UP to £100,000 could be invested in developing Dorchester as a historic tourist attraction.

The idea has been promoted as a way of driving additional visitors to the town -with many believing the county town has failed to exploit its potential.

The work will be carried out in the run up to the re-opening of the County Museum in May 2020 after its multi-million pound makeover.

Other works already in the pipeline include better access to the Roman Town House at the rear of County Hall and improvements to The Keep military museum.

Dorchester Town Council has already pledged £50,000 to support the development of a heritage tourism strategy for the town… with the district council now being asked to match the amount.

The request comes from the Dorchester Heritage Joint Committee which believes that more could be made of the town’s historic past including its many listed buildings as well as the connections with the Tolpuddle Martyrs, Thomas Hardy and William Barnes.

Said a statement from the Heritage Committee: “For some time it has been recognised that a coherent tourism strategy, initially based around heritage, to encourage visitors to the town and make it easy for them to enjoy their time here at the same time as using our local economy, would be a major step forward.”

“The Committee has been working for some time with the Heritage and commercial sectors to develop a strategy to maximise the tourism benefits of Heritage, but progress has been slow because of a lack of a co-ordinating project management resource and lack of clarity regarding the range of specialists that might be able to assist with discrete tasks within an overall strategy.” West Dorset district councillors are being asked to approve a £50,000 grant to the project at a strategy committee meeting on February 7.