A PLANNING application has just been submitted for the controversial £60 million redevelopment of the Charles Street site in Dorchester.
Waitrose has agreed terms to relocate from its current store in Tudor Arcade and is now in detailed discussions with the project’s developer Simons.
The full application includes a range of new shops comprising over 146,000 sq ft of retail space, a new public car park with 484 spaces, a 60-bedroom hotel, affordable housing, new public toilets, new offices for West Dorset District Council and a proposed new library and adult learning centre for Dorset County Council.
The scheme would bring £60 million of private investment into the area.
Mark Newton, Development Director at Simons said: “The submission of this application is a significant milestone in the history of this project.
“As everyone in Dorchester knows, this site has been earmarked for redevelopment for many years, and now we move one step closer to making this a reality.
“The plans have undergone extensive public consultation, and we were delighted with the amount of people who attended our public exhibition in December and returned our feedback forms.
“We are arranging to set up an information kiosk in Dorchester for people to find out more about the planning application, further details of which will be released shortly.
“We have submitted exciting plans that represent a significant investment in Dorchester, and will create a new retail and leisure destination that will benefit the whole town centre as well as the surrounding area.”
West Dorset District Council Chief Executive David Clarke said: “Receiving this planning application is a landmark step forward for the district council’s plans to enhance the vibrancy and economic well-being of Dorchester town centre.
“The planning application will now be checked and registered. This will take a few days.
“Once the application is registered, people can then come in and view the planning application at the council offices in person, look at them on the council website and submit their views at www.dorsetforyou.com/planningapplications/west or visit Simons’ information events.
“The application will be considered by West Dorset District Council’s development control committee following public consultation.
“You can have your say by telling the council what you think of the plans during a consultation period.
“Those that comment will be invited to speak at the development control committee.
If planning permission is granted, work would start on phase one of the scheme early in 2011.
Simons recently won an award for Best Regeneration Partnership for its work with West Oxfordshire District Council on a mixed-use development scheme in Witney.
Editor’s Note: This is a slightly edited version of a press release issued on behalf of Simons. As has been said before on this site, there is sometimes a merit in seeing exactly how businesses and local authorities choose to present their case. They can spend a long, long time thinking how to do so.
Here, four sentences at the top have been condensed into two, and the word “controversial” has been added by me to the first line; here are some links to some other stories and comments to show why.
(The last link above sets out in some detail arguments for the redevelopment of Dorchester town centre, and includes a West Dorset District Council video)