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News from Dorset council
Updated: 9 hours 36 min ago

Hazardous waste advice

Mon, 10/14/2019 - 11:54

Hazardous waste such as discarded syringes can occasionally be found across the country. 

Although it’s a national issue, we would like to remind people that if you ever see one, do not touch, unless it poses an immediate danger.

If you see a syringe is on public land please report it immediately so a clean-up can be arranged as soon as possible.

You can either report online at: dorsetcouncil.gov.uk/syringes

Or call Dorset Waste Partnership on 01305 221040.

 

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Categories: Dorset

Flood protection work in Weymouth

Thu, 10/10/2019 - 15:54

Work to improve flood protection will begin on Weymouth beach next week. (15/10)

Weymouth beach

Dorset Council will start work to lower the level of the beach near the sea wall on Tuesday. This will help protect sea front properties from coastal flooding. The work, which is expected to take up to three days, will also help reduce wind erosion.

Engineers have decided to lower the height of the beach so there is less chance of waves coming over the wall. The work is being done in co-ordination with Weymouth Town Council.

An excavator and a mini-digger will be used to reduce the level of the sand by around 700mm, mainly along the southern end of the seafront. The excavators will move beach material back from the sea wall and then a bulldozer will level it across the beach.

Cllr Ray Bryan, Dorset Council Portfolio Holder for Environment, Highways and Travel, said: “This work is important to help protect Weymouth seafront from coastal flooding and wind erosion. Lowering the beach will reduce the risk of waves coming over the wall. The work is expected to take up to three days and we apologise for any inconvenience.”

Cllr Jon Orrell, who represents the seafront area of Melcombe Regis on Dorset Council, said: “This work is welcome in the short term, recognising that in medium term we will need to do substantially more to protect the town from climate breakdown.”

Dorset Council has a Beach Management Plan relating to sea defences and also works closely with Weymouth Town Council and its Beach Management Team.  Similar beach levelling work has been done previously.

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Categories: Dorset

Final statistics are in!

Thu, 10/10/2019 - 10:55

Dorset Council’s specialist Phoenix vehicles are being put away for the winter following another successful year of surface dressing.

Over 18 weeks – from April to September – a team of highway workers travelled across the county treating roads to protect them from water damage and to improve skid resistance.

In total, 126 miles of road were refreshed, including 29 miles of the ‘main road’ network, with 15,000 tonnes of stone used and 1.8m litres of bitumen emulsion.

Residential roads were treated in Wareham as well as rural roads in the Blandford, Dorchester, Gillingham, Shaftesbury, Sherborne and Sturminster Newton areas.

Premium surface dressing, which uses a finer grade stone on faster roads, was carried out on sections of the A37, A352, A354, A353, A357 and A356 by Eurovia Specialist Treatments.

Cllr Ray Bryan, Cabinet member for Highways, Travel and Environment, said:

“Each year we invest around three-million-pounds to improve road condition using surface dressing, which is an effective treatment where the top road layer is worn.

“This is used alongside resurfacing – used where deeper road layers are damaged – to ensure we are spending the money we have in the most efficient way.

“Roads are the lifeline for businesses and communities and we will continue to maintain them in line with the resources we have available.”

Planned road maintenance work is continuing within the Dorset Council area, as is reactive pothole repair work. Community highway officers carry out regular inspections of roads as well as responding to reports made by residents.

Potholes are prioritised for repair based on location, size, depth and the category of road it’s on – a pothole on an A class road will be fixed quicker than a similar pothole on a C or D class road. Every effort is made to repair potholes within 28 days.

You can report a problem with any aspect of the highway online.

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Categories: Dorset

Weymouth parking permits under review

Wed, 10/09/2019 - 12:53

Parking could be about to change for the better in the Park District – that’s the hope of Dorset Council and residents alike.

Following a petition by local residents frustrated with parking conditions in the Park District, Dorset Council is inviting people with parking permits in Zones A and C to share their views on the future of their permit scheme.

Residents are being asked to have their say on a range of permit-related questions, including if there should be free permits for ‘green’ vehicles, if they would pay more for a permit that covered parking in a car park, removing one-hour spaces and restricting business parking permits.

