Purbeck District Council agrees to join committee on local government reform

Dorset For You - Thu, 07/27/2017 - 15:37

Purbeck District Council has voted to take part in discussions and decision-making on the future of local government in Dorset, whilst making it clear the Council has not changed its position of opposition to the reorganisation of local government.

Councillors made the decision to take part in discussions at their Full Council meeting on Tuesday 11 July. It is on condition that the committee comprises six members from Dorset County Council and two members from each district and borough council in a new proposed Dorset unitary council area.

Dorset councils are currently awaiting a decision from the Secretary of State on whether he supports a proposal to replace the county’s current nine councils with two unitary councils. These plans envisage Purbeck being part of a unitary council covering the area of Dorset County Council, not including Christchurch.

The Joint Committee will enable Purbeck District Council to play a key part in discussions about the future of public services, including the shape of the Dorset unitary council should the Secretary of State support the proposal for unitaries.

The Council agreed with a recommendation by the Leader of the Council, Councillor Gary Suttle, to write to the Secretary of State and to the Leaders of the other councils on the Joint Committee clearly stating that the position of Purbeck District Council remains not in support of the Future Dorset submission to Government and for a meeting to be arranged between the Leader and Secretary of State to reinforce this position.

Councillor Suttle said: “Our decision made in January 2017 not to support the creation of unitary councils still stands and we will reiterate this decision.

“However, joining the Joint Committee does provide an opportunity for Purbeck District Council to have a voice at an early stage in discussions about the future of public services”.

Councillor Suttle continued: “Some important decisions will have to be made concerning the future structure of a unitary council, or other ways of more effectively delivering services; being a member of the Joint Committee ensures we are part of these discussions to safeguard the interests of our residents, communities, taxpayers and staff.”

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Categories: Dorset

Planning application registered for Avon Beach, Christchurch

Dorset For You - Thu, 07/27/2017 - 15:35
Artist impression of the works

Christchurch Borough Council has submitted a planning application for improvement works at Avon Beach.

The planning application is to raise the low lying section of promenade along the beach front to make it level with the higher promenade on either side. The proposal also includes widening the promenade which will improve access for beach users.

Lindsay Cass, Head of Property and Engineering, Christchurch and East Dorset Councils, said: “If approved, this scheme will provide better protection of our coastline against predicted future sea level rises and improve the appearance of Avon Beach promenade. Through our work with the Dorset Coast Forum residents have helped shape the design of the proposal and we are pleased with how engaged people have been.”

View and comment on the plans by visiting our planning application portal at and entering the planning application number- 8/17/1748/FUL. Closing date for feedback is 11 August 2017.

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Categories: Dorset

Kebab meat – do you know what you are eating?

Dorset For You - Thu, 07/27/2017 - 13:02

Local takeaways have been investigated by Dorset County Council’s trading standards team to ensure that kebab meat is accurately described so consumers can be clear on what they are eating.

Officers purchased ‘lamb doner’ kebabs for testing from food outlets in Dorchester, Weymouth and Blandford.

Six out of seven samples contained significant proportions of beef.

They also tested lamb shish, lamb kofte and beef burgers which were all described accurately. These tests included checks for a range of other potential substitute meats.

The meat products supplied to the takeaways by wholesalers were labelled correctly in all cases but it was the description on the takeaways’ menus that differed from the actual ingredients.

Ivan Hancock, trading standards service manager, said:

“Consumers have a right know what they are eating and when it comes to meat products this can be much more significant for many. Food retailers have a responsibility to pass on the correct information with accurate labelling and menu descriptions.

“Following this exercise we have worked with the businesses to make sure they label food correctly. Formal action is being considered in certain individual cases.

“We have also sent guidance letters to outlets that weren’t tested to highlight the issue and encourage improvement and will continue to test food samples across the county where we have concerns.”

The county council’s trading standards service is responsible ensuring compliance with laws controlling food quality, compositional standards, food labeling and traceability.

