We are looking to provide a better mixed-use environment along the harbourside and create a safer space for walking, an enhanced area for outside dining and improved air quality.
The removal of the disused railway lines has presented an opportunity to reconsider how Custom House Quay can be enhanced for residents and visitors while keeping access to the working harbour.
Construction work started on Monday 4 October, to improve road drainage and install the final road surface following the removal of the disused railway tracks.
As part of the road reinstatement, we are taking the opportunity to enhance this mixed-use area by widening footways and installing 'imprinted' surfaces to create a shared-space feel. The new northern footway will set the hospitality sitting out areas next to properties and the walkway alongside the road.
Temporary measures were put in place for summer 2021, with parking bays removed to provide plenty of space for pedestrians, along with sitting-out areas to support the reopening of hospitality businesses. Loading bays were marked out for harbour vessels and other harbourside businesses.
Traffic Regulation Orders (TROs)
On Thursday 4 November, the Dorset Council Western and Southern Area Planning Committee unanimously approved the Traffic Regulation Order for the scheme to:
- create a restricted parking zone between St Mary Street and a point to the east of South Parade
- introduce four new loading bays on Custom House Quay and one in Maiden Street, plus retaining the large loading bay by fish loading platform
- install a disabled bay (2 spaces) near fish loading platform
- remove 11 parking spaces on Custom House Quay to the west of Pilgrims Way
- remove one parking space on the corner of Custom House Quay junction with the Esplanade
The TRO for a contraflow cycle lane was withdrawn from the Custom House Quay proposals as a result of the findings of the consultation.
Shaping the scheme
Earlier this year, over 1,400 people responded during a six-week public engagement, with 58.2% supportive of the whole scheme and 21.5% not supporting the entire scheme as outlined.
The responses showed majority support for installing planters, seating and bollards, providing loading bays for businesses and harbour vessels, widening the footways, providing additional outdoor seating space for hospitality businesses and providing cycle parking in the area.
The proposals for an on-road cycle lane split opinion, with 40% in support, 50.3% against and 9.7% unsure of the proposal.
Harbour safety barriers
The safety barriers erected along the harbourside do not form part of this scheme but are in response to concerns raised by the Health and Safety Executive.
The HSE asked Dorset Council to produce a suitable and sufficient risk assessment in regards to Weymouth’s harbourside. In correspondence, they stated:
"HSE’s view is that the default position, particularly in natural pedestrian routes and areas of high footfall, should be edge protection, unless there is a very good reason for that not to be a reasonably practicable solution."
This was followed up in further correspondence by the HSE Inspector, who stated:
"it is my expectation that the assessment should identify the need for further edge protection, or clear justification for not doing so."
In this instance, the edge protection agreed upon by Dorset Council Health and Safety Officers was the installation of safety barriers.
The safety barriers were erected on the road side of the wall so commercial vessels can continue to use the wall to moor up, unload etc. without having to work around the new structures.
The barriers are temporary in their appearance and the materials used – we will consult with local organisations, stakeholders and residents at a later date to establish how a more permanent structure can be installed that helps keep people safe while complimenting the historic aesthetics of the harbour.
Ultimately, this is about preventing further deaths and injuries at the harbour in the future.