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Updated: 7 hours 7 min ago

Local Plan Review: Thanks for sharing your views

Thu, 10/18/2018 - 16:30

The consultation on the Preferred Options for the West Dorset, Weymouth & Portland Local Plan review has come to an end.

Thanks for sharing your views in local plan review

Over the nine week consultation, which included a week-long extension, the councils received over 900 responses and had nearly 1,500 people attend roadshow events.

Cllr Ray Nowak, Weymouth & Portland Borough Council’s Briefholder for Environment and Sustainability, said:

“Our local plan review is an incredibly important document that sets out the future development of our areas. I’d like to thank everyone who had their say in the consultation, and encourage continued feedback in future consultation work.”

What happens now?

 Over the next few months the councils’ Planning Policy Team will analyse the responses and work up a final draft of the local plan review.

Cllr Ian Gardner, West Dorset District Council Portfolio Holder for Planning, said:

“The Preferred Options were put forward in order to meet the future needs of our towns and villages. The feedback we have received by residents, business and organisations in this consultation will be considered against relevant policies and evidence based research before a draft document is prepared.”

The draft local plan review will be subject to a further round of consultation. Following this, it will be submitted to the Secretary of State for examination by a Planning Inspector.

The post Local Plan Review: Thanks for sharing your views appeared first on Dorset news.

Categories: Dorset

Third BIG road investment scheme completed

Thu, 10/18/2018 - 14:01

Improvements to Hurn Roundabout, near Bournemouth Airport, have been completed this week.

The project is the third scheme delivered by Dorset County Council and strategic partner Hanson UK as part of Dorset Local Enterprise Partnership’s Bournemouth International Growth (BIG) Programme. 

Hurn Roundabout was delayed due to getting sub-contractors on site but Dorset County Council and Dorset LEP have worked hard with the contractors to resolve these complex construction issues. This has brought the scheme back in time with the original timescales so it can complete on time and on budget.

£45.2 million was secured by Dorset Local Enterprise Partnership through the Local Growth Fund for the BIG Programme, to improve connectivity, ease congestion, protect existing jobs and create new ones in and around Bournemouth Airport and Wessex Fields.

The redesigned Hurn Roundabout will improve vehicle movements around the roundabout, especially HGVs, which will help keep traffic flowing through the junction. It has also improved walking and cycling links in the area, providing more sustainable travel options for local residents.

These roundabout improvements – along with planned BIG Programme schemes at Blackwater West Junction and Parley Cross – will help to relieve congestion on the B3073.

 

Minister for the Northern Powerhouse and Local Growth, Jake Berry, said: “Driving economic growth and building a Britain fit for the future is a key government priority.

 

“This £45.2m investment for the Bournemouth International Growth Programme, will not only ease congestion and provide more sustainable travel options for local residents, but will also protect and support new and existing jobs in and around Bournemouth Airport and Wessex Fields.”

 

Jim Stewart, Chair of Dorset Local Enterprise Partnership said, “We are really pleased to see the completion of another BIG Programme infrastructure investment on time and on budget. The improvements to Hurn roundabout are an important part of a series of economy-building upgrades along the busy B3073 corridor that will create better traffic flow, particularly for local businesses around Bournemouth Airport and Aviation Business Park.”

Councillor Andrew Parry, Dorset County Council Cabinet member for Economic Growth, Education, Learning and Skills, said: “Our work at Hurn Roundabout has been extremely complex due to the high number of utilities that have needed to be diverted away from the new alignment. It is to the credit of the team that this challenging project, through careful management has been completed within budget.

“Our work is continuing, with partners, to improve infrastructure on the busy B3073 corridor to reduce congestion and improve journey time reliability to aid Dorset’s economic growth.

“I appreciate there has been considerable pressure on the road network whilst this work has been carried out. I would like to thank drivers for their continued patience with ongoing construction in this area and keep in mind the anticipated longer-term benefits that these multiple projects will bring.”

The £900,000 project started on 29 May with work carried out off-peak between 9.30am and 3.30pm to minimise disruption and delays.

 

Original proposals for a new, bigger roundabout were changed due to land acquisition issues and a smaller revised scheme – within the existing road area – has been delivered.

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Categories: Dorset

Councillors vote on fracking consultations

Wed, 10/17/2018 - 14:40

County councillors have today, 17 October, voted on two consultations from central government which will inform the future of shale gas extraction in the UK.