Find out more about the work of trading standards in Dorset.

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Categories: Dorset

Make an Active Promise and win a Fitbit!

Dorset For You - Wed, 07/26/2017 - 16:08
The Active 4 Health partnership at Christchurch and East Dorset Councils would like to set you a challenge…. Dan Smith makes his Active Promise

Keeping active is really important for our health and wellbeing, yet many residents find it tricky to fit in the recommended 30 minutes a day to keep healthy. Just sitting can have negative effects on your health, so Christchurch and East Dorset councils are asking you to consider; are you doing enough to enjoy the protective benefits of being physically active?


Nicky Smith makes her Active Promise this summer

Active 4 Health are inviting you to make your own Active Promise online. All those

who submit their own Active Promise have the chance to win a FitBit, along with some other great prizes. Visit  and complete our online form.

All entries must be submitted online by Saturday 30 September 2017. All prize winners will be notified by Friday 6 October 2017.

Please note: Only one entry per person. By entering the draw you agree to be contacted after 30 September 2017 to evaluate how you got on with your promise, your details will not be passed onto third parties or used for any other purpose.

Alan and Anne make their Active Promises

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Categories: Dorset

Christchurch Coast. Post-it. Suggest it.

Dorset For You - Wed, 07/26/2017 - 11:53
View from Steamer Point Beach, Christchurch

Christchurch Borough Council invites residents to have their say on Christchurch beaches.

The Community and Leisure team are seeking to update the Christchurch Coastal Strategy. They are keen to know what residents think about the facilities and activities they would like to see along the Christchurch coastline.

Your invitation

Residents are invited to have their say on Tuesday 5 September in The Dining Room at Highcliffe Castle. Residents can drop in at any time between 11am – 7pm.

Councillor Sally Derham-Wilkes, Chair of the Community Committee, Christchurch Borough Council said “We are looking forward to welcoming residents to the castle so they can give us their views. The event will give people the opportunity to express their aspirations and ideas for each of seven areas along the coast, from Mudeford Sandbank to Highcliffe Beach.

“We hope to get residents to consider what events, facilities, infrastructure and sports, amongst other things, they would like to see compliment and improve our coastline and what other considerations, such as the environment, should be borne in mind in managing the area. We hope that the views of our community will help us to manage the coastline in a way that will benefit everyone who visits our beaches.”

Can’t attend?

If you are unable to attend the event you can visit to share your views and find out more information.

Christchurch Coastal Strategy flyer

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Categories: Dorset

Have you thought about switching energy supplier?

Dorset For You - Wed, 07/26/2017 - 10:42
Have you thought about switching?

East Dorset District Council is supporting a trial scheme to help residents get a better deal on their gas and electricity.

The East Dorset Energy Switch uses the collective buying power of customers to get lower gas and electricity prices.

Cllr Andy Skeats, Portfolio Holder for Community said “I’m pleased that we are introducing this trial scheme for our residents.  Fuel poverty is affecting increasing numbers of people in our community and this collective fuel switch scheme offers residents the chance to reduce their energy bills.

“Many residents haven’t switched their supplier and might be missing the opportunity to save money. Anyone can register for the East Dorset Energy Switch with no obligation to change.”

Residents have until midnight on Monday 9 October to register their interest.

East Dorset Energy Switch

Those who have registered will receive a switching offer and have time to decide whether to accept this offer. There is no obligation to switch and there are no charges for taking part, whether you opt to switch or not.

How to register

To register, without obligation for the East Dorset Energy Switch or to find out more information please visit- contact 01202 795096.

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Categories: Dorset

Final works on new Dorchester crossings

Dorset For You - Tue, 07/25/2017 - 15:41

Five nights of road closures in Dorchester will bring construction work to an end at South Gate junction, near Brewery Square.

Over the last 15 weeks, four pedestrian crossings have been upgraded – with one also being moved – as part of the Dorchester Transport and Environment Plan (DTEP) to improve access for pedestrians, cyclists, the elderly and disabled.

