A STRIKING housing scheme for a Dorchester town centre site has been welcomed by town councillors – although the Civic Society claim it is too big.

The application for the site of a former WI hall and nightclub, at the top of High West Street, has been reduced from 11 to 9 apartments, of mixed sizes.

It will feature roof gardens and a ‘green wall’ to the rear where the building faces towards the Borough Gardens.

The barber’s shop which fronts onto the main street will remain and the archway moved to the west under the proposals.

Town councillors at Monday’s planning committee welcomed the changes and praised a 3D ‘walk around’ computer display from the Crickmay Stark Architects which they said had allowed them to appreciate the scale and perspective of the proposal.

But despite the recommendation for approval there were calls for ‘green’ additions to the building – solar panels, a ground heat exchange system and rainwater harvesting. Cllr Les Fry, who called for the extras, said they ought to be considered for every new development if local councils were serious about their commitment to fight climate change.

A presentation to the committee showed how the demolition of the existing building, if approved by Dorset Council, would allow for the apartment scheme to use the elongated site.

Dorchester Civic Society said it has no objection in principle to the proposal but believes the rear elevations towards Princes Street, are too tall and will overshadow surrounding buildings. It would also like some design changes to the front of the building.

Cllr Rory Major said he was positive about the designs : “It’s modern and it’s a step in the right direction,” he said.

Cllr Fiona Kent-Ledger also welcomed the proposal. She said it was ‘bulky’ in places but believed it would be an improvement on the existing red-brick building which will be demolished if the scheme is approved.

A final decision will be made by Dorset Council in the New Year with the application currently still open for comment.

Businesses on the site are continuing to trade.