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Updated: 1 hour 35 min ago

It’s the final countdown! Two weeks until Dorset Council goes live

Mon, 03/18/2019 - 14:15

It’s just 14 days until the new Dorset Council begins to serve residents across the county.

On 1 April, Dorset Council will replace the existing district and borough councils (East Dorset, North Dorset, Purbeck, West Dorset, Weymouth & Portland) and Dorset County Council, all of which will cease to exist.

This reorganisation will bring together almost 5000 employees plus colleagues in education, making over 8000 in total, who will serve the 375,000 residents in the Dorset Council area.

A huge amount of work has happened behind the scenes to bring about this reorganisation of local government. This includes:

  • a boundary review for Dorset with new ward boundaries in place for elections on 2 May – moving from 206 councillors to 82 for the Dorset Council area
  • transferring Christchurch-based services to the new Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole (BCP) Council, including social care, libraries, community safety, leisure, housing and registration services
  • moving to a single financial system for the new council, including payments – so it’s easier for customers to pay council tax, business rates, parking fines, etc.
  • harmonised fees and charges across the county for planning, building control and regulatory services
  • a new constitution for Dorset Council, approved by shadow councillors
  • a new domain for the website: www.dorsetcouncil.gov.uk and emails (@dorsetcouncil.gov.uk)
  • new social media handles for Facebook, Twitter and Instagram (@dorsetcounciluk)

Dorset Council’s Chief Executive (Designate), Matt Prosser said:

“It’s been a challenge to disband six councils and create one unitary authority in the short amount of time available, but I’m delighted with our progress and want to thank all colleagues and elected councillors for their hard work and commitment. This is the right move for Dorset, enabling us to protect frontline services for residents by reducing back office duplication and management overheads. Like many councils across the country, all Dorset councils have faced significant budget pressures over recent years. By moving from six councils to one we can ensure our resources are used where they are needed most, to provide the day-to-day services Dorset residents rely on.

“It has not been an easy process and we’re having to make some difficult decisions, but everyone has really pulled together to make this happen. We hope that residents will see little or no change to services on day one. Bin days will be the same, we’ll continue to maintain roads, our libraries and parks will be open as usual and we’ll still be caring for our most vulnerable people.”

The council’s first budget – for financial year 2019-20 – ensures all existing council services continue unchanged and provides an increase in funding to a number of priority areas. Matt continued:

“Our first budget protects and invests in frontline services such as education, social care, waste collection and tackling homelessness. This wouldn’t have been possible without the reorganisation of our councils. We know that some residents are concerned that moving to a single unitary council might mean their local community receives less attention and representation. I’d like to reassure people that we’re aware of their concerns and addressing this will be a top priority for the new councillors. We’re really excited for day one and the opportunities the new council will bring for Dorset.”

After 1 April, Dorset Council will prepare for the local elections on 2 May when residents will be able to vote for the 82 councillors who will represent the new council area.

Find out more about Dorset Council www.dorsetcouncil.gov.uk/about

 

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Categories: Dorset

Scores of tourism businesses flock to Visit Dorset industry event

Mon, 03/18/2019 - 09:24

More than 100 people attended an industry event hosted by Visit Dorset which aimed to share top tips to boost their success within the tourism sector.

Small business owners and teams from firms based across the county attended Visit Dorset’s Meet the Experts event, which took place at Kingston Maurward on Thursday, March 7. The event was open to current and potential future members of Visit Dorset who wanted to hear from a line-up of tourism experts about a variety of topics including accessibility, photography and videos, business mentoring, and award entries.

The Visit Dorset Team gave an update to their members on the successful Dorset marketing campaigns over the past 12 months, as well as how to ‘maximise your Visit Dorset website listing.’ Attendees also heard from Ross Calladine, Head of Business Support at VisitEngland, who talked about making a business accessible and growing your business using VisitEngland’s free online resources.

Nick Thornley on behalf of the Visit Dorset team said: “We were thrilled to welcome businesses from Weymouth to Christchurch to our Meet the Experts event. It is the first time that we have hosted an event of this kind, following our successful digital roadshows, and it was great to be able to give something back to those businesses who welcome in the visitors to our county. We had a great turnout and we have had some fantastic feedback from those who attended.”

Martin Curtis, owner of Jurassic Coast Guides, spoke about starting his own business three years ago and his work with Visit Dorset. He also spoke about being named as one of 10 finalists from across the UK in VisitEngland’s Tourism Superstar 2019 competition, after being nominated by the Visit Dorset team.

Other speakers included Lyn Martin, owner of Dorset House B&B, who gave her top tips for running a successful accommodation business and encouraged attendees to put themselves forward for the Dorset Tourism Awards after her own success at the 2018 event. Nick Gregory from the Dorset Growth Hub highlighted the free support, workshops and training that is available for small tourism businesses in Dorset, with skilled specialists on hand to help you on a wide range of topics.

One of the event’s attendees, Emily Freeman, marketing manager at South Lytchett Manor Caravan and Camping Park, said: “It was a fascinating afternoon of networking and discussion with businesses coming from all across Dorset. We particularly benefited from the discussion on accessibility by Ross Calladine of VisitEngland and exploring the new VisitEngland digital toolkit to help online growth in a fast moving digital era. We were re-assessing our accessibility page on our website before we had even left the event.”

For more information about the Visit Dorset Team, including details on membership benefits, go to http://www.visit-dorset.com

The Visit Dorset Tourism Team comprises of local authority tourism officers from the district and borough councils of Christchurch, East Dorset, Purbeck, North Dorset, West Dorset and Weymouth & Portland and represents over 600 private businesses. Visit http://www.visit-dorset.com for more information.

