MULTI-million pound plans for the former Qinetiq site could create more than 250 jobs and bring a £3m boost to Weymouth.
The proposal for a care village has been recommended for approval by officers and is set to be discussed by Weymouth and Portland Borough Council‘s planning committee this week.
The care village would provide 195 supported living units – 34 one bed and 161 two bed – a 60-bed care home and 34 respite hotel suites, as well as medical support facilities, common rooms, leisure facilities and offices.
There would also be a restaurant, museum charting the site’s history and military links, café and a new promenade, improved coastal defence measures, gardens and underground parking. The new buildings would be between four and six storeys in height.
Officers have recommended approving the scheme based on conditions including medical assessment of all potential occupiers, public access to the walkway along the foreshore and the provision of the proposed museum and submission of a management plan to ensure its operation.
The applicants said the development will create around 265 full time jobs and a £3m boost to the economy each year.
The report also said the applicants believe it will help prevent ‘bed blocking’ in local hospitals as it provides ‘effective step down care on site’.
The report notes:
The applicants consider that [the buildings] have been designed to provide relief, variation and articulation in the roofline, as well as to have limited punctuation set away from the face of the cliff. They also suggest that they are strong, vertical and visually prominent features that are reflective of local historic structures and that the use of natural Portland stone on them strongly defines their importance.
The Environment Agency withdrew an objection after a Flood Risk Assessment was submitted – although they have recommended that the applicants prepare a flood warning and evacuation plan for future residents and staff.
Dorset County Council’s flood risk management team note in the report that the site is at some ‘theoretical’ risk of flooding, but has no objection subject to conditions.
But the Open Spaces Society has objected to the scheme based on the height of the buildings, which it claims would have an ‘adverse visual impact’.
The Civic Society also said it has ‘reservations’ about the height, although a spokesman added that they support the general principle of redevelopment and ‘the proposed design looks good and imaginative’.
They also raised concerns about access in stormy weather, as residents would be elderly.
And 16 residents wrote to the council objecting to the proposal, with two writing letters supporting it.
The plans will be discussed at a meeting of the planning committee at the Mulberry Centre on Wednesday, June 8.