Dorset

General election results for Dorset

Dorset For You - Fri, 12/13/2019 - 06:08

Results of the 2019 General Election are now in for Dorset.

Results for Dorset South and Dorset West were announced at Redlands Community Sports Hub in Weymouth

Simon Hoare for the Conservatives won in Dorset North (Conservative HOLD).

Richard Drax for the Conservatives won in Dorset South (Conservative HOLD).

Chris Loder for the Conservatives won in Dorset West (Conservative GAIN).

View our results summary page.

Results for constituencies in Mid Dorset, Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole have been announced by BCP council.

For the wider picture view results from across the UK.

The count for Dorset North took place at the Blandford School. The counts for Dorset South and Dorset West took place at Redlands Community Sports Hub in Weymouth.

General election stats for Dorset’s constituencies

Turnout is about the same for Dorset North compared with the General Election in 2017. It is slightly down for Dorset South and Dorset West:

73.44 per cent of the North Dorset electorate voted compared with 73.40 per cent in 2017

69.44 per cent of the South Dorset electorate voted compared with 71.90 per cent in 2017

74.7 per cent of the West Dorset electorate voted compared with 75.60 per cent in 2017

Electorate profiles

In North Dorset 75,956 people were eligible to vote.

In South Dorset 72,924 people were eligible to vote.

West Dorset 80, 963 people were eligible to vote.

Find more information about the results for Dorset.

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Categories: Dorset

Dorset Council farms in Countryfile spotlight

Dorset For You - Wed, 12/11/2019 - 10:20

Dorset Council’s county farms estate will be in the spotlight on BBC1’s Countryfile this coming Sunday, 15 December.

The council has worked alongside the BBC to create the piece, which highlights how its 6000-acre farm estate contributes to the local economy and offers genuine work opportunities for budding farmers and agricultural apprentices.

The county farms estates model was created after the first world war to enable injured men returning home to have a vocation and some land with which they could support themselves and the communities that they lived in.

Today, Dorset’s county farms estate covers more than 6000 acres, its 41 farms support 260 jobs and contributes £4.6m to the Dorset economy.

Cllr Pauline Batstone, who features in the short film, was born and brought up on a farm. She is now the Chairman of the council and of the County Farms Liaison Panel, a group of officers, councillors, tenant farmers and national farming agencies who meet to discuss emerging estate issues and to select new tenants.

Cllr Batstone said: “We have an ambition in Dorset to make our county farms estate really work for Dorset. We want the estate to contribute to both children’s and adult’s social care by offering employment and training opportunities to vulnerable people. By attracting apprentices, budding young farmers and their families to build a business in Dorset we can help keep communities alive which helps drive the wheels of our economy.

“We are very proud of our farms and they will only thrive with good management of our assets. This includes on-going investment in maintenance and upgrading of buildings and landholdings.”

Countryfile is on BBC1, this coming Sunday 15 December at 6pm.

 

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Categories: Dorset

Neighbourhood Plan for Motcombe made

Dorset For You - Wed, 12/11/2019 - 10:02

Motcombe residents can now have influence over development in their local area after Dorset Council’s cabinet made (or adopted) the parish’s neighbourhood plan in December 2019.

The neighbourhood plan was prepared by the community of Motcombe, near Shaftesbury.

A referendum took place on the plan in November 2019. Just under 80 per cent of those who voted chose Dorset Council to use the neighbourhood plan to help decide planning applications in the parish.

John Sellgren, Executive Director of Place, Dorset Council said: “We would like to congratulate Motcombe Parish Council and members of the Neighbourhood Plan Group for producing this neighbourhood plan.

“Planning involves balancing needs and interests, and this plan reflects the community’s vision for the future of Motcombe. It also provides them with a say in future planning decisions for the parish.”

The plan identifies locally valued facilities (including the 1997 flood alleviation scheme) and green spaces for protection. Proposals include improved sport and recreation facilities and improved parking provision for the school.

The plan also sets out how much and what type of housing is needed, and potential sites where these homes could be built. The plan recognises the diversity of employment in the parish, and how employment needs can continue to be met.

The plan sets out how new development can make a positive contribution to Motcombe’s character, in terms of styles, materials, landscaping etc, and the importance of the unlisted Estate Cottages in contributing to the local character.

The plan also considers how the design of new development should cater from the car without detracting from the area’s rural character. It also proposes that a route is safeguarded from the Motcombe to Gillingham off-road cycleway.

View the full plan online.

A paper copy can be read at South Walks House, South Walks Road, Dorchester   DT1 1UZ.

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Categories: Dorset

Dorset Council Cabinet agree to enter into a contract that will support an affordable housing development in Bridport

Dorset For You - Tue, 12/10/2019 - 13:08

 Dorset Council Cabinet agrees to enter into a contract with Homes England that will see an extra £808,855 go towards building 53 new affordable homes in Bridport.

The development of one of the largest community-led housing schemes in the country took another step forward following the agreement by Dorset Council cabinet to enter into a contract with Homes England following a grant of £808,555. The development of 53 new affordable homes in Bridport at a seven-acre site located in North Allington next to the Community Hospital, will offer a mix of one-bedroom flats and two to four-bedroom houses and will available for a range of incomes. It is proposed the scheme will offer homes for social rent and shared ownership between 25% and 75% of the open market value.

Due to be named ‘Hazlemead’, this exciting new development will promote a sense of community, providing a large green space for food growing or leisure activities, shared resources such as a children’s playroom, office space and laundry facilities. Free parking around the perimeter of the development will also be made available to residents. This means main streets will remain car free, providing an open space for children to play in.

Bournemouth Churches Housing association (BCHA) will be developing the homes, that will be built by CG Fry with work to beginning early next year.

Rebecca Kirk, Dorset Council Corporate Director for Housing said: “We’re really pleased that the Cabinet have agreed the contract to help with the infrastructure for this development. The Bridport Cohousing group have worked very hard to see this development become a reality and are to be commended for their fundraising efforts and determination.

“We have a big emphasis at Dorset Council to help support and provide community led housing that brings families and individuals together, and do so in a way that limits the environmental impact. This includes homes that will have solar panels on the roof and communal car sharing schemes, green energy systems and a market garden.”

For more information email info@bridportcohousing.org.uk

Notes:
Recommendation for the Cabinet: Dorset Council enter into a contract with Homes England for the grant of £808,555 to support the Bridport Cohousing development on terms to be approved by the Monitoring Officer and s.151 officer in consultation with the Housing Portfolio Holder.

A grant of £808,855 has been awarded to Dorset Council from Homes England to help with the infrastructure (drainage etc.) of this project. Dorset Council was awarded a government grant in 2017 to enable Community Led Housing, £175,000 has been spent from the Community Led Housing fund to support the acquisition of this site.

This funding is in addition to a £2.7 million of grant from Homes England which is being paid directly to BCHA and Bridport Cohousing.

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Categories: Dorset

Over 2000 students to visit Big Bang @ Dorset Fair 2020

Dorset For You - Mon, 12/09/2019 - 13:44

Record number of students to attend Big Bang Fair @ Dorset 2020

Dorset Council has confirmed that 2100 students from schools across Dorset are booked to attend the Big Bang @ Dorset Fair  at The Tank Museum, Bovington, on Wednesday 18 March 2020.

