IN reply to the letter from Karen Greening (August 3), I removed my rose-tinted specs and walked through South Street, Trinity Street and the Antelope Walk to see “all of the empty buildings” and wondered where they all were.

In South Street there is the old National Provincial bank premises and two others at the other end of the street. The bank that remains empty belongs to a pension fund and to my mind is not suited to modern day retailing. One of the other empty shops is undergoing a refurbishment in readiness for trading.

In Trinity Street, the story is much the same with less than a handful of empty shops, one of which is being rather nicely done up. I would expect to see this small number of empty units in the normal course of businesses. Even High East Street appear to be on the up and will be helped when the Kings Arms reopens. On the whole, the shops looks very healthy, particularly when compared with other similar towns.

When the consultation exercise takes place, I hope Karen will actually see an increase in parking and she will see new accommodation for national retailers who currently occupy premises considered inadequate for present day use retained in the town.

An out-of-town retail park, as she suggests, would be a major mistake and destroy the viability of our town centre.

With increased cultural and tourist attractions coming online with the opening of the Shire Hall project, the enlarged museum and Maltings Centre in Brewery Square and an improved retail offering, the town will be in a far better state to flourish.

Also, with increased parking we may be able, at last, to resolve the parking problems in residential areas. Can these aspirations really be to the detriment of the town? I do not believe so. As a member of WDDC for Karen’s ward, I am pleased to have been involved in this scheme and support the hoped-for improvements. I would be pleased to meet her at the public consultation and discuss ideas and hopes for the future.

Gerald Duke

District and Town Councillor

Dorchester West Ward