Weymouth and Portland Borough Councillors agreed this morning to commit £100,000 to investigate how sites can be developed as part of the Weymouth town centre masterplan.
The economic viability and technical feasibility studies will look at issues such as costs to clean up contaminated land, flood defence works and ground stabilisation requirements; they will also determine the economic potential for various types of development – such as a type of wet weather attraction for the town.
These studies will increase the council’s ability to bid for grants and finance from other organisations such as central Government or the EU.
Weymouth residents and business leaders have already been discussing the priorities for the town centre masterplan at an interactive workshop event at Weymouth Pavilion in October.
This event followed on from the pop-up sessions that have been held across the town centre over the last few months where hundreds of people were able to have their say both at the events and online.
Weymouth & Portland Borough Council is leading the strategy to deliver a brighter future for the town with community involvement at the heart of the plan.
The masterplan will guide how the town centre is developed over the next 10 years.
The vision for the plan is to create a thriving town centre that is a vibrant place to live, work and play, which offers diversity in housing, amenities and services.
The borough council is limited in the amount of investment it can make directly, but funding is hoped to be raised by working in partnership with developers and other partners such as the LEP.
Unfortunately, the council can’t change things like business rates which are set by central government or control the cost of rent, house prices or other premises.
Cllr Ray Nowak, Briefholder for Economic Regeneration at Weymouth & Portland Borough Council, said: “This crucial funding will ensure the masterplan is robust and that all sites are properly investigated to confirm any development that is put forward is viable.
“The public has been extremely receptive so far and it’s great to see that so many fantastic ideas for how the town centre should be developed have been put forward.
“There will now be another workshop in late November to look at those ideas in more detail and the draft masterplan is expected to go out for formal public consultation by January 2015.”