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Categories: Dorset

Largest Dorset school STEM event kicks off with a ‘Big Bang’

Fri, 03/15/2019 - 16:47

The first Big Bang science and engineering fair for Dorset children was held at the Tank Museum on Wednesday 13 March.

1,700 primary and secondary students arrived to see over 30 exhibitors showcasing the latest use of technology and science in the industry, making it the biggest event of its kind in the county to date.

14 secondary schools attended in the morning, and 13 primary and middle schools came for the afternoon session. They had a chance to get involved in interactive workshops and theatre shows, as well as learn about what a career in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) could be like.

Organisers held competitions to encourage students to get hands-on with their own STEM projects before the day.

Senior school age children took part in an innovation competition, while primary age children were asked to design a responsibly sourced lunchbox.

The winners are as follows:

Secondary Winners Name of School Name of prize Project name The Thomas Hardye School Best Overall Project Land Rover 4×4 in Schools – Panthers Shaftesbury School Highly Commended Project Using Technology and Engineering to solve the schools recycling problem. Bournemouth School Highly Commended Project What size sprint spike is the best for sprinting? Queen Elizabeth’s School Most Innovative Project Magnetic Levitation ‘The Transport of the Future.’ Bournemouth School Best Presentation What flour is best for making bread? Shaftesbury School Best Presentation Using Google expeditions AR to transport students to threatened environments such as the Great Barrier Reef Primary Winners (Lunch Box) Holy Trinity Primary School Best Overall Project Hygienic Chopsticks Holy Trinity Primary School First Runner Up Munch Holy Trinity Primary School Second Runner Up Team Healthy

Overall winner Thomas Hardye school will now be entered into the national Big Bang competition.

Rosie Knapper, Senior Advisor for Schools and Learning at Dorset County Council said: “Events like this can really help children and young people get a hands-on taste of what a career in STEM could look like. They can see first-hand what skills and expertise they will need to be successful when they join the world of work.

“For primary-aged children, the chance to take part in fun activities that help challenge stereotypes and broaden horizons can help them to make the link between what they are learning in school and the wider world.

“Events like this also highlight the importance of supporting local employers to find their future talent.”

Organised by Dorset County Council and hosted by the Tank Museum, Big Bang South West will return to the Tank Museum next year, promising another line-up of inspiring exhibitors, as well as local and national businesses showcasing a wide range of STEM-related careers information.

The Big Bang Fair is part of a programme of UK-wide events aimed at getting children interested in Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths and showing them the career opportunities available in STEM.

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Categories: Dorset

The Dorset Waste Partnership – Past, Present and Future

Fri, 03/15/2019 - 13:57

There’s been a few things said in the press lately about the Dorset Waste Partnership coming to an end this year. While this is technically true, I feel it’s important to clarify what’s happening and look back upon what has ultimately been a highly successful collaboration.

Over a decade ago, Dorset’s councils had an aspiration to work more efficiently together to make savings for the public purse, rather than looking at waste collection services and waste disposal services in isolation.

Single Collection System

For the benefit of the Dorset council-tax payer, we needed to replace 12 different collection schemes across the county – delivered by six different councils – with ONE consistent service.

The Dorset Waste Partnership (DWP) was formed, bringing together all seven councils within the shire county of Dorset. This included the waste disposal authority – the county council – and six waste collection authorities – Dorset’s borough and district councils.

The county council acted as the host authority of the DWP, employing staff and providing support services such as HR, finance, procurement, IT, communications and customer services.

We implemented the kerbside service in five stages, starting in October 2012 and completed in October 2015, rolling out to 203,000 households over three years. It was a very challenging timetable and executed with little additional resource.  The roll-out areas were not based on district boundaries; they were chosen to provide the most efficient and cost-effective service as possible.

The kerbside ‘Recycle for Dorset’ bin collection service replaced the 12 previous schemes across Dorset with a ‘one size fits all’ approach. Even communal properties are offered the scheme in full.

The service consists of:

  • Weekly collection of cooked and uncooked food waste
  • Alternate fortnightly collections of recycling and rubbish
  • Optional, charged fortnightly garden waste collection

The DWP is governed through a Joint Committee (councillors) and supported by a Commissioning Group (senior officers from each partner council.) It was the first partnership of its kind and remains unique as the services are supplied in-house, and there is a single budget and staffing structure.

The partnership developed an innovative cost-sharing approach, which delivers best value for the Dorset taxpayer. Any savings achieved are shared with partners based on the cost sharing model. This helped councils focus on more than their own statutory obligations, looking at the bigger picture and the public purse.

Communications and education campaigns were launched alongside the service to provide essential clarity around how the service should be used and help change behaviour. The simplicity of the service meant that campaigns were easy to understand, and we invested in staff resource to support those who needed help adjusting to the new system.

After every stage the DWP held a ‘lessons learnt’ evaluation exercise where improvements were made wherever possible to all aspects of the roll-out process.

Infrastructure Developments

In 2015 we opened the Bridport Waste Management Centre, comprising of a Household Recycling Centre and Waste Transfer Barn.

The scheme was very carefully designed to be integrated into the natural landscape within the Dorset Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. It supports the surrounding biodiversity of a designated SNCI (Site of Nature Conservation Interest) with a detailed and ambitious landscape scheme that minimises its impact with careful design and material choices. As a public facility it presents a strong and positive sustainability agenda whilst providing much needed local amenity with excellent work and user environments.

More recently we began work on the Blandford Waste Management Centre and waste transfer station, which will replace the existing site located on Blandford Heights Industrial Estate.

Operational efficiencies and improvements in Street and Highways Cleansing

In 2014, we decided to take a more responsive approach to street cleaning, freeing up resources to focus on problem areas, and consulted with stakeholders to identify local needs.