Elected Members were asked to consider a report which outlined two major consultations; the first is from the Ministry for Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) and is seeking views on the Government’s proposals to introduce permitted development rights for the exploration phase of shale gas development (non-hydraulic fracturing only). Proposals for on-shore shale gas development phases, including any development involving fracking, would still require planning consent in the usual way.

A further consultation from the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS), is asking whether major shale gas development should be included within the Nationally Significant Infrastructure Projects planning regime (NSIP). This means applications would be determined by the Secretary of State rather than the local (mineral) planning authority.

In two separate votes members objected to the MHCLG proposals regarding its consultation and have asked the BEIS for more clarity and justification on its proposals.

In considering the BEIS proposal, county councillors felt that the case for dealing with major shale gas developments as Nationally Significant Infrastructure Projects had not been fully justified. In particular, they queried why shale gas would be treated differently to conventional onshore oil and gas development. They also wanted more clarity about the definition of ‘major’ shale gas development.

Cllr Daryl Turner, Cabinet Member for the Natural and Built environment said in a statement:

“We have done the right thing today by objecting to the MHCLG’sc proposals and asking for full justification from the BEIS. Without addressing our concerns at this stage, there is a risk that the proposals will be perceived to undermine local democratic accountability and integrity in the Nationally Significant Infrastructure Projects planning regime.”

Dorset has not seen any applications for shale gas development, nor is there any indication that shale gas resources would be a viable source of energy here. Nevertheless, the county council has extensive experience of dealing with conventional hydrocarbons – notably at Wytch Farm in Purbeck – and there are matters in these consultations relevant to the county council’s role as the Mineral Planning Authority.

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Categories: Dorset

High Court backs council process on Shaftesbury Cattle Market sale

Wed, 10/17/2018 - 12:28

The High Court has backed the process carried out by North Dorset District Council to sell Shaftesbury Cattle Market.

The cattle market site has seen a decline in recent years and will now be sold to a supermarket chain.

An application for permission to apply for Judicial Review was lodged by ‘Justice for Shaftesbury’ earlier this year.

Following consideration of the documents lodged by ‘Justice for Shaftesbury’, Judge Anthony Elleray, refused permission for a Judicial Review, saying that he had not found an arguable case.

Positive outcome

Cllr Michael Roake, North Dorset District Council’s Cabinet Member for Environment said:

“I am pleased with this positive outcome. A Judicial Review risked being a costly distraction and this judgement confirms our belief that the argument proposed by ‘Justice for Shaftesbury’ had no merit.

“A new supermarket for the town will attract more visitors to Shaftesbury, boosting the economy and creating more jobs.

“We’ve continued to process the sale of the site and are hopeful of completing this in the near future.”

Sale proposals agreed in April

Councillors agreed to the sale of the site to a leading supermarket chain in April of this year, following a competitive process which attracted a number of bids for the site.

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Categories: Dorset

Weymouth and Portland to host United Nations Day service

Wed, 10/17/2018 - 12:26

Members of the public are invited to attend this years United Nations Day service on Wednesday 24 October. The Mayor of Weymouth and Portland Borough Council Cllr Gill Taylor will host a short service in Weymouth. The service recognises international United Nations Day. The service is open to the public. It will take place at the Weymouth and Portland Borough Council Offices on Commercial Road at 10:30am.

Raising of the UN Flag

The service will include the raising of the UN Flag. This is followed by speeches from the Mayor and the President of the Weymouth and Portland Lions Club, Roger Hogbin.

Mayor Cllr Gill Taylor said: “I am delighted to have this opportunity to represent the borough. I am proud to host this civic event, recognising United Nations Day. It acknowledges the outstanding humanitarian work carried out by the UN throughout the world.”

The Mayor will be joined by representatives of local business groups, friends of the parks and gardens and borough councillors. Members of the public are welcome to join in the service.

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Categories: Dorset

Which projects in Lyme Regis are benefiting from £123,000?

Tue, 10/16/2018 - 13:58

The District Council and Lyme Regis Town Council are delighted to be working together to support local projects in and around Lyme Regis.

Cllr Daryl Turner, ward member for Lyme Regis and Charmouth, said: “We appreciate the effect that grants like these can have on local sport, cultural and community projects. There are some exciting new and established projects that will really be able to see the impact of this money for generations to come”.

“Valuable support for community”

Cllr Cheryl Reynolds, ward member for Lyme Regis and Charmouth and member of Lyme Regis Town Council, said: “The funding will be of huge benefit, not only to the successful organisations but also the wider community. A wide variety of projects and organisations have been awarded funding. This provides valuable support for community and social infrastructure in Lyme Regis.”