The last week of construction work will take place at night so that the junction area, and Great Western Road, can be resurfaced.

Starting on Sunday 6 August roads in the area will be closed overnight for five nights, with work finishing on the morning of Friday 11 August. There will be no through route for traffic between 8pm and 6am the following morning on Weymouth Avenue, South Walks Road, Prince of Wales Road, Great Western Road and Trinity Street.

Residents will still be able to access their properties and local bus services will continue run, but on an amended route.

To keep access to businesses and car parks, during the five nights Trinity Street will be open to two-way traffic between Prince’s Street and Iceland car park. On-street pay & display parking, disabled parking bays and loading bays will be unavailable during this time, so that the road is clear for two-way traffic.

Councillor Andy Canning, chair of the DTEP councillor-led working group, said: “Combined with the new paving in South Street, the new pedestrian crossings will help join up the centre of Dorchester with the growing new development at Brewery Square, and make it easier for visitors and residents to walk between these two, lively shopping areas.”

The new crossings should be in operation during Friday 11 August.

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Categories: Dorset

Three nights work on Weymouth Relief Road

Dorset For You - Fri, 07/21/2017 - 17:56

Drivers are being asked to allow extra time for their journeys overnight along the A354 Weymouth Relief Road while a section of the road is reconstructed.

Dorset Highways will be reconstructing a 40m section of southbound road near to the lone house Swallow’s Rest, with temporary traffic lights used between 9pm and 6am on Monday 24 July, Tuesday 25 July and Wednesday 26 July, with work finishing on Thursday morning.

During the day, this section of road will have an advisory 40mph speed limit to prevent damage to cars due to the unfinished road surface.

Andrew Martin, service director

Andrew Martin, service director for highways and emergency planning, said: “Drivers will be able to see that this section of road is starting to fail where the new road meets the old road foundation.

“We’ll be removing the road across the joint to a depth of 25cm and reconstructing it with a new base course, binder course and surface course.

“This patching forms part of our annual maintenance programme and will be followed up with a rejuvenation treatment after the summer, to re-seal the road from the elements and prolong the life of the road.”

In September, the relief road will have a Fortseal treatment applied to it – from Veasta Roundabout to the top of the Ridgeway – which will extend the life of the road by making it more waterproof and improving its surface texture. This work will be done at night, with more details available nearer the time.

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Categories: Dorset

Thorncombe Wood is flying the flag as one of the UK’s very best green spaces

Dorset For You - Fri, 07/21/2017 - 17:55

Thorncombe Wood near Dorchester has been recognised by the Green Flag Award Scheme as one of the very best in the world.

Celebrating Green Flag Award at Thorncombe Wood

This green space is among a record-breaking 1,797 UK parks and green spaces that has receive a prestigious Green Flag Award – the mark of a quality green space.

This international award, now into its third decade, is a sign to the public that the space boasts the highest possible environmental standards, is beautifully maintained and has excellent visitor facilities.

Kath Clay, Dorset County Council ranger at Thorncombe Wood, said:  “We are thrilled to have received a Green Flag Award for the first time.

“We know how much quality green spaces matter to Dorset residents and visitors, and this award recognise the work that goes into maintaining Thorncombe Wood to such a high standard.”

In addition to Thorncombe Wood, Avon Heath County Park in St Leonards and the Milldown and Stour Meadows in Blandford have retained their Green Flag awards for another year.

Cllr Daryl Turner, Dorset County Council’s Cabinet member for natural and built environment, said:  “We are absolutely delighted to have received Green Flag Awards for these wonderful green spaces.

“The awards recognises the quality of the management and the excellent facilities we have available for all ages.

“It’s a great example of how community groups, in partnership with the county council, can come together to improve the local environment. The awards celebrate the dedication that goes into maintaining these areas for Dorset residents and visitors to enjoy.”

