Best things about living in Dorchester
- Credit: Archant
This delightful county town is steeped in history but exciting new developments at Brewery Square and Poundbury offer an interesting range of properties for buyers
Dorchester has been Dorset’s county town since 1305, but it has long been a desirable place to live. In the Iron Age it was home to one of the most prominent and powerful hill forts in pre-Roman Britain. This historic market town was also home to the writer Thomas Hardy, who referred to Dorchester as Casterbridge in his novels. Back in Roman times Dorchester was known as Durnovaria and the remains of a rather stylish Roman Town House can be seen at Colliton Park in the grounds of County Hall.
Today there’s an interesting mix of the old and new. This is best encapsulated by Poundbury, an ‘urban extension’ that can be found to the south of the town. Designed by John Simpson and built on land owned by the Duchy of Cornwall, Poundbury is a collection modern buildings built in traditional and new classical architectural styles. It is a project that is supported by HRH Prince of Wales who often pops by to see who things are progressing. Started in 1993, Poundbury’s final phase of development is due to be completed in 2020 by which stage there will be around 2,500 dwellings on the sight and a population of around 6,000.
Another Dorchester development combining the old and the new is Brewery Square (brewerysquare.com). Situated in the heart of town on the site of the former Eldridge Pope brewery the 11 acre site is home to a three-screen cinema as well as shops, restaurants, cafes and a hotel. There are also a host of apartments being built here, with properties in The Cooperage and Keg Store still available at the time of writing while Copper Crescent is due to be completed in 2016.
With the rise of Brewery Square, it is little surprise that most property sales in Dorchester in 2014 involved apartments which sold for an average price of £186,807. Terraced properties sold for an average price of £240,088, while detached properties fetched £364,542. The centre of Dorchester, with an average sale price of £246,612 was cheaper than Poundbury, with properties there fetching an average of £315,907 per sale.
Stuart Bramley, manager of the local Domvs estate agent, sums up the rest of the town’s appeal. “Set amongst beautiful rural countryside and some of this country’s best preserved Roman ruins, Dorchester enjoys some of the UK’s most noted period architecture,” says Stuart. “The town boasts considerable amenities including a mainline rail link to London Waterloo as well as a cinema, arts centre, restaurants, wine bars, a hospital and good local schools.”
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