What Future for Dorchester Town Centre?


West Dorset District Council’s latest ideas for Dorchester’s Town Centre include a new food store on part of Charles Street car park and shops on Lower Fairfield - the site of the Wednesday Market and the car boot sale on Sundays.

A new food store in Charles Street but also a decked car park?
Charles Street Car Park
New shops on Lower Fairfield but also a decked car park in Middle Fairfield and what happens to the Market?
Dorchester Market

We are pleased that there are retailers wanting to have their shops in Dorchester and help it remain buoyant. However, the District Council needs to consider the Town Centre as a whole and take account of the requirements of existing stores as well as the growing heritage and tourism sector based around a much larger County Museum and the Shire Hall development. Most importantly they must provide sufficient car parking.

Some major concerns to be addressed include the relocation of the Market, the loss of car parking space and archaeology at each of these proposed sites.

We recognise that the Market is a very important part of Dorchester’s identity and history and one possible option could be a return to a previous site, now called the Old Market Car Park.

The three local councils are working together to develop a strategy to try and solve parking problems across the town. It is accepted that the number of spaces must be maintained, or possibly even increased, and this would mean double-decker parking.

There is also widespread interest in the possibility of significant archaeological finds in these areas. The District Council is doing further work to address this issue.

Finally, there is concern about what would happen to the vibrancy of South Street if a number of large stores were to move.

We want a successful Town Centre which reflects the historic and future importance of Dorchester and would be keen to hear your views.

Please complete our survey so that we know what you want.


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