Multi-million pound theatre and arts centre for Dorchester scrapped

Multi-million pound theatre and arts centre for Dorchester scrapped

Published by Maria Greenwood at 5:16pm 19th February 2020. (Updated at 7:33am 20th February 2020)

A project to be build a £12.5M theatre and arts centre for the county will no longer go ahead.

The plan was to convert the Maltings building at Brewery Square.

Efforts have been made to raise the £12.5 million for the project.

In January last year potential funders agreed that unless significant funds were raised by the end of the year, the project would have to come to an end. 

A year has now passed and the board say after continued efforts, they and other stakeholders have come to the conclusion that the project is no longer achievable.

Auditorium sketch view, Dorchester Maltings
Auditorium sketch view, Dorchester Maltings

Louise Sheaves, Chair of the Maltings Arts, said: 

"We came to this conclusion with a heavy heart, as we and many other organisations and individuals have put a huge amount of effort into the planning, promotion and fundraising efforts for the Maltings. 

"Sadly, circumstances have conspired against us and the funding just can not be found.

"Projects of this scale always require a large number of funders to come together at the right time, but in this case budgetary pressures on all sides have resulted in the funds not coalescing in time to save the scheme. 

julian fellowes 3
Julian Fellowes

"I would particularly like to thank Dorset Council, Dorchester Town Council, Arts Council England, Brewery Square Development Company Ltd, Dorchester Arts, Julian and Emma Fellowes, Sir Oliver Letwin and the Duchy of Cornwall for all their extraordinary efforts to make this wonderful project a reality.'

Brewery Square - Dray Horse
The Dray Horse, Brewery Square.

Mark Tattersall, Artistic Director of Dorchester Arts, said:

"Having spent the past 8 years trying to find a way to make the Maltings a reality I am, of course, bitterly disappointed, but this is the right decision under the circumstances. 

"Dorchester Arts remains committed to providing significantly improved arts facilities in the county town and will continue to work hard to achieve that aim"