Our present building has existed on its current site for just over 100 years. Some great things have happened over that time, many lives have been impacted and the Church has grown numerically. But time moves on, and we now need not only a bigger building but a facility that better enables us to reach out to the community. Our current facility is not only well worn but doesn’t readily lend itself to doing all that we would like to do in it and from it.
So it was good news when West Dorset District Council spoke to us, not for the first time, a few years ago about their desire to purchase our site as part of the town’s redevelopment in Charles Street. We have now been in consultation for some time and, although progress might seem slow, we are excited about the potential opportunity this provides. The Council have now purchased our site which enables us to relocate to a purpose built new facility. The architect has been really creative in enabling us to maximise space, and this space is likely to be at least double what we have now, which is both good news for ourselves and for the local community.
Where…? The location is in Poundbury, attached to the new School which is currently under construction. It’s exciting to see the steelwork go up so quickly! We want a building where we can reach people, respond to people, and help meet the growing needs of people in and around our Town. One where a warm welcome can be offered to all. When…? Good question! This is not the first time such a move has been considered. In fact some will remember dialogue with the Council about this over 30 years ago! That said, the situation does seem very different this time around. Our own new building should take about 12 months to put up the shell and about another 6 months to fit out. There will be a financial challenge to the Church in order to see this Vision become a reality but unless we want to stand still we know that this must be a challenge we face head on.
Do you want to be a part of this journey with us…? We would love to see you!
Please click on the audio link below to listen to a talk concerning our move to Poundbury.
(Talk recorded on Sunday 26th July 2015 entitled “On the move!”)
In preparation for our move to a new building we have occasionally been meeting together as three congregations. Space is at a premium on a Sunday morning in Acland Road so it has been good to meet out and about in the community on a bi-monthly basis.
We’ve met at the TA Centre, the Town Hall, Sunninghill Prep School, Dorchester Middle School and St Osmund’s School.
Council will buy church for more than £900,000 to make way for Charles Street development
COUNCILLORS have agreed to purchase the Dorchester Community Church for more than £900,000.
Members of West Dorset District Council’s executive considered a number of options to purchase the Acland Road church in order to make way for the proposed redevelopment of Charles Street.
Although it was conceded the current scheme being put forward by Simons may not go ahead, councillors agreed that purchasing the church and allowing it to relocate to the new Damers School site at Poundbury was key to future development of the site.
Cllr Terry Farmer said: “We will when it moves have an enhanced site.”
Last week the Echo revealed how the council was awaiting confirmation from Simons as to whether its scheme would proceed in light of English Heritage’s calls for further archaeological works on the site that would impact on the cost of the redevelopment.
A report considered by members stated that the market value of the church had been assessed as £350,000 but because the council was a ‘special purchaser’ and needed the site for redevelopment or additional parking spaces its value to the authority was at least £700,000.
The committee agreed to purchase the church for £905,000 plus £25,000 fees, recognising that it represents the market value of the property at the present time together with an investment in the economic development of the town.
The council had already allocated up to £2 million to fund preparation works for the Charles Street site including the purchase of the church.
Council leader Anthony Alford said that the value of the church to the council was essentially ‘intangible’ because of its implications for the wider development of the site.
He said: “It’s a value that is really intangible in terms of the options it gives for the future as the whole of the development is built around assembling the one site including the church.”
Cllr Ian Gardner added: “I think we have a window of opportunity at this current time and if we don’t progress it now we will cut off options for the development of Charles Street.” Tim Westwood, chairman of the trustees at the Dorchester Community Church, said: “I would like to thank the district council for making this decision which will allow us to move.”
Members were told that Simons had yet to secure the landing rights for the Tudor and Hardye Arcade, which was also necessary for the scheme to go ahead.
The council’s strategic director Stephen Hill said: “I think the option to purchase the church will enable the council to reconsider the approach to the project and with or without Simons then look to secure the future landing rights.”