Hi readers, it’s Emily and William here again.

This week’s article is about towns, especially Dorchester and Weymouth, which where we live and know well.

What we notice is Dorchester and Weymouth are full of charity shops, cafés and empty buildings these days. We see many shops not being used, but in other parts of town new ones being built.

Take Brewery Square, a new development in Dorchester. It’s full of nice new flats with new facilities like a cinema, posh shops, cafés, restaurants, hairdresser, beauticians, fountains and more. It’s right by Dorchester train station, so easy to get to London.

We wonder why new shops are being built here, when there are still many empty spaces in town? We would like to know why town planners decided we needed more shops here, and if these new shops would take business away from the main town, making it even emptier?

We know rents can be high everywhere, which puts a pressure on shop owners. We also know more people shop online because it’s often cheaper, easier and quicker. We think this is also why shops are closing, because people aren’t buying in towns like before.

Many people cannot use the internet, or afford a computer, perhaps because of disability or age. This means shops are very important for some people. I, William, do not know how to shop online, so I need shops. I think it may be confusing online and worry I’d end up buying the wrong thing. I, Emily, shop online as it’s easier and sometimes you get a better range. I prefer to shop in town though, to keep shops going and to try on things before I buy without having to post them back.

We think that a selection of shops in town is very important.

The writers of the Our View column are supported in their editing by The Friendship Club– a project for adults with learning disabilities, run by People First Dorset