Big Bang is a programme of UK-wide events that get students excited about science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM subjects).

Big Bang @ Dorset Fair 2019 was a real success with fun-filled shows, hands-on exhibits, interactive workshops and a wide range of careers information from 40 local and national employers, and this winning format will be repeated at the event next year.

Exhibition space is booking up fast and businesses working in STEM related industries are encouraged to reserve their places at the event. Sponsorship opportunities for businesses across all sectors are also available with offers starting at £150.

Big Bang @ Dorset Fair 2020 will include an evening event for parents and carers to attend with students too.

Mark Blackman, Corporate Director, Education and Learning said, “We are delighted to be hosting this amazing event again. It provides a brilliant introduction to STEM careers for young people in Dorset and enables employers to promote job opportunities face to face with students and teachers, and this year, to parents and carers during the evening session too.

John Sellgren, Executive Director of Place added, “The STEM sector is thriving in Dorset and it is essential to the area’s economic growth for employers to ensure that they are able to recruit people with the necessary skills and aptitudes to succeed in the sector now and in the future.”

Businesses interested in support the Big Bang @ Dorset Fair 2020 can contact Helen Heanes, Principal Economic Development Officer on 01305 224677 or email helen.heanes@dorsetcouncil.gov.uk.

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Categories: Dorset

Weymouth Promenade Artistic Lighting Scheme Celebratory Event

Dorset For You - Fri, 12/06/2019 - 10:42

Dorset Council and Weymouth Town Council will be holding a small celebratory event for the Weymouth Promenade Artistic Lighting Scheme.

Open to the public, the celebration will take place on Thursday 19 December at 6pm along Weymouth Seafront opposite Alexandra Gardens. The event will run for approx. 60 minutes, and we welcome those (who can) to stay and view the different lighting cycles.

The celebratory event will provide an opportunity for you to see the lights up close and personal and hear from those who have worked on the project, the short interviews will be conducted over the Seafront PA system. There will also be information displayed detailing the different stages of the project for those who would like to more know more.

Come along and see the lights and hear about the cultural importance of the project. Designed to complement the existing laser lights, reduce lighting clutter and adhere to highway regulations, the lights comprise of 12 cycles. 10 are inspired by elements and activities of Weymouth and its community and two are ambient scenes that feature in between the 10 cycles. The event will close with the gifting of the lights from Dorset Council to Weymouth Town Council.

John Sellgren, Dorset Council Executive Director for Place Services, said: “We are very proud of the new lights, and would like to acknowledge all of those who have worked on the project, both internal (Weymouth Town Council, Dorset Council, and Dorset Coast Forum) and external (Tonkin Liu, Bounce Back Arts CIC, Weymouth BID, A.C Special Projects Ltd and Intratest Ltd).”

“We would also like to thank residents who were involved, from the consultation process through to completion. The project celebrates the elements and activities of Weymouth, and the new lights bring a new lease of life to the seafront.”

The Weymouth Promenade Artistic Lighting Scheme is part of Dorset Coastal Connections, a portfolio of 18 connected projects managed by the Dorset Coast Forum, which aim to improve physical, digital and emotional connections to the coast in Dorset, supporting and growing the local economy. The Dorset Coast Forum have engaged extensively with the Weymouth community to feed into the design brief which Bounce Back Arts, as local artistic lead, developed. Local stakeholder knowledge and community feedback have all been taken into account to help build the lighting design with designers Tonkin Liu. Dorset Coastal Connections is a partnership portfolio supported by the Coastal Communities Fund.

Please note refreshments will not be provided.

You can find out more information on the lighting scheme, including final cost, financial contributions and lighting programme here.

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Categories: Dorset

A354 drainage works

Dorset For You - Thu, 12/05/2019 - 15:22

From Monday 9 December, for two weeks, Dorset Highways will be upgrading drainage on the A354, Milborne St Andrew.

There will be two-way traffic signals on the A354 through the village from Monday 9 December to end of Thursday 12 December. These will be in place 24 hours a day due to the works area in the road.

On Friday 13 December there will be three-way lights on the A354, Dorchester Hill, and its junction with the road to Dewlish. These lights will be in place from 9am to 3.30pm on Friday 13, Monday 16, Tuesday 17 December.

On Wednesday 18, Thursday 19 and Friday 20 December two-way lights be on the A354 just outside Milborne St Andrew, because this work will be at the edge of the road the signals will be in place 9am to 3.30pm.

Please be patient as there will be some delays to your journey while this work is carried out.

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Categories: Dorset

Swanage safety improvements set to start

Dorset For You - Thu, 12/05/2019 - 12:11

Work will start in January to improve the safety of Institute Road and enhance the pedestrian experience along the busy route.

Dorset Council and Swanage Town Council have been working together for a number of years to develop a scheme that balances the needs of businesses, residents and visitors to the town, with the options discussed at drop-in sessions during June 2018.

Residents’ and businesses’ feedback from the sessions has been incorporated into the design where possible.

The work will eradicate long-running safety concerns of heavy vehicles mounting busy pavements to pass vehicles in the loading bay by widening pavements, raising the pavements to full height and removing the loading bay. New loading bays will be introduced at either end of Institute Road.

Kate Tunks, Service Manager for Infrastructure and Assets, said: “It’s been difficult to design a solution that provides everybody with what they would like but there is no questioning the fact that the pedestrian environment on Institute Road must be improved.”

On Monday 6 January work will start on Station Road to upgrade the pedestrian crossing to a puffin crossing and to widen the pavement to provide a shorter crossing point. This could take up to three weeks, depending on gritting duty demands, but will be completed without the need for traffic control.

From Monday 27 January the gang will move into Shore Road to rebuild the traffic island so that traffic will be able to safely pass the new loading bay on Institute Road, this will take one week but may need some traffic control.

On Monday 3 February kerbing on High Street will be changed in preparation for the reversal of Kings Road East, with the altered kerb alignment allowing drivers to turn right onto High Street.

The main works on Institute Road are currently planned to start on Monday 10 February. At this point, the road will close to vehicles. There will be no vehicle access along Institute Road throughout the work due to its narrow width and the work needed to widen the pavements. Pedestrians will be unaffected. This phase of work will take 16 weeks.

Work on Institute Road includes building new kerb lines, installing new drainage systems and rebuilding the pavements up to their new, higher level. This is taking place along the length of the road and on both sides of the carriageway.

Kate continued: “We know that closing Institute Road to traffic will require residents and businesses to adapt but there is no other way to get the work done, and we’re doing what we can to keep the town accessible for shoppers.

“The one-way flow on Kings Road East will be reversed to ensure drivers can still get into the heart of the town, and High Street will become two-way with the help of temporary signals. Smaller, local roads will become busier as drivers look to avoid the closure and we’d ask for your patience during these months.

“We’ll be ensuring that Institute Road is left safe and tidy to provide good access during Easter and the May Bank Holiday weekends.”

