WORK HAS STARTED!

September Update on the Weymouth Quay Project. (posted slightly late sorry)

So apologies for the quiet over the summer, but it was THE SUMMER. Which in Weymouth means all hands on deck, and we will have time to think when the Autumn comes. It is time there was an update of what’s happening with Weymouth Coastal Community Team.

First news on the BIG PROJECT!

Weymouth Quay Regeneration Project to be precise! Work has started. Delighted after waiting for so long.

Three strands of the Weymouth Quay Regeneration Project

Part one of the Quay Project is repairing the walls to the Harbour (the ones alongside Custom House Quay ..Wall D) and bring that area of the Harbour that has been cordoned off for safety reasons, back into use. There has been a lot of speculation online that this will somehow prevent any future use, if (and it is a Big IF) a Ferry company wants to run from Weymouth. So lets be clear NO IT WILL NOT. The Ferry Link span will still be there and the moorings will be more accessible (or parking for the boats if you like), the Harbour walls will be strong.

Once the Harbour wall is repaired and strong, work on making the waterside accessible to everyone will start with a walkway. The WQRP funding is enough to run a walkway from Custom House Quay up to the end of the Peninsula, so that’s where it starts. Beyond that, it gets wet.

The Coastal Community Team/WQRP Board is meeting regularly and gets to hear the progress reports from two teams:

The Build Team: this team is headed up by Dorset Council civil engineers. Their job is to get the Harbour work done and also get the work started on the one building included in the funds. The Quay building. I am sure there will be discussions over what it is called later, but right now, it is about getting the building on track. We are hope to have the architect confirmed by the end of October, and the Project Board are really keen that any building should be as ‘green’ as possible and should provide local jobs during the build phase, as well as when the building is ready for use.

The ‘Service Offer’ Team: OK, all that means is what happens in the building. Part of it is for Harbour purposes but the rest is the ‘Centre of Excellence for Small Medium Enterprise’ that was written in the bid. This is where collaboration comes in. The Service Offer Team includes, local councillors, the Weymouth and Portland Chamber of Commerce, the Weymouth College, the Weymouth Area Development Trust (lead) and others. The first meeting of this team is on 8th October 2019. Its job is to put together what will happen in the building, the work space, the training, the apprenticeship offer, access for the public, the support services for freelancers and small businesses and the employment space. What we want for Weymouth is for there to be a ‘waiting list’ even before the doors open in Spring 2020.

NB. The line from the Build Team directly to the Peninsula Programme Team, got lost uploading the graphic. Doesn’t like diagonal lines. More training for me needed.

Finance!

Oh yes, I am going there. So the overall grant fund from central Government Coastal Communities Fund is £3.79 million, but there is also match funding of about £3 million plus funding from Dorset Council going into the Harbour repairs etc. So this is a BIG PROJECT. The purse strings i.e. financial accountability, sit with Dorset Council and they do have a Peninsula Programme Board that the other groups feed into.

The responsibility for making sure the aims of the project are met, that means the jobs and businesses coming into Weymouth Town Centre/ Melcombe Regis sits with the Weymouth Quay Regeneration Board in Weymouth.

Target Timelines.

Proposed timeline of the Weymouth Quay Regeneration Project.

How can you get involved/ find out more?

First of all, if you are a Harbour User, you can ask your rep on the Harbour Users Consultative Group https://www.weymouth-harbour.co.uk/HarbourConsultativeGroup/ , you can also ask the Harbour Master directly (just don’t ask him about Parking Boats…I am sure I saw him wince when I said it)

You can keep an eye on this Blog site. You can join the Weymouth and Portland Chamber of Commerce https://www.wpchamber.co.uk/and ask the President . If you are in the Weymouth BID area you can contact the BID office http://www.weymouthbid.co.uk/. If that still doesn’t include you then your local Councillors have access to updates.

You can also contact Weymouth Area Development Trust via their Starfish Enterprise Cowork Hub Project on 01305 457887 for anything about the ‘Centre of Excellence for SMEs.’

