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News from Dorset councils
Updated: 3 hours 49 min ago

First budget agreed for the new Dorset Council protects services for residents

Wed, 02/20/2019 - 21:05

Councillors have backed the first budget of the new Dorset Council at a meeting held on Wednesday 20 February. The new unitary authority, Dorset Council, will be formed on 1 April 2019 and will replace the six county, district and borough councils.

Shadow Dorset Council approved budget for the new Dorset Council

Members of Shadow Dorset Council voted in favour of the budget proposals for 2019/20, which provide a balanced budget for the year ahead.

The budget for Dorset Council ensures that services previously delivered by the borough, district and county councils will continue to be provided to residents unchanged. There is also significant additional funding for social care, waste collection and homelessness.

Balancing the budget

The new Dorset Council will have a balanced budget for 2019/20, despite facing significant financial pressures like many councils across the country. These pressures are due to:

  • growing demand for services such as social care for vulnerable elderly and disabled people, and support for children with special educational needs, as our population profile changes
  • rising costs due to inflation (for example, utility bills, contracts, etc)
  • reduced funding from central government

Officers and councillors from across the county, district and borough councils have been working together over the last year to bring the finances for six councils into one new organisation, with one budget of £295m.

The reorganisation of councils in Dorset has enabled significant savings to be made:

  • A reduction in the number of councillors from 204 to 82 delivers £400k in savings
  • A reduction in the number of senior officer roles, and where there is duplication and overlap across central services like finance, HR, IT and others achieves savings of over £5m
  • Additional savings have been made on insurance, audit fees and other activities where the council will only have to pay for one organisation rather than six.

These savings have been reinvested into council services for residents, protecting them from cuts.

Investing in services for residents

While providing a balanced budget, Dorset Council will also see an increase in funding to a number of important services. Headlines include:

  • An additional £5.8m for the care and education of children
  • An additional £900k to increase the number of foster carers
  • An additional £1.372m for rubbish collection, recycling and street cleaning services delivered by Dorset Waste Partnership
  • An additional £1.5m for social care services for vulnerable disabled and elderly adults
  • An additional £150k towards tackling homelessness.
Fees and Charges

Local services in different areas of Dorset such as car parks and leisure centres will continue to be provided unchanged, at the same prices.

However, services which are standardised and provided county-wide, such as Planning, Building Control, Local Searches and Licensing, will have aligned fees so that everyone pays the same amount for the same service.

Harmonising Council Tax Rates

From 1 April 2019, all residents in the new Dorset Council area will pay a standard council tax rate for Dorset Council. This is called Council Tax Harmonisation. This was agreed by councillors to be the most equitable approach as almost all council services are provided in a standard way for residents across the new council area. Previously, council tax rates varied across the five district and borough councils.

Council tax is charged on the household and is based on the value of the property. The amount of council tax residents pay depends on which property band their home is in and any discounts or exemptions that apply.

The average ‘Band D’ rate for Dorset Council will be £1629.75. This does not include charges for town or parish councils, Police or Fire & Rescue Services.

Protecting services

Councillor Tony Ferrari, Lead Member for Finance for the Shadow Dorset Council, said:

“Replacing six county, district and borough councils with one new unitary council has enabled us to make significant savings and efficiencies by removing duplication across the old councils. The money saved has been reinvested so Dorset Council will continue to deliver all services previously provided by the district, borough and county councils. And importantly we have also been able to invest significant extra money into social care services for the growing numbers of adults with dementia, children with special educational needs, and other vulnerable people in Dorset.

“This budget gets our new council off to an excellent start, providing protection for front-line services for residents. This investment would not have been possible without the reorganisation of local councils.”

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Categories: Dorset

Blandford + Neighbourhood Plan Submitted

Wed, 02/20/2019 - 17:25

Blandford Forum Town Council has submitted the Blandford + Neighbourhood Plan to North Dorset District Council.

Blandford + Neighbourhood Plan

The plan, which has evolved from the first version submitted to the district council in 2016 – covers the Civil Parishes of Blandford Forum, Blandford St Mary and Bryanston.

It sets out a range of planning policies including those regarding design, green infrastructure, community facilities and an allocation for a mixed use development including a new primary school and housing. It has been submitted to North Dorset District Council for the council to arrange for an independent examiner to assess it.

