The South West of England Regional Development Agency (RDA) has appointed Sutton Harbour Group as its development partner on a £30m tourism and leisure destination.

Dorset Site

The eight-acre site next to Portland Castle, near Weymouth in Dorset, is to be developed into a hotel, restaurant, shops, residential units and public spaces.

The schemed is intended to create a centre for leisure activities, largely watersports, around the year.

Part of the scheme is expected to include a permanent base for the Royal Yachting Association’s senior, youth, junior and Paralympic sailing squads in the build up to the 2012 Olympic Games.

Waterside community

Bruce Voss, head of operations at the RDA, said the agreement was another piece in the jigsaw of turning the wider area, Osprey Quay, into a ‘vibrant new waterside community.’

The derelict site, the a former Royal Naval Air Station, will retain the original red brick Officer’s Mess which will probably be converted into apartments.

Second Marina development

The joint venture is announced weeks after work began on the nearby £21m Portland Marina, which is being developed by UK marina operators Dean & Reddyhoff.

Local stakeholders will now be consulted on the plans before a formal planning application is submitted to Weymouth and Portland Borough Council.