Recession leaves Charles Street Phase 2 'not currently viable'
By Dorch_People | Wednesday, October 03, 2012, 15:33
A report to West Dorset District Council on 9 October will say that Phase 2 of the Charles Street Development is no longer viable due to the economic climate.
Phase 2 included the retail sections, a hotel and car parking arrangements. The first phase of the development was the provision of modern offices for WDDC, and a new library and adult learning centre.
The report suggests two main ways for the council to proceed.
The first is to continue as planned and wait for the property market to recover enough for the scheme to become viable once more. However the report notes that this it is likely to be ...'some time, possibly years...' before this happens. The fear is that either or both of the anchor stores would not want to wait and withdraw from the agreement.
The alternative, and the option recommended by the report is to allow the developers to amend the scheme to make it viable once more.
This would be done by:
*substituting the proposed hotel for 24 flats
*not building the lower basement car park, but instead adding a single deck to Fairfield Car Park.
West Dorset District Council Technical Services Manager Steve Woollard says in the report: "The council has worked hard to achieve a town centre development on the Charles Street site for some 30 years. The current proposals which have planning permission are the closest that has been achieved to success.
"Waiting for the economy to improve could lead to the loss of key anchor tenants and it is therefore suggested that the option of accepting changes to the scheme is the best way of achieving a development and securing over 600 jobs.
Any changes to the plans would be displayed in the centre of Dorchester for public viewing.