The District Council is required to publicly consult on the plan. The plan, supporting documents, and response form can be accessed online at

You can also view the plan at the Blandford Forum Town Council’s offices on Church Lane, Blandford Forum, North Dorset District Council’s Offices at Nordon Lodge, 58 Salisbury Road, Blandford Forum and South Walks House, South Walks Road, Dorchester during normal opening hours.

All comments must be received by 4pm on Friday 29 March 2018. These comments will then be sent to the examiner along with the plan. Depending on the examiner’s report, a referendum will be held for the residents of Blandford Forum, Blandford St Mary and Bryanston to decide whether the plan should be approved.

Cllr David Walsh, Portfolio Holder for Planning at North Dorset District Council, said:

“It is good news that the Blandford + Neighbourhood Plan has been submitted to the District Council. Its submission is the result of a huge amount of hard work and perseverance by all those involved in producing the plan.

“I would strongly encourage anyone with an interest in the future of Blandford, Blandford St Mary or Bryanston to have their say on the submitted plan.”

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Categories: Dorset

New community enterprise development project in Dorset

Wed, 02/20/2019 - 16:57

An exciting two-year pilot project is getting underway in Dorset, launching a brand new way of meeting health and social care need in hard-to-reach areas of the county.

A partnership between Dorset County Council, Community Catalysts and other local key stakeholders, takes learning from Community Catalysts’ highly successful project in Somerset and aims to work with local people who want to develop small enterprises and ventures offering highly personal care and help at home to older people and others that need support in their area.

Helen Coombes, Transformation Programme Lead for adults and communities at Dorset County Council said:

“We have watched the achievements that Community Catalysts have made in many parts of the country and are excited to work with them to achieve similar success in Dorset. The project is about helping local people to help local people.

“We will work with local communities, primary care, voluntary sector and community groups to help people to support each other. We are starting in areas of North and West Dorset where we have the greatest difficulty matching people’s needs with available care, with the aim to bring this approach to life across the whole of Dorset.”      

Work will start in the Sherborne Rural and Three Valleys areas in West Dorset and Blackmore Vale and Winterbourne in North Dorset, where increasing the number and range of homecare and support options available to local people is seen as a real priority.

As well as helping people to set up new businesses, the partners will also advise existing community enterprises established in Dorset looking to diversify or extend what they offer.

The project will build on things that already work well, and value and nurture people, groups and organisations with strong local knowledge and expertise. It also aims to capture learning and actively use this to develop local system and culture change – working hard to improve the way that health and care works for everyone in the county.

The project in Dorset and a parallel initiative in Shropshire are supported by a partnership with technology company Bronze Labs and their Tribe web platform.

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Categories: Dorset

“Moor for Less” at Weymouth Harbour

Wed, 02/20/2019 - 14:48
Annual mooring fees frozen

“Moor for Less” in Weymouth Harbour with annual mooring fees for leisure boats and jet-skis held for 2019 at 2018 prices.

Why is Weymouth Harbour the best value berthing along the South Coast?
  • Easy access for English Channel crossings
  • Prime location on Jurassic Coast with close proximity to famous sights such as Durdle Door
  • Historic harbour in the heart of the town
What is included in the fees? The harbour’s competitive berthing covers all the basics!
  • Gate security for annual berths
  • Shower facilities
  • Use of the slipway and drying grid
  • No annual financial tie-ins

In the recent Sailing Today Weymouth Harbour Gulls Eye article, berth-holder of 7 years and Harbour Consultative Group member Kathy Claydon says: “The marina is very sheltered from every wind direction and so secure throughout the winter. It is great to have all facilities provided and a very helpful team in the Harbour Office should you have any problems.”

Cllr Richard Kosior, briefholder for Tourism, Culture and Harbour said: “For those who are just visiting Weymouth, there are 2 loyalty schemes. Visits count towards a free short stay or overnight berth. We also have registered charity discounts.”

Winter storage afloat, jet-ski berthing and secure boat on trailer storage facility fees are also held for 2019. As a working port with landing quay, Weymouth can accommodate commercial boats, visiting tall ships and much more.

Available now, pick up a 2019 Harbour Guide from the Harbour Office or view online.

Full scale of charges and other information can be found on the harbour website.

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Categories: Dorset

Are you interested in becoming a Parish Councillor in Christchurch?

Tue, 02/19/2019 - 16:01

Christchurch Borough Council is hosting an information session for anyone interested in serving as a Parish Councillor in Christchurch.

