Hope maintained over Portland Western relief road

Aerial shot of Portland
Image caption Supporters of the relief road say it is essential for Portland's economy

A proposed housing development in Weymouth has been rejected, renewing hopes among some residents that plans for a relief road may progress.

Planners had recommended the development at Ferrybridge be given the go-ahead on land previously earmarked for Portland's Western Relief Route.

But councillors rejected the scheme because it was deemed too large.

Residents said approval would have scuppered plans for a relief road to relieve congestion in the town centre.

More than 50 businesses and residents, led by Portland Port, called for Weymouth and Portland Borough Council not approve plans to demolish the old Ferrybridge public house and build a restaurant and 30 homes.

Compensation fear

They maintain the Western Relief Road, part of the council's local plan of 2005, is essential to the local economy and would relieve congestion in Weymouth town centre and Wyke Regis.

But a council report found there was "no funding available in the foreseeable future" to construct the road.

In addition, it said plans for a road were unlikely to get planning permission because of environmental concerns due to the proximity to the Jurassic Coast World Heritage Site and the Fleet Special Protection Area.

Before the borough council's decision on the development, Mr McQuade, commercial manager at Portland Port, said: "If the Ferrybridge proposal goes through on Wednesday, that means the Western Relief Road will never happen.

"We are certain this would spell disaster for Portland's local economy and the buoyancy of the whole regional economy as a whole."

Angie Mustill, at the Heights Hotel, said: "This would be a vital link that would assist with tourism to Portland. Our customers regularly complain about the congestion and delays in getting directly to the island."

Weymouth Civic Society also objected to the shift away from the Western Relief Road plan which it said was needed because of "heavy congestion and worsening air quality."

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