A COMMUNITY hall to accommodate more than 300 people is being proposed for a landmark building at the heart of the next phase of Poundbury.

Detailed plans have been submitted for Crown Hall, at Crown Square in the development's North East Quadrant.

The plans also include a commercial unit, 20 apartments and associated parking.

The plans for Crown Square were included in the original outline permission for the North East Quadrant, the latest phase of Prince Charles' model development that will include 505 homes and more than 6,000 metres of commercial space, but the latest application is for full planning permission.

They were considered at a meeting of Dorchester Town Council's planning and environment committee, which gave its support for the plans,

The committee was told that the ground floor of the Crown Hall would include a community space that could fit more than 300 seats and that it would be around the same size as the town's Corn Exchange.

A design and access statement submitted with the planning application describes Crown Square as 'a key nodal point and neighbourhood centre'.

It states that Crown Hall will be a civic building that 'has the scale of a town hall'.

A covering letter submitted with the plans describes the buildings proposed as 'two major landmark buildings' and states that the plans have been revised slightly since they first emerged following a 'review of potential use and commercial viability'.

The amount of toilet provision and supporting office space has been increased.

It is proposed that 16 apartments will be included in the upper floors of the Crown Hall.

The letter adds that the commercial space in the adjoining building, known as the Market Hall, could be used as offices, for retail purposes or as a restaurant or café.

It states: "This could be linked to the community hall function."

The plans propose four further apartments above the commercial space in the Market Hall.