By sharing depots, vehicles and staff and enabling cross-boundary collections we have maintained a high level of street and highway cleanliness. Working closely with Dorset County Council’s Highways team, we have been able to conduct litter-picking activities along high-speed roads during scheduled roadworks while adhering to Traffic Regulation Orders.

Rural road sweeping takes place as and when required, with daily sweeps in areas with high foot-fall and urban road sweeping generally on a 6 to 8-week schedule.

Performance and Satisfaction Ratings

Our recycling rates have increased each year since we began. From 29% back in 2003/04, latest figures from DEFRA show we’re up to 59.6%, putting us firmly in the top 3 comparable authorities in England.

Overall kerbside residual waste collected has decreased from 71% to 32%, while the amount of waste sent to landfill has also decreased from 71% to 16.8%

By diverting more waste away from landfill, we continue to save council funds – around £3.3m is being saved for local residents each year in comparison to the previous waste collection and disposal regime.

According to the latest edition of Eunomia’s Local Authority Recycling Carbon Index – which gives councils an alternative and arguably better measure of the environmental performance of their waste and recycling services – the Dorset Waste Partnership is the fourth best performing local authority, with 104 kg CO2 eq. saved per person in 2016/17.

In recent years the DWP has won a coveted National Recycling Award for Local Authority Innovation, recognising its effective partnership working (and unique cost sharing model) and for increasing recycling rates through the roll out of their kerbside service.

The Bridport Waste Management Centre has also won a Green Apple Environment Award for the Built Environment and Architectural Heritage, with the site recognised for the steps taken towards sustainability, including design and construction, restoration and regeneration. This was in addition to an Award for Excellence and a Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) South West award that the site had won previously.

The Dorset Waste Partnership has driven costs down through:

  • Joint procurement
  • Single management structure
  • Consistent communications across the county
  • Effective contract management

We have also generated income through a popular charged garden waste collection

(currently 48,000 customers, representing 22% of all households in Dorset) and competitive commercial waste services.

Our most recent Household Waste and Recycling Survey concluded: –

  • 88% of participants are satisfied with their collection service
  • 90% of participants are satisfied with the reliability of their collections
  • 80% of participants are satisfied with how clean and tidy their collections are

The future

But if everything is going so well, why is the Dorset Waste Partnership coming to an end?

All the sovereign councils that make up our partnership will cease to exist from 1 April 2019, and waste will become an executive function of the two new unitary authorities in Dorset:

  • Dorset Council
  • Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole (BCP) Council

The majority of DWP staff and assets will transfer to Dorset Council and continue to deliver the same services the same way we do now. For a transitionary period of one year, staff supporting Christchurch will transfer to Dorset, and then onto Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole Council from 1 April 2020.

This will provide BCP Council time to look at how they will provide waste services for Christchurch residents in the future.

We are also looking forward to continuing to work closely with BCP Council and forging closer ties to our neighbouring councils in the South West to find innovative solutions to common issues as such waste transfer and enforcement.

It’s been a long and exciting journey, but we’re not at the end just yet. I’ve no doubt that the dedicated politicians, staff and assets that make up the Dorset Waste Partnership, in whatever form it takes, will overcome future challenges and continue to achieve our primary goal; to deliver high quality services to Dorset residents while making savings for the taxpayer.

Karyn Punchard, Director of the Dorset Waste Partnership

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Categories: Dorset

Greenspace Team wins national award for ‘innovative’ verge management

Fri, 03/15/2019 - 13:12

Dorset County Council’s Greenspace Team has won the Environmental Services award in the prestigious national Local Government Chronicle (LGC) Awards.

The team came top out of eight shortlisted for its innovative, ecological approach to highway verge management.

In presenting the awards at Grosvenor House in London on Wednesday 13 March, judges said: “This entry demonstrated clear, innovative thinking to create an enhanced environment and deliver efficiencies and economic benefits.”

The maintenance of highway verges is an important but costly undertaking for local authorities. Maintenance is necessary for both safety and aesthetic reasons. With the squeeze on public finance, councils have much less money to satisfy the demand.

Dorset County Council has taken an innovative and ecological approach to managing its verges, reducing soil fertility through the collection of grass cuttings. It is also introducing species of flowering plants that restrict grass growth and ensuring low nutrient soils are used in road construction. The result is slow growing, beautiful wildflower verges that attract and sustain pollinating insects. It is also saving money as the verges require less cutting.

Matthew Piles, Service Director for Environment said:

“The LGC Awards represent the biggest celebration of excellence in local government, so I am extremely proud that three nominations from Dorset County Councils Environment Infrastructure and Economy Directorate were shortlisted for awards this year. The effective and innovative approach we take to service delivery here in Dorset is being recognised nationally, and for the teams delivering this work I couldn’t be happier.”

Hosted by comedian, actor and writer Hugh Dennis, this was the 23rd annual LGC Awards ceremony, which celebrates the best and brightest individuals and teams in local government. There were over 500 entries and 20 winners across various categories.

The winners of the awards were selected by panels featuring some of the country’s most respected council chief executives and other senior council officers who heard presentations and then interviewed representatives of the shortlisted councils.

Nick Golding, LGC’s editor, said: “Councils shortlisted for an LGC Award have proved themselves to be among the nation’s most innovative. At a time when communities nationwide are reeling from uncertainty and continuing austerity, we need to celebrate the local leaders – both council officers and councillors – without whose inspiring work our cherished local services would be even further diminished.

“All too often the depth of talent in local government is not sufficiently appreciated but the LGC Awards are unashamedly about celebrating those doing most to provide the services our communities require.”

To see the full winners’ list, click here.

