Plans to relocate Dorchester Community Church to a new site in Trinity Street car park are moving forward.
West Dorset District Council is working with the Community Church to provide a new, purpose-built church in Trinity Street.
Once built, West Dorset District Council and the Community Church will carry out a land swap so the district council will own the land at Acland Road where the old church building currently stands.
The district council intends to carry out preparatory works, including the demolition of the old church building, so that a major retail development on the entire Charles Street site can take place at some point in the future.
Campaigners are still pressing for a re-evaluation of the whole project to allow for a greater emphasis on the town’s heritage and exploit its tourism potential.
Leader of West Dorset District Council, Robert Gould said: “The project to redevelop Charles Street remains a top priority for the district council.
“It has the potential to revitalise Dorchester town centre, increase the number of shoppers and visitors to the town and provide around 600 new jobs.
“The relocation of the Community Church to a new site at Trinity Street will be an important part of preparing the Charles Street site for development.”
Douglas Holt, Secretary to the Trustees of Dorchester Community Church said: “We have been looking with them at potential sites in the town for a replacement church since 2006.
“About three years ago the district council offered a site in Trinity Street car park.
“The church trustees have been having very fruitful discussions with the council staff and architects Atkins since early this year, and are very pleased with the plans.”
The proposed location for the new church building is within the front part of the district council’s Trinity Street car park.
The design will require the relocation of the entrance road and public toilets to elsewhere within the car park.
A new location for the C1 bus stop has also been accommodated into the scheme.