

“This development is massive - it's still very overbearing and I think it will have a detrimental effect on Weymouth,” she added. “It's a town built on tourism; it's a beautiful place and we need to keep it that way.”

Councillor David Northam called for further evidence to support claims that the site does not represent loss of potential employment land compared to previous use.

Cllr Northam said he was surprised the developer still had no plans to include “desperately needed” affordable homes, despite previous feedback from the town council. “This is a mega million-pound site, and it should do something to benefit the people of Weymouth,” he added.

The town council's comments will be submitted to Dorset Council - Weymouth Town Council acts in an advisory capacity only.

Dorset Echo: Traffic concerns have been raised
Dorset Echo: Traffic concerns have been raised

Traffic concerns have been raised (Image: Juno Developments/Newsquest)

A spokesman for Juno Developments said: "The car parking provision has been reduced in line with (Dorset) Council’s parking standards and to reflect the significant reduction in built development as a result of responding to consultation responses and feedback from Dorset Council. The proposals have been reduced from up to 189 dwellings to 141 dwellings, up to 65 bed care home to a 60 bed care home, and from up to 1,509 square metres Class E floorspace (office/light industrial floorspace) to 1,185 square metres.

"There has been no affordable housing proposed as part of the scheme due to the significant abnormal costs to enable the viable development of this challenging site. A viability report has been submitted as part of the application and has been reviewed by Dorset Council’s viability team.

"The scheme has been amended to reduce the overall height of the buildings to reflect the scale of the cliffs and has been benchmarked against schemes previously granted planning permission on the site.

Dorset Echo: The height of some of the buildings has been reduced
Dorset Echo: The height of some of the buildings has been reduced

The height of some of the buildings has been reduced (Image: Juno Developments)

"The additional traffic impact has been modelled and the local road network, particularly the Boot Hill junction, has been assessed as having capacity to accommodate increased traffic flows.

"The inclusion of the care home reflects a demonstrated need for such a land use as part of what is a genuine mixed-use scheme in this location. This includes the provision of employment-generating uses, for which the granting of planning permission is needed to attract occupier interest.

"The Environment Agency has accepted the recently submitted additional modelling, and their detailed comments will be responded to in due course.”

  • To watch the town council's discussion of the Newton's Road planning application on Youtube, click here.