Details of plans for 83-room hotel on former Colwell Center site revealed
Details of plans for a new 83-bedroom hotel on the site of the former Colwell shopping center in Weymouth have been unveiled.
The proposals would see the site, on School Street, demolished and in its place a new hotel erected with a ground floor restaurant and retail unit.
A public consultation was held on Saturday June 11 at the entrance to the former indoor shopping complex where a representative from Darryl Howells Planning Consultancy was on hand to answer questions from the public.
During the consultation, the director of Darryl Howells Planning Consultancy, Darryl Howells, told the Echo that no planning applications had yet been submitted to the council, as they wanted to engage with the public first and get the residents’ comments on the proposal.
He said: “The proposal is to demolish it in its entirety and erect an 83-bed hotel with a restaurant and retail unit.”
The plan is to convert the two-story building into a large hotel which would include a three-story building in the front with a five-story building in the back. It was said that the five-storey part of the development would be about the same height as The Range in Weymouth which is located nearby.
Mr Howells said he believed the development could help bring investment, jobs and tourism to the town.
He added: “The majority of people I spoke to today were supportive of the idea.”
The planning consultants encouraged the public to review the proposals and offer opinions which could be presented to Dorset Council once the application is finalised.
Weymouth resident John Taylor came to the public consultation and said he remembered going to the site of Colwell Shopping Center when it opened in the 1980s.
Mr Taylor said: “It’s such a shame to see him fall into such a state.
“I am happy with the new plans as long as they are in line with the region.
“Weymouth should really start to focus on tourists now that staycations have become the new norm – it needs to make the most of these opportunities.”
On preliminary plans presented at the public consultation, Mr Taylor and his partner he was with both said they felt it suited the area and thought it looked ‘pleasing to the eye’ .
The site opened in the 1980s and was Weymouth’s very first indoor shopping centre.
In 2015 plans were approved for the site to be demolished and replaced with 23 apartments and two shops on the ground floor, but this proposal did not come to fruition. In 2017 new plans were given the green light to turn the location into ‘Weymouth’s answer to Portobello Market‘ and it reopened as ‘School Street Plaza’. This closed in 2019 and there have been further calls for the venue to be demolished.
At present, new proposals for the site are conceptual, meaning precise costs are not yet known, but planning consultants representing the owners have said: “There will be employment opportunities in time full and part-time in hotel management, catering, maintenance and upkeep. »
In February 2020, amid a planning battle over the Colwell Center demolition project, officers said the building suffered from a “poor quality red brick facade which features replicas of historic bay windows and features the use of incongruous materials on the side elevations. As such, the property is considered to have a negative impact on the character and appearance of the conservation area. Therefore, the loss of the property is considered acceptable, on the basis that the redevelopment of the site is carried out to a high standard, in keeping with the dominant historic character. »