Poundbury residents have welcomed plans to use the Jubilee hall as a community building – but say they don’t want to run it as volunteers.

A public consultation on the future use of the building, which is next to Waitrose, also showed there was no demand for a 300-seat public hall. Most people felt that the Dorchester area already had enough larger halls.

Residents had been asked to comment on an architect’s plan, included a community space to hire; a visitors centre to promote the heritage of Dorchester and its surrounding area; a commercial space to be occupied and potential meeting room area.

Around 120 residents took part in the consultation with the results that there was no requirement for a 300 seat community hall – given other venues in Dorchester, including the potential for a new arts centre in Brewery Square.

Most felt that Poundbury would be better served by a smaller more flexible hall and community space and there was also a need for the community space to be multi-functional.

The majority who commented on the running of the hall felt that a commercial enterprise should take ownership to help maintain the venue’s viability – but several said there was no need for another café. The feedback suggested that it could be challenging relying on volunteers to keep the centre going.

A planning application will now be prepared for the building consisting of a visitor centre and retail space at the front of the building, adjacent to Waitrose. To the rear and above the hall will be toilets and a kitchen area as well as a small meeting room. The main part of the building will be designated as “community space.”

* Other ideas for the hall, looked at during the consultation, which started in May, included a general community hall with theatre-style seating that will be able to provide a capacity of between 176 to 188, depending on seating arrangement; a food hall or pannier market or shops and cafés.

Chairman of the Poundbury Residents Association, William Gibbons, said at the start of the consultation that there was a very positive feeling about the future of the building, which has already been used for a number of community events.

He said: “This is a fantastic site in a great location and needs to be used….The Duchy are working very hard and we are glad to be working with them.”

Further comments on the proposals can be emailed to – info@poundburyjubileehall.co.uk