 Ben Walbridge, senior ranger at Avon Heath, said:  “The success in gaining our second Green Flag at Avon Heath is largely due to the hard work of our fantastic volunteers and our apprentice Miranda Lugg, who together have transformed the flower beds, play area and installed over a dozen new locally sourced oak benches, generously paid for by Wimborne and Ferndown Lions Club, including two accessible picnic benches.

“The local Sheiling School for children and students with special educational needs has also helped out by removing the invasive Pirri-Pirri-Bur from around the car parks, saving the highly sensitive heathland. A huge thank you to everyone that has been involved.”

International Green Flag Award scheme manager Paul Todd said:

“We are delighted to be celebrating another record-breaking year for the Green Flag Award scheme.

“Each flag is a celebration of the thousands of staff and volunteers who work tirelessly to maintain the high standards demanded by the Green Flag Award. The success of the scheme, especially in these challenging times, demonstrates just how much parks matter to people.”








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Categories: Dorset

8 cool and unusual places in Dorset to discover

Dorset For You - Fri, 07/21/2017 - 16:39

With a stunning coastline and lush green countryside, Dorset is full of landmarks and hidden gems to seek out.If you want to get off the beaten track and escape the crowds, take time to explore some lesser-known places this summer.

1. Corscombe Standing Stones Corscombe Standing Stones

If you love ancient and mysterious monuments, you should definitely pay a visit to the Corscombe Standing Stones near the village of Corscombe.


Ghosts, alien stones, witchcraft and smugglers make up parts of the village history. It is one of the most remote and peaceful parts of Dorset.

 2.  Chapman’s Pool
Chapman’s Pool

If secluded coves is your ideal retreat,  then Chapman’s Pool is for you.  This picturesque spot on the Isle of Purbeck is not easy to reach, but is well worth the effort.  A footpath from Worth Matravers will take you there, or you can get there by boat.


Apart from the fishermen’s sheds there is nothing there except nature and the sea.

 3.  Coney’s Castle Coney’s Castle

Coney’s Castle, near the village of Marshwood, is an unusual Iron Age hill fort.  The surrounding landscapes are great for walking.


4.  Arne Arne Nature Reserve

If you want to step off the beaten path and discover a hidden gem rich with wildlife, make your way to the village of Arne.

Arne Nature Reserve  is home to many species of bird, as well as butterflies, dragonflies and reptiles.  It is a gorgeous place to wander around the fantastic landscape.

5.  Cogdean Elms Cogdean Meadows

Cogdean Elms is made up of two meadows separated by strips of woodland, with a small seasonal pond – a lovely place for a walk and a picnic.

Grazing cows and a variety of butterflies can be seen here during the summer months.

6.  Slop Bog Slop Blog

Slop Bog gives you a stunning opportunity to get close to nature and is home to some very special wildlife including Bog Asphodel, Palmate Newt and several species of damselfly and dragonflies. You can get there by a public footpath from West Road, Ferndown.


7.  Ibberton Hill Ibberton Hill

Looking for a secluded site with wonderful views across the countryside? Try Ibberton Hill, near Blandford,  renowned for its wonderful views across Dorset’s Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. Buzzards, Ravens and Stonechats live there.

8.  Hilfield Hill Hilfield Hill

Hilfield Hill is a great location in West Dorset to enjoy the fabulous views towards the north and west of the county and beyond. The grassland has a small chalk heath made up of heather and bilberry.  You can also discover a sculpture trail in the woods.

Read more

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Categories: Dorset

No immediate change to Blandford to Dorchester bus service as contract is retendered

Dorset For You - Fri, 07/21/2017 - 16:21

Dorset County Council is to go back out to tender for a key bus service between Blandford and Dorchester.

Photo by Trevor Plackett

In May, the county council announced the award of new contracts to run Dorset’s subsidised public and transport services following a major procurement process.

As part of this, the council identified seven key town-to-town routes that it would continue to subsidise.

One of these routes, the X12/187 service between Blandford and Dorchester, was awarded to First Hampshire and Dorset.

