Charles Street Alone Won't Meet Dorchester's Retail Needs

South Street Dorchester Town Centre

Published at 7:31am 2nd February 2017. (Updated at 7:36am 2nd February 2017)

West Dorset District Council will consider a report next week to secure Dorchester's future as a thriving regional shopping centre.

Development of Charles Street in Dorchester is possible - as long as measures are taken to respect the archaeology.

That's the finding of a report which West Dorset District Council will consider next week.

They'll look at plans to develop the county town as a thriving regional shopping centre.

But the report also says Charles Street alone is unlikely to meet the town's retail needs - so councillors will look at whether other town centre sites should be considered for development.

Councillor Anthony Alford, Leader of West Dorset District Council, said: "Our aim must be to retain Dorchester as a significant retail centre and secure its economic future as a quality shopping destination.
"Achieving our next step is critically important, our county town is too important to cut corners.  We have to make sure any plans are market-led, viable and deliverable.  Car parking and preserving our valued archaeology will be cornerstones of any future plans.
The archaeological peer review concludes that development of Charles Street is possible, provided located sensitivity to the potential archaeology, with mitigation measures and using appropriate construction methods.  However, the Charles Street site alone is unlikely to meet the retail needs of Dorchester.
"In view of this, it seems sensible that any new Development Strategy should be wide ranging and explore if other town centre sites should be considered for development.  Nothing has been decided yet and we will of course be asking the public for their views in due course."

Retail expert GL Hearn has described Dorchester as "an attractive market town" and said that new development would address the market gaps identified including the ability of retailers to commit to Dorchester.
Anyone who would like to keep up to date can sign up for free 'Dorchester's Centre' e-newsletters at
The archaeological peer review and GL Hearn report are available at

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