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Former Dorchester coachworks to become apartments

Damers Road - former coachworks 4

12:30pm 13th June 2018

A former Dorset County Council building in Damers Road, Dorchester, is expected to be demolished and replaced by apartments.

The building, opposite the County Hospital, has been in a semi-derelict state for a number of years after being used by the county council as a store. An adjoining building, also part of the application, was used as an audio-visual workshop. Prior to that the site has been a coachworks and as a school bus depot. It was once a talcum powder factory.

Dorset County Council closed the building in 2012, but it was only offered for sale in the summer of 2016.

At the time of the original sale, by informal tender, Savills said that the site “provides an ideal opportunity for a high quality redevelopment scheme.”

The site had received planning permission for housing before, but that lapsed, and the site was again put on the market.

Westcroft Construction Ltd from West Parley have now bought the 0.84 hectares and is hoping to build nine two-bed apartments after demolishing the existing building. Once complete the site will also have parking for ten cars and allocated cycle spaces. The design has been drawn up by Morgan Carey Architects from Wareham.

Developer Gary Ward said that if permission is granted in the coming weeks he would expect to make a start on the site in the autumn or winter:

“It’s a good site, directly opposite the hospital. I was surprised that planning consent had lapsed before it was sold, so we had to start again with a new design.”

His company’s planning application has won the backing of Dorchester Town Council, but has also attracted two negative comments so far.

One neighbour says the scheme will be detrimental to the quality of life and privacy of nearby homes while another believes the three storey building will restrict the light to the next door property, 27 Damers Road, and should be restricted to two storeys.

Ward councillor Trevor Jones has welcomed the decision to develop: “This site received consent for a residential development some years ago, although some local residents were unhappy at the time. Given the earlier approval it would be difficult to justify a refusal this time. I just hope it contains some affordable places as they are desperately needed in Dorchester.”

Town council planning chairman Councillor Robin Potter said he was pleased that use was going to be made of the site: “I welcome that this brownfield site will be made use of and hope that the concerns of local residents will be noted by the planners.”

By local democracy reporter, Trevor Bevins


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