Calls to reinvigorate Dorchester have been made to the town council, with a list of ideas about how to prevent the county town’s decline.

A document has been sent to Dorchester Town Council from the Dorchester Conservative Association (DCA), outlining what its members believe could be done in the short, medium and long term to reinvigorate the town.

The main point of the document is to outline a clear plan and strategy to evolve Dorchester. It states: “If there is no plan, decisions will continue to be made without any strategic context. If the town is not to die, we have to “retarget” Dorchester’s future taking account of these changes.”

DCA chairman Gerald Duke said: “Dorchester Town Council asked us for our ideas and this is what our members came up with. It’s not a policy document, it is a discussion document. It’s important because prior to Covid-19 we were seeing a decline in retail in the town centre and that decline can only be accelerated by Covid.

“It’s important that Dorchester remains as alive and thriving as possible. We have to look for opportunities to enable that to happen and indeed to look to what effect technological advances in the future will have on the town.”

Among the short term ideas listed are to revise car parking charges to encourage visitors to spend more time in the town, introduce a ‘town loyalty card’ to give incentives to local shoppers, and to bring back a Tourist Information Centre to the town. There’s also improving disabled access, providing secure cycle storage facilities and improving signage to heritage sites. In the medium term, it states: “There must be an overarching plan on environmental improvement. This needs to include measures on air quality, traffic management, reduced speed limits, creation of green space and improvement to the appearance of many buildings.”

The document also calls for integration of a market in the Charles Street area and to reorganise bus routes, “so that the dreadful facilities in Trinity Street can be removed.”

Cllr David Taylor said he supported the document: “Lockdown has been horrendous for the town because of the fact we are going through a dire economic mess at the moment. We are looking to safeguard the town. We have to make sure businesses stay and believe they have the support of the county town. I’m wishing the people take heed of what is going on and understand we are supporting this document to make sure we go forward with positive ideas to save this county town.”