Residents will also be asked if they think incremental charges should be brought in, with each additional car permit costing more.

Cllr Ray Bryan, Cabinet member for Highways, Travel and Environment, said:

“Earlier this year, residents put together a petition about the parking situation in the Park District area of Weymouth, and we recognise that our policy hasn’t kept pace with the growth of cars on the road or number of cars per household.

“We know that residents may have different views to businesses in the area so, as well as asking residents in these permit zones, we will also be talking with hoteliers in the area.

“Please fill in the survey as your views will shape the future of on-street permit parking in this area.”

For anyone unable to access the online survey, members of the parking services team will be available at the Park District Community Centre, Chelmsford Street from 10am to 4pm on Tuesday 22 October and Tuesday 5 November.

Cllr Jon Orrell, elected member for the Melcombe Regis ward, said: “We recognise there is a supply and demand issue; with a significant difference in the number of spaces available and the number of people wishing to park their cars.

“I’m pleased that residents are being asked what they think. If you have an opinion on parking this is the chance to make your views and concerns heard.”

The survey is available for seven weeks from Monday 14 October to Sunday 1 December.

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Categories: Dorset

Star Awards 2019 celebrate Dorset’s foster families and children in care

Wed, 10/09/2019 - 11:14

Dorset’s children in care and their foster families have been celebrated at the 2019 Star Awards.

Cllr Andrew Parry (far left) and Executive Director for Children Sarah Parker (far right) with carers Barbara and Paul Mayes and Jackie and Mike Harding. Between them they have clocked-up 40 years of long service.

The Star Awards are hosted by Dorset Council to celebrate the achievements of foster families and the children they look after. The awards also recognise the accomplishments of  young people who are leaving care.

A record number of over 300 young people, their guests and foster carers attended the joyous ceremony on Sunday 6 October. More than 120 certificates were presented.

Members of the audience were treated to inspirational speeches and astonishing displays of musical talent from children and young people who have come through Dorset’s care service.  

During the ceremony awards were given to:

  • children who have coped with significant changes in their personal circumstances
  • youngsters who have achieved qualification success
  • birth children who have welcomed foster children into their families

Awards were also given to Barbara and Paul Mayes and to Jackie and Mike Harding (pictured above). Between them they have spent 40 years caring for children and young people.

‘Awesome’ awards ceremony

Speaking at the ceremony, Dorset Council’s portfolio holder for Children, Education and Early Help, Cllr Andrew Parry said:

“The Star Awards are just totally awesome because throughout the year such amazing things go on for both these young people and their carers.

“It’s about taking that little day out once a year just to celebrate and to see what’s really great about the culture here in Dorset for looked after children. It’s fabulous, I love it to bits.”

Previously known as Dorset’s Children in Care Awards, the Star Awards are now in their fifth year and continue to go from strength to strength.

Could you foster a child?

We need more people to come forward and foster to help make a difference to the lives of Dorset’s children in care.

You can find out more information about being a foster carer online, emailfosteringenquiries@dorsetcouncil.gov.uk  or call 01305 225568. 

This October we are celebrating the contribution that the children of foster carers make. Find out from Toby and Niall what it’s like to be part of a fostering family.

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Categories: Dorset

Dorset Council wins awards and praise for its efforts to help the environment

Wed, 10/09/2019 - 10:40

Councillors and officers at Dorset Council have been celebrating success recently as their efforts to care for the environment and fight climate change have been recognised by several organisations.

Waste management and vehicle emissions are two of the most important areas of work Dorset Council is focusing on when acting to help prevent climate change, especially in the wake of their Climate Emergency declaration earlier this year.

Eunomia, an independent environmental consultancy, compiles the Local Authority Recycling Carbon Index each year which measures the environmental performance of councils’ recycling services.

Now in its seventh year, the index gives councils an alternative and arguably better measure of the environmental performance of their waste and recycling services. With this indicator, it shows which local authorities’ recycling services deliver the greatest carbon benefits.

The latest Carbon Index for 2017/18 saw the Dorset Waste Partnership – Dorset Council’s waste services – return to first place in the list of over 120 English local authorities with 108CO2e – which works out as the equivalent of 108 kilograms of carbon dioxide saved per Dorset resident.

