January 2004 Meeting
At the January meeting the Council received details of a planning application from the County Council on which they were invited to comment.
The application was from BP at Wytch Farm where, due to the decreasing quantities of LPG, they are intending to change the transport methods from rail to road.
As the gas is no longer exported from Avonmouth but supplied more locally in Dorset and Wiltshire, it is more viable to deliver it direct from Wytch Farm.
We are involved because the chosen route to the A35 from Wytch Farm includes the C6.
The authorities recognise the problems by the School and up to the Poole Hill roundabout and have proposed some measures to improve the traffic management.
Many of these proposals are included in the School’s own proposals for a safe route so this latest proposal may well be a part means of financing the School scheme, as BP will have to foot the bill for the work.
This is the month when the Council finalises its estimates for the coming year - and hence the Parish element of the Council Tax. The budget was discussed in detail and in the end we arrived at a minimal increase in our expenditure.
It is to be hoped that the District and the County might have a similar conclusion.
In the past there has been a team visit by the District Council to explain and seek opinions on the years Council Tax.
Sadly the meetings were not very well attended and were then thought to be of no value.
This year the County is doing the same exercise but is visiting larger centres.
The nearest to us will be at Wareham on Monday 26th January from 6.30pm to 8.30pm at the Purbeck School.
If you wish to have a say about the Council Tax - then that is the place to go.
Note: I fully realise that the date of this meeting is prior to this journal’s publication date but there will be some people who can pick this up on the Parish Web site.
However a poster will be displayed in the notice boards.
The Council has been asked to consider the problems associated with affordable housing and have asked the District Council to bear us in mind.
Affordable housing has to be provided with any new development but we have none in the pipeline.
However in rural areas it is possible to provide some affordable housing on its own.
There are specific ground rules to qualify for this and the Council feels that Bere Regis fits into those rules.
However before we can get anywhere it is necessary to conduct a Housing Survey which has been mentioned before in this column.
The Council is taking steps to get such a survey conducted and it is hoped that we would be well supported by all Parishioners to show the need for such housing here in Bere Regis.
The County has a scheme in mind for disposal of rubbish at Winfrith.
However the District objects to this on the grounds that such a plant should be sited near to where the rubbish is created - in this case West Dorset.
One of the obvious problems is transport of the rubbish and it might affect us as the dear old C6 is seen to be on the route - comment by your scribe ‘ for the life of me I cannot see a driver coming from Bridport to Winfrith via Bere Regis’.
We await the discussions going on at present.
Where is the Youth Hut?
Some money has been provided, planning approval has been obtained and the parties concerned have met to plan the work.
The answer is that the team are waiting for improved weather and longer daylight hours.
Do not despair it really is on the way.
Another big project on the way is the new Village Hall and after a long delay a planning application is being made for a revised plan that will see the hall built along Elder Road close to the Scout Hut.
It is only after we have the planning approval that serious fund raising can commence. CM
February 2004 Meeting
The February meeting this year may well be marked in future years for its importance as the beginning of a look into the future of our village.
The Council has a number of essential subjects to consider and so it has been decided to undertake an appraisal and to develop a Village Plan.
Such a Plan will look at facilities in the village which will include Housing and Education.
Everyone will say that we have gone through all of that before, but it is all change now and Local Structure Plans are to be replaced by Regional Structure Plans.
Our task must be to ensure that our ideas for our village of the future are represented.
Parish Councils are very good authorities where footpaths are concerned.
They fight to defend the routes, the access and the correctness of that access. With the ‘right to roam’ legislation there are differences of interpretation that are being tested before the Definitive map is finalised.
We have one such case that is being reviewed in our Parish.
This is Bridleway 27 over Black Hill where the Trail Riders Fellowship is objecting to the erection of a horse stile and motorcycle inhibitor.
The fear is that by permitting motor vehicles on the bridleway, the surface will deteriorate.
The meeting opened with a lively Question Period from the Parishioners in attendance.
From this discussion it was learned that the work to ‘beautify’ the roundabouts is to be undertaken in the Spring, having been promised for last Autumn.
The long completed ‘Conservation Area’ report has still to be published and one Parishioner suggested that the new houses being built in North Street ought not to have been approved until the design had been tested against the Conservation Area Report.
Other subjects included the BP transport of LPG, the gate at the end of North Street and Council Tax.
The Council is represented on the North Purbeck Task Group - the latest name for the Crime Prevention Committee - and at their last meeting it was very clear that the emphasis is now on attempting to provide so that crime is prevented.
An example of this is our Youth Shelter and indeed the bulk of the money allocated for this to date has come from Police sources and not the Parish.
However it is encumbent on local Councils to make provision so that crime is reduced.
The Council has reported the very poor condition of the directional road signs on the roads and we have now heard that work to improve them is scheduled after April.
So with the grassed over roundabouts and fresh signs we will be much smarter.
The Council is concerned about the people using the Cemetery as a meeting place.
