TOWN councillors have hit out at the ‘piecemeal’ approach to developing the former council office site at Stratton House.

The old home of West Dorset District Council was sold off last year and Bournemouth based Culverdene Properties have submitted a series of applications to develop residential and commercial units on various parts of the site as it takes a phased approach to the development.

The latest meeting of the Dorchester Town Council planning and environment committee saw members consider proposals for 16 residential flats in the main building with commercial space on the ground floor and five dwellings along Colliton Street and Glyde Path Road.

Cllr Molly Rennie was among those to raise concerns about the way the plans for the site were coming forward in a series of separate applications without an overall masterplan to set out an overall vision and inform issues such as the provision of affordable housing.

She said: “This is all so piecemeal.

“We need to see what the site looks like as a whole.”

In relation to the application for five homes in the corner of the site along Colliton Street and Glyde Path Road, Cllr Andy Canning said he felt the area was being overdeveloped.

He said: “They are trying to put one too many houses in that space.”

The committee agreed to voice an objection to the applications, citing the fact that it was difficult for them to comment on the proposals without details of the overall plans for the site.

Cllr Rennie also asked that the committee ask for a planning officer from West Dorset District Council to come in and talk to members about the various plans being put forward.

The committee also considered plans for the Old Shire Hall part of the building, with the district council leading a project to transform the old Crown Court and cells into a major visitor attraction.

The proposals include various facilities to offer to educational groups including class rooms and a lecture theatre.

There will also be two residential apartments on the upper floors of the building.

Cllr Canning said: “As most of the changes are internal I think we should be happy and agree it.”