In addition to this fantastic achievement, Dorset Council’s Recycling Team recently won Best Team of the Year at the national Local Authority Recycling Advisory Committee (LARAC) Conference Celebration Awards 2019.

The award was in recognition of the team’s contribution to raising and maintaining the council’s kerbside recycling rate, which currently stands at 59.7% and is one of the highest in the country. This has generated savings of over £90,000 in the past year alone.

The Dorset Waste Partnership’s Enforcement Team was also shortlisted for the Best Partnership Award, regarding its work to combat rural crime, setting up pro-active partnerships with Dorset Police, the DVLA and the community initiative Litter Free Dorset, as well as working with private landowners, the Environment Agency, Keep Britain Tidy, and various housing associations.

And finally, Dorset recently featured in the Top 20 local authorities recognised by Friends of the Earth (FotE) for its performance in mitigating climate change through eco-friendly working and sustainable initiatives.

FotE looked at every council area in England and Wales and graded its performance by reviewing data on various factors, including but not limited to household energy efficiency, eco-heating, renewable energy, and the reuse, recycling and composting of household waste. From this data, FotE awarded Dorset a score of 80%, placing it in the fourth highest-scoring band.

Cllr Tony Alford, Portfolio Holder for Customer, Community and Regulatory Services at Dorset Council, commented:

“Congratulations to everyone that has been involved in these wonderful achievements. We’re very proud of the hard work that has gone into transforming our waste services over the years and this recognition is proof positive that our efforts are making a huge contribution in the fight against climate change, as well as maintaining high quality services and saving money.”

Cllr Ray Bryan, chair of Dorset Council’s Climate Change Executive Advisory Panel, added:

“Dorset has always had a strong legacy of caring for the environment. We will build on these recent successes as we put together our Climate Emergency action plans and seek to perform even better in the future. Well done everyone and keep up the good work.”

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Categories: Dorset

Calls for better behaviour on school buses

Wed, 10/09/2019 - 10:25

The school term is only a few weeks old, but there has been a disturbing amount of vandalism on buses while they are transporting children to school.

Bluebird Coaches who run the services to Atlantic Academy has seen arm rests ripped out and tray tables torn from the backs of seats.

The buses which are contracted by Dorset Council transport Children to the Academy from Wyke Regis and Portland.

Bluebird coaches, said:

“Our priority is always the children’s safety and our drivers’ welfare at all times.  The children not sitting down with their seat belts on when requested is causing a distraction for our drivers.

“The level of damage on these school coaches is atrocious. Some children are completely out of control.

“We are installing CCTV into the coaches and with the help of the academy and council we will identify the culprits.”

Once identified the parents will be contacted to try and resolve the problematic behaviour. If this is not successful, they could be banned from using the bus for a short time or permanently.  Parents will be charged for the damage their children have caused.

Atlantic Academy, said:

“ We expect our pupils to behave with good manners, respect and courtesy.  This will involve them being calm, patient, considerate of other users of the bus and positive representation of Atlantic Academy.”

Cllr Ray Bryan, Dorset Council’s portfolio holder for Highways, travel and environment, said:

“The children who are damaging the bus are putting themselves and other travellers in danger. As soon as they take their seats every child should put on their seat belt so in the event of a traffic incident they stay in their seats. If not secured and something happens that child can cause injury to themselves and others.”

A guide on how to be safe on the bus will be distributed to all parents of children on the buses concerned.

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Categories: Dorset

Two new neighbourhood plans adopted in Dorset

Tue, 10/08/2019 - 14:52

Residents in Milborne St Andrew and in Broadwindsor now have influence over development in their local areas after Dorset Council adopted their neighbourhood plans.

91% of residents who took part in a referendum on the plan for Milborne St Andrew voted for Dorset Council to use their neighbourhood plan to help decide planning applications. Residents of Broadwindsor, Burstock and Seaborough also took part in a referendum, and 75% were favour of adopting their plan.

The neighbourhood plans were prepared by the local communities and set out visions and objectives for how the parishes will develop. They will be used to guide future development in the parishes and determine planning applications.

The plans deal with the provision of homes. They also seek to protect sensitive areas, including the integrity of European sites as set out by the Habitats Regulations Assessment, by avoiding inappropriate development or over-development, while also providing support for affordable homes, facilities and businesses.