July 2019 Making a start!

Weymouth Quay

It has been an interesting few weeks. There have been a couple of meet ups to get things started and some decisions have been made. Apologies for the June blog slipping into July.

So first of all, in the world of publicly funded projects, who gets to decide what and how? For the Weymouth Quay Regeneration Project, it sort of follows the money.

  1. The Coastal Communities Fund money for Weymouth is paid by the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government to the Dorset Council and is ‘ring fenced’ for this project only and  accountability for ensuring that sits with the Dorset Council.

In the Dorset Council, the Councillor for Economic Growth and Skills is Cllr Gary Suttle.

  • Locally, there is a Weymouth Coastal Community Team, Weymouth Quay Regeneration Board. (Looking for a snappier title guys…)

Its purpose is to keep the project rooted in Weymouth. It makes sure the stakeholders are part of the process, and has to ensure it delivers on safeguarding jobs for the harbour businesses and creates more jobs and businesses for Weymouth. They will hear reports from the Build Delivery Team ( Harbour Wall repairs and facilities for Harbour, strengthen the Quayside and build the Harbour Centre building) and from the ‘Service offer Team ( Centre of Excellence for Small Medium Enterprise, coworking facilities and employment space, education and training, apprenticeships etc).

AND YES THERE IS NOW A VERY LONG LIST OF THINGS TO BE DONE AND WHEN…in a very detailed chart that it HUGE.

Who is on that Quay Board (geddit!):

Weymouth Bid (CEO Claudia Moore)

Weymouth and Portland Chamber of Commerce (Craig Oakes President)

Weymouth Area Development Trust. (Chris Wilson CEO)

Weymouth Town Council (Clerk Jane Biscombe or Deputy Clerk Matt Ryan)

Weymouth Town Councillor for Melcombe Regis ( Cllr Jon Orrell)

Dorset Council Councillor for Melcombe Regis (Cllr Jon Orrell)

Dorset Council Economic Development Team

Weymouth Area Development Trust (Chair Sue Prescott)

Dorset Council Economic Growth and Skills Brief Holder (Cllr Gary Suttle)

Weymouth Harbour (Harbour Master Keith Howorth)

So, if you are a member of any of these organisations, you now know who to speak with if you want to be involved or just chat about it. You can also contact the team through Weymouth Area Development Trust. Email chriswilson@wadt.org.uk

Weymouth Quay: What happens now?

The official grant letter has been received. So what happens now?

Here are the first five things that will happen now. (Or why it will be at least a year before we see any building coming out of the ground on the Quayside)

1.Decide who exactly is going to do what? The ‘council officers’ who had worked with us to put the whole thing together had to be confirmed in their new jobs in the new Unitary Dorset Council and have their new bosses agree they could carry on with the project. At the end of April, just last week, the Project Delivery Team had just been agreed.

2. Planning Permission. Yep, even the Council has to apply for Detailed Planning Permission, and there are all sorts of checks and balances that have to happen to make sure they don’t abuse the fact they are applying to themselves, not to mention finalising some detailed plans. Then there is the Planning Committee of Councillors, who have only just been voted in (again last week). This is going to take a while.

3. Groundworks and Repairs. As many people in Weymouth, especially on social media, have pointed out, underneath the tarmac of the Peninsula and the Harbour Wall, there is an awful lot to be done before pontoons, landing equipment, or any new building can be started. The work to make the Harbour walls strong and true, the demolition of the old ferry buildings and stabilising of the Quay side has to happen before anything new can be built.

4. Stakeholders. What a great word that is. There are so many people with a ‘stake’ in this project. There are the members of the Coastal Community Team that made the application. The Harbour Management Committee, as the project is being delivered on Harbour land, which in turn is part of the Dorset Council. Then there are the Harbour users, the local businesses, residents etc etc. So how are all these stakeholders going to be heard, without it disintegrating into chaos.