The Institute Road improvements will cost around £450,000 and are being funded by Dorset Council, Swanage Town Council and Section 106 money from developers.

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Categories: Dorset

Change in senior leadership at Dorset Council

Dorset For You - Tue, 12/03/2019 - 18:00

Sarah Parker, Executive Director for People – Children, has resigned from her role in order to carry out other work outside of Dorset. Sarah will leave Dorset Council at the end of December.

Sarah joined Dorset County Council at the end of January this year and became the new council’s first Executive Director for People – Children.

Sarah said:

“It’s been a privilege to work with the fantastic children, young people and families of Dorset. I wish them and colleagues at Dorset Council all the very best for the future.”

Matt Prosser, Chief Executive of Dorset Council, said:

“Sarah has made a huge impact on the new Dorset Council. She has brought an incredible amount of passion and energy, and is dedicated to achieving the best outcomes for children and young people. Although she’s leaving Dorset, we are committed to delivering her legacy and putting children at the centre of our decision making. This remains a priority for Dorset Council.”

In the short-term, Children’s Services will be led by Theresa Leavy, who will fill the statutory role of Director of Children’s Services. Theresa is an experienced leader of Children’s Services and led transformation programmes for several local authorities, including Cambridgeshire and Wiltshire. Theresa is already supporting the council with its own children’s services transformation programme, known as Blueprint for Change. Theresa has also worked for Ofsted, which inspects children’s services and schools across the country.

Matt added:

“Theresa Leavy has a great track record in leading children’s services during times of change, including in Wiltshire – which has gone through the process of becoming a unitary council. She has a played a key role in our Blueprint for Change programme and I’m grateful that she’s able to take on this leadership role while we agree the best way forward.”

Sarah added:

“We’ve worked really hard to create an ambitious vision for Children’s Services and I have complete faith in Theresa taking this forward. I’ll know she’ll lead this work with great passion and make sure the needs of children are put first.”

Ends

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Categories: Dorset

Social workers shortlisted for top national awards

Dorset For You - Mon, 12/02/2019 - 15:24

Two social workers from Dorset were shortlisted for prestigious awards in recognition of their outstanding work in supporting vulnerable adults.

Linzi Gow, Specialist Manager with the Adult Access Team at Dorset Council was selected for Team Leader of the Year – Adult Services and Tilly Bowden, a social worker, was selected for Adult Social Worker of the Year.

They attended the annual Social Worker of the Year Awards at a national awards ceremony in London on Friday 29 November.

The awards were organised by The Social Work Awards charity, which aims to improve public awareness and understanding of social work by showing the positive impact of social workers in the wide range of roles they undertake.

Mathew Kendall, Executive Director for Adults Services at Dorset Council said:

“Linzi and Tilly are both exceptional social workers. Their commitment to helping others, both in their teams and the residents they work with, is second to none, as the testimonies in support of their nominations can prove.

“Linzi and Tilly are well respected in everything they do. They both want to enhance and share their social work experiences. We’re really proud of them and wholeheartedly supported their nominations for the Social Worker of the Year awards”.

Both Linzi and Tilly made it to the final six in each of their categories, and received certificates of recognition.

Find out more about the awards

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Categories: Dorset

Affordable housing boost for North Dorset

Dorset For You - Mon, 12/02/2019 - 14:27

Up to 46 new affordable homes have been approved following the Dorset Council Northern Planning Committee meeting on 19 November.

A development including 18 affordable homes in Okeford Fitzpaine and a development including 28 affordable homes in Sturminster Newton are set to go ahead bringing much needed affordable housing to the county.

A development of 45 new houses, 18 of which provide affordable housing options are to be built on disused poultry farm in close proximity to the village of Okeford Fitzpaine, helping to meet the five year housing supply detailed in the Dorset Local Plan.

One of four main towns in Dorset identified for growth in the core spatial strategy policy, Sturminster Newton is considered a sustainable location for new development and supports Dorset Council in meeting the affordable provision across North Dorset. The development of 114 homes will provide 28 affordable homes to the town, with a tenure split of 70/30 affordable rent/shared ownership and will offer a mix of one bed flats and two to five bed houses.

Hannah Smith, Dorset Council Area Manager, Planning and Community Services, said: “The resolution to grant planning permission set out in the planning applications not only means we can secure 46 affordable homes to North Dorset, but supports Dorset Council in meeting the housing requirements set out in the local plan.”

“Developments such as these will greatly benefit those who are unable to get onto the housing ladder especially young families in rural areas, whilst also benefiting those already living in the community through use of local amenities”.

You can visit www.openingdoorsdorset.co.uk for more information on affordable housing in Dorset.

Opening Doors is a Dorset Council initiative to tackle housing need with the aim of encouraging the construction of 20,000 homes by 2033.

 

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Superfast broadband switch helps RNLI Swanage save lives at sea

Dorset For You - Fri, 11/29/2019 - 12:55

Superfast Dorset is urging more businesses to check if they can get superfast or full fibre broadband to help them improve their overall performance and customer service.

More than 97 per cent of homes and businesses can now get superfast broadband and 60 per cent connected through the programme have taken a service. These faster, more reliable connections mean everyone can be online at the same time, have quicker downloads, TV and films on demand and video calling can operate without the annoying lag.

Three per cent of Dorset premises can get full fibre broadband which provides gigabit-capable connectivity – the fastest available anywhere in the UK – with more becoming available every month

Matthew Galley, Partnership Director, Openreach said: “We’ve worked really hard with our partners at Dorset Council to bring better broadband to thousands of homes and businesses in the county. Recent research shows that connecting everyone in Dorset and the wider South West to full fibre broadband would create a £4.3 billion boost to the region’s economy by unlocking smarter ways of working, better public services and greater opportunities for the next-generation of home-grown businesses.”

The recent move to full fibre has transformed the RNLI Lifeboat Station at Swanage, making it one of the best-connected lifeboat stations in the country. Its download service is 20 times faster than previously and its upload service is 50 times faster. The station regularly uploads video footage of the lifeboats battling the waves for the BBC2 documentary ‘Saving Lives at Sea’ which follows the men and women of the RNLI.

Photo Caption:  Made of the right fibre: the volunteers of the RNLI Lifeboat Station at Swanage busy saving lives at sea.

Dave Turnbull, station coxswain, said: “Until recently we had to put video hard drives in the post and now our volunteers can upload straight to the RNLI’s central video library. The new fibre connection has reduced the time it takes dramatically. It’s like the difference between light and dark.”

The station can now also download electronic chart updates quicker and hopes to add a live video camera feed so that people can check the weather before they go out to sea.

Dave said: “We are here to save lives at sea and if we can make some of the admin tasks our volunteers carry out quicker and easier that allows them more of their time to focus on lifesaving. We consider ourselves incredibly lucky to have a fibre to the premises service.”

To check if fibre broadband is already available in your area or if you are in our plans visit https://mapping.dorsetforyou.gov.uk/superfast/Checker

Check your speed at https://www.dslchecker.bt.com

Take a look at the new RNLI live webcam – https://www.swanagelifeboat.org.uk/webcam

If you need a little help using computers or the internet phone 01305 221048 and Superfast Dorset will match you with one of its Digital Champion volunteers in your area.