Cllr David Walsh, Dorset Council Portfolio Holder for Planning, said: “A lot of hard work and determination has gone into the neighbourhood plans by the residents of Milborne St Andrew and of Broadwindsor, Burstock and Seaborough.

“We are grateful for their enthusiasm for their local areas, putting the needs of those within the community at the forefront of decision making, whilst protecting the beautiful areas in which they live.”

The full plans can be viewed online at dorsetcouncil.gov.uk/neighbourhood-plans-in-dorset

A paper copy of the Milborne St Andrew Plan can be read at Nordon Lodge, 58 Salisbury Road, Blandford Forum, Dorset, DT11 7LN.

The Broadwindsor Neighbourhood Plan can be read at Dorset Council offices, South Walks House, South Walks Road, Dorchester and at Beaminster Town Council offices, Public Hall, 8 Fleet Street, Beaminster, Dorset, DT8 3EF.

What is a neighbourhood plan?

Neighbourhood plans were introduced in the Localism Act which passed through Government in 2011. A neighbourhood plan aims to give residents more control over their local area, when plans for new homes, shops and offices in their town or village are considered.

Once the plan is written, it will be consulted on locally and submitted to the council for independent examination. It will also be subject to a local referendum to make sure it has the support of local people.

More information on neighbourhood plans can be found at dorsetcouncil.gov.uk

Any parish council or parish meeting that might be interested in forming a neighbourhood plan should contact planningpolicyteamb@dorsetcouncil.gov.uk for more information.

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Categories: Dorset

Summon a Digital Champion and get online for Halloween

Tue, 10/08/2019 - 11:24

Don’t be spooked by digital technology this Halloween. If you are struggling to use the computer, tablet or smart phone to look up ‘what’s on’ over half term and Halloween there‘s help at hand.

Superfast Dorset has a network of 70 volunteer Digital Champions who offer free, one-to-one computer help sessions in libraries and other venues across the county and they can help you get online and develop your digital skills.

There’s a wealth of magical things to do this half term around Dorset from wand making on Brownsea Island to spooky Halloween trails, free entry to a museum if your (grand) child is in Halloween fancy dress, through to a seashore safari trail – but most information is only available digitally. 

Cllr. Gary Suttle, Portfolio Holder for Economic Growth and Skills, said:  “If you struggle using computers, tablets, smart phones or are just a bit rusty you are not alone.   It is a common issue, around 150,000 people across Dorset are not confident using a computer and 70,000 of these have never been online.  If you are unable to use digital technology it means you can miss out on simple pleasures such as sharing family photos. 

“Your Digital Champion can help here and also show you how to use Skype to keep in contact with your friends and family wherever they are.  You could have a weekly chat with loved ones and even feel part of birthdays, christenings, weddings digitally.” 

Superfast Digital Champions are ready to provide you with all the help you need from switching on a computer and using the internet safely to managing email and digital pictures and, of course, finding information from reliable sources.  Visit them on a regular basis or just once to learn digital skills so that you can show your family how to safely use the internet. 

To get help from a Digital Champion simply call 01305 221048 or visit our pages and we will match you with a friendly volunteer in your area who will help you feel right at home in the digital world.  

 If you use the internet but want to become more confident in accessing information, you could try one of these online courses

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Categories: Dorset

Grants available for good causes  

Tue, 10/08/2019 - 10:19

Grants are available to help improve the lives of people living or working in Dorset.   

Get your grant applications in!

Cultural, sporting and community organisations can now apply for money from Dorset Council’s Leisure Development Fund. 

 Cllr Tony Alford, Dorset Council Portfolio Holder for Customer, Community and Regulatory Services, said: “I am very glad that Dorset Council will be supporting efforts enrich the lives of people who live and work in Dorset. I would like to encourage good causes and community groups to apply for funds.” 

“Apply now for a leisure grant”

Grants of up to £5,000 are available from the £70,000 fund and the closing date for applications is 10 November 2019. Applications can be made for up to 20 per cent of a project’s cost and the money can be used for one-off or capital projects. Find out how to apply. 

Or you can contact Dorset Council’s Leisure Department by email: leisurewdwp@dorsetcouncil.gov.uk or call: 01305 252250.      

