Who Betrayed the Borough of Weymouth and Portland?

For: Nickinson, Page-Nash, Bruce I, Bruce H, Brookes, Ellis all Conservative and Tewkesbury Labour (Chair).

Against: James – Lib Dem, West – Labour, Kimber – Labour and Orrell Green.  Weaving was absent. 

What does it mean?

It means that a “juggernaut” has been released due to the amount of detail that was in the ‘outline’ application. All of it will end up in the full application…all the bad stuff such as low paid seasonal chain brand jobs, competing businesses with existing businesses, no cycle path access, a 2 metre high concrete wall around the whole of our ancient harbour, no renewable energy generation in the third sunniest town in the UK and an unsustainable transport plan including a big car park (amended at the meeting back up to 600 spaces from 300…so prob a multi-storey if they don’t just cancel the financially flawed leisure shed plans). It means that our planning committee who were meant to judge this on the planning matters ignored nine clear conflictions with Local Plan policies. The applicant (our council) agreed to 33 planning conditions imposed by the planning authority (our council) that were designed to head off the policy objections that were made but ended up demonstrating that the plan was and is fundamentally flawed.

The National Planning Policy Framework stipulates that the use of planning conditions to alter an application should be kept to “a minimum” if the entire viability of a plan is not be be questioned. How could the officer and the head of planning equate 33 conditions added to their application with “a minimum” amount? Anyway, all is not lost. We have some useful cards left and they will be played at the appropriate times. By behaving the way they have the committee members who voted in favour and the officers involved have probably shot themselves in the foot. The tragedy is that to get this dogs breakfast of an outcome has taken years and hundreds of thousands of pounds of public money. When a decent master planner and architect working with the community from the start and all the way to completion would have been the best thing and we at Weyforward repeatedly told the council’s top management that the peninsula needed credible creative oversight from day one to make it a success. But did they listen?

Jason West