During the meeting in January the Council approved a vote of thanks to Rod and Lorraine Hamilton-Brown for the efficient manner with which they operated the Post Office during the past years.
It is sad that ill health has obliged them to give up but the Council is pleased to learn that they will continue to live in the Village.
The January meeting is when the Council concerns itself with the Annual Budget.
Previously proposed figures were finalised against expectations.
There are some slight increases reflecting on the increased charges for such items as the Cemetery maintenance, the Children's Play Area, the proposed Cycling Area and the Jubilee.
The Parish Precept forms part of the Council Tax figure but the District Council and the County Council claim the majority of the sum.
The commemoration of the Jubilee of the Queen's accession was discussed.
It was decided to call a meeting of all Groups in the Parish and to form a committee.
The invitation to this meeting will request that people attending should come along with some ideas.
The date of the meeting as I write this has not been decided but letters with the date will be winging out in the coming week.
We need enthusiasm as we certainly do not want to hear people saying that Bere did nothing.
In May the local elections will be upon us.
The Parish, and the District Council seat, are up for election.
This is the chance for others to come forward and give a lead to our community.
The Government has stated its interest in local Government and in the future the powers of the Parish Council are likely to increase so that they can actually perform tasks.
If you are interested in your local community why not come forward and take part in shaping the future of our Parish.
See any Councillor for information and watch the Notice Board for details of nominations etc.
One of the biggest tasks that we have for the future is the replacement of our Village Hall.
Sadly the Drax Hall - its been there since before 1777 - does not meet the requirements of the Disability Discrimination Act eg. disabled people can not enjoy its facilities.
It is not possible to make it suitable so we have to build a new Hall.
This is a subject that I have written about for a long time but the Act becomes applicable on the 1 st October 2004.
So time is short.
The New Hall Committee has looked at sites which they thought were suitable but regrettably others - mainly the Planners - thought otherwise.
Thus it was that the Committee approached the Scouts to see whether or not it would be possible to share the site that the Scouts have in Elder Road.
After a long period it was agreed that we should proceed which is where we are at present.
It was hoped that the Parish Council would be able to apply for Planning Approval in January, but that was not possible.
They now hope to apply in February but in the meantime the Council has undertaken a consultation exercise with the whole of the Parish.
By the time this is published all houses in the Parish will have received a letter seeking agreement, opinions etc on the principle of building a new Hall in Elder Road.
This is necessary to have when the Council seeks the Planning Approval.
Until that approval is received we are unable to start fund raising in earnest or to apply for a Lottery Grant.
Everybody's response to that letter is important so if you have not responded yet, please do so before the 7th February by letter to the Clerk at his address or in the collecting box in the Post Office.
Finally as a tail end item from the Parish Council, there is great concern about the amount of dog dirt around the Village.
Owners are requested to clear this up and also not to let their dogs run loose around the Village.
There is a dog Warden in the District and he does regular patrols around here.
The penalties for infringement can be severe.
At the February meeting a brief analysis was reported on the response to the Village Hall letter sent out in January. Seven hundred and eighty letters were delivered and seventy six responses received.
Of the responses 90.8% agreed with the principle of siting the Hall at the Scout HQ.
The major concern was to do with the car parking and the present situation in Manor Farm Road was stressed as, before the effect of the Hall, there is a parking problem around the Surgeries.
It must be assumed that the car park is full when both sides of the road are blocked with cars.
Many ideas were forthcoming and these will be put to the Committee.
Some concern was expressed about the proposed size and therefore costs both building and running.
These points will be looked at by the Council and a reply published.
The object of the exercise was to obtain an opinion of the principle of using the location so that we could take the next step in applying for Planning Approval.
As the letters were delivered so the Council had a meeting with the Planning Officers requesting their opinion.
It was pointed out that an early response was requested in view of the effect of the oncoming Disability Act.
Sadly the Planning Officers had not responded before the meeting and have still not as I write this.
One wonders how long the actual application is going to take a Committee to decide.
The Council is most grateful to the three Parishioners who moved the tree bark in the Play Park.
They were Chantal Sykes, Debbie Tibbey and Richard Miller.
Well done all of you and thank you.