The event will take place on Tuesday 26 February between 5 – 7pm at the Civic Offices on Bridge Street in Christchurch. There will be a formal presentation at 6pm.

From April 2019 there will be four parishes in Christchurch. These include the existing Burton and Winkton Parish Council and Hurn Parish Council and two new Parishes, Christchurch Town Council and Highcliffe and Walkford Neighbourhood Council.

The event will provide vital information including; whether you can stand as a candidate, obtaining and completing nomination papers, campaigning and spending, information about polling day and the count and the role of a councillor.

Anyone who would like to learn more about becoming a parish councillor is welcome to attend. Nominations for parish councillors can be accepted from 27 March.

Local elections will take place for the new parish and local councillors on 2 May 2019.

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Categories: Dorset

Visit Dorset: Meet the tourism experts at industry event in Dorchester

Tue, 02/19/2019 - 12:15

A host of tourism specialists will be sharing their wealth of knowledge at an industry event taking place in Dorchester next month.

Visit Dorset’s Meet the Experts event will be held at Kingston Maurward on Thursday 7 March from 1.30pm to 4.15pm for members and potential future members of Visit Dorset from across the county to attend. It aims to help Visit Dorset’s members to raise their online profile and continue to thrive within the county over the coming years.

credit: James Loveridge

The Visit Dorset team will update on their successful Dorset marketing campaigns over the past 12 months, what’s new for 2019 and how businesses can get involved.

Ross Calladine of VisitEngland is set to speak at the event and will be providing an insight into ensuring  tourism businesses are accessible to all ages and abilities. He will also be talking about their Digital Toolkit, which aims to boost a businesses’ online presence, while helping them to build connections with existing and potential clients, through the basics of marketing, advertising and online booking.

Lyn Martin of Dorset House in Lyme Regis will be passing on her top tips on how to run a successful accommodation business, after she picked up the Winner of Winners Award at the 2018 Dorset Tourism Awards. Meanwhile, the Dorset Growth Hub team will be talking about business and financial support available to small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), and Martin Curtis of Jurassic Coast Guides will be talking about his work with Visit Dorset at the event.

Nick Thornley on behalf of the Visit Dorset Partnership said: “We are delighted to be welcoming an array of speakers to our Meet the Experts event at Kingston Maurward. Experts from across the south of England will be joining us to share top tips with our members and those who may be looking to join us in 2019. On the back of our successful digital road shows, it is great to be able to host this special event for our members that work so hard to give the best possible welcome to visitors to the county.”

Gareth Allen from Soundview will be talking about the importance of great imagery to market a business to appeal to customers, as well as giving a virtual reality (VR) video demonstration for the event’s attendees to see. There will also be a host of stands from Dorset businesses who will be offering their expert advice on social media, digital marketing and business mentoring.

For more information about the event, search for Visit Dorset on

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Categories: Dorset

Helpers needed to tidy Upton Wood

Tue, 02/19/2019 - 10:33

Volunteers are needed to help clear some space for woodland plants at Upton Wood on Sunday 24 February.

Dorset Countryside Volunteers will be there to meet you from 10am until 1pm. The time will be spent tidying the wildlife hedge and removing bramble to give the plants space to grow.

  • Meet at the Pony Drive entrance, off Poole Road, Upton
  • You don’t need to stay for the whole time – just stay for as long as you want
  • Please wear old clothes and boots (waterproof if you have them)
  • Tools and gloves are provided
  • Hot/cold drinks and biscuits provided for break times. Bring lunch if you want to stay longer

For further information contact Rachael Shefford at Purbeck District Council on 01929 557237 or visit

The aim of the regular event, organised by Purbeck District Council and Dorset Countryside Volunteers, is to make the wood a better place for people and wildlife. 

Upton Wood is found on the edge of Purbeck near to Upton Country Park. Inside the wood you will find a winding Woodland Trail, trickling streams and open glades with bluebells in the spring. 

There is wheelchair and medium sized mobility scooter access from Poole Road, Pony Drive, Upton Heath Estate or Gorse Lane. The main tracks are suitable for wheelchairs and mobility scooters. There are two benches within the wood



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Categories: Dorset

Refurbishment of The Centre in Ferndown is completed

Tue, 02/19/2019 - 09:47


East Dorset District Council is pleased to announce that the project to refurbish The Centre at Ferndown is now fully completed.