 

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Categories: Dorset

Lodmoor Nature Reserve engineering work update

Mon, 10/07/2019 - 11:49

Dorset Council will be reopening the right of way that crosses Lodmoor Nature Reserve on Monday 7 October for approximately two weeks, following a delay by contractors.

The right of way will remain open from Monday 7 October until Monday 21 October, when an alternative route around the reserve will be made available for those who need access.

Essential maintenance work to replace a drainage structure that allows water to pass underneath the walkways through the reserve began on Monday 16 September. The works will actively help to reduce upstream flood risk and will allow the RSPB to better manage the reserve and meet their objectives set out in the Country Stewardship Agreement by Natural England.

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Categories: Dorset

It is here, our annual Liftshare week!

Mon, 10/07/2019 - 11:07

Fancy doing your bit and helping us in our bid to tackle climate change? Join us in our annual Liftshare week and turn your daily commute into something much more enjoyable.

Not only will you pocket a few extra pounds, but car sharing is the perfect opportunity to; relive stress of the daily commute, protect the environment, promote safer driving and is a chance to make a new friend.

Form a Liftshare group by 20 October, and you will be entered into a prize draw to win a £150 Red Letter day voucher!

Cllr Ray Bryan, Dorset Council Portfolio holder for Highways, Travel and Environment, said: “Liftshare week is a perfect opportunity for residents to support us in our work to combat the current climate emergency – It’s also a fantastic way to get to know those in your area or in the workplace! Whether it’s for the daily commute, school run, or weekend trip into town for coffee, I encourage those who can to create a liftshare group.”

The average regular sharer saves over £1000 per year and not only that, but they also save the equivalent in weight of 27 Orangutans in CO2 per year! Signing up is easy, all you need to do is head to https://liftshare.com/uk/community/dorset add your journey and find your match. It’s really is that easy.

If you’re already a member but don’t have a Liftshare group, you can log back into your account, review your matches and find someone new going your way.

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Categories: Dorset

Affordable housing boost for Beaminster

Fri, 10/04/2019 - 15:02

A development of 38 homes in Beaminster is set to go ahead as a wholly affordable scheme following a Dorset Council meeting.

 

Aster Group is building the properties on the landmark former Clipper Tea site, on the north side of Broadwindsor Rd, following the relocation of the business to the south side of the road.

 

Members of the Dorset Council’s western and southern planning committee approved a modification to the Section 106 agreement for the scheme’s existing planning permission.

 

Aster applied for the change – to remove a condition stipulating that buyers of shared ownership properties on the site must have a local connection – to ensure it would get Government funding for properties. Committee members delegated authority to the council’s head of planning to modify the agreement.

 

Cllr David Walsh, Dorset Council Portfolio Holder for Planning, said: “Agreeing to this modification will ensure that all homes on this site are classified as affordable rather than just 35 per cent as required under planning policies.

 

“The committee accepted the need to make this site viable with the maximum funding possible from Homes England and the benefits a wholly affordable development would bring.”

 

Cllr Graham Carr-Jones, Dorset Council Portfolio Holder for Housing, said:  “There are many people, especially young families, struggling to get into a home of their own especially in our rural towns and villages.

 

“The council’s Opening Doors programme exists to help these type of people and I look forward to seeing work start in Beaminster.”

 

The Government has stated that it will not provide funding for shared ownership properties under its Shared Ownership and Affordable Housing Programme 2016- 2021 if local prioritisation or eligibility criteria are applied. 

 

Amanda Williams, Group development director from Aster Group, said: “We’re delighted to  be able to progress this site as a wholly affordable scheme and help more people in the community. It’s not only fantastic news for all of Beaminster, but most importantly, for local families and those in vital need of affordable housing.

 

“We look forward to seeing the site develop and will work closely with the council and Opening Doors to ensure local people are fully aware of the properties available at the site.”

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Categories: Dorset

Highway works to return to Purbeck

Wed, 10/02/2019 - 16:47

Planned work on roads in the Purbeck area will start up again, following the lifting of an embargo.

Earlier this year, Dorset Council highways service suspended all planned work on roads affected by the breakdown of the Sandbanks Ferry in order to minimise disruption on the network.

