New street cafe culture planned for Dorchester

New street cafe culture planned for Dorchester

Published by Maria Greenwood at 12:12pm 9th June 2020.

More outdoor café seating could become a feature of Dorchester’s South Street once lockdown is eased.

The idea is one suggestion to be considered by a small group of Dorchester councillors as they prepare a bid for Government funding for measures which will help maintain social distancing.

Cllr Andy Canning, who is leading the project, says there is potential for the town to make a number of changes, if it can win funding.

Other ideas include improving footpaths and cycleways and looking at how to maintain social distancing at town bus stops and at shops where people have to queue to be allowed access.

South Street Dorchester Town Centre

Cllr Molly Rennie says the South Street idea would be welcomed by many traders although Cllr Les Fry said that Dorset Council would also have to be persuaded to drop the charges it makes for businesses who do put out tables on the street.

He said that many traders were ‘disgruntled’ that they had to pay the Dorset Council if they wanted outside seating in the town centre while those at Brewery Square were not charged because it was private property.

“We could ask them to drop that charge immediately to help the town’s recovery from Covid,” he said.

Cllr Stella Jones said that, in the longer term, she would like the whole town to be a 20mph zone to improve pollution levels and make it safer for pedestrian, and for action to be taken against drivers who park on pavement, although Cllr Fry, a former Police Inspector, warned that enforcing it would prove difficult without widespread traffic calming measures.

Cllr Canning said that because the deadline for the funding was tight the town council might be hard pressed to consult more widely within the time allowed but would seek an immediate meeting with Dorset Council who will submit any bid.

By Trevor Bevins, Local Democracy Reporter