The Centre in Ferndown has undergone a major transformation with the creation of three large halls, updated kitchen areas and the addition of whole new first floor.

Cllr Julie Robinson, Ward Councillor for Ferndown, had the honour of removing the first brick back in June last year and said ‘The project is a terrific success. The refurbishment is amazing and it’s great news for local residents that The Centre was completed on time and within budget. Everyone will be able to benefit from the services The Centre will offer and the community spaces that will be available for hire.”

AKA Building Services Ltd were contracted to complete the refurbishment. Chris Akaidere, Business Development Manager of AKA Building Company, said: “The internal layout of the centre has been completely redesigned and we are so pleased and privileged to have played our role in this refurbishment.

“It isn’t often that a community centre gets such a high specification refurbishment and it is great to see local residents’ reaction to the transformation!”

The newly refurbished Centre was officially reopened by the Chairman of East Dorset District Council, Cllr Toni Coombs earlier this year.

The Centre is home to Hopscotch Nursery and will now host a variety of local services including Dorset Healthcare Consultations, Children’s Service family neighbourhood zone sessions, as well as providing four rooms that can be hired seven days per week.

To find out more about what The Centre now offers, please visit The Centre’s new website

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Categories: Dorset

Toni Coombs set to host a Thanksgiving Service at Wimborne Minster

Thu, 02/14/2019 - 15:06

Cllr Toni Coombs, Chairman of East Dorset District Council, is set to host a Civic Service of Thanksgiving at Wimborne Minster on Monday 4 March at 1.45pm.

Ahead of the creation of the new unitary council, Dorset Council, on 1 April 2019, the service will be held in celebration of East Dorset. Many community representatives have been invited; however the service is open to anyone who wishes to attend.

The Sermon will be delivered by the Bishop of Sherborne and the Right Reverend Karen Gorman. The service will include a handover of the area for safekeeping to the Shadow Dorset Council Chairman, Cllr Hilary Cox.

Local schools from across East Dorset will take part in the service, with pupils from Ferndown Upper School, Queen Elizabeth, St James’ CE First School, St Mary’s First School, West Moors, Wimborne First School, Cranborne First School and Ferndown First Schools in attendance.

A retiring collection will be taken in support of the Chairman’s charities; Macmillan, Mosaic (who support bereaved children throughout Dorset) and Wimborne Minster.

The service will end with a ceremonial gun salute on the Minster Green, by the Wimborne Militia and refreshments will be available after the service.

Cllr Toni Coombs, Chairman of East of Dorset, said: “This is an historic occasion as after 31 March; East Dorset District Council will no longer exist. Although this is the right decision to protect services for the community, it is still hard to let go of our local history. We should mark this last civic service in a special way, by thanking all of those who have made a difference to our district.”

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Categories: Dorset

New rules about dogs in public places

Thu, 02/14/2019 - 13:12

New rules about dogs in public places will come into force in North Dorset on 31 March 2019.

The rules were drawn-up after more than 800 people had their say about where and when dogs should be allowed in public places.

North Dorset District Council carefully considered the views’ of dog owners and the concerns of other residents who use public places such as parks.

After considering 859 responses the council attempted to strike a balance and also simplified a raft of regulations. The result is the new North Dorset Dog Related Public Spaces Protection Order 2019, which will replace existing orders.

This decision was taken at a meeting of the district council’s cabinet and then approved by Full Council.  The new rules will come into effect on 31 March 2019.

Councillor Andrew Kerby, Community Safety and Wellbeing Portfolio Holder at North Dorset District Council, said: “Thank you to everyone who took the trouble to share their views on how dogs should be managed in public places in North Dorset. We have looked carefully at the results and have tried to strike a balance to suit the interests of all.

“North Dorset District Council encourages responsible dog ownership. Most owners are very responsible, unfortunately a small minority who do not clear-up after their dogs do cause a problem.”

The new North Dorset Dog Related Public Spaces Protection Order 2019 is available here.

More information about the dog warden service is available online  here.

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Categories: Dorset

Free central heating and grants to keep warm

Wed, 02/13/2019 - 10:53

Need affordable heating and hot water? Want a warmer and more cosy home? Free mains gas central heating may be available. 

Help may be available, whatever your income, if you live in Melcombe Regis, Littlemoor, Underhill, Westham East, Westham North, Westham West and Weymouth East.

In other areas across Dorset  help may be available if you are on a low income. Gas connections are free as well. You can apply now here.

