I was surprised to read your article headed "Key scheme a year late as Weymouth prepares for 2012" (7 April, page 22), which I feel contained several inaccuracies, in particular the suggestion that the scheme is running late.
We have never proposed a completion date before 2011. Although there have been suggestions that we could finish in 2010, I have always resisted that idea. The programme to complete by 2011 on a site like this without any planning brief or designation for residential use was always going to be a challenging one, but it is one that I believe is very achievable. The potential labour supply constraints, complexities of delivery and desired end release dates all lead me to believe that delivery any earlier would be difficult. That is not to say that specific phases will not be available before then.
On the issue of the Pavilion theatre, we have presented the idea of remodelling the existing theatre to the council as one of a number of options, which also included building a brand new structure. We always stated that we would try to facilitate the requirements of the council. The remodelled theatre will achieve the council's desire for a 1000-seat facility and more importantly allow additional civic buildings to be developed on the site, therefore improving the overall offer.
We remain totally committed and are confident that the scheme will go ahead and fully expect to sign an agreement with Weymouth and Portland council in the coming weeks.
Martin Jepson, UK managing director, Howard Holdings