However, prior to the new public services starting on Monday 24 July, a technical inconsistency was highlighted in the way the council had assessed the tenders for this contract.

As a result, the council contacted First and other companies to say it was withdrawing the contract and will re-run the tender process over the coming weeks.

In the meantime, the current operator, Go South Coast (Damory), has agreed to continue to run the existing X12/187 service on the same timetable until the new contract has been awarded.

Cllr Daryl Turner, the county council’s Cabinet member for natural and built environment, said:

“While this delay in awarding the new contract is regrettable, the decision to withdraw and re-tender it is the right one to make sure it fully meets all requirements.

“We would like to thank First Hampshire and Dorset and Go South Coast for their cooperation and understanding.

“The issue was identified before the new service started and we have worked with the operators to make sure there will be no disruption to users of the existing service while the process is being completed.”

Read more

All change for Dorset buses from next week

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Categories: Dorset

Deckchair consultation results to be discussed

Dorset For You - Fri, 07/21/2017 - 16:02
Councillors review deckchair consultation results.

Residents were asked to have their say on whether the borough council should continue to provide free deckchairs for residents in the borough aged 60 or over.

The results

There was a total of 370 submissions.

Of those who responded, 81 per cent agreed that the council should continue to provide the free deckchairs.

74.8 per cent of people disagreed the council should provide free swimming for disabled people at Weymouth Swimming Pool and Fitness Centre. The money for this would come from any increase in income resulting from potential changes to the existing policy.

The consultation

The consultation on the existing subsidised deckchairs on Weymouth Beach commenced in May 2017. This was following a recommendation from the borough council’s Policy Development Committee.

A working group of members and officers put together the recommendation to stop the subsidy.

Next steps

Results are now being analysed, along with the many comments, and will be reported to Policy Development Committee on 31 July.

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Categories: Dorset

Christchurch’s Regent Centre Auditorium will reopen

Dorset For You - Fri, 07/21/2017 - 15:35

Following receipt of a preliminary structural report the Regent Centre auditorium will reopen from Saturday 22 July. The circle seating however will remain closed whilst further investigations take place.

Preliminary surveys have found corrosion in the supporting columns in the south east wall of the building. The columns have been assessed as being safe to support the roof and circle floor constructions but, as a precautionary measure, the decision has been taken not to allow occupation of the circle seating as this would increase the load carried by the structure. All ground floor stall seating is safe to be used.

Lindsay Cass, Head of Property and Engineering, Christchurch and East Dorset Councils said “We are pleased the findings in the structural report mean the ground floor of the auditorium can be reopened, but currently the circle seating will remain closed until further notice. We will be meeting with the Structural Engineer early next week and carrying out further investigations to help us decide on the best way forward. We continue to work closely with the Regent Centre to ensure the best outcome for everyone.”

The Engineer’s report has advised that ground floor stalls seating in the theatre can continue to be used whilst further investigations take place meaning that scheduled shows and films can go ahead as planned.

Felicity Porter, General Manager, Regent Centre said “We are really pleased that the auditorium will reopen and the live broadcast of Andre Rieu will still be enjoyed by our patrons this weekend. Ticketholders who are affected by the circle seating closure will be contacted directly and will be offered refunds or alternative tickets for other performances where possible. We would like to thank patrons for their understanding whilst the circle seating remains closed.”

The permanent repair works are being developed with the Structural Engineer and are likely to require the replacement of corroded beams and re-plating of corroded columns in the south east side of the building.

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Categories: Dorset

Pedestrianisation works take place in Weymouth town centre

Dorset For You - Thu, 07/20/2017 - 12:58
Two streets in Weymouth will be made free of traffic to make it easier for pedestrians

Weymouth and Portland Borough Council and Dorset County Council have partnered up with support from Weymouth BID to install barriers in St Mary Street and St Thomas Street.