The HEAT Melcombe Regis project is offering first time full gas central heating systems (if you do not have central heating already). This is usually free. Gas or LPG Boiler Upgrade Grants may also be available if your boiler is broken, old, or inefficient.

Loft Insulation Grants and Cavity Wall Insulation Grants are available wherever you live in Dorset. Find out more here.

Fuel Poverty Awareness Day

It is Fuel Poverty Awareness Day on Friday (15/2), so please tell anyone who might benefit that this help is available.

Advice about how to keep your home warm is available here from National Energy Action (NEA), a national charity that aims to end fuel poverty for all households.


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Categories: Dorset

Discover Lost Words in Thorncombe Wood

Wed, 02/13/2019 - 09:28

Thorncombe Woods, near Dorchester, has a new ‘Lost Words’ trail for visitors to follow, inspired by the book of the same name by Robert MacFarlane and Jackie Morris.

The Lost Words celebrates the once-common ‘nature’ words – including acorn, wren, starling and dandelion – that were dropped from the Oxford Junior Dictionary. It takes these words that have been falling out of use amongst children – such as adder, kingfisher and bramble – and brings them back to life through Macfarlane’s ‘spell poems’ and illustrations by Morris.

An accompanying leaflet also highlights some old Dorset dialect words to stimulate memories for the older generations and inspire interest in younger generations:

This trail is part of a wider crowd-funded Dorset Lost Words project supported by Westbourne Books, in which schools across Dorset are being given a copy of The Lost Words. Together with funding from Dorset AONB a programme of school workshops, an exhibition of children’s work and the development of a website using the hashtag #LostWordsDorset is being delivered across the county.

The concept will also be taken to Memory Cafes for those living with dementia in Dorset.

Thorncombe Wood ranger Claire Platten said: “We hope that people of all ages, and those caring for others, will enjoy this trail. It is a wonderful opportunity to get close to nature and to search for, find and speak about The Lost Words.

“The trail encourages everyone to write, illustrate and share their own poems and ‘lost words’. Have a go – the most outstanding artist and wordsmith will win a copy of The Lost Words.”

The short trail runs alongside Thomas Hardy’s cottage and follows paths that can be used by off-road mobility scooters (which can be hired from Hardy’s Birthplace Visitor Centre) and will be open from February half term until 10 April.

To celebrate the opening of this trail, local storyteller Martin Maudsley will be leading a Lost Words story walk on 20 February. It will feature folktales, myths and legends that celebrate plants and animals found in Dorset. To book your place email:

The Lost Words Trail is funded by Stepping into Nature – a local community lottery funded project which provides activities for Dorset’s older generations, including people with dementia and their carers, to access and enjoy our unique landscape, wildlife and culture.

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Categories: Dorset

Weymouth to host new library, information and learning centre

Tue, 02/12/2019 - 15:37

A refurbishment project at Weymouth Library is due to get underway in mid-February.
It will bring together a range of services and teams into one shared building, as a ‘library information and learning centre’.

The library building in Great George Street in the town centre will be adapted to offer space for:

o The town’s library
o Skills & Learning – the local Adult Learning provider which offers a variety of high quality courses and learning opportunities to the local community and training opportunities to local employers
o Community Resource Team (mental health) – part of Weymouth & Portland Community Mental Health Team, which facilitates attendance at a range of social, vocational and educational activities to aid recovery
o Citizens Advice – providing free, confidential and independent advice to help people overcome their problems

Dorset County Council has been working with representatives from these organisations to bring together the new offer. Together, they have designed how the library building can be reorganised to make the space work for everyone.

Cllr Andrew Parry, Dorset County Council Cabinet member for education, learning and skills said:

“There are huge benefits to be gained from this £550,000 project, including improved links between organisations and services. It will provide easier access to services as they are based in one building, at a central location with good public transport links. The refurbished library space will provide a wider range of uses, as well as refurbished public toilets and two additional accessible toilets. The building works will not result in fewer books or public access computers.”

So that we limit disruption to the library service, the building works will take place in phases, starting in mid-February and finishing in July. The library will remain open for most of this period but may close towards the end of the works while new shelving is fitted.

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Categories: Dorset

Volunteers needed in local libraries

Tue, 02/12/2019 - 15:08

People in Sherborne, Blandford, Lyme Regis and Shaftesbury need help to use digital technology.

There is no need to be an IT expert, just an interest in helping people and basic knowledge of computers and phones.