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Categories: Dorset

Christchurch expresses condolences following the mosque shootings in Christchurch, New Zealand

Fri, 03/15/2019 - 13:11

The Mayor of Christchurch, Councillor Lesley Dedman, is leading a sincere message of condolence from the council to the borough’s twinned town in New Zealand. Christchurch in Dorset has been twinned with Christchurch, New Zealand since 1975 and the two places share a strong history.

Cllr Lesley Dedman, Mayor of Christchurch, said: “The borough of Christchurch is deeply saddened by the mosque shootings in Christchurch, New Zealand. We share a strong affinity with Christchurch, New Zealand, despite the miles that divide our twinned towns.

“Personally, I would also like to offer support to Lianne Dalziel, the current Mayor. This is a very dark time for the City of Christchurch and her message to ensure that this dreadful attack unites, and doesn’t divide us, is echoed in her twinned town in the UK.”

Sincere and heartfelt condolences are being sent, by councillors and officers, to the families and friends of those who have lost their lives.

As a mark of respect, the flag of Christchurch, New Zealand is being flown at half-mast outside the Civic Offices.

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Categories: Dorset

Durweston flood arches

Thu, 03/14/2019 - 17:05

This year, Dorset Highways will be undertaking major construction work to replace three flood arch structures on the A357 at Durweston.

Between each of the flood arches a series of embankments support the road, and together they form the causeway across the flood plain.

Recent inspections have identified that the flood arches are deteriorating at an increasing rate and should be replaced to improve the safety of road-users. The current brick arches will be replaced with around 30 pre-cast concrete units, each weighing 13 tonnes, which together will form the three new flood culverts.

Deterioration of the embankment slopes is also beginning to undermine the highway. These slopes will be re-graded during the project – with the footprint of the embankments widened and slope of the embankments slackened – to provide appropriate support for the road.

Dorset Highways will start building the site compounds and works access roads from Monday 18 March.

The arch replacement and embankment modifications will improve the safety of this section of A357 and lower ongoing maintenance costs for the council.

The half-a-million-pound scheme will be completed, with the compounds dismantled and access tracks removed, in September 2019.

What is the work?

Work consists of:

  • installing concrete foundations and scour protection for each of the new structures, on both sides of the highway
  • demolishing three bridge structures
  • building one bridge structure consisting of three adjoining pre-cast concrete culverts, with a total span of 11m
  • building one bridge structure consisting of two adjoining pre-cast concrete culverts, with a total span of 8m
  • building one bridge structure consisting of a single precast concrete culvert, with a total span of 3.6m
  • reprofiling 225m of embankment on both sides of the highway, these will be retained using gabion baskets
  • building new road surface, including providing 2m wide verge on both sides of the carriageway
  • installing new galvanised steel vehicle parapets for each of the new structures, and realigning 225m of existing iron rail fencing

The new precast reinforced concrete culvert units will be installed in the same position and on the same alignment as the existing arches. The height of the road and adjacent land will not change, but the footprint of the new structures will be wider than the existing ones so that new verges can be provided.

The embankment slopes will be re-vegetated with grass and the newly created verges will sown with a native grass/wildflower mix.

Will the road be closed?

For the majority of the work, there will be some short periods off-peak stop/go or temporary signals as required for deliveries and safe vehicle movements.

There will be a road closure on this part of the A357 from 22 June for four weeks – with a diversion route signposted along the A350.

The closure is needed as the road and flood arches will be demolished so the new culverts can be installed.

Cross section of two-arch structure – before and after work

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Categories: Dorset

Dedicated Purbeck volunteers honoured

Thu, 03/14/2019 - 16:40

Volunteers from across the District of Purbeck have received thanks and recognition for their hard work at a ceremony hosted by District Council Chairman, Bill Trite. Seventeen Purbeck towns and villages nominated volunteers who have made an invaluable contribution to the wellbeing of their communities.

The individuals were awarded with certificates at the annual event in Wareham. Since 2009, the event has celebrated the determination displayed by the many people who work tirelessly and selflessly to make our towns and villages better places in which to live.

The ceremony, held on 12 March 2019, was the 11th Purbeck District Volunteers of the Year ceremony; the outstanding achievements of over 150 individuals and groups have been recognised by the District Council during that time.

Councillor Trite, and a room packed with guests, heard of the energy, enthusiasm and commitment displayed by the volunteers.

Seventeen parishes and towns across the District nominated Volunteers of the Year 2018.

The volunteers of the year

  • Affpuddle and Turnerspuddle – Eve Badcock
  • Arne – Mr John Burgess
  • Bere Regis – Pat Wharf
  • Chaldon Herring – Jeremy Selfe
  • East Lulworth – Jenny Manuel
  • East Stoke and East Holme (joint nomination) – Jon Moulton, Joy Allen and Rachel Gamble
  • Langton Matravers – Marjorie Glassock
  • Lytchett Matravers – Linda Perry
  • Lytchett Minster and Upton – June Richards
  • Morden – Sarah Bowerman
  • Studland – Stephen Yeoman
  • Swanage – Alan Dominy
  • Wareham – Sue Dean
  • Wareham St Martin – Paul Eyles
  • Winfrith Newburgh and East Knighton – Pat Yonwin
  • Wool – Alan Osgood

Praise from Councillor Trite

After presenting each volunteer with a scroll to mark his or her achievement, Councillor Trite told them: “Sure enough, it’s been another year during which volunteering has become yet more important for keeping the fabric of our society together, for helping those in greatest need, and for maintaining the quality of local life. It’s my privilege to thank you for what you do in Purbeck, and through you to thank all Purbeck volunteers whom you are, in effect, representing. You’re the deserving tip of what is – thankfully – a proverbial iceberg. Thank you for the difference you make.