List of projects

Section 106 money [contributions from local developers] totalling £123,000 have been allocated to a variety of projects such as grants to:

  • Lyme Regis Football Club towards their new 60 seater grandstand
  • Lyme Regis Sea School Trust to purchase 3 new dinghies
  • Lyme Regis gig club to purchase a new Pilot Gig
  • Uplyme and Lyme Regis cricket club to purchase a new roller
  • 1st Lyme Valley scout group to refurbish their toilets and storage area at the Scout Hut
  • Lyme Regis development Trust for a community workshop
  • The Town Mill Trust for all-weather pathways and an electro hydraulic acutator
  • Town Mill Arts Lyme Regis Ltd to create a garden with a sculpture display area
  • A better lighting system for the Marine Theatre
  • The town council for their project to bring illumination to the Langmoor and Lister Gardens
  • Lyme Regis allotment association for a realignment of the main vehicle entrance

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Categories: Dorset

Last opportunity to comment on draft Purbeck Local Plan

Tue, 10/16/2018 - 11:15

The draft Purbeck Local Plan 2018-2034 will be published between 22 October and 3 December 2018. During this period, people can comment on the Plan and its policies.All comments received will then be passed to an independent planning inspector who will examine the plan before it can be adopted in autumn 2019 and used to determine planning applications.

Purbeck District Council has engaged with town and parish councils, individuals and residents’ groups to produce the draft Purbeck Local Plan. It has also been the subject of public consultations in 2015, 2016 and 2018.

Many people expressed concern during the 2016 consultation about the number of extra homes, so the Council pledged to fully review the plan and to look at the possibility of restricting the number of second homes and providing more affordable homes.

New guidance was received from the Government in autumn 2017 which estimated fewer extra new homes were needed: 1,700 compared with 3,080 extra new homes specified in 2016.

Following this, the most recent consultation took place in early 2018 and focused primarily on housing. Over 8,000 residents, businesses and organisations completed a paper questionnaire and telephone survey.

Taking into account feedback received during the consultations and technical information and data, the Purbeck Local Plan was drafted and presented to Purbeck District Council on Tuesday 9 October 2018.

At the meeting, Councillor Gary Suttle, Leader of Purbeck District Council, commented: “We said throughout the review process we would listen and we have. The plan before you is a very different to that consulted on in 2016 – half the numbers – in my opinion a huge improvement.

“I hope this document will get us to an adopted plan, which is the most important thing for the defence of this district. Without a valid plan, we are open to the threat of speculative developers.”

Councillor Suttle continued: “Many people have worked hard on this draft plan, not just Councillors and District Council staff, but local people and groups who have been invaluable in bringing up many points and improvements that we have been able to adopt.

“It has been impossible to get the numbers as low as some of you would like, but together we have persevered to draft this plan.

“We have listened throughout the process and I reiterate that we are still listening and will make changes if we need to. The people of the district remain our priority.”

People should submit their comments online at Purbeck-consult.objective.co.uk/portal/  between 22 October and 3 December 2018.

Only comments received during this period can be considered by the inspector.

If anyone needs assistance, they should contact the Planning Policy team at Purbeck District Council at localplan@purbeck-dc.gov.uk or telephone 01929 557260.

The draft plan, supporting documentation and response form can be found at dorsetforyou.gov.uk/Purbeck-local-plan-presubmission from 22 October 2018

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Categories: Dorset

Win a family ticket to Weymouth Sea Life Adventure Park!

Mon, 10/15/2018 - 12:52

Fancy a day out to Weymouth Sea Life Adventure Park? 

Good news, we’ve got two family tickets to give away! Each ticket allows entry for two adults and two children to Weymouth Sea Life, valid for a year from the issue date.

For your chance to win one of the tickets, all you need to do is enter your name and email using the link below. You must be a Dorset resident to take part.

Two winners will be selected at random on 31 October 2018 and we’ll email you to let you know whether you’ve won. The winners of the competition will need to respond within seven days, letting us know their postal address so we can send the tickets (this will need to be a Dorset address). If winners do not confirm their address within seven days of notification, we will need to pick another winner.

Please note, the tickets do not include admission for the Jurassic Skyline, or the Christmas Cabin.

Good luck and don’t forget to sign up to receive the Family Information Service e-newsletter to hear about future competitions, childcare, schools, local events and activities and much more!

Please read below terms and conditions before entering.

