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200 comments and rising

Wednesday, June 30th, 2010

The £60 million development of Charles Street that includes the £10.7m new West Dorset District Council office has now received 200 comments.

This development has really polarised opinions within the Dorchester community.

A final decision will be made by the district council’s development control committee later this year. If plans are approved building work will start in April next year.

Last week Dorchester town councillors voted to recommend the application for refusal at a special planning meeting.
They said it breaks planning policy and the district council, who are funding the plans, had bent the rules.
Objections were also raised over the lack of trees and shrubbery, disabled access and sufficient parking at the site.
About 50 members of the public attended the meeting which saw six town councillors recommend refusal of the application and two abstain.

Last week (w/c 21 June), town councillors voted to recommend the application for refusal at a special planning meeting with concern that the council broke their own planning policy  rules.

Whilst 200 comments seems to be a lot, taken in context of the County it only represents 0.049% of the local population.

We at DBID are keen to hear your opinions.

Dorchester really needs this development and the well-organised anti campaign has resulted in the large number of, in some cases carbon copy objections. What they don’t seem to be thinking of is the future of Dorchester – If the development does not go ahead this time (the council came to the rescue really, by saying that they would relocate there to give the project its start) it may never happen and the worst thing is that they need to move somewhere and if its not Charles street it may now be out of the town altogether, possibly to Weymouth who will no doubt welcome them with open arms!

Can you imagine the negative impact that will have on most businesses in town? 350+ regular customers shipping out to Weymouth! I suspect it will also be the last time anyone else tries to develop what is the messiest part of Dorch – Who else will consider developing this area when they discover that there have already been 4 failed attempts at the cost of hundreds of thousands of pounds.

As we still have hard times ahead over the next few years, the worst thing that can happen in my opinion, is for this planning to get refused and Dorchester to miss the opportunity to move forward, and start attracting back many of the shoppers that now go out of Dorch to other towns/cities/ out of town retail parks that offer a wider range of stores – If you feel you can, please write a supportive comment on the dorsetforyou website before its too late and the noisy minority kill this like they did a similar re-dev in Bridport in behind the high street.

The amount of miss-information is staggering, for example these same people are telling everyone that will listen that the much-needed swimming pool is now in jeopardy if the council moves offices, the truth is that the swimming pool IS going ahead (I heard today from a reliable source).

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