The recent development of the disposal of the Dorset Council headquarters in Dorchester throws up many questions.

The offices are designed to convert easily to flats...but this will only provide approximately 40 flats?

This would be a great addition if it happens, but it’s only the tip of the iceberg. At the moment there are 6,376 on the Housing Register in Dorset, including 2,140 in West Dorset, which in turn includes 720 in Dorchester. Figures obtained 23rd March, 2021.

I am concentrating on Dorchester – of those 720, 405 require 1 bed flats for one or two people.

Why are Dorset Council not applying to Homes England for a grant to cut this unbelievable backlog?

Homes England announced on 9th April a multimillion pound scheme to provide affordable housing specifically aimed at rental building, open to councils, housing associations and private developers. This is open to apply for funds until 18th May.

Dorset Council have stated before that they did not have funds available to do large scale housing. But surely if this is not the case they could apply for part of this pot?

I wait with baited breath for the answer, something has to be done surely?

Perhaps they could compulsory purchase the prison site and build 185 truly affordable homes for rent. It’s lying derelict at present. Or even better build 185 council houses there. It’s happening elsewhere.


Chairman, Dorchester & District Labour Party Fordington