DORCHESTER residents are being urged to have their say on the future of the county town's prison site.

A public consultation event is being held at the jail tomorrow and the developers say it is just the first of a series of events to engage the local community with plans for the future of the site.

The consultation event runs from 3pm to 8pm.

Representatives from City and Country, the specialist heritage developer that completed the purchase of the Victorian jail earlier this year, will be on hand to answer questions and listen to people's views on the future of the site.

Managing director Helen Moor said: "We are delighted to be holding the first of a series of public consultations regarding the future of HMP Dorchester, ensuring all considerations are taken into account on how best to regenerate this historic site.

"City and Country has an excellent track record of restoring and breathing new life into some incredibly challenging buildings, and we are confident that we can deliver a new scheme in Dorchester that not only enhances the original building, but also helps to enrich its surroundings.”

Chairman of the Dorchester Civic Society Alan Rowley urged people to make the most of the opportunity to give their feedback on what they would like to see happen with the prison.

The Civic Society worked with Dorchester Town Council to draw up its own position statement, setting out its vision for what it sees as a key town centre site.

Mr Rowley said: "We see this as a promising first step and obviously we want to encourage as many people as possible to go.

"Hopefully there is going to be a good turn out."

Mr Rowley added that the event was also chance for people in the town to find out more about City and Country, which had the responsibility of developing the prison.

He said: "It seems to me that this is likely to be very much an early presentation of City and Country possibly as much as it is of anything on the site itself.

"In an ideal world they will have something which explains where their thinking is going."

Mr Rowley added: "The fact it is within the prison itself is a plus because this is a site most people have not had the opportunity to go inside and see."

The company purchased Dorchester prison, which closed its doors for the final time in December 13, from the Ministry of Justice along with three other jails - Shepton Mallet, Kingston and Gloucester.

For more information regarding the exhibition tomorrow contact the community information line on 0808 168 5754.