ARTS and recreation in Dorchester is set to receive a £1.5million boost.

Around £1m will go to improving public space at the town’s Municipal Buildings and the Thomas Hardye School Theatre.

The decision comes after the £12m Maltings Arts project for a 450-seat regional theatre and arts venue at Brewery Square was abandoned in January 2020 after failing to attract enough grant funding.

The previous district council had pledged £1m to that project, money which is now likely to be switched, via Dorchester Arts, the town council and the school, to help improve both buildings.

The financial help will depend on the approval of a business plan and further contributions, already agreed in principal from the school, Dorchester Arts and the town council.

The school theatre project involves significantly upgrading the building, its seating, lighting and audio systems to provide a space suitable for professional performances and an audience of more than 420.

The hall has been the venue for the town’s most recent community plays.

At the Great Field, new recreational facilities will be provided with the help of a suggested grant of £455,800.

The project for the 30-acre Great Field, which has been built by the Duchy, will include an open air amphitheatre, a parkour area, and further formal and informal recreation space together with a wildflower area, tree planting and pathways.

The project has been delayed by the pandemic but is expected to be completed in mid-2021 with a total capital cost of around £1.3m.

Funding for both projects will come from a pot of money, administered by Dorset Council, which has been built up over the years from financial contributions to recreation and community projects made by developers in the county town, the majority of it coming from the Poundbury development.

Previous donations have included money for the Shire Hall, Dorset County Museum, the town’s football club and the relocation of the Dorchester Boxing Club.

Dorset Council’s Cabinet will discuss the proposals on December 8 with a recommendation that both donations be approved.