Enter competition

Terms and conditions
  1. Dorset County Council staff will be excluded from the competition
  2. Entry is open to Dorset residents only and if a winner provides a postal address outside of Dorset the prize will be forfeited, and a new winner chosen at random
  3. Tickets can only be redeemed during Weymouth Sea Life’s opening hours (last admission one hour before closing) which can be found at visitsealife.com/weymouth/
  4. Tickets do not include entry to the Jurassic Skyline, or the Christmas Cabin for the Christmas event
  5. Winner must comply with Weymouth Sea Life’s terms and conditions, which are printed on the back of the tickets. For details, please email familyinfo@dorsetcc.gov.uk
  6. Family ticket provides one free admission for two adults and two children (visit visitsealife.com/weymouth/ for more information)
  7. Tickets are valid for one year from issue date
  8. Two winners will be drawn at random from all valid entries and contacted via email from Dorset County Council to request a valid postal address
  9. If winners do not respond to Dorset County Council within seven days of the first notification, then the winner forfeits the prize and another winner will be chosen at random
  10. Tickets will be sent by post to successful entrants, Dorset County Council will not be responsible for tickets which are lost, stolen or damaged during transit
  11. Only the official Weymouth Sea Life tickets provided can be used to redeem the prize, Dorset County Council will not be able to replace lost, damaged or stolen tickets
  12. Prize includes admission to Weymouth Sea Life Adventure Park only: food, drink and transport will not be provided
  13. No cash alternative is available for the prize and it cannot be exchanged
  14. Prizes are not for resale and are not transferable
  15. Dorset County Council reserve the right to cancel, amend, terminate or suspend this promotion at any time with no liability to any entrant
  16. If for any reason (beyond the control of Dorset County Council) the promotion does not function correctly, then Dorset County Council retain the right to cancel, modify or suspend the promotion
  17. Dorset County Council’s decision in all matters relating to the promotion is final and binding
  18. If there are grounds to believe there has been a breach of these terms and conditions by an entrant, Dorset County Council retain the right to disqualify the entrant from the promotion
  19. Your data will not be used for anything other than contacting you in relation to this competition and will not be shared with any other third-party organisation. See our full Data Protection statement for how we use your data

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Categories: Dorset

Free Public Wi-Fi now at Charmouth Beach

Mon, 10/15/2018 - 10:56

Charmouth Beach has recently joined the front line of digital connectivity in the form of free public Wi-Fi. 

The newly installed network now available at Charmouth Beach provides free seamless Wi-Fi connectivity over a significant area on both sides of the River Char at this popular family beach location.

Installation of Charmouth Beach’s free public Wi-Fi was funded as part of the Dorset Coastal Connections portfolio. The aim is to enhance digital connectivity along Dorset’s coast, thereby promoting and boosting the Dorset economy.  The Dorset Coastal Connections portfolio of 18 projects received funding from the Coastal Communities Fund and is coordinated by Dorset Coast Forum.

Dorset Coastal Connections Project Officer Nikki Parker-Goadsby said, “We are really pleased that Charmouth Beach is benefiting from the Digital Connectivity funding which aims to promote Charmouth Beach to visitors coming to the Dorset coast.  We look forward to more coastal communities also receiving free public Wi-Fi as part of this project over the next year.”

The local Coastal Community Team commented; “We recognise the increasing importance of being connected in this digital world. Both residents and visitors can benefit from instant connection to the internet using the free Wi-Fi, whilst enjoying the Dorset Coast at Charmouth Beach. Not only does it cover the immediate area surrounding the Heritage Centre and beach huts but also extends along East beach on the other side of the river.”

Cllr Mary Penfold, West Dorset District Council’s Portfolio Holder for Enabling said; “It is fantastic news that free public wi-fi is now available to both residents and visitors to Charmouth Beach. It’s boosting Dorset digitally and is a great addition to a popular seaside family destination.”

What is Dorset Coastal Connections?

Dorset Coastal Connections – people and places is a portfolio project connecting and coordinating 18 coastal sites across Dorset, from Christchurch to Lyme Regis. The range of projects improves connections between our urban coastal areas and rural coastal areas & will promote and sell the Dorset coast as a whole. It is funded by the Coastal Community Fund as well as partner organisations.

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Categories: Dorset

A newly built village school wins national award

Mon, 10/15/2018 - 10:16

The new Bere Regis primary school, which was completed in December 2016, has won The SPACES Civic Building of the Year award in the category of Innovation.