Both streets are subject to a Traffic Control Order (TRO) which restricts vehicles from entering. Only residents, taxis and commercial vehicles can use the roads between 5.30pm and 10.30am.

Pictured left to right: Cllr Jeff Cant, Cllr Colin Huckle and Helen Toft from Weymouth BID

A number of road users have been witnessed using the streets and potentially putting people at risk.

Traffic bollards have been installed in St Mary Street opposite the King Statue and at the junction of Bond Street opposite Pandora. A gate will be reinstalled in St Thomas Street at the junction with School Street. They will be opened and closed each day to allow unrestricted traffic through.

Partnership working to boost local businesses

Cllr Jeff Cant, Leader of Weymouth and Portland Borough Council, said:

“We want to make Weymouth a better place for people to spend time and access local businesses. Having bollards in place will stop the streets being used as rat runs and vastly improve the area for people on foot. This will be good for pedestrians and good for businesses.

“This is just the start. We will be looking at further options and working with our partners at Dorset County Council and Weymouth BID to look at further pedestrianisation.”

Pedestrian Zone – Weymouth

Cllr Colin Huckle, Briefholder for Transport and Infrastructure at Weymouth and Portland Borough Council, said:

“Our aim is to reduce the amount of traffic in the centre of town. Visitors and residents need to be able to move about freely and safely. We will be looking at other roads and aiming to stop people from using them as rat runs.”

Nigel Reed, Weymouth BID Manager, said: “The return of the barriers is welcomed by the BID and supported by town centres businesses. The BID is working with WPBC and DCC on this project to help improve the pedestrian environment in the town.”

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Categories: Dorset

Our parks and gardens in Weymouth and Portland are among the best in Britain

Dorset For You - Wed, 07/19/2017 - 16:09

Greenhill Gardens and Sandsfoot Gardens in Weymouth and Easton Gardens in Portland are among the very best in the UK – and that’s official.

The gardens today all received a prestigious Green Flag Award from environmental charity Keep Britain Tidy. The award recognises and rewards the best parks and green spaces across the country. A Green Flag flying overhead is a sign to the public that the space boasts the highest possible standards, is beautifully maintained and has excellent facilities.

Greenhill Gardens has received a Green Flag Award for the last 11 years, Easton Gardens for the last 10 years and Sandsfoot Gardens for the last six years.

Cllr Kate Wheller, Weymouth & Portland Borough Council’s Briefholder for Community Facilities, said: “We are delighted to receive Green Flag Awards for three of our gardens. Weymouth and Portland has some of the best parks and gardens in the country and I am pleased that this has been recognised officially. 

“The green flag awards recognise the hard work and achievements of both the council’s parks department and the all the volunteers and Friends groups. 

“We are currently running a competition to encourage people to get out and enjoy their local park or garden. All you have to do is go to one of the borough’s green spaces, take a photograph and post it using the hashtag #loveweyportparks and you could win £100.

 “I hope the news that we have won green flags and the chance to win £100 will encourage more people to get out and about and visit their local gardens. It is such a fun thing to do, as well as being healthy and free!”

 Residents who prefer to email in a photograph can send it to or post it to Photography Competition, South Walks House, Dorchester, DT1 1UZ. Terms and conditions apply.




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Categories: Dorset

All change for Dorset buses from next week

Dorset For You - Wed, 07/19/2017 - 15:44

A new-look bus network for Dorset will come into place on Monday 24 July.

Dorset County Council has confirmed changes to existing services after it awarded new contracts to run public and school transport services across the county.

The county council has needed to save £1.5m from its public transport budget over the last two years, as well as £850,000 on school transport this year.

Following major reductions in its government funding, the council is focusing on subsidising seven key, town-to-town routes that support Dorset’s economy by helping people get to work, school and college.

At the same time, it has awarded contracts for 13 secondary and upper school bus services, starting from September.

The contracts have been awarded to four local bus companies: First, Go South Coast (Damory), South West Coaches, and Vale Coaches.