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Categories: Dorset

Weymouth beach work completed

Dorset For You - Thu, 11/28/2019 - 13:54

Work to replace sand on parts of Weymouth beach and improve flood protection has been successfully completed. 

Beach work in Weymouth to improve flood defences has been completed

Dorset Council used dump trucks and excavators to move sand from the southern end of the beach, near the Peninsula, to the northern end near Greenhill.

Sand was moved from the lower part of the beach, so there is no shortage of sand or loss of amenity near the Peninsula. The sand was then placed beneath the shingle at Greenhill, so the character of the beach has not been changed.

The work was done in co-ordination with Weymouth Town Council.

Rob Clarke, Dorset Council Engineer, said: “The sand we moved had naturally worked its way along the beach. We simply moved it back to provide better protection to more vulnerable sections of the beach wall. This has raised the beach level and created a wider crest.  This work is cost effective and contributes to the flood risk management of the town.”

The works were carried out in accordance with the Beach Management Plan.

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Dorset Council amends Climate Emergency declaration, panel hears progress reports and views from schoolchildren

Dorset For You - Wed, 11/27/2019 - 09:42

Last Friday (22 November), Dorset Council took the decision to amend its Climate Emergency, so it is now a ‘Climate and Ecological Emergency’ declaration.

The newly-titled ‘Climate Change and Ecological Emergency Executive Advisory Panel’ met on Friday afternoon to agree the change to their terms of reference, as well as discuss the work that has taken place so far and sit down with local students to discuss their thoughts on climate change.

Earlier this year members of the panel met with local activists to discuss the change to the wording of the emergency declaration so that the protection and enhancement of Dorset’s natural environment and wildlife biodiversity is also considered in the Council’s climate emergency mitigation work. While agreed in principle at the time, the panel needed to establish the formal process for making this change, which has now been applied.

The panel were then given feedback on Low Carbon Dorset’s recent Town & Parish Climate Emergency Advice Seminar (pictured), which took place on Tuesday 19 November.

The Low Carbon Dorset programme has received an influx of applications from town and parish councils who have declared a climate emergency and need help to develop a plan and deliver against their climate emergency declaration.  This event was an opportunity to get them all under one roof to provide guidance on creating a plan and give pointers on what they need to consider when responding to the emergency.

With over 100 attendees, the event was a great success. Presentations were warmly received, providing information on the climate emergency and what needs to be considered when creating a climate emergency plan. Soapbox sessions took place to provide ideas on what town and parishes could be doing through their services and/or influence over the community, and everyone had the opportunity to talk to the speakers to find out more about their topic area.

All attendees were sent a post-event feedback survey and a carbon foot-printing toolkit, the latter to help estimate the carbon footprint of their operations, assets and whole area. Officers will review the survey responses before planning their next actions.

The panel were also updated on the Council’s Task & Finish groups’ progress, covering four key areas of work (with a Leadership & Influence workshop to follow). Notable points and ideas included: –

  • Buildings – Accounts for over half of Dorset Council’s carbon footprint, so big opportunity for significant savings. Potential commissioning of energy surveys as part of office reviews. Investigation of policy changes, enforcing minimum standards for new projects, using Dorset Council Local Plan
  • Natural Environment – Establish an information hub with guidance on best practice. Maximise use of existing Biodiversity protocol and Pollinator action plan. Investigate how we can make better use of our county farms
  • Waste and Energy – Introduction of Single Use Plastic policy and better waste segregation across all Dorset Council sites. Commission study to look at how Dorset energy system could work. Investigate building our own renewable energy facilities
  • Transport – Lobby for a national plan on transport. Planning must reduce need to travel and encourage uptake of sustainable travel. Greener travel policies should be embedded in current key strands of work, including our Assets review, Local Transport Plan and Local Plan.

Officers also presented their timeline for a wide-reaching ‘Call for ideas’ engagement exercise, which will launch and be publicised as soon as the current purdah period is lifted. The aim is to allow the public to submit their ideas for tackling climate change, with a few selected to present directly to the panel early next year. Further details will follow in the coming weeks.

Finally, the panel sat with students from local schools to hear their views on climate impact and what could be done to tackle it. In an emotive session, councillors heard how young people felt that climate change is the most urgent problem humanity has ever faced and how they were fearful for the future, already changing their lifetime plans and ambitions considering a deteriorating climate.

There were concerns that the urgency of action needed to tackle climate change was not being emphasised in the current curriculum and that general awareness amongst the public needed to be improved. The children also spoke of how they wanted to see sustainable transport, tree planting, litter-picking and subsidisation of waste reduction and recycling schemes improved by the Council.

Panel members thanked the students for their time, reassured them that young people will continue to be listened to and that decisive action will be taken by Dorset Council to tackle climate change.

Antony Littlechild, Sustainability Team Manager at Dorset Council, said:

“The protection and enhancement of our natural environment has always been vitally important to Dorset Council and its predecessor organisations, so adding Ecology to our Climate Emergency declaration is a logical progression of our work. We cannot hope to improve our natural environment through carbon reduction alone, so we need to consider other management options also.

I’m really pleased with the continued progress of the panel and our Task and Finish groups. We’re developing some ambitious ideas that we’re looking forward to sharing with the public and the wider Council. It’s highly important that we take the time to ensure that our action plan is achievable, but please rest assured that we are working at pace and with real urgency.

I also think I speak for all councillors and officers who were there on Friday when I say that we were incredibly moved by what the students had to say about their fears regarding how climate change will affect their future. We will reflect on their remarks as we continue our work, making sure we set realistic but ambitious goals for reducing carbon emissions and preserving our natural environment.”

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Categories: Dorset

Ready to roll-out

Dorset For You - Tue, 11/26/2019 - 10:40

Winter is here and gritting crews are on standby to hit the road anytime of the day or night.

With over 13,000 tonnes of salt in stock to keep 684 miles of vital A and B road open this winter, Dorset Council is primed for a dip in temperature.

Last winter, gritters were sent out 54 times and used over 3,500 tonnes of salt. The season lasted longer than usual, with the first run on 30 October 2018 and the last run on 2 April 2019, but the overall amount of salt was lower than in 2017, when the Beast from the East took hold.

To keep residents and businesses moving, 23 drivers are on call for every 12-hour period, to salt the main gritting network and, in prolonged extreme temperatures, the community link routes.

In snow conditions, gritters will concentrate solely on priority north/south and east/west routes – 22 sections of road – to keep them clear of snow before then clearing the remaining A and B road gritting network, and then finally work on clearing community link roads.

However, in extreme snow conditions, our advice will always be to only travel if absolutely necessary.

Help salt work

Salt needs to be dissolved into a solution to work. When we grit, we need vehicles to travel on it and work it into a solution to ‘activate’ it.  If you travel early in the morning or are the first to drive on a gritted road, please drive with care.

Even on treated roads we can’t guarantee there won’t be ice. Rain can wash salt off the road, as well as water run-off from fields.

