Dorchester might not need another café – but it seems almost certain to get one.

Concerns about the high number of eating and drinking venues in the county town have been the main objection to a change of use for the former H Samuel’s jewellers at 7 Cornhill, Dorchester.

Some were worried about the threat another food and drink venue would pose to existing businesses while others were unhappy about possible food smells and noise.

But Dorset Council planners have now approved the change of use for the former jewellers together with plans for an outside terrace and courtyard to the rear of the building.

Said one objector, Adam Johnson, in a letter to the council: “I would really like you to consider if this change of use for this unit would really benefit the town. Dorchester currently has a declining high street, especially with the Dorset County Museum closed for another year. The town is seeing a low number of tourists coming to the town and especially the top end of town near the museum. I feel that additional café or restaurant will not only struggle but also heavily impact the other cafés especially the independent ones which may see their business close down.”

Describing herself as an independent café owner, Sara Vincent also wrote to object: “Please Dorset Council, not yet another cafe/restaurant! On behalf of myself and many other independent cafe owners who I have spoken to recently, we are all suffering because there are already too many eateries in Dorchester, look around you…

“What is the point of changing a current shop to another cafe, for another one to close down the road, the town cannot sustain anymore, please listen as this is detrimental not only to us struggling businesses but to the town, if a cap isn’t put on how many cafes there can be, then we will end up with a town full of cafés that no one will visit because there are no shops left.”

But in a report approving the change of use a council officer addresses the point: “It has been demonstrated that the proposal does not result in exceeding the adopted Local Plan’s allowance of no more than 25% non-retail uses being present within the primary shopping frontage area. There is currently a healthy mix of uses along Cornhill/South Street where it is considered the addition of a café/restaurant use that offers outdoor seating will contribute to the vitality and vibrancy of this main town centre high street.”

Phil Gordon, project director at Dorchester BID, said: “We need to wait and see what this business may or may not be offering. I don’t see how any of us have the right to get angry about another business opening in Dorchester. Anybody suggesting we need a particular type of business in town could open that business themselves. In these difficult times for the high street I find it exciting that businesses are queueing up to open in Dorchester.”

The new business, which has not been named, proposes to open 7:30 am – 6:30pm Mondays to Friday, 7:30 am – 7pm on Saturdays and 8am – 6pm on Sundays.