Cllr Daryl Turner, the council’s Cabinet member for natural and built environment, said:

“We have been working closely with transport companies over several months to develop the best possible mix of council-supported, commercial and community services that can serve as many people as possible while minimising disruption for bus users.

“We have now finalised the new network and will continue to work with operators and the public to make sure bus users experience a smooth transition to the new services.”

Around two thirds of public bus services in Dorset are run commercially by bus companies, with the council helping fund other routes that are not commercially viable but are important for local communities.

From Monday, about 70 per cent of the previous services will continue, accounting for more than 90 per cent of public transport trips in the county.

Since the contracts were awarded in May, bus companies have been deciding whether to run services that are no longer subsidised on a commercial basis, or to launch new services.

Local communities, with support from the council including grants and a toolkit, have also stepped in to provide an increasing number of community transport services to fill the gaps, especially in rural areas.

Useful links

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Categories: Dorset

Green Flag raised again at Christchurch Quay

Dorset For You - Wed, 07/19/2017 - 14:04

Christchurch Quay has once again been recognised by the Green Flag Award Scheme.

The flag designates Christchurch Quay as having been judged to meet the national quality standard for parks and green spaces. The judges for the Green Flag awards assess the sites against eight strict criteria, including horticultural standards, cleanliness, sustainability and community involvement.

Green Flag Award 2017

Cllr Wendy Grace, on behalf of the Ward Councillors for Christchurch town centre said: “I’m so pleased that Christchurch Quay has yet again been recognised in this scheme. This flag represents all the hard work from our officers and many volunteers from the local community.  It’s fantastic to see their hard work once again rewarded.

 “We know how much quality green spaces matter to residents and visitors, and this award celebrates the dedication that goes into maintaining Christchurch Quay to such a high standard. On a sunny day like today, it’s wonderful to see so many families enjoying themselves here.”

Christchurch Quay has been recognised for the sixth year running and the green flag is now proudly flying on the flagpole at the Quomps splash park.

Green Flag at Christchurch Quay


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Categories: Dorset

Next phase of building works at Highcliffe Castle

Dorset For You - Wed, 07/19/2017 - 11:47
Highcliffe Castle – Artist’s impression- Stained glass exhibition

The next phase of restoration works at Highcliffe Castle start on 31 July.

Once complete, the 18-month building project will allow visitors full access for the first time to the restored Penleaze wing of the castle. Building works will be undertaken by Greendale who were successful in the council’s tendering process.

As well as works to the Penleaze wing, the castle’s historic kitchen is being restored and new exhibition and activity spaces created. A new conservation studio will be created allowing an internationally important collection of stained glass to be restored and displayed.

The castle will also welcome back some original pieces of furniture which are currently held in storage by the V&A. New staircases and floors are being added and two lifts are also being installed meaning the whole castle will be accessible to all.

Cllr Sally Derham-Wilkes, Chairman of Community Committee, Christchurch Borough Council, said: “Highcliffe Castle really is a spectacular building and it’s fantastic we are able to carry out these works to restore it to its former glory.

“We must thank the public in advance for their understanding and patience while the building works take place and we aim to keep disruption to a minimum. I’m sure people will enjoy keeping up to date with how the project is progressing and once complete it will look fabulous.”

While the works take place the library and ante-library will be closed to the public and the whole castle will be closed from 1 November 2017-mid March 2018. A reduced admission rate is being charged to

Heritage Lottery Fund

visitors until building work is complete. The work is being funded thanks to a substantial grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund as well as additional funding from the Country Houses Foundation, The Pilgrim Trust and Wolfson.

Rob Hooker, Greendale Construction Director, said: “We are extremely pleased and excited to have been awarded the Phase 7 works contract at Highcliffe Castle and to return to undertake the next phase of these interesting works. It is an amazing Grade I listed building of historic importance and to be part of its refurbishment for future generations is a real honour and challenge. We look forward to collaboratively working with the design team, clients, Heritage Lottery Fund and the other funders to deliver this amazing project in February 2019.”

