Dorchester’s town centre project moves forward

The Charles Street working group met on Tuesday 17 October. In light of the expanded remit of the group, they have all agreed to change the working group name to Dorchester Town Centre Project Working Group.

Residents have told us of their priorities for the masterplan. Archaeology, the future of the market, parking, environmentally sustainable development and ensuring a strong retail offer are considered the most important features of the master plan, according to local residents.

This was concluded from an informal ballot on the day of the event and a questionnaire sent out via e-newsletters and social media.

‘Trenching’ in Fairfield car park

A decision has been made to undertake further archaeological exploration work in Fairfield long stay car park around mid-late November. This will complement the previous trenching work that was done on the site. This additional work is intended to further investigate any evidence of Roman burials to confirm the absence of any historical interest.

Details are still being finalised, but we expect there will be four trenches dug around the car park. The excavation work should take 2-3 days per trench and we expect the works to take around a fortnight. We will do our absolute best to not disrupt the market and parking spaces, but this is an important part of the suitability process. Further details on the works will be made available once finalised.

Cllr Tony Alford, Leader of West Dorset District Council, said: “We are pleased with the progress on the developments. A ‘retail needs’ assessment has been carried out and we are due the full results shortly. The report’s summary supported the need for a development that would elevate and enhance the County town’s position as a key retail and cultural hub for Dorset.”

FAQ document

Cllr John Russell, chair of the Dorchester Town Centre Project working group, said the group appreciated the attendance of local residents at the recent engagement event.

“There were lots of good questions, and so we are currently drafting a cohesive FAQ document that will be available online soon. We have agreed that moving forwards we will host regular engagement events, as well as monthly e-newsletters, to reinforce our commitment to transparent and regular communication.” 

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