“Estimates I’ve found for the total value of volunteering in England vary between £23bn and £46bn. That’s a big variance, but even if the lowest estimate were the reality, it’s still a huge figure which wouldn’t be made up by any other means. And the highest rate of volunteering in England is to be found in the south-west.”

Councillor Trite continued: “Volunteers are critical to filling the gap between individual and community resources on the one hand, and those provided by the State (central and local government) on the other. Demands on the State are open-ended and governments have traditionally been reluctant to let taxation rip in order to meet it all. Volunteers are therefore essential.

“In just over two weeks we shall see the end of Purbeck District Council. I and my colleagues have put down the marker that we want to see this recognition of volunteers continued next year and thereafter, even if Westport House ceases to be used for local government purposes. I promise you that the new Dorset Council will be made to see the value of what has been done here in Purbeck, because it should rightly be extended to other areas rather than be allowed to lapse.”

Councillor Trite concluded: “Doing nothing for others is the undoing of ourselves. The ultimate test of character is what you are willing to do for those who can never be of any possible use to you.”

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Categories: Dorset

New sustainable green space set to open in Wimborne

Thu, 03/14/2019 - 16:36

East Dorset District Council has announced a brand new Suitable Alternative Natural Greenspace (SANG) is set to be opened in conjunction with the new Wimborne Chase development.

The next phase in the development of green spaces in East Dorset, the new site at Dogdean follows on from the success of Dorset’s first SANG, By- the-Way Field in Colehill.

Alongside the development of new homes and Wimborne First School over 11 hectares of green space will be developed for the residents of Wimborne and the wider community.

The site, which offers panoramic views over the centre of Wimborne, will include accessible paths, walking routes, and numerous fields containing quality wildlife habitats. It will also be protected by high quality fencing and will contain over 2 kilometres of paths, making it the perfect environment for family and dog walks.

Work to convert the current agricultural fields into recreational space for the community has already begun.  A ground-breaking ceremony took place on the site on Wednesday 27 February with Chairman of East Dorset, Cllr Toni Coombs, Cllr Barbara Manuel, Cllr Robin Cook as well as members of the Urban Heaths Partnership and local town planners in attendance.

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Categories: Dorset

Public warned to take extra care

Thu, 03/14/2019 - 16:15

This week’s rockfall at East Beach, West Bay has once again highlighted the dynamic and potentially hazardous nature of our coastline. 1000 tonnes of rock fell without warning, directly down onto the beach.

An assessment carried out on Wednesday morning by the Jurassic Coast Trust’s geological expert states that this section of cliff is currently in a condition where it is more susceptible to falls, especially following heavy rain and strong wind.

The public are strongly advised not to walk anywhere near the rockfall or the cliffs. The next rockfall could happen at any time and the stormy winter weather has further increased the likelihood.

Sam Scriven, programme manager for Heritage & Conservation with the Jurassic Coast Trust, who carried out the assessment, said:

“As with previous falls, there appears to be a relationship between more severe weather and this particular cliff failure; in this case heavy rain and a strong wind. I don’t think there can be any doubt that this section of cliff in general is currently in a condition where it is more susceptible to falls. My view is that we are experiencing an active period during a long cyclic pattern of erosion and there are many other parts of the cliff face that appear to be similarly vulnerable.”

West Bay is a stunning part of the Jurassic Coast World Heritage Site and a popular place to visit. There are plenty of ways to enjoy the area without putting yourself in danger. Wherever you are along the Jurassic Coast, please remember:

  • Stay away from the edge of cliffs – admire the view from a safe distance. There are fantastic views from the pier in West Bay
  • Never lie or sit under the cliffs – there is very little chance of survival if caught under a rockfall
  • Always take note of warning signs – they are there because the dangers are real
  • Check tide times before you set off- avoid being cut off by incoming tides
  • Be aware of mud flows
  • Keep dogs on leads near the cliff edge

Ken Buchan, Dorset County Council’s Coast & Countryside service manager said:

“The Jurassic Coast is a wonderful place to visit, but we urge people to use common sense and caution – stay away from the edge and base of cliffs and always pay attention to warning signs and safety messages.”

For more information click here.

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Categories: Dorset

Dorset Waste Partnership leads the fight against roadside litter

Thu, 03/14/2019 - 14:04

The Dorset Waste Partnership (DWP) is doing what it can in the fight against roadside litter, but we need your help.

This is the time of year we receive the most complaints about litter on verges and at the roadside. As the vegetation is cut back by both public and private landowners, the litter that has accumulated in bushes, shrubs and long grass becomes an eyesore. Roads operated by Highways England can look particularly scruffy at times.

While we clean most busy roads regularly throughout the year, the DWP organises litter picking on the worst affected around late Winter/early Spring, prioritised according to levels of litter. Last year, similar work in February and March costed Dorset tax-payers around £40K.

Picking on high-speed roads requires a great deal of planning.  The DWP must apply for a Traffic Regulation Order (TRO) around 4 to 6 weeks in advance to ensure we can implement the appropriate safety measures to protect our staff.

We typically litter pick at the roadside with teams of up to 12 staff between 9:30am and 3:30pm to avoid peak traffic times – just setting up can take hours. On some roads such as the A31, we are required to use approved contractors to provide traffic management.

We often litter-pick overnight when traffic is at a minimum and/or we can close the roads entirely. We also need to get permission from Highways England to work on the road overnight, which can be revoked at late notice if affected by accidents and incidents.

If the DWP know about planned closures for road maintenance, we do try and litter pick at the same time. We also coordinate with grass verge cutting contractors where possible.

