New Blandford Visitor Center approved


CHANGES have been agreed to plans for a new tourist information office and three adjoining store units in Blandford.

It comes after claims by the board that runs the existing center that the new office would be “an insult to the reputation of our Georgian town”.

The site, south of Greyhound Yard near Morrison, received contour consent in 2017 but work never started, with another consent approved in 2020.

Dorset Council has now approved changes to the original plan to allow for a lower floor and some other minor changes.

The site is immediately south of the Greyhound pub, between the Market Square and the main city Marsh and Ham car park where the existing TIC is located.

The Civic Society and Blandford City Council had opposed the latest proposals saying the buildings might not be fully accessible to all and had questioned the size of the tourist office toilets, warning that making having outward opening doors on the units could cause problems.

The Blandford Information Center Board also opposed the proposals, saying the design would require people wishing to visit the Tourist Information Center to enter through a public toilet area and with the ICT area only the half the size of the existing information center at nearby Riverside. Accommodation.

A statement of objection from the board said: ‘The front and ground floor are simply too small for our operations. Accessibility demand (which we fully support) has already reduced the size of each unit by 10m² and the proposed ramp and walkway appear unsatisfactory.

“ICT is the welcoming face of Blandford. It welcomes and informs thousands of visitors each year. If these plans were implemented, it would mean that people expecting to be greeted by TIC volunteers must first enter the TIC office/shop through a public restroom area.

“We, the board and volunteers of Blandford TIC, find that the current plan does not compare to our current premises in terms of aesthetics or usability. First, visitors passing through the restroom area may experience queues, power chair maneuvers and, it must be said, odor issues. The public and volunteers accessing this area could be injured by washroom doors that open outward. The “display area” shown on the plan would need to be secured and even so would be susceptible to damage, vandalism and uncivilization. In short, the current plans would damage the reputation of our Georgian town and be demoralizing to our volunteers and visitors to Blandford.

Planning officers said a ramp had been added to the proposals and believed many of the other comments could be dealt with through negotiation before construction began.


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