Digital Champions are volunteers that support people to learn basic computer skills. Around 70,000 people in Dorset are not online at all. Our champions give people confidence to start, help them to save money and keep safe online.

Volunteering as a Digital Champion might be your next career move. The rewards might be unexpected. Jessica Orchard, of Wimborne, (pictured above) started last year, hoping to become a librarian.

She said: “Originally I became a Digital Champion for my own personal gain, but now I do it for the feeling I get when I see people improve. One of my learners cried with happiness when he learned something.

“I meet lots of new people and admire them for coming and trying something new, especially if they are older.”

Currently, over 50 Digital Champions run weekly sessions in Dorset libraries and learning centres. They normally see up to six learners over two to three hours. Now, libraries in Sherborne, Shaftesbury, Blandford and Lyme Regis want to offer sessions too.  Other libraries want to provide more sessions.

Learners often lack anyone else with the time and patience to teach them. Your help will allow them to stay connected to family and use essential online services. Many learners bring their own digital device and library facilities are also available.

Roy Arnold, also of Wimborne, has attended Jessica’s sessions for several weeks. Initially, she had to remind Roy where to click each time. Now, he logs in and remembers what to do.

Daryl Turner, Dorset County Council Cabinet Member for Natural and Built Environment, said: “It’s fantastic that we have so many Digital Champions who are happy to share their knowledge. They already help more than 100 people a month to get to grips with computers, phones, tablets and the internet.”

“There are still lots of people in Dorset who need help with digital skills and risk being left behind, especially as more and more services move online. If you can help, please do by volunteering as a Digital Champion.”

It is easy to get involved. Enrol as a Digital Champion at or call us on 01305 221048 and we’ll invite you to an induction session to give you some training. We support our volunteers throughout their experience.

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Categories: Dorset

Councils recognised for improved land searches services

Tue, 02/12/2019 - 10:23

Three councils in Dorset are up for an award recognising the service they deliver to home buyers.

Dorset Councils Partnership’s Local Land Charges Team serves North Dorset District Council, West Dorset District Council and Weymouth & Portland Borough Council.

North Dorset District Council, West Dorset District Council and Weymouth & Portland Borough Council are each nominated for ‘Most Improved Services’ at the 2019 Land Data Local Land Charges Awards for Excellence.

The three councils share a single work force and over the last few years have focused on improving the overall land charges service. Their plans included recruiting more people to process applications and improving the way relevant information is held.

Searches now completed well within target time

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

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

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

“It’s great news that we are up for the award.

“A win for one of the councils would be a win for all as we work together as a single team.

“The land charges team have worked incredibly hard to improve the service across the three councils’ areas and ensure our customers receive consistent, high quality and fast service.”

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

“It’s fantastic news that we are on the shortlist.

“Regardless of whether we win, I would like to thank our staff who have worked hard to turn it around for west Dorset.

“I’d also like to thank our customers who have shown great patience while we worked to reduce search times.

“We now have an efficient process in place and our customers can be confident of a fast turnaround – vital when buying a house.”

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

“It’s great news that we are being considered for this award. It shows our customers that we are continuing to improve the service as we go forwards to the unitary council in April this year.

“The Land Charges Team has worked hard to increase the speed of the service and to ensure and maintain the quality for people looking to buy property in Weymouth and Portland.”

About the awards

This year’s shortlist for the Local Land Charges Awards for Excellence is made up of 46 local authority teams and 12 individuals who have all demonstrated excellence, enthusiasm and willingness to adapt and improve in a tough and uncertain market.

The shortlist has been drawn from over 200 entries and nominations submitted by solicitors, conveyancers, customer service experts and local land charges personnel.

The awards are held every year and celebrate the achievements and successes of Local Authority Local Land Charges departments across England and Wales .

The winners and highly commended for each category will be announced at an awards dinner on Monday 4 March 2019 in Birmingham

Watch this space!

More about Land Charges

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Categories: Dorset

Holwell Neighbourhood Plan backed by residents

Tue, 02/12/2019 - 09:20

A local community is one step away from having an approved Neighbourhood Plan for their area.

Holwell residents support Neighbourhood Plan in referendum

A final version of the Holwell Neighbourhood Plan was submitted to the district council for examination and a referendum was held on whether to accept or reject the plan on 7 February.

Residents voted to accept the plan, with 81.95 per cent of votes cast in favour.