With the summer peak season now over, and with traffic counts showing figures average for this time of year, councillors and highway chiefs have agreed to lift the works embargo to ensure projects can get underway.

Cllr Ray Bryan, Cabinet member for Highways, Infrastructure and Environment, said: “We know that there will still be some additional traffic on these routes in to and out of Purbeck, but we must get back to business as usual to ensure that vital utility work and highway schemes can get underway.”

On Monday, 7 October, highways work to build a cycle link in Wareham will centre on Worgret Roundabout.

For two weeks, all approaches at the roundabout will be reduced to one lane so that dropped kerbs can be installed to improve crossing points for cyclists and pedestrians.

Although work started on 2 September, up to now, the project has not interfered with traffic flow. The scheme is widening the existing pavement into a shared use, off-road cycleway/footway from Worgret Roundabout, along the A351 Wareham Bypass, to Saxon Roundabout, to provide a valuable sustainable transport link between the new housing development and the railway station.

All planned roadworks can be found online.

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Categories: Dorset

Dorset residential home for children rated as ‘good’ by inspectors

Wed, 10/02/2019 - 10:27

A residential home for children with complex learning difficulties and disabilities has been rated ‘good’ by Ofsted inspectors.

The Cherries, run by Dorset Council, is based in Weymouth and provides long-term

Some of our staff from The Cherries

accommodation for up to nine children.

Ofsted visited the home in August and looked at the following areas:
• the experiences and progress of children and young people
• how well children and young people are protected
• the effectiveness of leadership and management

Inspectors said that children receive good quality care from dedicated staff with whom they have built strong, positive relationships. They said children are making good progress, especially in their personal development, education and with their involvement in the community.

Leadership and management of the home is good. Staff were praised for their relationships with families and professionals, and for regularly consulting with families of the children they care for. Parents and professionals also praised staff for their commitment to children, their communication skills and their hospitality.

Inspectors noted that safeguarding arrangements are good and that staff understand the additional vulnerabilities of the children they care for. They said they help children to take part in a range of exciting and challenging activities while keeping them safe.

Cllr Andrew Parry, portfolio holder for Children, Education and Learning, said:

“We’re delighted that The Cherries has been rated as good by Ofsted. Staff have worked very hard to make necessary improvements since its last inspection and I know they’ll continue to develop, learn and raise standards so the children who live there receive the best possible care.

The news comes a month after Dorset Council’s Cabinet agreed to look at how it could provide more residential care in Dorset, as part of its wider strategy to reduce the number of looked after children and the amount it spends on costly placements outside of the county. Cllr Parry added:

“By offering offer more high-quality and flexible residential care in Dorset, we can care for a child locally while they wait for a family placement or until they can return home. We’re currently exploring options, but the excellent work by staff at the Cherries is something that we can learn from and build upon.”

Areas for improvement at The Cherries include the quality of its assessments, maintaining staff training records and making sure the home continues to be a nurturing and supportive environment by reviewing the amount of health and safety signage.

Read The Cherries Full Report

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Categories: Dorset

Meet your new patrol officers (and follow them on social media!)

Wed, 10/02/2019 - 09:39

Meet your new patrol officers who are working to make Weymouth even safer.           

Meet Martin, Samuel, Jason and Sam who are on the beat in Weymouth

Martin, Samuel and Jason have joined existing officer Sam on the beat. They are patrolling in Weymouth seven days a week. You can follow their progress on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

Follow them on social media

Twitter @PatrolOfficers

Facebook @weypatrolofficers

Instagram: weymouthpatrolofficers

Or find them via #weypatrols

Follow to find out what they are doing, where they have been, and how they are tackling anti-social behaviour.

The team wear uniforms and are specially trained and carry out certain police and council powers, such as issuing fixed penalty notices.

Cllr Graham Carr-Jones, Dorset Council Portfolio Holder for Community Safety and Housing, said: “I am delighted to welcome our new patrol officers. They are out and about in Weymouth and their presence shows that anti-social behaviour will not be tolerated.

“I hope people will feel reassured when they see them. They are here to help, so please do speak to them or email them at patrol@dorsetcouncil.gov.uk especially if anything has made you feel unsafe.”

