Plans to redevelop the Dorset County Hospital site, including a multi-storey car park, have been mostly welcomed at a public consultation event.

There were some fears about light and noise pollution from the car park for those living nearby in Damers Road and Victoria Road, just the other side of the rail track, but most of those residents also acknowledged there was a need for more parking on the site.

The 650-space car park will be built in the southern corner of the site, just off the Damers Road-Williams Avenue junction.

If the planning details are approved work could start in July 2020, taking 15 months to complete.

It will have electric vehicle charging points and a dedicated area for blue badge holders.

Other changes on the site include an expansion for the accident and emergency department and intensive care unit as well as an integrated care hub.

Dorset County Hospital NHS Foundation Trust’s plans for the hospital site were open for comment and questions during a drop-in event at the former Damers School, which it now also owns, on Wednesday afternoon and evening.

The trust also has plans for the school site and the current trust headquarters, off Bridport Road, to raise income to contribute to the cost of the clinical facilities building work.

The development of the Damers/Trust HQ land could include a mix of health, care related facilities and housing.

Linda Poulsen, of Victoria Road, said: “The hospital has clearly got to maximise its use of the site but green issues should also be part of the debate.

“It’s a very large site in the centre of town and its biodiversity is important. Green areas and soft landscaping will benefit people as well as wildlife.

“The height of the multi-storey car park is a concern as presumably it will be about the height of the railway line and will dominate nearby houses and businesses.

“I’d like to see Park & Ride tried again for day staff and priority for hospital parking spaces given to patients so the height of the multi storey could be reduced.”

Rodney Alcock, of Victoria Road, said: “The proposed hospital high rise car park is a priority but it will be a very prominent building in a conservation area that is already under pressure.”The building will need to be clad with living plants to soften its impact to create a more harmonious experience for visitors.”

Cllr Janet Hewitt, who lives nearby, welcomed the plans which she said would create a better hospital for the area: “I thought the plans were very good and hopefully over the next few years we will see a super hospital catering for the people of West Dorset. The new accident and emergency department will be first class and the intensive care unit will be totally up to date.

“They have carefully taken on board the need for more parking as this is both a big problem for staff and patients. With the new parking arrangements to be there first move.

“I really hope that consultation will be their priority. People in this town are really concerned about the transport system things can’t go on as they are.”

Another Dorchester councillor Andy Canning also gave a broad welcome to the proposals – but is concerned about developments on the site which might create more traffic: “I would welcome any plans to provide additional parking at Dorset County Hospital as there is clearly a shortage for both staff and visitors.  I am much more concerned about any other development plans that could lead to more traffic.  Our roads are already busy enough,” he said.

A spokesperson for Dorset County Hospital said: “Thank you to all the local people who took the time to come along to our engagement event to find out more about our plans to develop the DCH site. We will be collating and reviewing all the feedback we receive and all comments will be considered as part of the planning application process.

Any further feedback can be sent to a dedicated email – – and more information can be found on the website under the About Us section,

A planning application is due to be submitted later in the summer.

Research carried out by the hospital trust showed that more than 30 per cent of staff with parking permits sometimes had to park away from the hospital because of a lack of space. A total of 87 per cent of staff who do not have a parking permit use local streets and 94 per cent of drivers said it was difficult to park on the hospital site.