by Andy Canning on 21 September, 2017
West Dorset District Council has decided to have a fifth attempt at developing Charles Street. This is the latest news in the long-running saga which began back in the 1970’s! It has already cost taxpayers several millions and there is nothing to show for it, except a state-of-the-art Council HQ! For this latest proposal WDDC has already agreed to spend up to £520,000 on consultants.
The plans for Charles Street are a bit more modest than previous attempts and are based solely on a new food store – it could be Waitrose, but a number of other stores have also expressed an interest.
The plans for Lower Fairfield are more ambitious as they feature a large new M&S together with a number of smaller shops.
If both sites were to be developed there would be a loss of over 700 car parking spaces! As the town already suffers from a lot of parking in residential streets this would force WDDC to build two new multi-storey car parks – one on Charles Street and one on Middle Fairfield. The latter in particular would be very visible as people drive into the town from the Weymouth direction.
All the possible sites for these new shops and new multi-storeys are on land that is rich in archaeology and so will be expensive to develop. This is what caused the last development proposals to collapse.
In addition, if Fairfield is developed what will happen to the Market? WDDC talk about finding another location in the town centre but is there a feasible site and who would pay for the new buildings that would be required?
Finally, what would happen to South Street if M&S and a few other key shops were to move to Lower Fairfield?
To have you say please complete a short six question survey at http://www.west-dorset-libdems.org.uk/dorchester_town_centre_survey