“We patrol seven days a week”

They usually work in pairs and their shifts cover seven days a week. They are employed by Dorset Council under the Community Safety Accreditation Scheme (CSAS), which has also been supported and also funded by Dorset Police, the Dorset Police and Crime Commissioner, British Transport Police and Weymouth BID.

They are currently focusing their patrols on the town centre and Esplanade, Weymouth Train Station and Lodmoor. This summer they have issued Community Protection Warnings to tackle anti-social behaviour, helped evict an illegal encampment at Lodmoor and issued warnings to people begging in the town centre.

They have also warned youngsters against jumping off the pier, dispersed groups engaging in anti-social behaviour, warned cyclists not to use the Promenade outside the permitted times and cleared-up unattended items left in public places.

This autumn, they are also focusing on the Rodwell Trail and the Marsh. They are authorised to enforce Dorset Council’s Public Space Protection Order (PSPO). This sets out rules on feeding gulls, consuming alcohol in public places and cycling on the promenade. It was introduced last year after considering people’s views. However, it does not ban drinking alcohol outright or create an alcohol free zone.

 

 

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Categories: Dorset

Dorset Council condemns geese killings

Tue, 10/01/2019 - 11:42

Seven Canada Geese carcasses have been found dumped on Dorset Council’s Blackdown Nature Reserve, near Hardy Monument.

The birds were killed and had their breasts removed sometime overnight on 29 September. The remains of the birds were left in a ditch, believed to be the work of poachers.

Cllr Ray Bryan, Dorset Council’s portfolio holder for Highways, Travel and Environment said:

“This is a despicable crime against nature. The birds have been butchered for a small amount of meat, with no respect shown to them after they have been killed. We pride the work we do for the benefit of all wildlife in Dorset – our countryside teams strive to create and maintain habitats suitable for wildlife to flourish but there are a small minority of people who have a blatant disregard for nature.

We would appeal to anyone who saw a suspicious vehicle in the area or has any other information about the geese, to please contact us or Dorset Police.

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Categories: Dorset

Cabinet agrees council tax exemption for young people leaving care

Tue, 10/01/2019 - 10:29

Care leavers in Dorset will not have to pay council tax until they are 25.

Dorset Council’s Cabinet has agreed that young people who have spent time in foster or residential care will be exempt from paying council tax until the age of 25 if they live alone or given a 25 per cent discount if they live with someone else.

The decision follows a national campaign by The Children’s Society, who say that managing household finances can be particularly difficult for care leavers as they often don’t have the same support networks and opportunities as other young people.

Dorset Council is responsible for  225 care leavers aged between 18 and 25 in its role as corporate parent. It’s estimated that 104 of these live in Dorset and are likely to qualify for a council tax exemption or discount, which would cost the council around £46,500 per year.

Care leavers in Scotland and Wales are already exempt from council tax and more than 100 local authorities in England have also signed up to the scheme.

Cllr Andrew Parry, portfolio holder for Children, Education and Early Help at Dorset Council, said:

“Leaving home and living on your own for the first time is a challenge for most young people. If you’ve been in care, then you’ll likely to face additional pressures that can make it even harder. Care leavers often don’t have the same type of support from family and friends and are more likely to struggle to pay bills and run into debt, which then leads to further problems.

“It’s our job as corporate parents to support our care leavers  in the same way that parents support their children as they become young adults and give them the best start. We should do everything we can to help them make a smooth transition into adulthood and council tax exemption is one of the ways we can do this. I’m delighted that Dorset Council has backed this campaign.”

The exemption for care leavers will apply from April 2020 and will be added to the list of other groups of people who are eligible for a discount.

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Categories: Dorset

Weymouth Library and Learning Centre throws open its doors

Sat, 09/28/2019 - 12:10

Dorset Council hosted a well-attended launch event to officially mark the re-opening of its Weymouth Library and Learning Centre, earlier today (Saturday 28 September).

Dorset Council Councillors, performers,  partner organisations and members of the public gathered to officially launch the new centre, which has been transformed from a modest library into a modern, community hub.