The school was constructed as part of Dorset County Council’s Purbeck Reorganisation programme and followed the ‘baseline design’ approach developed by the council’s Dorset Property team. Baseline design is a standardised, repeatable design that provides innovative, practical and low-cost solutions, without compromising quality. The main contractor of the project was Morgan Sindall.

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

“I am pleased with the recognition for Dorset Property working with its Children’s Services Client on the ‘baseline’ school project at Bere Regis. A product of the savings driven from the Purbeck Reorganisation and already a Bronze Considerate Constructors Award Winner.”

The 140-place primary school includes five class bases, a hall, games court, grass playing field and a pre-school facility. The previous old brick building was home to the school for over 80 years and was not large enough or appropriate for teaching today’s curriculum.

The winner was announced at an award ceremony in Cambridge last week (11 October).

See more about the work of the council’s Dorset Property team

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Categories: Dorset

Councillors back plans to breathe fresh life into the Peninsula

Fri, 10/12/2018 - 15:46

Last night, members of Weymouth and Portland Borough Council voted in favour of progressing phase one of the Peninsula regeneration scheme.

Peninsula site from above

Support was given for all of the recommendations – including approval for the business case, funding arrangements, and demolition of the former ferry terminal building.

The council’s Harbour Management Board has already supported the Weymouth Peninsula proposals and the scheme will now goes forward to the shadow Dorset Council Formal Executive Committee on November 12. The outline planning application is due to be received by Weymouth & Portland Borough Council’s Planning Committee on November 28.

Cllr Jeff Cant, Weymouth & Portland Borough Council Briefholder for Finance and Assets, said; “Last night’s cross party decision by Full Council sitting as the Harbour Authority to support phase one of the Peninsula development is a massive step forward in bringing the town into the twenty first century. At last we have a clear vision and direction for future generations.

“This is only the first of a series of ambitious regeneration plans which we are sure will bring a boost to the local economy whilst guaranteeing community access. The decision by the Council to maintain control of the development as an all year round attraction – generating annual income for the community – shows our determination to inject new energy into our much loved town creating a legacy site for generations to come.”

Phase one of the Peninsula redevelopment includes; a 100-room hotel, a pub/diner with rooms, improvements to public space and a walkway around the site. It also includes repairs to the harbour walls. All-weather, year-round leisure attractions, marine facilities and restaurants are proposed in phase two.

The planning application is currently ‘live’ as planning officers seek to build up a complete picture of the proposal. Technical information can be received up until the committee date in line with planning procedure. Information has been provided by applicants and other specialists, for example the Environment Agency and Historic England. All of the documents that have been received can be viewed alongside the application at www.dorsetforyou.gov.uk

The existing planning application seeks approval for outline planning consent. As the project progresses there will be an opportunity for local residents and the community to have their say and share their views on the detailed plans for the site.

To stay up-to-date with Council news please subscribe to the resident newsletter and follow us on twitter.

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Categories: Dorset

20 new homes approved in Longburton

Fri, 10/12/2018 - 15:21

West Dorset District Council has approved the development of 20 new homes in Longburton.

The scheme, located at a former council transport depot, will provide a mixture of two and three-bedroom homes and will be built by housing association, Aster Group.

‘Transform brownfield site’

Cllr Ian Gardner, West Dorset District Council’s Portfolio holder for Planning, said:

“I am pleased this development has been approved. Once completed it will transform a brownfield site and provide key housing for an identified, local housing need.”

Opening Doors

Cllr Tim Yarker, West Dorset District Council’s Portfolio Holder for Housing, said:

“Through our Opening Doors Programme, we are working to encourage the development of more homes, especially affordable homes.

“I would encourage local residents looking to own a home, to fill in our Home Ownership Register. This will give us valuable data on where homes are wanted, and will mean we can contact you when homes are available.

“More information about Opening Doors and the Home Ownership Register is available at openingdoorsdorset.co.uk

‘Stepping stone’

Amanda Williams, group development director at Aster Group, said:

“Shared ownership is often a stepping stone for people to get on the housing ladder. We are thrilled to be delivering these homes in Longburton and pleased to be providing both shared ownership and homes for affordable rent for the local people and look forward to getting the project underway.”

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Categories: Dorset

Council Tax Support to be reviewed in advance of new Dorset Council  

Fri, 10/12/2018 - 15:10

A public consultation exercise is currently taking place that highlights the options for the Council Tax Support scheme that will be in place for the new Dorset Council.

The online survey invites residents to have their say on the options that may be implemented from 1 April 2019. The survey is now open to the public and will run until 10 December 2018.

What is the Council Tax Support scheme?

