Dorset Council has today, 30 March 2023, submitted a brand-new planning application proposing to demolish the former Weymouth and Portland Borough Council offices at North Quay, Weymouth.

If approved, the demolition will be the first phase in the Dorset Council’s ambition to regenerate Weymouth’s waterside economy. With the recently announced £19.5m Levelling Up Funding (LUF), along with the plans for North Quay, the council intends to regenerate other areas of Weymouth, including the peninsula and the town centre.

Dorset Council’s previous application to demolish the former council offices and redevelop the site was withdrawn after the area planning committee voted against the proposals in September 2019.

Cllr Tony Ferrari, Dorset Council’s Portfolio Holder for Property, Assets and Regeneration, said:

“Dorset Council has bold ambitions to kick start Weymouth’s economy, and the new planning application to demolish North Quay represents the first step in making our aspirations for Weymouth a reality. If approved, the site will attract a range of high-quality development partners to work with us to breathe new life into this key waterside location, which will bring many benefits to residents and businesses of Weymouth.

“It was frustrating that the previous planning application was withdrawn in 2019, but we’ve worked hard since then to draw up fresh plans for the demolition and secured significant funding from government to help enable this work.

“We have carried out an extensive exercise to investigate the carbon impact over the life of the site. Because of the carbon efficiency of new build properties there is little difference in the carbon impact of demolishing the current building versus refurbishing it. The environmental benefit is that redevelopment will allow many more carbon efficient homes to be built on this brownfield site, avoiding the need to build homes on greenfield sites.”

The new planning application seeks only to demolish the former council offices, no plans for redevelopment are included. If the area planning committee approves the proposals, it will enable the council to prepare options for the site. Any plans for future re-development will be brought forward in a separate application at a later date and until that time, the site will be used to create temporary additional car parking spaces.

This is a fresh approach for a new vision for North Quay and comes as a result of the council’s successful Levelling Up Funding bid. LUF will allow the council to improve and enhance the local area generating inward private investment that is essential to make the best use of this key waterside redevelopment scheme.

Cllr Ferrari continued:

“Currently the derelict North Quay building is costing us somewhere in the region of £110,000 to maintain each year, which is not sustainable. The new planning application demonstrates that the most economic and environmentally sustainable option for the site is to demolish the redundant office block. This will enable us to attract inward investment, bringing much needed homes to Weymouth and will create jobs in Dorset’s construction industry.

“Early permission will also allow us to complete the archaeological investigations of the site.

“Coupled with the recent highway improvements along Custom House Quay, if approved, any future redevelopment of this site will make the whole marina area a much more attractive place to live, work and visit. We know this is widely supported by local people and the Levelling Up Funding will make it possible.”

Individuals, businesses and organisations are encouraged to examine the documents and comment on the proposals through the usual planning process on the Dorset Council website. The application can be found here.

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