A view from Dorchester - 08 July 2015
Peripheral building on the Dorchester Prison site could be demolished in plans being put forward by developers, City and Country.
These include former staff houses, now being used by a security team outside the gates and a number of modern buildings within the walls.
And the planners behind the project have revealed that they are now also investigating whether all or some of the security walls should go, or whether there could be new entrances cut through them.
But before that happens the company will have to solve the problem of removing and disposing of miles of razor wire. The company is having difficulty finding a specialist contractor to remove it at a reasonable price.
Also being looked at are plans to build town houses on the prison car park, which City and Country believes will complete the feel of North Square as a town square.
At the second open meeting Dorchester residents were again keen to share their views about the future of the important town centre site.
Chief planner for the company Richard Winsborough said: ”There is a continuing passion for getting the best uses for the site and we are happy to talk to anyone about ideas they may have.”
He says that nothing is yet ‘set in stone’ although ideas for a hotel, commercial areas, and a community space, possibly incorporating a museum featuring the history of the site could likely be included.
Flats and houses are also on the cards and City and Country is in talks with companies interested in investing in the Dorchester site.
Mr Winsborough acknowledges that access to the site and parking are likely to be key areas for negotiation with local councils – given that the only existing access point is off the High Streets into North Square using a relatively narrow entrance constrained by St Peter’s Church on one side and the Corn Exchange on the other.
“But we are being realistic. Hotel guests will need spaces for cars, as will some of the people who live here, and we know they are likely to have visitors as well.”
Another public consultation will be held in the autumn by which time the developers hope to present some firm proposals in their master plan – with the idea of the site application going before a planning committee in November and work starting in the winter of 2015/16.
“From conversations we have had with people most are as positive about the development as we are. After this consultation we will go away and add an extra layer of detail,” said Mr Winsborough.
« Back to What the Papers Say