Drivers should drive to the conditions – reducing their speed and increasing their stopping distance – check that tyres, brakes and lights are in good working order and remember, even if gritters have been out, roads can still be slippy.

We avoid peak commuter times wherever possible.

Air temp Vs road temp

Why aren’t you gritting? Sometimes it feels cold but the road surface temperature can still be warm.

Early in the season the air temperature is often colder than the road temperature. This is due to still having longer days and the angle of the sun being able to warm the road surface – which is handily black to help attract that heat! This heat is then slowly released through the night and prevents ice from forming. The layers of a road hold on to the heat from the day longer than grassy areas/verges.

Later in the season, particularly January and February, the air temperature can be higher than the road surface temperature. This is due to the days being darker and the sun being lower- so the ground has less time during the day to capture any heat.

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Categories: Dorset

Innovation in Dorset

Dorset For You - Tue, 11/26/2019 - 10:30

A Dorset junction has been chosen to trial the latest signal technology.

Siemens, which supplies Dorset Council with all its signal equipment, started work on Monday 11 November to replace equipment at the A30 Greenhill/Coldharbour/Bristol Road signalised junction.

Although the physical appearance of the junction will remain the same, the new signal heads contain the latest technology, which isn’t released for sale yet but will become the next generation of signals. The signal poles will also be replaced during the three weeks work.

The equipment upgrade and installation of the signal heads is being provided by Siemens free of charge, with Dorset Council paying for the new signal posts and installation as part of its ongoing maintenance programme.

Kate Tunks, Dorset Council Highways Service Manager for Infrastructure and Assets, said: “We’re continually working with our contractors and partners to improve the materials, equipment and systems that we use.

“The equipment being trialled in Sherborne could lead the way for all future installations and it’s great that Dorset will have played a part in this.”

The new junction should be switched on this week (starting 25 November).

Next generation signals

Traditional traffic control systems use multiple cable connections between the signals and the traffic controller ‘computer’ by the side of the road.

The new system uses computer intelligence within the signals themselves to significantly reduce the number of individual cable connections, with the main benefit of speeding up construction time and reducing costs.

Full benefits include:

  • Less time on site
  • Less traffic management
  • Less disruption to drivers
  • Fewer cables
  • Fewer trenches needed for ducting
  • Reduced installation costs
  • Easier replacement
  • Better reliability (cable fault tolerance)

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Categories: Dorset

Keeping care and support local – a free information event

Dorset For You - Tue, 11/26/2019 - 10:20

Dorset Council is co-hosting an event showcasing local care and support projects available in Sturminster Newton and surrounding areas.

Prepare to live better banner

The emphasis is on making care and support more local and available within the community and will feature developments and a public space showcasing a range of local and county-wide offers that support health and wellbeing.

The free event has two main elements; a ‘speed presentation’ showcasing developments for key organisations or people who want to offer help and support on either a paid or voluntary basis; and a public exhibition displaying a range of local and county-wide offers that support health and wellbeing. These will include carers groups, workshop and activity co-ordinators, advice and guidance organisations, sight and hearing support, and technology to help people remain independent.

We are currently piloting two exciting new projects locally:

  • Community Catalysts, who support local people and groups to develop into micro providers able to offer care and/or support at a very local level, suitable for people who pay for their own care and those who receive Direct Payments, and
  • Tribe – A community ‘matching’ app which offers a platform for people to source help locally, and for organisations to make their services available. The event will be a soft launch for this app – which will provide information county-wide.

Mathew Kendall, Executive Director for Adult Social Care at Dorset Council said:

“There are so many ways to help people remain independent and stay safe and well within their own communities and we want to make sure people know about them.

“The types of services being showcased can help prevent or slow down the need for social care, can help carers to look after loved ones and can help the local community to keep support local.”

The event is taking place at The Exchange in Sturminster Newton on Friday 29 November, between 10am and 1pm and is open to anyone who is looking for care and support or thinks they can offer help, either paid or voluntary, to people in the local area.

For more information email adultscommissioningteam@dorsetcouncil.gov.uk or visit www.communitycatalysts.co.uk

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Categories: Dorset

The latest from of foster carer blog – The prelude to a foster carer, environmentally friendly Christmas

Dorset For You - Mon, 11/25/2019 - 16:07

R is one of these extraordinary children who puts all his rubbish in the bin and spends a lot of time trying to save the planet. He also would spend every waking hour using tons of electricity on the computer if we let him but hey we will let that one go.

R wants the whole family to stop adding to the plastic in the sea so we have agreed to make some presents and advent calendars this year and use brown paper and String to wrap them up. Unbeknown to me you can’t recycle shiny Christmas paper very easily.

My youngest daughter wants a  sylvanian shopping mall, R wants a train station and H wants all the computer computer consoles  in the world so we decided trying to make two out of three would be a good contribution to the environment.

So how hard can in be, well when you’re art teacher told you that you’d be the reason he’d quit teaching, you know you’ve got a challenge on your hands.

The boys and my middle daughter assisted with making clay food for the roof top restaurant, clay Nintendo switches for pc world and tables out of foam board for salon.

So on to the train station. That’s in between Christmas shopping for six children, my in laws foster children and 9 nieces and nephews!! Oh and a birthday for H next week. Honestly why would he have the audacity to be born so close to Christmas!

In other news I attended the ‘what’s it like to be a a child in care’ course run by two inspirational care leavers. So lovely to talk to and gain ideas from young people who’ve been there and got the T-shirt. Will be trying out there ideas if we are lucky enough to welcome another child soon.

Next week is vicar of Dibley starring my infamous (well in Swanage) husband and various other members of my family.

It’s also the last few weeks before panto starts it’s two week run so the boys are being fitted for their costumes and getting a little nervous. Please come and support my fabulous boys, Dick Whittington starts on the 10 January at the Mowlem theatre Swanage. It’s a not for profit organisation that my mum ran to help everyone from 8 to 80 to find confidence and friendship through the fun of the theatre. (Sorry shameful plug)

 

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Categories: Dorset

Full Council meeting: 21 November 2019 – Questions and answers

Dorset For You - Thu, 11/21/2019 - 20:18

These are the questions formally submitted by both the public and councillors at tonight’s Full Council meeting for November 2019, and the answers given.

Questions submitted for Public Participation Period Question 1: Submitted by Cllr David Harris (Weymouth Town Council)

“Will the council please reconsider its policy of charging residents for having disabled parking bays close to their accommodation which is both discriminatory, against the council policy of encouraging people to remain in their homes for as long as possible, and is asking residents to pay for something which they have no ownership of afterwards?”

Response from Cllr Ray Bryan

“Any applications for disabled bays or any changes to an existing Traffic Regulation Order have to be judged on their individual merits but any disabled bay on the highway can only be for general use rather than a personal dedicated bay.

It is by no means a given that an application for a disabled bay would be granted because it is dependent on a number of logistical factors.

