THE DORCHESTER BID (Business Improvement District) has managed to secure 40 new parking spaces for the town after striking a deal for the temporary use of the old county town prison car park.

After months of negotiations since Dorchester Prison closed its doors last year, the BID has reached an agreement with the Ministry of Justice for a dual use scheme for the car park while new owners are sought.

The new initiative, which was announced at an open BID meeting tonight, will see business permits offered to people who work in the town that can be used between 8.30am and 6pm.

The BID will also issue local residents who live close to the prison free overnight permits that can be used between 6pm and 8.30am.

Project director for the Dorchester BID Phil Gordon said: “With around 40 spaces, this would make a real difference to a good number of businesses in the town.

“Several residents in the area have told us that they sometimes struggle to find a space to park outside their home so I really hope this will put a smile on their faces too.”

Mr Gordon said he wanted to thank West Dorset MP Oliver Letwin for his support for the scheme, as well as the Ministry of Justice, West Dorset District Council and Mitie Security.

For information about the use of the car park and applying for permits email