BUDGET store Poundland is expected to set up shop in Dorchester.

The national chain is expected to take up the South Street store occupied by one of the county town’s flagship independent retailers, Wellchester.

A closing down sale is currently taking place at Wellchester, which attracted national headlines when it was set up in the former Woolworths store three years ago, and it is expected to close later this month.

West Dorset District Council has now received a planning application from Poundland to put up new signage on the soon to be vacant store.

Project director for the Dorchester BID (Business Improvement District) Phil Gordon said it was difficult to tell how popular the Poundland store would be in the county town but he was glad that the store was being taken up by someone.

He said: “It is obviously a very successful brand elsewhere in the UK.

“I would certainly have Poundland over an empty shop any day.”

Poundland would become the fourth new addition to Dorchester’s high street, with Steam Trading cook shop and Crew Clothing Co opening their doors in South Street this week and a new jewellers and pawnbrokers, 2 Kings, due to open in the street.

Mr Gordon said: “I’m absolutely delighted to see over the last few months there has been a lot of activity in improving the streetscape with yet more shops coming to Dorchester.

“What I’m particularly pleased with is the fact that quite a lot of money has been spent on actually refurbishing the buildings and improving the look.

“We definitely had an additional tourist attraction with Wellchester in the high street but I think Dorchester has a huge amount to offer in its current state.”

Poundland confirmed it was looking to expand into new stores but said it could not confirm anything until the final plans had been agreed.

A spokesman for the chain said: “Poundland is currently considering the acquisition of new stores to add to those already opened this year.

“The stringent acquisition process ensures the new stores are positioned in the right location and fit Poundland’s customer profile.”

She added: “Due to the popularity of Poundland’s product ranges, the organisation is keen not to raise anticipation for a new store before plans are finalised.

“Therefore, Poundland cannot disclose any more information at this stage.

“As soon as all details have been confirmed, Poundland will immediately release this information to the area in question.”