Residents have been invited to identify the major challenges facing Dorchester and what their ideal town should look like in 2050.
The Civic Society had invited Dr Tim Dixon of Reading University to talk about a smart and sustainable Reading 2050, including being carbon-free by 2030. What lessons could our town learn ?
At a packed public meeting, he outlined a route-map for achieving this while quality of life flourished in a better environment. The audience worked in groups to set out their demands and how to prepare Dorchester for its challenges. The lists were topped by the same needs :
Genuinely affordable homes, built to high standards of insulation and low-energy demand;
Increased and subsidised public transport into and within the town, communal electric vehicles saving families using their own car – or even not needing to own one;
A traffic-free High Street and town centre.
A healthier and fitter public would result. As a result our heritage offer would be enhanced and thus tourism, with its income, boosted.
In this vein a greener town centre is wanted, with the now surplus Charles Street proposals giving way to a tree-lined town square for public benefit, helping air quality to recover. Consideration for new housing sites should include the many villages that look to Dorchester for services, subject to improved public transport and providing attractive walking/cycling routes. For all this Dorchester will need an empowered town council with the proper funding from central government.
The next Civic Society Vision Talk is on Tuesday 4 February at 7.30 pm in The Dorford Centre, Top o’ Town, Dorchester.
All are welcome to hear Scott Witchalls, director of transport and infrastructure at Peter Brett Associates, speak on the subject, ‘Dorchester 2050: A vision for sustainable mobility and transport’.