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14 November 2013, 07:23
The first phase of a major economic regeneration project at Osprey Quay, Portland, is now complete.
Liberty Square is the £650,000 public centrepiece of a proposed new mixed-use ‘Castle Court’ development at the site, which is set to include housing, retail and leisure elements plus 1000 square metres of workspace.
The square has been developed with a £500,000 loan from the Dorset Local Enterprise Partnership Growing Places Fund, and a £150,000 investment from the Homes and Communities Agency, working with Weymouth & Portland Borough Council.
As well as providing an attractive public space, Liberty Square will be now used to help promote the site to investors and encourage them to buy into the ‘Castle Court’ vision.
The formerly derelict site has been sensitively transformed to complement its surroundings, including Portland’s historic castle and the new Royal Yachting Association HQ – built for the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games.
Managed by Weymouth & Portland Borough Council, the work was carried out by Balfour Beatty and features local material, such as Portland Stone.
Work to create the square required substantial engineering work to dig out old foundations, remove rubble, concrete and other residual waste before in-filling and carrying out landscaping work.
The new square now boasts soft landscaping like lawns, flowerbeds, shrubs and trees, plus landscaping features like raised levels, attractive paving, re-surfaced roads, walkways and seating.
Weymouth & Portland Borough Council brief holder for Economic Development, Councillor Ian Munro-Price, said:
“We are confident that the completion of the public space will increase interest from developers in the area around the square and the wider Osprey Quay area. It will help to spur development forward and we will continue to work closely with the HCA and other partners to make sure the full potential is realised. “This is part of an economic regeneration agenda that started before and goes far beyond the Olympics.”
Growing Places Chair and Dorset LEP Board member, David Ramsden, said:
“Liberty Square is a fantastic example of how the Dorset LEP can co-ordinate and allocate significant resources to create jobs and long-lasting economic impact in the county. The finished development brings a high quality space for the people of Weymouth and Portland and visitors to the area to enjoy and Dorset LEP is delighted to have been able to unlock the potential of the site.”
Now the HCA, which owns the site, will work with its agents to target potential investors to develop the plot, to include retail and leisure elements, workspace and housing – including affordable housing. Future plans also include the refurbishment of the former Naval air station mess.
Bruce Voss, HCA Area Manager said:
“The completion of Liberty Square as a landmark public space should unlock further significant investment in new homes and jobs. This work has helped accelerate this investment by several years because of the loan provided by the Dorset LEP which is a vivid demonstration of what can be achieved when local resources are combined effectively. We will now seek developers to bring their investment into this important local site.”