The provision of disabled parking bays is discretionary, there is no statutory obligation for them to be provided on the public highway. I understand that there are a number of local authorities who do not offer the installation of disabled parking bays. Dorset Council recognises the benefit that disabled parking bays can have. However, there is no budget allocated to their installation which is why we charge for their installation; the charge also takes into account future maintenance costs. This approach is consistently applied across the Dorset Council area.

If an application meets with the policy criteria, but the applicant is not able to afford the installation charge, then I believe there are ways for the costs to be provided via a means test. I believe that this can be applied for via various charities, such as Age UK and/or Occupational Therapists.

While it is true that disabled parking bays (advisory or enforceable) can be used by any Blue Badge holder, they are typically well respected – particularly so in residential areas and if neighbouring residents are aware of the reason for the bay.”

Question 2: Submitted by Luke Wakeling

“A recent report published in BioScience magazine, warns that humanity is facing a catastrophic threat from climate change, including rising sea levels. The report is signed by 11,224 scientists from 153 countries.

I recently measured the height of the spring tide. Near Weymouth Lifeboat Station, the sea was just 12 inches from overtopping.

There are over 2,300 properties in Weymouth at risk of flooding from rivers and reas. What is Dorset Council planning to do and when, to defend our town from rising sea levels?

After the general election, I shall also be writing to our MP to ask how the government will be funding sea defences to protect our communities.

Regarding the current works underway to replace Wall D, I understand this is phase one of a £1.9M project to repair existing defences. The new shuttering is being installed at the same height as the old wall and, on the spring tide, the top of the new shuttering is less than 1 metre above the water level.

I am concerned that these works are insufficient, and there will be a need to increase the height of Wall D in the near future. Why aren’t we raising the wall height by at least a couple of feet as part of the current works?”

Responses from Cllr Ray Bryan

Response to Question 1

“Dorset Council engineers are aware of the need to raise flood walls around the harbour and eventually along the promenade over the course of the next 100 years, primarily due to sea-level rise and more severe storm events caused by climate change. Extensive modelling work has been carried out in conjunction with the Environment Agency to determine the future risk to the town. These studies were based upon UK Climate Prediction figures, the strategy document was carried out using figures from UKCP2018. ‘UK Climate Projections’ is a climate analysis tool that forms part of the Met Office Hadley Centre Climate Programme. More information about UKCP18 can be found at https://www.metoffice.gov.uk/research/approach/collaboration/ukcp/about and is the industry best-practice assessment of sea level rise and climate change predictions.

Weymouth & Portland Borough Council completed several flood risk modelling, strategy and asset condition studies in 2019 that highlight future flood risk and the requirement to manage it, within Weymouth. Within the harbour this is likely to require existing flood walls to be raised and new flood walls to be installed within 10 years in some locations, but not all. In reality this will probably occur when harbour quay walls are replaced or significantly repaired. The harbour may also require a tidal barrier in approximately 2060, but this will require further analysis of environmental factors such as sea level rise.

Along the coast, Dorset Council Coastal Engineers & the Town Council Beach Manager are using the newly developed Weymouth Beach Management Plan (BMP) in order to manage the beach more effectively as a coastal defence structure, alongside its existing amenity use. A set-back seawall along the promenade may not be required until 2060. The BMP also gives clear recommendations for coastal defence intervention over the coming decades.”

Response to Question 2

“Wall D, according to the aforementioned modelling we have undertaken, is already of a suitable height to act as a flood defence until at least 2065. The wall will require replacement in approximately 2070 and it would be prudent then to consider incorporating a flood wall into its design. The strategy mentioned above shows the phasing of both replacing and raising of the harbour walls, in larger sections. This shows that some wall sections require raising now in order to maintain the required standard of protection, whilst others are able to wait for another round of wall replacement in approximately 2060

If sea level rise is significantly greater than currently predicted, then we could potentially raise the capping beam of the quay wall in order to form a flood defence structure. This will require additional design and we do not have a cost estimate for this eventuality at present.”

Question 3: Submitted by Laura Baldwin

“Members from Extinction Rebellion in Dorset were invited to attend a meeting on 10 June with Cllr Ray Bryan and officers from Dorset Council

The main thrust of the meeting included; sharing views on the climate emergency, exploring ways of working together and discussing existing and future plans and actions to address the climate and ecological crisis.

During this meeting XR requested the Council to amend the declaration made on 16th May to reflect the wider environmental crisis, (not just a focus on climate), adjusting it to a Climate and Ecological Emergency. There was commitment from Councillor Ray Bryan, supported by the Dorset Council team present, that this would be addressed through the required processes. The process was described as follows:

1. Check with the legal team if it was possible to make the amendment without consulting the Full Council of members, if this was not possible then

2. Ask members at the next Full Council Meeting for a vote on changing the declaration to a Climate and Ecological Emergency.

At a further meeting with Councillor Ray Bryan and a Dorset Council team on 5th August, members of XR asked Cllr Bryan for an update on the amendment. We were informed that as there had not been a Full Council meeting between the original request and this reminder there had been no opportunity to seek agreement from members on the amendment.

There was a Full Council Meeting on Thursday 18th July, but the item was not raised at this meeting.

Question: Is there any reason why the Council have not made this change, and any reason why this change cannot be agreed upon here this evening?”

Response by Cllr Ray Bryan

“Through our Climate Emergency work so far, we have established key themes and working groups related to the Services that Dorset Council provides. One of these groups is focused on the Natural Environment, and this group will be considering not only how green space owned and managed by Dorset Council may be used to reduce our carbon footprint, but also how our operations can be delivered to protect and enhance biodiversity. I am happy to amend the terms of reference for the Climate Change Executive Advisory Panel to include the ecological emergency and for this to happen with effect from the meeting of the advisory panel tomorrow.”

Question 4: Submitted by Caz Dennett

“At the Full Council meeting in July 2019, Cllr Clayton expressed his concern for the way in which considerable Council business and decisions are being pushed into Executive Advisory Panels. Panels which have no decision making power and which can effectively block the opportunity for Full Council to discuss, debate, review and make decisions. Adding to the potential reduction in democracy is the Panels’ lack of transparency and openness. The Climate Emergency Executive Advisory Panel appears to be operating “behind closed doors”. Meeting dates are hard to find, minutes are not published and meetings are not open to public viewing or to the press. This lack of transparency is a genuinely serious concern. Surely there is no need for Dorset Council’s Climate Change Panel to be so covert. Is there any good reason why the Panel’s meetings cannot be viewed by the public either in person (preferred) or as the very minimum through a video live stream or video recording in order to improve transparency and public trust?”

Response by Cllr Ray Bryan

“There appears to be some misunderstanding and suspicion around Dorset Council’s Executive Advisory Panels – or EAPs and also some misunderstanding about how decisions are made within Dorset Council. I’m glad to have the opportunity to clarify.

Dorset Council decision making is transparent. Decisions are made by the full Council, by the Cabinet or a Committee and those decisions are made after publishing the date, time and agenda for the meeting and are almost always made in public. Only on an exceptional basis, for instance when we are considering an individual’s personal information or something that is commercially sensitive, will we meet in private.

