Dorchester's Thomas Hardy Brew-ery is to close with the loss of 57 jobs after the site's new landlord upped the rent by £223,000. Brewing and bottling, which Thomas Hardy began six years ago at the site after Eldridge Pope exited brewing, will be transferred to other sites within the group. The closure comes after the company failed in a bid to buy the site from Eldridge Pope despite an offer of £8m. The company says the acquisition would have secured the long-term future of brewing and packaging in Dorchester. Eldridge Pope, "without further consultation with Thomas Hardy", sold the site to property development company Landworth Properties (Dorchester). Landworth Properties tabled rent increases totalling more than £223,000 and "withdrew privileges" that had previously been provided by Eldridge Pope, Thom-as Hardy claimed. Furthermore, a plan to invest £2.7m in PET technology was withdrawn from Dorchester due to the costs and delays in providing sufficient electricity to the site. As a result the Dorchester site became the highest cost site within the Thomas Hardy Group, which, claimed the company, led to the decision to give notice and vacate the site with the loss of jobs. Peter Ward, director of Thomas Hardy, said: "It is a sad reflection on Dorchester that the local planning authority have encouraged speculative investment in industrial property rather than the safeguard of manufacturing jobs within the town.