Council Taxpayers who are on low income can apply for Council Tax Support (CTS) to help them with their Council Tax. Entitlement to CTS is based on the circumstances and income of the claimant’s household.

Each Council Tax billing authority is required to determine the CTS scheme for its area and has the discretion to determine the principle factors for their scheme, including the maximum support that will be given to working age claimants.

Why is it being revised?

The current two tier system of local government in Dorset is changing from 1 April 2019 and the nine existing councils will be replaced by the following two unitary councils:

  • ·Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole Council, which will provide services covering that area
  • ·Dorset Council, which will provide services covering the rest of the County.

As a result of these changes the existing CTS schemes will effectively cease from that date and Dorset Council will need to agree a new scheme which is affordable, consistent and fair for all residents. Not only for those that receive support but also for those who depend on wider services.

How can I have my say?

Comments can be made by completing the online questionnaire at  www.dorsetforyou.gov.uk/council-tax-support-options.Those that do not have access to the internet can be sent a paper questionnaire by phoning 01305 211930. The results of the consultation will be considered in February 2019 when the Dorset Council CTS scheme will be agreed.

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Categories: Dorset

Bringing empty homes back into use

Fri, 10/12/2018 - 12:23

It’s National Empty Homes Week from 15 to 21 October. To mark the occasion, we’re inviting you to join a national campaign.

National Empty Homes Week

National Empty Homes Week aims to raise awareness of empty properties in your area and encourage you to report these to the councils.

205,000 empty homes across England

Data shows that 205,000 homes across England have been empty for more than six months. Over 5000 more than the previous year. This 2.6 per cent rise is the first increase since 2008, although the proportion of England’s homes long-term empty is broadly stable at around 0.85 per cent.

877 homes empty across three council areas

There are currently 217 empty homes in North Dorset, 429 empty homes in West Dorset and 231 empty homes in Weymouth & Portland.

Of the total 877 empty homes across the three council areas, 233 have been empty for over two years.

Conditions

Cllr Gill Taylor, Weymouth & Portland Borough Council’s Briefholder for Housing, said:

“The condition of empty properties can deteriorate rapidly, costing more to insure and eventually repair, especially if they are subject to vandalism or fly-tipping.

“If brought back into use, these homes can contribute towards the local housing demand, and can be an extra source of income for owners.”

Increased council tax

It has been estimated that keeping a property empty could cost as much as £135 a week, or £7,018 every year.

If a property is left empty for over two years, the owner will be charged a Council Tax Premium at a rate of 150 per cent.

For example the owner of an empty property paying £1,867.32 will see their Council Tax Bill increase by £933.66 per year to £2,800.98.

Parliament is proposing a Bill to further increase Council Tax on properties left empty for two years or more. Amendments to the Rating (Property in Common Occupation) and Council Tax (Empty Dwellings) bill would also mean councils could increase the premium significantly on empty homes.

Bringing homes back into use

There is a high demand for housing with around 4,300 households on the housing register across the three council areas.

Cllr Graham Carr-Jones, Leader of North Dorset District Council and Portfolio Holder for Housing, said:

“We want to take a proactive approach and return as many empty homes back into use as we can.

“I encourage anyone who owns an empty property, or knows of one in their area, to contact our Empty Homes Officers.”

Empty Homes Officers work with landlords to provide support, guidance and encouragement in order to return empty homes to use.

Partners are also on hand to give tailored letting advice and financial support.

In North Dorset, Ten long term empty homes were brought back into use by the Empty Homes Officer in 2017/18. Five have been brought back into use this year.

In West Dorset, 24 long term empty homes were brought into use by the Empty Homes Officer between in 2017/18. 15 homes have been brought back into use so far this year.

In Weymouth & Portland, seven long term empty homes were brought back into use by the Empty Homes Officer in 2017/18. Six homes have brought back into use this year.

Funding

Cllr Tim Yarker, West Dorset District Councils Portfolio Holder for Housing, said:

“With our housing shortage, it is wrong to have homes empty unnecessarily.

“Refurbishing and repairing empty properties helps to improve the look and feel of a neighbourhood. If a property needs renovation, in certain circumstances owners could be eligible for a low cost loan.”

Low cost funding is available through Wessex Resolutions CIC when supported by the council. Loans of up to £15,000 may be offered.

More information about loans and grants can be found on dorsetforyou.com or by contacting our Empty Homes Officers on 01305 252469.

Reporting

If you would like to report a property which you believe is empty, please contact our Empty Homes Officers on 01305 252469 or via email at housingimprovement@dorset.gov.uk

You can find out more by stopping by our roadshow events in Dorchester and Weymouth during Empty Homes Week.

