WITH the proposed demise of Dorchester’s Marks & Spencer (leaving a huge hole in the centre of town) it looks as if tourism is going to have to play an even greater part in keeping the town’s economy alive.

Dorchester’s main selling point is Thomas Hardy.

People come from all over the world to see not just where the writer lived and where his stories were set but to find out more about his interests and passions especially his concern with the local environment and the contemporary threats being made upon it.

It seems inconceivable that a development of over 3,000 houses is being considered for this very Hardyesque area of Dorchester – why, this is where Hardy and his friends in the famous

British water-colourists set walked, sketched and painted – are we really intending to cover this historic and beautiful area with a development bigger than new Poundbury?

Hardy would rise from his grave.