Have you, the reader, ever thought of standing as a Parish Councillor?
One reads letters in the press of criticism of Councils and there was a reminder in a recent edition for the electorate to remember what Councillors had promised before the elections and therefore to cast their votes accordingly.
Obviously there is interest from individuals.
Why not come forward therefore and bring your ideas to the Council?
It would strengthen the Council if new faces would come along.
Every four years the Parish Council is elected and that day dawns on May 2nd this year.
The nominations close on 5th April.
For nomination papers apply to Mr Peter Aston at Westport House Tel 556561.
Eleven Councillors are needed and this next four years is an important period in the life of the Village.
Come along, take part and make your mark.
The District Council seat for the Parish is also being contended on the same date.
Applications for papers as in the case for Parish Councillors.
Safe Routes to School' is the subject of a meeting at the School on 20th March at 6.15pm.
The C6 - thats the Rye Hill road - will be discussed.
This is an important meeting as there is still concern about the traffic using the road past the School.
Finally even if you do not wish to stand for the Council do remember that Parish Council meetings are open to the public in general. There is a period set aside for public participation so that you can update the Councillors on your thoughts on matters and to ask about things that you wish to know about.
The Council meets on the second Thursday in each month at 7.OOpm in the Drax Hall. You will be most welcome.
The March meeting is the Annual Parish meeting when the Chairman offers his report on the Council's proceedings for the previous twelve months.
Mr Lionel Street in speaking of the tasks undertaken by the Council noted the representation at the Trigon Landfill Investigation and the Local Plan Inquiry.
He mentioned the problems of disturbances at the top end of North Street, the speed of the traffic on Rye Hill and the provision of toilets in the Village.
There was still the provision of an area for the Youth to be solved but the Council were working on this.
Looking to the future he mentioned the coming of the Wardens after April, the preparation of the Conservation Appraisal which is considered to be so important to the future of development in the village, the new Hall and the problem of locating a suitable site. Members of the public were in attendance and raised questions concerning the Army vehicles in the vicinity of the school during school hours and the potential drainage problems of the new chalets at the Dorset Golf and Country Club at Hyde.
At the close of the annual meeting the Chairman received a vote of thanks for his endeavours throughout the year.
The Council then continued with the normal monthly business when it was reported that some glass bottles had been broken in the vicinity of the children play area.
Though the glass is thought to have been cleared there is always a danger of some pieces being left and so the Council has arranged for a clearance to be made.
Parents are warned of the problem and the Council would be obliged to learn of how the glass came to be there in the first place.
I mentioned last month that in relation to the New Hall the response to the consultation letter had been overwhelmingly in support of the site in Elder Road.
However there was concern about car parking as the drawing that accompanied the letter only indicated a reduced area.
There is a minimum requirement for parking allocation where public buildings are concerned and the design will meet this requirement at the very least.
It is regrettable that the drawing had to be reduced to the A4 size and at the same time give an idea of the proposed layout.
The District Council has responded to the request to agree in principle to the site in Elder Road.
Obviously they are unable to agree until an application for planning approval has been made and discussed by the Planning Board.
However one is led to believe that the Officers are not against it.
They suggested that the building lay outside the Development Area and could be subject to being 'called in' which would delay the project further but then in a subsequent letter suggested that an application be made quickly before the Development Area is established as a result of the Local Plan Inquiry.
They also thought that we should be making a full application from the start and not an outline application. This in effect means that we have to prepare the full drawings etc requiring the use of Architects and Engineers, but more importantly money.
This matter will be discussed further by the Council in the coming months
A meeting was held during March with the Grainger Trust, the owners of Souls Moor, concerning the proposed cycle track area for the older children. The Trust will be writing to the Council with their thoughts and possible offers of assistance.
There is to be a weekly bus service from the village to the Purbeck Sports Centre on Wednesday evenings.
It is proposed to depart at 6.00pm arriving at 6.30pm. It will depart from the Centre at 7.45pm to arrive at the village at 8.15pm.
There will be a later departure from the Centre at 9.20pm to arrive in the village at 9.50pm.
More details will be known after a meeting on 21st March. This is a tremendous step in the right direction and the Council hopes that the service will meet with approval.
