Dorchester's Charles Street plans reach D-Day decision

DEMANDING A VOICE: Protest at latest Charles Street developments ahead of WDDC executive committee meeting

DEMANDING A VOICE: Protest at latest Charles Street developments ahead of WDDC executive committee meeting

First published in News Dorset Echo: Photograph of the Author by , Dorchester reporter

COUNCILLORS are set to decide tomorrow whether to spend up to £2million of taxpayers’ money on the next phase of Dor-chester’s controversial Charles Street scheme.

With the build of West Dorset District Council’s new offices nearing completion, developers have gone back to the authority with an amended scheme for the phase two retail element of the scheme after claiming it was presently unviable in the current financial climate.

The new proposals include spending up to £2million of taxpayers’ money on preparatory works for the next phase of the development such as relocating the Acland Road Community Church to Trinity Street.

It also proposes amendments to the original scheme such as replacing the proposed hotel with apartments and, rather than having two floors of underground parking at the site, to have 305 spaces on one floor and a further 179 spaces on a single deck at the Fairfield Market car park. Despite calls from objectors to consult with the public before making a decision on the new proposals, members will be asked to vote on the issue at a full meeting of West Dorset District Council tomorrow afternoon.

Ahead of the meeting it has also been revealed that the relocation of the church will also see up to a dozen parking spaces lost in the Trinity Street car park.

A spokesman for the council said that the church would be relocated to the site of the current toilet block in Trinity Street and would result in the loss of between 10 and 12 parking spaces.

John Grantham, who has been campaigning for consultation on the proposals before a decision is made, said the loss of further parking spaces in Trinity Street would compound the ‘disastrous’ impact of the loss of hundreds of parking spaces at Charles Street during the building of the new council offices.

He said: “We’ve come to a complete cul-de-sac in terms of reason on this.

West Dorset District Council chief executive David Clarke said: “Councillors will decide this week whether or not works should go ahead to prepare the Charles Street site for development.

“The preparatory works would include relocating the Dorchester Comm-unity Church to a new home on Trinity Street, an area of town which has been allocated for improvement within the Local Plan.

“The toilets at Trinity Street will close, however they will be replaced by modern and centrally located facilities.”

Petition Now Has More Than 1,000

MORE than one thousand people have also signed a petition calling on the West Dorset District Council to engage in public consultation before a decision is made to spend £2million on the latest proposals.

Liberal Democrat councillors were out in Dorchester last Saturday and had local residents queuing to sign the petition.

Coun Andy Canning said: “Over 500 people signed our petition in just three hours. Local people are very angry about yet again being denied a say before a key decision affecting the town is taken. “Some people question whether it’s right to spend £2 million of public money supporting a shopping development. “Others told me how difficult it is now to find a parking space on a Saturday or Wednesday. “Many blame the loss of 220 car parking spaces where the new Council Offices have gone for the closure of so many shops in recent weeks. “Yet others are concerned about whether a town of this size can support new shops at the Brewery as well as on Charles Street. “But the one thing everyone is united about is that the District Council must speak with local residents and local businesses before taking a final decision.”

As well as the 500 signatures in person, 500 people have also signed the petition online at www.charlesstreetpetition.org.uk

Comments (2)

Please log in to enable comment sorting

5:07pm Wed 24 Oct 12

CoogarUK.com says...

Now let's see: Do we waste another £2m of public money to build a new church on a car park in Trinity Street on top of the £15m+ we have already wasted on an unnecessary office block HQ for ourselves?

Should be a no-brainer of course but this is West Dorset District Council we are talking about!

(Might as well chop a few more trees down / destroy another ancient monument while they are at it - No-one will care)
Now let's see: Do we waste another £2m of public money to build a new church on a car park in Trinity Street on top of the £15m+ we have already wasted on an unnecessary office block HQ for ourselves? Should be a no-brainer of course but this is West Dorset District Council we are talking about! (Might as well chop a few more trees down / destroy another ancient monument while they are at it - No-one will care) CoogarUK.com
  • Score: 0

5:14pm Wed 24 Oct 12

CoogarUK.com says...

p.s. Having read the above article all I can say is if you believe the latest claptrap from the council it's going to be a very small church!

So, WDDC's idea of improving the area is to destroy well-used public facilities (toilets & car parking spaces) and replace them with a church?!
p.s. Having read the above article all I can say is if you believe the latest claptrap from the council it's going to be a very small church! So, WDDC's idea of improving the area is to destroy well-used public facilities (toilets & car parking spaces) and replace them with a church?! CoogarUK.com
  • Score: 0

Comments are closed on this article.

Send us your news, pictures and videos

Most read stories

Local Info

Enter your postcode, town or place name

About cookies

We want you to enjoy your visit to our website. That's why we use cookies to enhance your experience. By staying on our website you agree to our use of cookies. Find out more about the cookies we use.

I agree