A family craft and story session opened the event followed by an energetic street dance performance by Weymouth College students Harrison Burley and Paul Hodder. Ukulele player Rowan Prescott-Headley gave the audience a fabulous rendition of three of her original songs and the event was rounded off with a beautiful piano performance by former Weymouth College student, Harry Williams.  A cake shaped like library books, made by one of the librarians, was cut to officially mark the re-opening.

VIPs gather to cut the cake in celebration of the re-opening

The Dorset Council run building in Great George St, Weymouth is now home to a fantastic new library area, featuring a bespoke children’s reading area with sensory toys, as well two classrooms for adult learning and a community meeting room for hire. Citizen’s Advice and the Skills and Learning team who offer adult learning opportunities are also now based in the same building.

Dorset Council’s registry office for registering births and deaths is also temporarily housed in the new centre. The co-location is already benefiting local people, with Citizens Advice reporting a 30 per cent increase in enquiries, supporting people with advice at an early stage before they reach crisis point.

Cllr Tony Alford, Dorset Council’s portfolio holder for customer and regulatory services, said:

“There are huge benefits to be gained from sharing this space with partner organisations. The improved links will provide easier access to services and the revamped library space will provide a much wider range of uses, as well as refurbished toilets and two additional accessible toilets. This is a great example of how we can redesign and join services to for the benefit of our communities.”

The library building in the town centre has been adapted to house:

  • The town’s library, including free public computers and Wi-Fi, books for all ages and DVDs for hire and activities and events
  • Skills and Learning – the local Adult Learning provider offering a variety of high-quality courses, learning opportunities and training for local employers
  • Community Resource Team (mental health) – part of Weymouth and Portland’s Community Mental Health Team, which facilitates attendance at a range of social, vocational and educational events
  • Citizens Advice – providing free, confidential and independent advice to help people overcome their problems

Daniel Cadisch, Citizens Advice, said:

“Working in partnership has allowed Citizens Advice to better serve its clients through a more accessible and joined up offer. We can now easily refer people to other agencies such as the mental health team and skills and learning

Early feedback from our clients tells us that they like the new setup and value our work in the library. They particularly highlighted that they appreciate the open plan layout and the new reception area.”

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Categories: Dorset

Major construction work finishes in north Dorset

Fri, 09/27/2019 - 17:18

Workers and residents have come together to mark the end of a six-month project to replace the Durweston flood arches.

Local children join the celebration

The project started on Monday 18 March with the preparatory works needed to replace the three flood arch structures with new, pre-cast concrete units.

Inspections identified that the flood arches were deteriorating at an increasing rate and needed to be replaced for the safety of road-users.

During a critical four-week road closure in June this year, the old brick arches were demolished and replaced with 38 pre-cast concrete units, each weighing 13 tonnes, which together now form the three flood culverts.

The project also re-graded the embankments that support the road across the flood plain, as deterioration of these slopes was beginning to undermine the road.

Cllr Ray Bryan, Portfolio Holder for Highways, Travel and Environment, said:

“These new flood arches will ensure the continued protection of the causeway across the flood plain, which is a vital link for these communities – and our embankment and fencing modifications will also improve the safety of this section of road.

“The team has done a great job keeping this complex project on programme, and the understanding and support from the local community has been tremendous. Thank you for your patience.”

Cllr Sherry Jespersen, elected member for the Hill Forts and Upper Tarrants ward, said:

“We’re all thrilled that the work has been completed on time, as promised. Not only has the project delivered new flood arches, we will also benefit from the new road surface, embankments, verges and fencing – which are all much more suited to the volume of traffic and type of vehicles using this road.

“Our thanks to the residents of Durweston and surrounding villages, who have patiently borne the disruption.”

The new pre-cast concrete culvert units have been installed in the same position and on the same alignment as the old arches. The height of the road and adjacent land is also the same, but the footprint of the new structures is wider so that new verges could be created.

While in the area, highways engineers also upgraded the permanent traffic signals at the A357/A350 junction, made repairs to Durweston Bridge and cleared drainage channels.

Over the next few weeks, the works compound will be dismantled and the access tracks will be removed to reinstate the previous grassland.

Local school children return for a final visit to site Durweston school children draw what they’ve seen on previous visits Drawings of the work on site Drawings of the flood arches Mark, works supervisor, gets his moment of fame!

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Categories: Dorset

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