The plan so far is, there will be an overall Weymouth Quay Regeneration Project Delivery Board with the partners on it that are ‘accountable’for the whole project delivery, the spend etc. There will be a Project Delivery Team, who are the people that do all the technical stuff, plans, regulations, applications, costings, exploring options, project planning and delivery. Both of those groups will be meeting constantly throughout the project.

Other stakeholders will be represented on the Coastal Community Team Project Board, organisations that represent business and community in Weymouth (see the About page on this site) and want to actively support ‘regeneration’ in Weymouth. They can keep the project rooted in the Town, act as a consultative group and also have an ‘overview’ of the whole project including the development of the Centre of Excellence for Small, Medium Enterprise. The Harbour Management Committee will also be involved with the Harbour users etc.

5. The Great Project Plan. So here is the first priority… anybody who doesn’t love a Gantt chart can look away now. (If you don’t know what a Gantt Chart is is, feel free to Google it, or just carry on having a life)

This is the first big job of the Project Delivery Team. Do you watch programmes on TV where people build their own homes, and they keep changing their minds about which builder to use, what wall to have where and what they want? Usually it is a couple…just two people..and we watch as their costs and deadlines go out of control. Imagine what it would be like for a project on this scale, with so many stakeholders, if there was not a clear plan.

This project has to take into account everything from climate change and rising sea levels to what colour paint to have the front doors. So the Weymouth Quay Regeneration Great Project Plan is first on the to do list. The grant makers say the project has to be delivered within two years, thats by Spring 2021.

So please excuse us, go to get on!

We got it!

This post also appears on the WADT website.

Coastal Communities Fund Round 5, a central Government funding pot, had applications from 250 Coastal Town projects. 26 projects were successful and Weymouth Quay Regeneration Project was one of them.

£3.79 million from Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government. Added to the money the outgoing WPBC put into the project, this means about £6 million pounds.

What is it for, I hear you cry? So here is the theory….of the Weymouth Quay Regeneration Project.

  1. If we provide support, employment space, training and mentoring for microenterprises, start-ups, and small medium businesses, they will thrive. That will create new businesses and more jobs.
  2. If the Harbour walls are repaired and more pontoons and additional facilities are put in. The very busy and crowded water-based businesses (fishing, diving etc etc) have more space to use and grow. Creating more jobs.
  3. If the walkway alongside the Harbour is properly pedestrianised and landscaped, giving access to the harbourside and those fabulous views, (and getting rid of all the grey tin boxes and barbed wire topped fences). It will attract more visitors to explore between the Beach and the Harbour visiting the businesses, helping them grow. This creates more jobs.

Just to be clear, I am using the ‘royal we’ here. The funding will be paid to the lead partner, which will now be changing from WPBC to the new Dorset Council. They will do all that building work (They own the land after all). It has already been agreed and is ‘ring fenced’ so it cannot be siphoned off for other things elsewhere.

The other partner i.e. WADT, has already started to develop the Centre of Excellence for SMEs with the other members of the Team, and this will continue throughout the 23 months of building work until it is ‘move in ready’. Currently the Starfish Enterprise CoWork Hub project, is the ‘pilot’ for the Centre of Excellence project. This has been relocated to 2, Dorchester Road Weymouth, to allow for all the demolition to take place. So, if you are interested in being part of developing that work, or perhaps you are a business looking for coworking membership, then do get in touch. Details on the project’s website www.starfishenterprise.org.uk.

Well done Weymouth!

Well done Weymouth!

On Friday 22nd March 2019 we got a phone call from our lead partner, Weymouth and Portland Borough Council to say Weymouth’s bid to the UK Governments Coastal Communities Fund has been successful. We are delighted.

250 towns applied for this round of funding! Only 26 coastal towns were successful. Weymouth Quay Regeneration Project was one of them.

It is great to be part of a project where people of the town were so willing to get together and push for this.

So far all we have had is a phone call, so today we hope to find out more and be able to post more information.

It has been three years of work behind the scenes to get to this point. We have done a lot of shouting about what we want to do, and now we have to deliver.

A lot of work is about to begin.