EAPs have been set up to look at a range of issues and topics across the council. They are not decision making meetings. Instead they are advisory meetings led by a Portfolio Holder on a specific issue. The panels are made up of councillors with particular skills, knowledge or interest in a subject area and they are supported by officers with the relevant knowledge and by anyone else that the Cabinet member believes may be able to contribute to the work of that EAP.

The use of EAPs to explore and develop policy ideas on a ‘task and finish’ basis is standard practice in local government and is used primarily for councillors and officers to have free flowing discussions ahead of bringing any proposals to the more formal decision making structures of the council. They can make recommendations which will then be taken to the appropriate committee, Cabinet or Full Council for discussion, debate and review, enjoying the same level of openness and transparency as any other decision made by the Council.

We have to be realistic about how we go about developing policy and bringing about real change in areas as complex as climate change or any of the other areas for which we have established Executive Advisory Panels. A formal full Council meeting of 82 people in this chamber or a meeting of the Cabinet with its very wide remit are not the right places to consider from scratch the detail of the impacts of alternative policy proposals and to hear detailed evidence and opinion.

Executive Advisory Panels are not about blocking discussions or debate. Quite the opposite. The Climate Change Executive Advisory Panel that I chair, has already invited outside organisations to speak directly to us at meetings. As soon as purdah ends we will be launching an extensive call for evidence from members of the public so they can contribute to our work. We have recently published information on the panel in our Dorset Council News magazine, which is posted to over 200,000 Dorset households.

We have published information after each Climate Change EAP meeting to keep everyone up to date with our work and we have uploaded supporting documents on our Climate Emergency webpages online. And I know that I speak for everyone on the panel when I say we are always more than happy to discuss our work with members of the public.

These are not the actions of a group that is operating in a “covert” manner.

Councillors working on Executive Advisory Panels need to be able to concentrate on hearing and considering the evidence so that we can develop proposals for change. A public meeting with large numbers of individuals and different groups all clamouring to bring forward their own proposals is not the right forum to do that. I therefore do not support opening up the meetings to public attendance.

The Climate Change Executive Advisory Panel is simply doing what we are expected to do in our capacity as Dorset councillors and officers. We will continue to keep Dorset residents up to date with our work and when we bring forward our proposals individuals and groups will be able to engage with the outcome of our work just as they would with any other aspect of the Council’s decision-making process.”

Question 5: Submitted by Amy Smith

“267 Councils in the UK have declared a climate emergency; of these 74% have stated a target date to reach zero carbon emissions, 26% are currently undecided including Dorset. The majority, 62% have stated a target of 2030 or sooner. Will the Leader of the Climate Emergency Executive Advisory Panel Councillor Ray Bryan inform the Council and Dorset residents the target date that is being set by Dorset Council? Will he please confirm that Dorset will join the 62% rather than setting our goals to only achieve the lowest-level performance, thus reflecting his confidence in Dorset’s ability to “change the way we deliver services, and take action decisively and with real impact”?

Response by Cllr Ray Bryan

“I understand the benefits of setting targets in providing urgency and impetus to seek solutions that will enable us to meet a carbon zero position. However, I am keen to ensure that any targets that are set are realistic, where possible taking into account the evolving technology which will be necessary to meet our aim and considering the investment which will be necessary from the Council and Central Government. Council Officers are currently working on themed areas of work and will be developing action plans to be presented as part of a climate change strategy next April. At this stage we will have a clearer idea of a sensible target date for meeting our zero-carbon goal.”

Questions from Councillors Question 1: Submitted by Cllr Les Fry (to be asked by Cllr Bill Pipe)

“Safeguarding our vulnerable people is a key priority for all of us here in Dorset. Working in partnership is always more efficient and cost effective to achieve this outcome. Working in close collaboration, sharing information with the ability to be dynamic with responses to protect people has to be the way forward, especially given that County Lines is a significant threat, risk and harm here in Dorset.

Dorset currently has pan Dorset Strategies for Child Sexual Exploitation, Slavery and Vulnerability issues, as well as a pan Dorset MASH (Multi Agency Safeguarding Hub).

The two Unitaries have announced that they are in process of creating two separate unitary solutions for safe guarding. Indeed Dorset Council has already withdrawn its staff from the MASH.

I understand that this decision was around CAROLE (Children at risk of/or linked to Exploitation)

This extremely disappointing decision taken without the knowledge of members has caused a fragmentation of the system, creating staffing and communication challenges for all public services involved in Safe guarding. For example the Police now have to find more officers for two units instead of one.

Safe guarding is paramount for all our people here in Dorset, especially our children, the elderly and the vulnerable and to have two different policies in Dorset is completely unacceptable and unworkable.

1. How did this change come about?

2. When will the business case and costings for these single Safe Guarding units (that will have submitted to the portfolio holder) be coming to full council for ratification? “

Response by Cllr Andrew Parry:

Following the JTAI in May 2018 the CAROLE (Children at Risk of Or Linked to Exploitation) Model was created and implemented. This is a Pan Dorset partnership response, led by Dorset Council as part of our Written Statement of Action.  All partners have been fully engaged in the development of the model. However there is not a pan Dorset strategy as the question suggests.

Although BCP were, during the development stage, keen to apply the model, they have now decided to implement alternative ways to address child exploitation. The CAROLE model continues to be in place in Dorset across the safeguarding partnership. The model relies on continues collaboration, multi-agency working and a dynamic response to the increasing risks to children and their families from the criminal exploitation of children.

The CAROLE Model is not exclusively a MASH function. The Moderation Meetings are held in the MASH, but the significant work undertaken to manage and reduce risk to children is through the locality work with partners outside of the MASH.

Although Dorset and BCP have been co-located in Poole, there has never been a pan Dorset MASH. Each Council has continued to work entirely independently of each other since moving to the Poole location in early 2017.

Dorset Council has now relocated the staff operating the ‘front door’ to Dorset Council Children’s Services into a more central location in Dorset. These staff members are now having quality conversations with all partners who are worried about children to ensure that the right support is in place to meet need at the earliest opportunity. This is not work previously undertaken by the partners in the MASH. The introduction of the Children’s Advice and Duty Service allows for shared decisions to be made with partners who have direct contact with children in the community, ensuring early help is in place and reducing the need for what is often intrusive and unnecessary social care intervention. This improvement in practice was not linked to the CAROLE model.

The MASH continues to be in place in Poole and a Social Work manager continues to work alongside Police and health colleagues to ensure information is shared and decisions jointly made with a small number of children at most risk. There continues to be Strategy Meetings and Child Exploitation Meetings held in the MASH daily, chaired by the social work manager as was previously the case.

We are continuing to speak with MASH partners about how we further develop the very positive and valuable work the MASH has been doing for the last 3 years alongside the improved front door arrangements through the Children’s Advice and Duty Service.  We are very pleased to have been receiving some very positive feedback from partner professionals, particularly schools about the improved service to our children.

The Children’s Advice and Duty Service is the name we have given to our front door arrangements and although we have improved the way we work with our partners by no longer expecting them to complete a lengthy referral form, and are now having conversations about partners’ concerns and worries about children, we have not changed the way we are working with children and families.