Roadshows:
  • Tuesday 16 October from 10.30 to 14.30 – South Street, Dorchester
  • Friday 19 October from 10.30 to 14.30 – New Bond Street, Weymouth

 

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Categories: Dorset

Video competition: How far does your litter travel?

Fri, 10/12/2018 - 10:41

A new video competition is being launched to highlight the sources of Dorset’s plastic pollution problem.

Litter Free Dorset wants your videos to inspire change and reduce litter across the county.

‘Litter Travels’ can be about any aspect of litter and its journey – as plastic and other rubbish can travel from our roadsides and streets, through drains, down rivers and into our oceans.

The team want to see videos that explore the litter journey and inspire people to ‘Be the solution, not the pollution.’

A shortlist will be selected by judges, including McDonalds in Weymouth and Dorset Devils founder Peter Ryan. The final shortlist will then be put to public vote through social media.

The prize for the most innovative and creative video will be a 4K Panasonic Camcorder.

How to get Involved

For information on the competition and how to enter click here

Deadline: 28 February 2019

Format: MP4 video file

Max length: 2 minutes

#LitterTravels
#BeTheSolutionNotThePollution

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Categories: Dorset

Free bike security day

Thu, 10/11/2018 - 16:45

Cyclists can get their bikes security marked for free in Weymouth this Saturday. (13/10)

Bike security

The event, which will run from 1pm-3pm on the Rodwell Trail near the White Bridge overlooking the Marsh, has been funded by the Dorset Community Safety Partnership, which includes Weymouth and Portland Borough Council.

The funding, of around £1,300, means Dorset Police can hold bike marking sessions, where bikes are marked with codes so they can be identified. Under the scheme, tamper-proof stickers with QR codes are fixed to the bike’s frame. The owner’s details are recorded in a database. This means that if a marked bike is stolen and later recovered, the owner can be identified.

Security measures see bike returned

The event follows a successful bike marking day in Weymouth last Saturday (6/10) which saw hundreds of bikes marked. One of the bikes marked last week has already been successfully recovered and will be returned to its owner.

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Categories: Dorset

Gillingham Library goes autism-friendly

Thu, 10/11/2018 - 14:51

Gillingham Library has a new autism-friendly room.

It has been designed in partnership with Autism Wessex to give people with autism and their family or carer a quiet place to go, as they may need to seek out time alone if overloaded with social interaction, or if spaces are too bright or loud for comfort.

Councillor Andrew Parry, Cabinet member responsible for libraries said: “Library Services contribute to the health and wellbeing of communities and the creation of this room will provide a quiet, relaxing space with access to reading materials.

“It’s vital that everyone in a community has the opportunities and access to enjoyable and educational resources.”

The room is also available for professionals to run support sessions, counselling, assessments or meetings.

Visitors can familiarise themselves with the building before visiting through the library’s ‘picture journey’.

There will be an opportunity to see the room, meet the staff and see the autism book collection on 16 October from 10.30 am -12 noon.

To book the room email gillinghamlibrary@dorsetcc.gov.uk or call 01747 822180.

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Categories: Dorset

Helping local communities

Thu, 10/11/2018 - 13:55

This year, Dorset Highways has been working with its contracting partners to help local charities.

Taking advantage of Dorset Highways private sector partnerships and Dorset County Council’s ‘volunteering day’ allowance for staff, work is carried out free of charge.

Dorset County Council encourage staff to use their annual ‘volunteering day’ at one of the 4,000+ voluntary and community groups across Dorset, using their ‘work’ skills to directly benefit the local community.

The projects

Following the success of the first highways volunteering project at Weldmar Hospicecare in February 2018, more than 17 organisations got in touch asking for help.

Two further projects, to be delivered in 2018, were selected by Dorset Highways frontline workers.

October 2018
MyTIME | Because Young Carers Matter

MyTIME charity’s outdoor centre in Worth Matravers, near Swanage, gives young carers – some as young as six-years-old – somewhere fun, safe and secluded to escape to.

Starting on Monday 15 October, highways volunteers will be will be creating a new access road, installing infrastructure for a new electricity supply, laying a patio area and constructing a large concrete hardstanding. This is only made possible by donations of time and materials from Dorset Highways and its partners:

  • 300m of new ducting (pipe under the road for cables)
  • 300m new access track – material provided by Hanson Contracting
  • 45m² new patio – materials supplied by Bradfords Building Supplies
  • 50m² new concrete hardstanding – material supplied by Knights Brown
September 2018
Panda Pre-School, Blandford Forum

Dorset Highways staff volunteered their time to install a new playground at the Panda Pre-School in Blandford, with equipment from Mark Farwell Plant Hire and materials from Hanson Contracting.