Roads we have recently picked or are planning to pick in the coming weeks include: –

  • A338 Bournemouth Spur Road
  • Christchurch bypass
  • Stapehill Road, Wimborne
  • Blandford bypass
  • A354 – Weymouth Relief Road
  • B3157 – Granby Way (Chaffey’s Roundabout to Chickerell Camp)

Perhaps our biggest frustration is that, despite our efforts, some roads become covered in litter again just weeks later, often leading to the assumption that litter picking hasn’t been done.

The bottom line is that there wouldn’t be a problem if some people didn’t throw their litter out of cars in the first place.

The DWP is supporting Litter Free Dorset’s ‘Don’t be a TOS53R’ campaign, which has been designed to send a hard-hitting message to drivers and their passengers that our roads are not one giant litter bin and that the owner of a vehicle can be fined up to £100 if rubbish is seen being thrown out of a car window.

Cllr Tony Alford, chairman of the Dorset Waste Partnership’s Joint Committee, said:

“We would like to thank the majority of Dorset motorists and passengers who take their rubbish home and dispose of it properly using their household bins. But the responsibility for this mess at the roadside lies with the minority who think it is acceptable to throw rubbish from their vehicles.

While the DWP has an important duty to clear up litter, roadside litter-picking takes resources and money away from essential services. If you spot litter being thrown from a vehicle, please let us know. Together, we can help stamp out this anti-social behaviour.”

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Categories: Dorset

Proposed Dorset Council redundancies resulting from Local Government Reorganisation

Thu, 03/14/2019 - 13:26

On 21 March, the Shadow Senior Appointments Committee of the Shadow Dorset Council will meet to discuss redundancy proposals for nine senior officers from the county, district and borough councils – councils which will be replaced by the new unitary Dorset Council from 1 April.

Shadow Full Council set budget in February 2019

The process of replacing six councils with one unitary council will result in a reduction in the number of senior officer posts. Currently there is 23 posts across the predecessor councils. This will reduce to just seven posts in the new Dorset Council.

By removing duplication and reducing management overhead costs, Dorset Council will achieve significant cost reductions, enabling it to function on a more sustainable financial basis in future. This, in turn, supports the priority goal of this reorganisation: to protect frontline services for residents.

How much will it cost?

It is proposed that post holders will receive only what they are contractually entitled to, in terms of redundancy payment. If approved by the Appointments & Dismissals Committee, the cost of the collective contractual redundancy payments will be £756,291.

In addition, the pension ‘strain’ payment in line with scheme rules will be £1,086,506. This is the contribution Dorset Council would make to the pension fund.

How much will we save?

In removing these nine posts, the council will save £1,072,096 each year – this includes national insurance and employer contributions to pensions. This means the proposed redundancies would pay for themselves in 20 months.

What about the public sector exit cap?

The Government has consulted on the introduction of a public sector exit cap. If brought into force, the cap would limit payments to, or for, the benefit of those leaving public service roles.  There is no exit cap currently in place and there is no confirmation or timescale for its introduction.

Who does this affect?

We respect both the importance of transparency in relation to payments to senior managers and the need to respect confidentiality for individual members of staff and their personal circumstances at a stage when decisions have not yet been made. The Appointments & Dismissals Committee discussion about the detail of individual redundancy proposals will take place in a confidential session. Further information will be made available once final decisions have been made.

Background Information Councils reorganising

On 1 April 2019 Dorset’s nine councils will be replaced by two entirely new organisations. Dorset Council, and Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole Council.

The new Dorset Council will replace the existing district and borough councils – East Dorset, North Dorset, Purbeck, West Dorset, Weymouth & Portland –  and Dorset County Council, all of which will cease to exist.

Who is on the Appointments & Dismissals Committee?

 The Appointments & Dismissals Committee comprises leading councillors from the Shadow Dorset Council appointed proportionately from the three largest political groupings.

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Categories: Dorset

Church service to mark end of Purbeck District Council

Wed, 03/13/2019 - 14:43

The Dean of Salisbury, Canon Nick Papadopulos, will be joining Canon Simon Everett to conduct a church service on Friday 29 March 2019, looking back at the life of Purbeck District Council.

The District Council was formed in 1974, and on 1 April 2019 it will be replaced by Dorset Council. 

Councillors and staff, past and present, as well as residents are invited to the service which will commemorate the District Council’s administration over the past 45 years.

The service at the Priory Church of Lady St Mary will commence 2pm on the 29th.

Chairman of Purbeck District Council, Councillor Bill Trite, said: “This is the biggest change to local government in Dorset since 1974, so the service will be an opportunity to mark this occasion and thank all those who have been involved in the Council’s work over the last 45 years.

“This includes all residents, staff and councillors, past and present, who have helped shape Purbeck District Council over that time. We hope they will be able to join us at the service.”

On 1 April, the district and borough councils of Purbeck, East Dorset, North Dorset, West Dorset, and Weymouth and Portland, and Dorset County Council will be replaced by the new Dorset Council.

Initially, there will be little visible change, for example, Westport House, Wareham will remain the first port of call for local council services.

 

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Categories: Dorset

Fly-tipper successfully prosecuted by the Dorset Waste Partnership

Wed, 03/13/2019 - 11:01

A Poole resident was recently prosecuted by Dorset County Council on behalf of the Dorset Waste Partnership (DWP) for fly-tipping waste in a car-park.

Miss Caterina Marinelos, 37, appeared at Poole Magistrates Court on Friday 8 March and was found guilty of Unlawful Deposit of Controlled Waste (fly-tipping) following a trial, having entered a Not Guilty plea.

On Thursday 10 May 2018, an off-duty police officer witnessed the offence at Saxon Square car park in Christchurch.

The officer was sat in his car and noticed a couple who were returning to a white BMW. A blonde female went to the boot of the vehicle and removed a black bin liner, which appeared to be full of grass. She then placed this black bag on the floor of the car park and drove off.