Although we have changed location of the service from Poole to Wareham, as the service is provided through telephone and email correspondence, again, there has been no impact on residents of Dorset.   We have developed the service working with renowned child protection expert, Professor David Thorpe, Lancaster University and his team. The model of evidence based and has been implemented in over 20 other Councils.  We visited Norfolk to see the model in operation and were impressed by the success after only 12 months. Ofsted have recently completed a Focussed Visit in Norfolk and were positive about the changes they saw.

As the changes were made to improve the current service with no negative impact on residents, and no additional cost, there was no requirement for formal approval from councillors. We have however been talking to councillors and our partners about the changes through various channels such as the Strategic Alliance and Corporate Parenting Board. There has been discussion with Chief Superintendent Ben Hargreaves from Dorset Police (as the Police Safeguarding Partnership Lead), and he shares our aspiration to further develop the MASH function, whilst ensuring we offer an improved service to all our partners.

There has been an immediate annual saving of over £300,000 through realignment of staff. It is anticipated that there will be further significant savings through a reduction in the number of unnecessary social work assessments, reduction in children needing to be made subject of child protection plans and coming into care as the model embeds and early help is in place to ensure children receive the right help, and the right time.

Question 2: Submitted by Cllr Brian Heatley

“The Review of Polling Arrangements proposes that the approximately 1400 non-postal voters of part of Weymouth West, ROD3, should have to go to a polling station outside that Polling District. This contravenes the excellent principle set out in the paper before Council tonight that where possible polling stations are allocated centrally to residential areas to keep travel to a minimum.

It is suggested in the review that because turnout from the polling district was relatively high in the May 2019 election when there was no polling station in the ward, voters are prepared to travel further. Turnout did hold up, but an alternative explanation is that this is a ward where there has been a very lively political contest in most recent years.

Please could you reconsider this decision and undertake to make a serious effort to find a new polling station in a large polling district which on the face of it contains a number of alternative possibilities.”

Response by Cllr Spencer Flower, Leader of Council

“Electors in the ROD3 polling district previously voted at St Nicholas Church Hall in Buxton Road. When this venue became unavailable, the Electoral Services Team made arrangements for the polling station to move to The Old Castle Inn. However, having set this up and made all the necessary arrangements, they were advised not long before the poll in May that The Old Castle Inn had closed. The decision was made that due to the short notice to make other arrangements, the polling station would be moved to the Weymouth South Scout HQ on Rylands Lane, just outside of the polling district.

During the public consultation period for the Polling Place Review, 2 comments were received from Dorset Council members in respect of the distance the electorate had to travel to be able to vote. Two alternative locations were suggested. One of these was The Old Castle Inn which the Team had previously tried to utilise, and the other was a school. However, as turnout was actually higher at the May elections than in previous polls during the last few years, and no complaints had been received from electors in respect of this polling station, no changes were proposed.

I have asked the Electoral Services Team to review the arrangements for this polling district in the New Year to ascertain whether there is a suitable alternative venue with appropriate facilities for the staff working at the station and that is accessible for local electors.”

Question 3: Submitted by Cllr Louie O’Leary

“Weymouth has either the highest or one of the highest car park fees in the county it costs for 4 hours £4 and that goes to £5 in the summer and while in Dorchester it is £4 all day or 2.60 for up to 3 hours. With Weymouth’s high street suffering and with such high levels of deprivation in Weymouth how is it meant to compete with other towns? Now we are one council one authority surely Weymouth deserves a better deal and a standard balanced rate county wide.”

Response by Cllr Ray Bryan

“It is recognised that following the inception of the Unitary Authority on 1st April there are a number of anomalies relating to both the cost of parking and hours of charging across the Dorset Council Area.

There is a working group already actively looking at three particular strands relating to this subject with a view to simplifying and harmonising cost of parking, charging hours, special permit including resident permits.

We are also looking at whether there is a need for a differential between Coastal Towns and Villages and Market Towns and Villages.

As we are now a single Council we will be looking at the potential for a Monthly and Yearly permit that allows residents and visitors the potential to park in any area of this council.

In addition we will be looking at the provision of electric car charging spaces in the majority of our car parks.

The working group is meeting twice-weekly at this stage to facilitate the process and enter into dialogue with key stakeholders.
It is hoped that users of car parks will benefit from a much simpler and consistent pricing structure across all of the Dorset Car Parks once the project is completed.

I thank Cllr O’Leary for his question and his passion for representing his constituents and I hope that my response will show that all of Dorset Councils area is considered special and will be treated as such.”

Question 4: Submitted by Cllr Bill Trite

“In view of this Council’s recognition of the importance of village halls to local communities – including the role village halls play in improving social cohesion and combating rural isolation – can the Leader confirm that there are no plans to remove or reduce the present level or levels of discretionary rate relief for charity-based village halls in Dorset?”

Response by Cllr Spencer Flower, Leader of Dorset Council

“Members approved a Discretionary Rate Relief policy for Dorset Council at its meeting of Cabinet on 3rd September 2019. The policy takes into account the various policies that had previously existed across the predecessor billing authority areas, government guidance and key stakeholder feedback, having regard to developing a consistent approach moving forward.

Members raised questions regarding any negative impact on the organisations already in receipt of support and were advised that the policy looked to target support to those organisation which make a maximum contribution towards the community. It was anticipated that the majority of existing recipients would continue to receive Discretionary Rate Relief.

With regard specifically to village halls, a number currently receive 20% discretionary rate relief in addition to any mandatory rate relief awarded. It is recognised that well
maintained village halls have enormous benefits to rural communities and it was agreed to continue to award 20% discretionary rate relief as a top up to the mandatory relief to those halls that are managed by registered charities with open access policies.

Revenues & Benefits have recently invited applications from all current recipients of Discretionary Rate Relief, as all awards currently end on 31st March 2020. As long as the village halls make an application for the relief for the 2020/21 financial year and continue to meet the criteria, there will be no detriment.

The adopted policy, however, is due for review during 2020 in accordance with the portfolio holder’s suggestion to ensure that the new policy is fit for purpose.”

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Categories: Dorset

Beach work set to start in Weymouth

Dorset For You - Thu, 11/21/2019 - 17:45

Work to replace sand on parts of Weymouth beach and improve flood protection will begin next week. (26/11)

Beach work will begin in Weymouth to improve flood defences

Dorset Council will use dump trucks and excavators to move sand from the southern end of the beach, near the Peninsula, to the northern end near Greenhill.

The sand will be moved from the lower part of the beach. This means there will be no shortage of sand or loss of amenity near the Peninsula. The sand will then be placed beneath the shingle at Greenhill, so the character of the beach will not be changed.

The work is expected to take two days and is being done in co-ordination with Weymouth Town Council.

Rob Clarke, Dorset Council Engineer, said: “The sand we are moving has naturally worked its way along the beach. We are simply moving it back to provide better protection to more vulnerable sections of the beach wall.

“This will raise the beach level and create a wider crest. This is a more cost effective way of protecting the promenade until we can deliver a more permanent solution”

The works are being carried out in accordance with the Beach Management Plan.

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Categories: Dorset

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