The plan has been drawn up by local people, and agreed by the parish council, who feel confident that the plan reflects the hopes and views of the local community.

Neighbourhood plans were introduced in the Localism Act 2011 and aim to give residents more say in the future use of land and buildings in their area. For example a neighbourhood plan can say where new homes, shops or offices might be built or where important green spaces might be protected.

Cllr Robert Gould, West Dorset District Council’s Ward Member for Holwell, said:

“I congratulate all those who put so much hard work into producing this Plan and I am delighted that it has now received such strong backing from the residents of Holwell.”

The Holwell neighbourhood Plan will now be taken to West Dorset District Council’s Full Council, where members will decide whether to formally adopt the plan.

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

“It takes a lot of hard work and dedication to bring a Neighbourhood Plan forward and have it backed by the local community. I look forward to presenting the plan to Full Council on 26 February and am confident of a positive outcome.”

View the full result of the Holwell Neighbourhood Plan referendum. 

View the Holwell Neighbourhood Plan online. A hard copy of the plan is available at the district council offices in South Walks House, Dorchester.

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Categories: Dorset

£380k worth of grants provided by West Dorset District Council

Mon, 02/11/2019 - 09:37

One off grants totalling £380k have been awarded to projects across West Dorset.

Grants: Beaminster skate park concept

Last week (7 February), West Dorset District Council’s Strategy Committee gave the go ahead to provide a financial boost to seven different projects across the area.

Cllr Mary Penfold, West Dorset District Portfolio Holder for Enabling, said:

“I am really pleased that the council has been able to provide support to these projects.

“Each scheme will provide significant benefits to local communities and West Dorset as a whole. I look forward to seeing these projects develop.”

The projects

St Osmunds Middle School

A one-off grant of £15,000 has been awarded to St Osmund’s Middle School to support the retention of community access to sports facilities following the demise of the St Osmund’s Community Sports Centre Trust. The grant will complement a grant of £5,000 from Dorchester Town Council and help the school improve access controls and security measures in order that those clubs that have been using the centre in the evenings can continue to do so.

Cam Vale Parish Council

A one-off grant of £78,800 has been awarded to Cam Vale Parish Council to help the project to build a new community hall in Longburton, subject to planning permission. The parish council has also been given a loan of £20,000 to assist with the project. The new hall would provide a modern facility for the surrounding community.

Bridport Museum Trust

A one-off grant of £25,000 has been awarded to the Bridport Museum Trust to assist with the cost of urgent conservation works for its collection. The council has also set aside £10,000 to enable the commissioning of a specialist building survey of the Museum’s store and offices at the Coach House on Gundry Lane.

Beaminster Town Council

A one-off grant of £60,000 has been awarded to Beaminster Town Council to support its project to build a skate park to meet the needs of young people in both the town and surrounding villages.

Dorchester Town Council

A one-off grant of £90,000 has been awarded to Dorchester Town Council to support a project to enhance the townscape and paving in the vicinity of the Town Pump in South Street. The aim of the project is to replicate the paving style recently installed at the southern end of South Street.  The grant is conditional on the town council committing £100,000 of its own money to the project.

Dorchester Heritage Joint Committee

A one-off grant of £50,000 has been awarded to the Dorchester Heritage Joint Committee to support a project to develop a heritage-based tourism strategy for Dorchester. This grant will be matched by funding from the town council and help to promote the town’s heritage attractions including Dorset County Museum, Shire Hall and the Keep Military Museum.

Beaminster Town Council

A one-off grant of £70,000 has been awarded to Beaminster Town Council to support the provision of a new public toilet in Beaminster – plans are at an early stage.

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Categories: Dorset

Meet Dorset’s new Members of Youth Parliament

Fri, 02/08/2019 - 13:53

Four Dorset youngsters are taking their first steps on the political ladder after being elected to represent the county in the UK Youth Parliament.

After weeks of campaigning, two Members of Youth Parliament (MYP) and two deputies have been elected from the 13 contenders.

Henry Slocombe, Emily Marshal, Imogen Watson and Melissa Garanowako

There were 11,838 votes case in total, with the four successful candidates announced yesterday, Thursday 7 February, at a ceremony at County Hall in Dorchester.