The officer’s partner, who is also a police officer, then passed the details of the incident – including the car registration details – to the DWP’s Enforcement Team for investigation.

Upon tracking Miss. Marinelos to her home address – which was in Bingham Road, Christchurch at the time of the incident – the team issued a Fixed Penalty Notice (FPN) which the defendant failed to pay.

As a result, DWP Enforcement Officers began work with Dorset County Council’s legal team to take the case to court. Miss. Marinelos was successfully prosecuted and given a 6-month conditional discharge. She was also ordered to pay £500 towards costs and a £20 victim surcharge.

An Enforcement Officer for the Dorset Waste Partnership commented:

“This is yet another example of someone illegally dumping waste which could have been taken to a household recycling centre (HRC) and dropped off free of charge. Christchurch HRC is open daily and less than 10 minutes’ drive from where the waste was tipped.

And yet, even in the face of strong evidence, the defendant chose not to pay the issued Fixed Penalty Notice (FPN) and has instead been prosecuted.

The Dorset Waste Partnership takes fly-tipping extremely seriously. We do not issue FPN’s lightly, but we have no hesitation in acting when an offender is caught red-handed breaking the law.

This prosecution also demonstrates that paying an FPN is not optional and we are fully prepared to take non-payees to court.”

The Dorset Waste Partnership is currently running its Tip-Off campaign, that seeks to ensure people are protected when handing their waste to others, as well as what to do if you see a fly-tip and what you can take to your local household recycling centre.

They are also supporting Litter Free Dorset’s ‘Don’t Be A T05ser’ campaign, which is reminding motorists about the consequences of littering from vehicles.

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Categories: Dorset

West Bay flood defence works as explained by Project Engineer Rob Clarke

Tue, 03/12/2019 - 17:01

The Environment Agency and West Dorset District Council have partnered up to work on new multi-million pound sea defences at West Bay, Bridport, West Dorset.

Hear more about the works from our engineer Rob Clarke …

Drop-in sessions at the Salt House

We are committed to keeping local residents, businesses and visitors updated with the latest on these crucial works.

These open sessions will have at least one representative – either from the Environment Agency or West Dorset District Council – to answer any questions you may have and to give an update on progress.

Open from 1:30 – 4:30pm on these dates: Thursday 7 March Thursday 21 March Thursday 4 April Wednesday 17 April Monday 29 April Thursday 16 May Thursday 30 May Thursday 13 June Thursday 27 June

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Categories: Dorset

North Dorset offers award winning land charges service

Tue, 03/12/2019 - 15:39

North Dorset District Council offers an award winning Local Land Charges service – it’s official.

Left to right: Awards host Jo Caulfield, Louise Carleton-Prangnell, Louise Richardson (Dorset Councils Partnership) Imtiaz Farooki (Land Data) and Rob Firth (Dorset Councils Partnership)

The council won the award for ‘Most Improved NLIS Services’ at the Local Land Charges Awards for Excellence on 4 March.

The council is part of the Dorset Councils Partnership sharing a single Local Land Charges Team who perform searches across the three areas of North Dorset, West Dorset and Weymouth and Portland.

Close runners up in the category were the other two councils in the partnership. West Dorset District Council and Weymouth and Portland Borough Council were also shortlisted for the award and featured in the top 10 for the category.

The award recognises the Local Land Charges department that has made the most improvement to its service between 31 October 2017 and 1 November 2018.

Local Land Charges departments carry out the land and property searches required for conveyancing transactions. So this is good news if you are buying or selling a property in these councils’ areas.

North Dorset District Council portfolio holder for Access and Customer Service, Cllr Piers Brown said:

“I’m absolutely delighted for our Land Charges team.

“It’s a real endorsement of the hard work they have put in to improve the service and great news for customers across the Dorset Councils Partnership area too.

“People looking to buy property in our area can be confident that they will receive a consistent, high quality and fast service from us.”

West Dorset District Council’s Corporate portfolio holder, Cllr Peter Barrowcliff said:

“This is brilliant news for people looking to buy property in the West Dorset area.

“We may have been pipped to the post by North Dorset but the service is staffed by the same dedicated team following the same efficient approach, and that’s what really matters to our customers.”

Weymouth & Portland Borough Council’s brief holder for Corporate Affairs and Business Improvement, Cllr Alison Reed said:

“This is a great result. I would like to thank the Land Charges team who have transformed the way that they work and offer a high quality and swift service for people looking to buy property in the borough.

About the award

The ‘most improved service’ award recognises the Local Land Charges department that has made the most improvement to its service between October 2017 and November 2018.

Judging for this award category is based on reports from the NLIS Hub. The judges use the data to decide:

  • The biggest improvement on the time it takes to return the search to the customer
  • The highest percentage increase in electronic searches, as opposed to paper, email or personal searches
  • The biggest increase in electronic search returns

Jan Boothroyd, Land Data’s Chief Executive, commented:

“What really stood out across this year’s entries was the way in which Local Land Charges teams are thinking differently about offering value add to their customers, embracing technology and working with other departments to improve service and be more customer focused.

“This is no mean feat in an environment of constant budget cutting and resource challenges.

“All the winners and highly commended local authorities should be applauded for their efforts to their communities and Local Government.”

Why didn’t all three councils win?

The three councils use one single team to carry out the land and property searches required for conveyancing transactions across the partnership area, so you might be wondering why all three didn’t win the award.

Historic differences in the way the councils have provided their Land Charges services mean the team has had to work hard to standardise the service across the three areas. West Dorset District Council needed to reduce a large backlog of searches which meant their search time improved at a different pace to North Dorset District Council’s. While IT issues experienced by Weymouth & Portland Borough Council led to a smaller increase in electronic search returns.

