‘Fantastic opportunity’ as former Dorchester prison goes on the market

Dorset Echo: OPPORTUNITY: The Dorchester Prison site OPPORTUNITY: The Dorchester Prison site

DORCHESTER Civic Society has stressed the fantastic opportunity presented by the Dorchester prison site after it was confirmed that the county town jail had gone up for sale.

Chairman of the society Alan Rowley gave a presentation to Dorchester Town Council earlier in the month outlining his group’s vision for the site.

He said the society and town council had both written to West Dorset District Council with a view to meeting to discuss a masterplan to guide development on the site.

Mr Rowley said that the site being on the market highlighted the need for this to be done sooner rather than later.

He said: “Now is the time for some action.

“We want to see the site well used and there needs to be a clear development framework for the prison so whoever buys it knows where they stand.”

Mr Rowley said he did not want to see a similar situation to the former district council office campus of Stratton House, which was currently being developed through a series of separate planning applications without an overall masterplan for the whole site.

Mr Rowley has said his society wants to see a high-quality residential development on the site with a mixture of other uses and was keen to see affordable housing provided on site.

He said the society was keen to see a scheme that would restore vibrancy to the area but also retain some of the major prison features, including the 18th-century gatehouse that would have to be retained due to its listed status.

Other ideas put forward by the society included a park to take advantage of the views from the site. Chairman of Dorchester and District Labour Party Barry Thompson also stressed the importance of providing affordable housing on the site.

He said: “We have had no affordable housing at Charles Street, none as yet on the Stratton House site and it would be ideal to have some for local Dorchester people on the prison site.”

A Ministry of Justice spokesperson said: “The former HMP Dorchester site is currently for sale and we are liaising with a number of organisations about the future use of the site, including the local authority and English Heritage.

“We will consider appropriate offers and will always seek to obtain best value for taxpayers.”

Comments (8)

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2:48pm Thu 26 Jun 14

shy talk says...

Dorchester Civic Society has some very good ideas for the redevelopment of the site. And a clear vision of what they want. May I suggest they put in appropriate offer to buy the site then?
Dorchester Civic Society has some very good ideas for the redevelopment of the site. And a clear vision of what they want. May I suggest they put in appropriate offer to buy the site then? shy talk
  • Score: 2

2:50pm Thu 26 Jun 14

Rocksalt says...

I would prefer to see social housing rather than 'affordable' housing. In my experience it is often only affordable once, the lucky first owner cashing in when they come to sell and the property then becoming as expensive as any other.
I would prefer to see social housing rather than 'affordable' housing. In my experience it is often only affordable once, the lucky first owner cashing in when they come to sell and the property then becoming as expensive as any other. Rocksalt
  • Score: 6

6:20pm Thu 26 Jun 14

luffy22 says...

I'm sure the ukip fella who's always posting on here has some good ideas for the site which involves none english people and key throwing
I'm sure the ukip fella who's always posting on here has some good ideas for the site which involves none english people and key throwing luffy22
  • Score: 1

6:55pm Thu 26 Jun 14

wurzelbasher says...

HOW ABOUT.......

opening it up as a prison!!
HOW ABOUT....... opening it up as a prison!! wurzelbasher
  • Score: 10

7:30pm Thu 26 Jun 14

CoogarUK.com says...

Would've made a lovely HQ for WDDC. If only they had waited, we'd all have saved a packet.
Would've made a lovely HQ for WDDC. If only they had waited, we'd all have saved a packet. CoogarUK.com
  • Score: 8

7:54pm Thu 26 Jun 14

Hunter4 says...

This article is completely incorrect. Dorchester prison has just been taken off the market and is not for sale on the MOJ website as it was previously.
I would not be surprised with all the chronic overcrowding that it will reopen as a prison soon especially with the £27 million they have just spent on it in the last year! All ready for privatisation!!!
This article is completely incorrect. Dorchester prison has just been taken off the market and is not for sale on the MOJ website as it was previously. I would not be surprised with all the chronic overcrowding that it will reopen as a prison soon especially with the £27 million they have just spent on it in the last year! All ready for privatisation!!! Hunter4
  • Score: 8

7:59pm Thu 26 Jun 14

Hunter4 says...

This article is incorrect. HMP Dorchester along with HMP Blundeston has just been taken off the 'for sale' sites on the MOJ website .
Don't be surprised if it reopens under a different guise though such as Serco or G4S as £27 Million of tax payers money has just been spent on it in the last year.
With all the chronic overcrowding in our prisons at the moment the site is allready for reopening and call me synical but its obvious this has been set up for privatisation through the back door.
This article is incorrect. HMP Dorchester along with HMP Blundeston has just been taken off the 'for sale' sites on the MOJ website . Don't be surprised if it reopens under a different guise though such as Serco or G4S as £27 Million of tax payers money has just been spent on it in the last year. With all the chronic overcrowding in our prisons at the moment the site is allready for reopening and call me synical but its obvious this has been set up for privatisation through the back door. Hunter4
  • Score: 4

8:15am Fri 27 Jun 14

H2o-hara says...

I thought there was a shortage of prisons .
I thought there was a shortage of prisons . H2o-hara
  • Score: 3
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