THE DEVELOPER behind West Dorset District Council’s former Stratton House offices says more than 40 homes could be brought forward on the site.

Culverdene Properties, which purchased the site from the council for around £1.5million last year, has submitted a planning application for nine cottages and a studio flat to the north west of the main office campus along Glyde Path Road and Colliton Street.

The firm is also due to find out imminently whether it has achieved consent to confirm Gldye Path House into 11 flats, although director David Kelleway said Culverdene are also looking at an option for five houses instead.

He added that plans for the main Stratton House building are expected to be lodged with the council in around four to six weeks and are likely to involve commercial space on the ground floor and 17 to 18 residential units above.

The old school building to the east of the site will be marketed as commercial space to rent or buy and Mr Kelleway said four to five further houses could be built to the rear of the premises backing onto Colliton Street, while there was scope for a further two homes on the site.

Mr Kelleway said it was obvious from the start that housing would be the most suitable use for the majority of the site but it had taken around six months to work up the plans.

He said: “On face value it seems to be very complicated, but when you go into it there is really only one way to skin that cat.”

Mr Kelleway added: “I think it’s definitely what should happen with this building.”

When Dorchester town crier and district councillor Alistair Chisholm learned of the latest plans that had been submitted he emphasised the need for affordable housing.

Mr Kelleway said that the Glyde Path House block could be an ideal option for affordable housing but it was up to the council as to whether it would require the developers to provide social housing on site or off site.

He said it was good news for Dorchester that so much housing was being provided in the town centre and said he was confident that there would be no shortage of take up for the units.

Mr Kelleway said: “Dorchester is quite a hot market at the moment, we are very confident we can get rid of them very quickly.”

He also praised the district council for its ‘pro-active’ approach in discussions with Culverdene regarding the plans for the building.