The Castle Kitchen will remain open throughout the build and regular updates on how the work is progressing will be published.

Highcliffe Castle

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Categories: Dorset

New fund to help communities without superfast broadband

Dorset For You - Mon, 07/17/2017 - 13:49

A new community fund will help Dorset neighbourhoods where there are currently no plans for high-speed internet access.

The Superfast Dorset Community Broadband Fund has been set up to support the small number of areas not currently included in any superfast roll-out plans.

The £500,000 scheme enables Superfast Dorset to co-invest with communities by match funding up to half the costs of bringing faster broadband to their neighbourhood.

More than 95 per cent of Dorset premises can now take a superfast fibre broadband service – defined as download speeds of 24Mbps or greater.

Cllr Daryl Turner, Dorset County Council Cabinet Member for the Natural and Built Environment, said: “Current commercial and Superfast Dorset fibre roll-out plans will leave around just two per cent of Dorset premises without access to a faster connection.

“Technologies such as fixed wireless and satellite broadband can already serve most premises, but we know that some communities would rather pay a share of the costs to bring a superfast fibre solution to their area.

“That’s why we have set up the Superfast Dorset Community Broadband Fund. It allows us to provide the same level of public funding to communities which aren’t included in our fibre roll-out plans.”

More information about the scheme and how to apply can be seen at

Superfast broadband helps make everything happen online much faster than a standard broadband connection. The technology offers download speeds typically several times faster than standard broadband.

  • Everyone can be online at the same time
  • Download and watch TV and films without buffering
  • Make video calls
  • Work from home with a faster, more reliable connection

Fibre can now cost the same or less than standard broadband. But speeds don’t improve automatically. Residents and businesses must contact their chosen service provider and ask to switch to fibre broadband to get the faster connection.

Check if your property can get fibre or is included in current roll-out plans at You can also sign up for regular project updates and to receive an email when fibre arrives in your area.

More information

Superfast Dorset is a partnership between BT, the Department of Media, Culture and Sport (DCMS), Dorset Local Enterprise Partnership, Dorset County Council, Bournemouth Borough Council, the Borough of Poole, Christchurch Borough Council, East Dorset District Council, North Dorset District Council, Purbeck District Council, West Dorset District Council and Weymouth & Portland Borough Council.

The project brings superfast broadband to areas not covered by the commercial roll-out undertaken by BT, Virgin Media and others. Superfast Dorset has already enabled more than 570 roadside fibre broadband cabinets across the county, delivering superfast fibre broadband to more than 80,000 properties.

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Categories: Dorset

We’re proud to care

Dorset For You - Mon, 07/17/2017 - 13:23

Councils across the South West are coming together to champion care and support workers and raise the profile of care.

Care providers can often experience difficulties in recruiting, which in turn affects the availability of care to people who could be living independently at home, or in care homes.

It’s a challenge we want to address by making people aware of how rewarding and worthwhile care work is as career choice, and encouraging the positive image that care deserves.

Dorset County Council is one of 16 councils across the South West, and Health Education England to support the campaign, establishing for the first time a regional approach to raising the profile of care.

An especially inspiring element to the campaign is the first-hand personal accounts from real care and support workers, who talk passionately about their love for care work.

The main campaign website features interviews with care and support workers, and links to recruitment portals where care providers across the region advertise their vacancies.

The campaign wants to reach all potential care workers, but is specifically targeting key audiences including younger people and those who have studied for a health and social care qualification; parents considering a return to work; people aged 50 plus who, with more life experience might want to give something back to their community; and students seeking employment over holiday periods.

Dorset County Council’s Cabinet member for Health and Care, Jill Haynes said:

“We want the incredible people who work in the care sector to feel proud of their vocation and for others to see it as an enormously rewarding area of work that they can become involved in.

“We want people to see that it has great career prospects, with many opportunities for progression in care and health.”

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Categories: Dorset