WORK has begun on a development project in Dorchester that will bring more than 200 jobs to the town.

The second phase of the Brewery Square development is now underway and will eventually deliver 68 flats, a cinema, a 76-bed hotel and 9,180 metres of retail space.

The resumption of work comes after the Leadbitter Group was appointed as the main contractor for the project following the demise of previous contractors Rok last year, which caused a delay to the project.

Leadbitter has wasted no time in getting construction rolling again after agreeing a £22million 18-month contract.

The move comes as a further boost after original developers Waterhouse agreed a partnership deal with real estate investor Resolution Property to work on the project under the umbrella of the Brewery Square Development Company.

Dave Cook, regional director of Leadbitter’s southern housing and construction division, said: “Leadbitter is delighted to have been appointed as the main contractor at Brewery Square and we are looking forward to working in partnership with the Brewery Square Development Company on this most prestigious and exciting scheme.”

At its peak the project will employ in excess of 200 construction, design and management personnel, including a number of apprentice positions.

More than three-quarters of the residential accommodation for the next phase has been pre-sold and over half the commercial units pre-let.

Big names setting up in the development include Premier Inn, Pizza Express, Odeon Cinemas, Café Rouge and Hobbs.

Director of Resolution Property, Nigel Robson, said: “We are delighted to confirm the start of construction on the next phase of Brewery Square.

“We will be working closely with Leadbitter Group and our development partner Waterhouse to deliver the long-term vision for the regeneration of this important town centre site “The impressive pre-sales and pre-lettings to date endorse our decision to invest in Dorchester’s future as a retail and lifestyle destination.”

The developers will be hoping that phase two builds on the success of the first phase of the Brewery Square scheme, where all residential units are now sold and occupied and all commercial units have been let.

Waterhouse director, Andrew Wadsworth, added: “The start of construction at Brewery Square will be welcomed by retailers and the public, who have been eagerly awaiting the next phase of this important town centre regeneration.

“Our aim is to create a new heart for Dorchester, bringing renewed vibrancy and prosperity to West Dorset.”

He added that the whole development, which will create over 600 jobs in total, had been delayed by about four months in total by the collapse of Rok.

Mr Wadsworth said: “We are delighted to have got back on track with Leadbitter and with such a fantastic team, they have pulled out all the stops to make up as much time as possible and they will continue to do so.”