By Trevor Bevins @Dorsetecho

Local Democracy Reporter

Public views on the future of a 25-acre former farm site in Weymouth will be sought later in the autumn.

Tumbledown Farm at Radipole could be turned into a community farm with space for allotments, recreational use and the town council’s gardens and parks team. Other ideas are also being investigated.

Dorset Council, Public Health Dorset and other agencies are working together with the town council on the project.

A report to councillors on Wednesday says: “The aim of the project is to provide a safe and relaxing environment in which clients can explore and learn about the countryside, agriculture and horticulture whilst also developing their independence, interpersonal skills and confidence.”

At previous discussions about the future of the site Cllr Jon Orrell said that that the farm would be of great benefit to a number of local, marginalised, groups and could also be used to provide plants for the borough council.

He said it was hoped one of the first steps would be to re-locate the council's plant nurseries there.

The site is made up of open agricultural grassland, water meadows and areas of woodland outside the development boundary, but within the Radipole Conservation Area. Parts of the holding are designated as a Site of Special Scinetific Interest.

Ideas for part of the site suggested in the past include allotments, which would reduce current waiting lists and the disposal of human cremated remains in a natural setting away from the current cemetery / crematorium sites, and for the burial of pets (or their cremated remains). It has also been identified, previously, as a possible new home for the local RSPB operational base.

A previous scheme, with Groundwork Solent, which came to nothing, would have replaced existing buildings with new ones which would have provided an indoor training centre, public toilets and a cooking and eating area.

At a public consultation in November 2013 local residents talked about their aspirations for the space: The most popular ideas included; environmental education, horticulture therapy, community growing and accredited training opportunities.

Groundwork were given a 30-year lease for the site in 2014 but within a year the project had been abandoned.

Tara Williams, the town council’s parks and open spaces manager, will take up the role of lead officer for the project working with Ben Lancaster, rural practice manager, Dorset Council. John Bird, from Dorset Council’s economic development team, will prepare a business case and progress grant funding applications.

Weymouth town council’s community development officer, Julie Hursthouse, will undertake community consultation for the project with first consultation event expected to take place in late October.

This story originally appeared in the Dorset Echo