A FORMER nightclub building in Dorchester could be demolished to make way for a business and nine homes.

Sections of it had previously been used as a dance studio and for exercise classes, the club having had various names over the years, including the Steering Wheel Club, Liberty’s, the Buzz Inn and the Tavern Club.

The building owners, who are based in Bristol, want to demolish all of the existing buildings to the rear of the site, much of which they say is in poor condition with ‘blown’ brickwork and large cracks in the roof. The entrance to the site would also be moved westward and extended from 3 metres to 5 metres.

The proposals suggest that the barbers shop which fronts onto High West Street would remain in place.

Part of the building is being used by the Spice Centre restaurant which will remain open at least until the application is decided, or work starts, if the application is successful. This is only a proposal at the current stage and there is no guarantee that the restaurant will have to close at all.

If approved the scheme would increase the number of parking spaces from three to six. Outline plans show two one-bed flats; three two-bed homes and three four-bed homes, one with a roof terrace garden.

Dorset Council planning officers are being told that the state of the building, which has asbestos, is beyond economic repair. It is believed it was built in the 1920s as a community hall and used by the Women’s Institute.

The council’s economic development service say the site is likely to be unattractive for other commercial uses: “The proposal entails the loss of a substantial amount of commercial floorspace which is to be regretted. Dorchester is however well served by restaurants in a variety of locations, with plenty of opportunity for businesses in that sector. For other uses, the inefficient layout and poor condition of the buildings would probably make them unattractive to office or retail use – particularly given the adequate supply of more appropriate and better quality premises elsewhere in Dorchester.”

A decision on the application is expected to be made by a planning officer, rather than councillors.

Comments on the scheme are open until December 10.