The new Members of the Youth Parliament (MYPs) are:

• Imogen Watson, 15, Budmouth College in Weymouth
• Emily Marshall, 18, Weymouth College

And the deputies are:

• Henry Slocombe, 17, The Gryphon School in Sherborne

• Melissa Garanowako, 14, Thomas Hardye School in Dorchester

MYPs represent Dorset on a regional and national basis, helping to engage young people in politics, democracy and citizenship.

They also deliver their own personal manifestos to improve the lives of young people. Last year, MYPs tackled issues like mental health, exam stresses, and period poverty.

The election is run by Participation People in partnership Dorset County Council. Cllr Andrew Parry, Cabinet member for education, learning and skills, said:

“The high calibre of candidates from across Dorset – all campaigning passionately on issues relevant to the lives of young people in the County – demonstrates how by successfully engaging with their peers, they inspired thousands of them to cast their votes in support of this year’s Youth Parliament elections.

“Congratulations to the successful MYPs and their deputies. I am confident they will be a strong voice for young people in Dorset at a local and national level”.

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Categories: Dorset

Room for two more?

Fri, 02/08/2019 - 13:46

The next instalment from Mandy, one of our foster carers…. January, the month where many people make resolutions and stick to them for at least two weeks. Mine was to be more organised which lasted approximately twenty four hours.

I organised for my cat to be neutered and thought I’d been very clever in sorting someone to take him, someone to pick up and had even remembered not to feed him after midnight. All was going well until I had a phone call from the vet to say ‘ Sorry we can’t remove his boy bits as he’s female.’ Cue massive rant to my husband about putting the wrong cat in the carrier and a ‘break neck ‘ drive to vets to rescue the wrong cat being neutered. When I got to the vet it was the correct 

feline but he wasn’t quite the little boy I thought he was. Sheepishly I apologised to my husband while my eldest foster son asked me if I actually had the skills to help him with biology homework.


In the midst of this chaos two new foster children entered our lives. My husband’s parents welcomed a mother and baby from Eritrea who came to England through the dubs amendment (a scheme that allows unaccompanied refugee children to come to live safely in the UK).  How traumatic must it be to give birth at 16 far away from your family, and then to travel to yet another country to live with strangers who don’t speak your language? Yet this amazing young lady is a very capable mother and has taken England, being fostered and starting college, in her stride.  My seven and my parents in law’s four bonded almost instantaneously with the help of google translate and a football while the adults sat around looking shell shocked from all the changes in our once quietish lives. Spontaneous trips out are now almost impossible and we need a blooming coach  for combined family outings. My kids have learnt what I think is an Arabic swear word (well it sounds like one) and two of the refugee teens have learnt how to ride my youngest’s ponycycle (look it up they are so cool). 


January ended in a flourish of romance (ish) my husband arranged for me to see the ballet, Beauty and the Beast. I not only got to see a beautiful show but he’d arranged for my eldest son to join me. (currently at uni and I see him very little) Hubby also arranged for my little foslings and my younger daughters to accompany me, so I did spent a great deal of time trying to explain why they kept dancing all the time and not saying anything. My youngest foster son was, however, very enthusiastic with his applauding at the end. He even shouted loudly ‘why are we still clapping? They weren’t that good.’  


 Will the rest of 2019 be as diverse as January? Probably but bring it on.



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Categories: Dorset

Former Weymouth amusements set for re-development

Fri, 02/08/2019 - 11:47

Weymouth & Portland Borough Council’s Planning Committee has given its approval to the redevelopment of land to the rear of the former ‘Harry’s Amusements’ building on Weymouth Esplanade.

The scheme will see the development of 26 apartments and associated parking in a mix 17 one-bedroom apartments and 9 two-bedroom apartments.

This development is part of a broader redevelopment of the Harry’s Amusements building that will provide 32 apartments in total when complete.

Cllr Ray Nowak, Weymouth & Portland Borough Councils Briefholder for Environment and Sustainability, said:

“I am pleased the council has approved this application. Once complete the development will bring residential accommodation to the Town Centre close to amenities, and will see the redevelopment of an otherwise little-used site, together with a visual enhancement to the conservation area.”

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

“It’s good to see the council approve developments on under-utilised sites. We must make use of this type of space in order to provide homes for our residents.

“If any resident is looking to own a home I would encourage signing our Home Ownership Register – a key part of our Opening Doors project. This will provide us with more information about housing demand and find out the size and locations of homes that people want. As part of this we also forward on details of upcoming developments and opportunities to own a home.”

Find out more about the Home Ownership Register at

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Categories: Dorset