I write in response to the report in the Echo of December 11 ‘High Street Homes’.

The piece mentioned comments made by Cllr Les Fry on difficulties finding out who own the various properties and then wrongly attributes ownership of the 50 South Street building to HSBC when its actual owners are NatWest Bank plc.

Peter Noble’s attendance at the planning meeting was a useful reminder and highlighted a small part of a discussion brief presented to Dorchester Town Council back in June by Dorchester Conservatives.

Cllr Molly Rennie warned of past difficulties in persuading property owners to make use of upper floors for residential purposes.

However, times have changed.

Councillors need to understand that commercial properties have no commercial value if there is no commercial business to transact.

With the demise of retail use accelerated by the pandemic, many owners of these properties are already accepting this truth and looking for alternative uses such as residential for their buildings.

I am aware of one building where social housing with a work hub will hopefully become a reality.

The town centre will change, rents will fall and open opportunities for local business where retail options remain.