But, importantly, the three council’s shared improvement plan has paid off and the average turnaround of searches across all the partnership councils is consistently less than 10 working days.

Searches now completed well within target time

The average turnaround of searches across all the partnership councils is currently less than 10 working days. This exceeds the 15 day target time set by the councils as part of their improvement plans and means they are continuing to meet the national targets set by central Government.

The Local Land Charges Team remains committed to continuing the development of its service going forward.

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Categories: Dorset

Dorchester Market Car Boot Funds 2019

Tue, 03/12/2019 - 15:17

Community and voluntary organisations working in and around Dorchester will be pleased to hear that the Dorchester Market Car Boot Fund is currently open for applications.

The income from weekly Car Boots sales held in Dorchester is distributed annually to local community and voluntary organisations in and around Dorchester to benefit projects operating within or supporting residents living in the area. In 2018, just over £13,000 was awarded to local community and voluntary organisations in Dorchester.

Organisations who received funding in 2018 included Charminster Pre-school who received £238 for a mud kitchen, Home Start West Dorset received £500 to run a training programme for volunteers and Dorchester Youth and Community Centre received £500 towards activities for disadvantaged young people.

Cllr Mary Penfold, West Dorset District Council Portfolio Holder for Enabling, said; “this is a brilliant opportunity for us to recognise the valuable support that voluntary and community organisations provide for residents in the local area. I urge all suitable organisations to make sure to submit your interest online before the deadline at the end of the month.”

The 2019 car boot fund is currently open and closes on the 31 March, decisions will be made in June and groups will be notified by the end of July. Successful applicants will be invited to a celebration event in September to share news about their projects.

An application form and additional guidance can be found on the Dorset for You website or alternatively organisations can contact the Community Planning & Development Team for further information on 01305 838126 or communityplanning@dorset.gov.uk

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Categories: Dorset

Government backs bid for a new special free school in Dorset

Tue, 03/12/2019 - 14:56

A bid by Dorset County Council for a new special free school in the county has been backed by the Department for Education (DfE).

Ministers announced that 39 new schools will open across the country as part of plans to create 3,500 additional school places for pupils with complex needs such as autism, severe learning difficulties, mental health conditions, and those at risk of being excluded from mainstream schools.

Local authorities were invited to bid for a new school and Dorset was one of six successful councils in the South West region. The special free school will support up to 75 young people aged 14-19 with autism and complex learning difficulties.

Andrew Reid, Dorset County Council’s Assistant Director for Schools and Learning, said:

“This is fantastic news. We want to provide more specialist provision here in Dorset, as there are a lot of young people who currently have to travel outside of the county to receive the support they need. The new school will mean pupils spend less time travelling and will be educated closer to their families and local communities.

“It will also mean that we won’t have to rely as much on independent placements, which will help ease some of the pressure on schools’ high needs funding.

“Most importantly, this new school will offer young people a great education, encourage them be the best they can be and help them prepare for adulthood.”

The council will now prepare to advertise the opportunity for potential trusts to apply to establish the new school. Mr Reid added:

“This project is still in its early stages but we’re delighted that the Government has recognised the need for more special school provision in Dorset. We will now begin work with the DfE to identify the best location for this new school and invite academy trusts to apply to run it.”

This latest announcement by the Government builds on the county council’s plan to provide more support for children with complex communication needs. Last year, the council committed to invest over £2M (plus a £1M grant from central Government) in creating a number of specialist bases in mainstream schools.

A new special school is also due to open in Bovington this September. Funded by the DfE, it will provide places for another 160 children with autism, as well as social emotional and mental health needs. The school will support pupils from Dorset, Bournemouth and Poole.

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Categories: Dorset

February, the month of romance,love and war – the next fostering instalment from Amanda Jones

Mon, 03/11/2019 - 15:29

So February, the month of romance and love. I got multiple dentist appointments, contacts and a bottle of ginger and cinnamon (apology gift for forgetting Valentine’s Day).My littlies (5,7,8) have decided that February was going to be the month of war.

Fresh from the heady few months of getting to know each other, they had now decided that life was far too harmonious. War was first declared over who owns the tv and whether Pokemon was more important than horrid Henry. The unrest was further entrenched by who was best, girls or boys. Cardboard boxes were turned into dens that were either claimed for boys or girls and competition over who was the best this that and the other was high.

 

The positive side to this is my birth daughter who has had three elder siblings, all of their friends, two sets of grandparents and a trail of doting aunts/uncles , has suddenly learnt to share attention and ditched her princess dresses for mud and scootering.

The boys actually appear to be settling in well. The youngest is fast accumulating an array of kick boxing medals and belts and the eldest has found a new level of confidence with jazz dance. Meanwhile my other foster son is melting my heart with the sneaky trips downstairs to play the Wii with my newbies.  Can you imagine having to move away from your parents to live with a bunch of strangers then having to deal with two more? My young man appears to have taken it all in his stride. Ridiculously proud of him even if he does still tells me the end of every movie I try to watch.

 

Seven kids, one mother and us are, unfortunately, making my house seem a little snug so next month the builders are going to create two more bedrooms on the third floor. This means a garden full of scaffolding at the same time as me going back to work.

Kids, work, builders to organise ? It will be a breeze.

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Categories: Dorset

Signage at Allenview House

Thu, 03/07/2019 - 16:12

The customer signage at Allenview House has now been changed. Dorset Council are currently managing the project to rebrand all council building across the Dorset area, prior to 1 April. It is appreciated that this work is being carried out prior to day one of the new Dorset Council, however it’s been necessary for the works to be scheduled in advance as an external company has been contracted to carry out the work.

   

 

 

 

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Categories: Dorset

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