The Council will in April be adopting the new 'Code of Conduct' for Parish Councils.
This is a Government initiative and has to be adopted before May. By virtue of the Code all Councillors will have to declare their interests and even gifts received over the value of twenty five pounds - it will make for a cheap Christmas!
The fear is that this type of measure discourages ordinary folk from offering themselves for election as Councillors.
There is nothing wrong with it, indeed the principle is right, but in spelling out honesty it tends to put people off taking part.
Thus I repeat the plea for Parishioners to come forward as potential Councillors.
The election, if more than eleven candidates come forward, will be on Thursday 2nd May. If less than eleven come forward all will be 'elected'.
If fewer than a quorum come forward it is believed that 'Councillors' will be appointed.
The thought of having to revert to the latter state must be a cause of concern to any tight minded person as it is yet another example of how our rural life is being allowed to erode and we might see the beginning of the end of Parish Councils.
Matters affecting the Parish would then be passed on and discussed by the District without reference to the Parish.
So in conclusion a plea to any person to come forward and offer yourself for the good of your community.
The necessary papers are available from Mr Peter Aston on 556561.
At the April meeting the Council learned that of the eleven Councillors currently elected only four were prepared to continue and offer themselves for re-election.
As it is necessary to have over eleven candidates for an election it was clear that this wouldn’t occur on this occasion.
What is more with only four nominees there is not enough to form a quorum and it is necessary for the Chief Executive Officer of Purbeck District Council to appoint one person to act as a Councillor.
One of the Councillors has been recommended so all things being equal we should be able to contribute towards the Council tasks next month.
The lack of Parishioners who are prepared to come forward to serve is particularly disappointing.
From time to time the Village gets excited about some matter - particularly Developments - and a 'pressure group' forms up and makes itself known.
The matters seem to go away - in fact they never do - and the group dies down.
I should have thought that at this time with the prospect of Developments looming on the horizon, that we would have seen a very interesting election.
The Local Plan Inquiry is due to be reported during this summer.
We are aware of interest in subjects like speeding traffic, police presence, houses, Village Hall, Doctors Surgery and areas for youngsters are near to our hearts plus others but nobody cares to play their part.
There has been a Parish Council in this Village since 1894.
It has served the Parishioners extremely well in the past and it is needed for the good of the future of the Village.
The Council thanks those Councillors who are not standing again - Messrs David Gibb, Richard Griffin, Alan Dunning, Peter Fysh, Bob James and Lionel Street for their service over the years and look forward to their attendance in the 'gallery' from time to time.
Finally the Council invites interested Parishioners to offer themselves for the available places.
It would be particularly nice to see some younger members - minimum age is eighteen - and it would be very good for the Council to have some lady members.
If you are interested please pass your name on to the Clerk - Jim Ruddock on 556263.
It was interesting to see that the response to the District Council's invitation to all of the Purbeck Parish Councils to attend a meeting about a proposed bus service to the Purbeck Centre was responded to only by our Parish Council.
( this lack of interest in Parish matters is clearly not just confined to us).
It was to our advantage to attend as a totally different approach to the matter evolved.
The proposal is just the same but it is more attractive financially.
The proposal is that a bus should leave the village in the evening and travel to the Centre by way of Bloxworth - if there is any interest there.
It would return after about two hours.
The journey would be free but a charge would be made for the facilities at the Centre.
If anybody is interested would they kindly contact me so that I can take it on to another stage.
`Me' is at 15 North Street, Tel. 471 342.
The Council is deeply concerned about the facilities for the youth and even if there appears to be no progress to show, the Councillors are talking with the Grainger Trust about some land for the youngsters to use.
Finally a subject that the Council has interested itself in throughout the Consultation Period prior to the Local Plan Inquiry is still very active in their minds.
This is the Community Appraisal which actually should form part of the Inquiry Report.
Hence it is necessary to get this completed before the Inquiry Report is published.
Basically it is a statement on the state of the village at present so that any future developments can reflect on what is there today and we should not have any glaring unsatisfactory buildings in the future.
These Appraisals are undertaken from time to time and its to be hoped that they do serve a purpose.