BREWERY Square in Dorchester is powering ahead, according to the man behind the massive development.

Andrew Wadsworth revealed that the proposed four-star hotel was under offer and that it would be increased from 48 beds to 53.

He added that 80 per cent of the residential apartment had been pre-sold in buildings that were underway and up to 20 per cent pre-sold in some buildings where work hadn’t even begun.

He spoke as members of Dorchester’s Civic Society turned out to the next phase of the development taking shape.

Construction on phase two of scheme has now been underway for six months and development director Andrew Wadsworth welcomed the society to the site to witness the progress for themselves.

At the meeting, which was also the Civic Society’s AGM, Mr Wadsworth showed members how several of the major buildings for the next stage of the project were taking shape.

These included the nursing home at Signature House and the building that will house the Premier Inn hotel.

The next element of the development will be centred around the main square, with its centrepiece fountain, and Mr Wadsworth said that was likely to be completed next autumn.

Mr Wadsworth said: “We are currently projecting that the square will open next October.”

Facilities around the square will include an Odeon cinema and seven restaurants with many major national chains already signed up to the scheme.

Mr Wadsworth said: “The evening culture element of it is going extremely well from a letting point of view.”

He added that of the 40 shop units, he was hoping around ten to 15 would be taken up by local independent retailers.

He also said that 30 per cent of the total accommodation at the development would be affordable housing, including the Bridge and Signal House where Magna was providing 46 affordable units on which work was well underway.

Following the update from Mr Wadsworth, Civic Society members turned their attention to the town’s other major development at Charles Street during their formal meeting.

With work already under way on the new West Dorset District Council offices, chairman Derek Beauchamp said he was expecting the retail phase of the scheme to come along at some stage in the future but said he believed there was still a chance to influence details of the final scheme.

He said: “A form of phase two of Charles Street will come but whether it actually follows what they have done remains to be seen.”

Mr Beauchamp said he had concerns about the additional traffic through Dorchester town centre the scheme would bring and stressed the need for a central square in the development.

He finished by stressing that the society was always looking to get new people involved with its work.

Mr Beauchamp said: “We are all trying to do things for the benefit of this town.”