February 2018
Weldmar Hospicecare , Dorchester

Dorset County Council highway operations staff used their annual volunteering day to put their skills and experience into action for the local, independent charity Weldmar Hospicecare at their inpatient unit in Dorchester, Joseph Weld Hospice.

  • designing and building a new access road into the fundraising field
  • replacing defective drains with low maintenance drainage
  • installing some new road markings to improve road safety

Material, labour and equipment was donated by Hanson Contracting, Hanson Aggregates, W J Road Markings and Bradfords Building Supplies.

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Categories: Dorset

Vandalism puts community project at risk

Thu, 10/11/2018 - 12:22

A community project to improve subways in Weymouth is under threat after repeated graffiti attacks.

Graffiti in Weymouth underpass

The project, which got the go-ahead following a £7,000 grant from Weymouth and Portland Borough Council, aims to improve the town’s underpasses by getting them thoroughly cleaned and painted.

More than 200 people have supported the project by sharing their views. Volunteers from a community group, East Boro Housing, and a local artist have offered to paint the subways, transforming them into pleasant places.

Aster Housing have offered to help with the cost of painting the subways with a white base coat. Sadly these efforts look likely to be undermined as the subways are being persistently covered in graffiti.

Subways covered in graffiti

Cllr Mike Byatt, Community Safety Briefholder at Weymouth & Portland Borough Council, said: “This project is a fantastic community effort, which could improve our underpasses.

“Sadly community efforts to transform these neglected places into vibrant arty spaces are being put in jeopardy as they are being consistently covered in graffiti. I’d like to appeal to anyone spraying graffiti to support their community by stopping.”        

The subways are at the top of King Street and by Radipole Lake, Westham.  

Anyone with information is asked to contact Dorset Police at www.dorset.police.uk, via email 101@dorset.pnn.police.uk or by calling 101, quoting occurrence number 55180164959. Alternatively, contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111 or via www.crimestoppers-uk.org.

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Categories: Dorset

Which assets and services might transfer to Weymouth Town Council?

Wed, 10/10/2018 - 15:20

Councillors will soon consider proposals to transfer a number of assets and services to Weymouth Town Council.

Councillors will soon consider proposals to transfer a number of assets and services to Weymouth Town Council.

The first meeting of Weymouth’s Shadow Town Council is set to take place on Thursday 18 October.

At this meeting members will consider a report detailing which of assets and services currently owned and operated by Weymouth & Portland Borough Council could transfer to the new town council when it comes into existence in April 2019.

Which assets and services could transfer?

Assets and services up for consideration include:

  • The council offices at Commercial Road
  • Parks and gardens and cemeteries
  • Beach and seafront, including Esplanade lighting and the festivals and events service
  • Community Development
  • Clocks and monuments
  • Public toilets
  • Weymouth Museum Collection
  • Civic items, mayoral regalia and twinning responsibilities
  • Town Centre Management

Read the report to see full details of the assets and services being considered.

No decisions yet

 Cllr Alison Reed, Weymouth & Portland Borough Council briefholder for Corporate Affairs and Continuous Improvement said:

“A lot of work has taken place to bring these proposals to the table but no decisions are being made yet.

“The meeting is an opportunity to set out the shape and scale of what we are proposing, and get feedback from the members of the Shadow Town Council as to whether we are heading in the right direction.”

Following the Shadow Town Council meeting on 18 October, the report will then be considered by Weymouth & Portland Borough Council’s Management Committee on Tuesday 30 October.

At this meeting members will be asked to decide if they agree with the overall direction of the proposals. Following this, the proposals will also be considered by the Shadow Dorset Council Executive Committee.

The final decision about which assets and services will transfer to the new town council will be made at Weymouth & Portland Borough Council’s Full Council meeting in January 2019.

The role of the Shadow Town Council

The Shadow Town Council is being established to help guide the process of setting up a new town council for Weymouth.

It is comprised of 29 members of the existing borough council who are ward members for the Weymouth area.

The Shadow Town Council is a committee of Weymouth & Portland Borough Council. It has no decision making powers and as such is only able to comment on the proposals in the report being considered on 18 October.

Meetings of the Shadow Town Council are open to the public to attend.

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