Evidence of their presence is often left around in the form of bottles etc.
It appears that the recently erected shelter is being used for getting together in, whereas it was provided for mourners wishing to sit and have a quite moment of thought.
It is good that it is used, but the Council is concerned that it be used for its real purpose.
The Council wish to point out that all old flowers and grass should be placed in the composting area provided.
Parishioners are reminded that the Parish Council website is www.bereregis.org and that the next meeting of the Council will be on Thursday 11th March at 7.00pm in the Drax Hall.
March 2004 Meeting
The March meeting each year is the Annual Parish meeting.
This is the meeting when all members of the Parish are invited to attend, as traditionally this was when they could raise items of concern.
These days the Council allocates a ‘period for public consultation’ at each meeting and this serves the same purpose.
This year we had one member of the Parish in attendance.
At this meeting the Chairman reports on the activities of the Council during the preceeding twelve months.
Thus the Chairman referred to the much-improved state of the Cemetery and thanked the sub-committee members for their efforts.
The Council is grateful to Mr John Cleave who has voluntarily laid the hedges on our boundary.
We have improved our care for our forebears and it is a great shame that we are unable to cater for our visiting peers by providing a decent toilet.
Another year has gone by and the building remains – unused.
In the meantime the Council is proceeding with the Youth Shelter and as the lighter evenings come along we hope to see some progress.
The acquisition of the land between the scout hut and Sitterton is likewise proceeding.
When this is achieved the Parish Council will be responsible for it together with the board walk.
Perhaps this is the time to warn of the slippery surface on the walk, which in the past we have had a chicken wire covering which itself is dangerous when it breaks up.
We simply ask that walkers take care.
The major concern of the Council has been the C6 – the road by the school. It is to be hoped that thanks to BP we will have some road management schemes in place this year that should make the road safer for the children and all other users.
The Chairman rounded up his report by commenting on both the Drax Hall and the new Village Hall.
The former will have some important work conducted this year and a planning application will be made on behalf of the latter.
All in all a busy Council year.
The Council, in preparation for the forthcoming Village Plan, decided to conduct a Housing Survey to establish what sort of needs exist.
A letter with a questionnaire will be delivered to each house in the Parish. The occupants will be invited to complete the questionnaire and to post it in a collecting box in the Post Office by the end of April.
This should allow everybody around three weeks to complete the questionnaire.
Families with relatives who have moved away but who would like to return to the village are particularly asked to include them.
The next step with the Village Plan will be at the May Council meeting when we will be having a Presentation from Dorset Community Action (DCA).
This meeting will start at 6.30pm and all persons interested in the future of your Village are invited to attend.
The Council meeting will be held after this meeting. We are particularly keen to hear from anybody with ideas, which they are prepared to share for the betterment of the village as a whole.
Do please make a date for Thursday 13th May.
There is concern that children are playing in and around the Cemetery.
They are climbing the trees outside which overhang the steel fence.
This fence has sharp spikes and the Council is concerned lest there be an accident involving a child on the spikes.
We simply ask that parents and families tell the children of the risks and direct them away from the danger.
We are also concerned that some older young people are using the new shelter for whatever pastime results in empty bottles being left around.
Apart from being in bad taste, cemeteries can be dangerous if boisterous behaviour results in memorials being damaged.
The District Council has now published the long awaited Conservation Area Report.
It is a good publication and worthy of being used as a reference by all people interested in the Village.
It will sit very well alongside Mr Pitfield’s Book of Bere Regis and the 1980’s Parish Council Appraisal.
This latest publication is the result of the efforts of Mr Peter Fysh and his colleagues together with the District Council officers.
It is to be hoped that from now on all planning within this specific area will be referred to this report. CM
April 2004 Meeting
The April meeting discussed the condition of the Board Walk where a section has become defective.
The repair is to be arranged by the District Council and will entail closure for a period as clearly the supports to the walkway are deteriorating.
The Council is aware that the surface can be slippery in wet weather and thus asks walkers to take care.
We have tried various methods to improve the safety but without success, therefore please take care.
The Library service is to be increased from June.
In addition to the present service there will be a session on Saturday mornings each week.
Details are available from the mobile library.
Mention has been made before in this column of the booklet describing the Village Conservation Area.
For those persons who would like to obtain a copy, they should contact the Planning Department of Purbeck District Council.
The cost is £10.00 plus postage.
It is a very good book and sits very comfortably beside Mr Pitfield’s Book of Bere Regis.
As I write this, the Parish Housing Needs Survey letters are in the final delivery process.
A report has been received that responses are beginning to be received by the Rural Housing Enabler, which is very encouraging and makes the effort of getting the letters out very worthwhile.
He has written to say that four parishes in Purbeck have undertaken surveys and three were identified as having housing problems.
There were a total of thirty six households with such problems as having to leave tied accommodation, homes in poor repair, homes which were too small, mature children unable to afford independence etc.
These parishes are now receiving support for the delivery of small schemes to meet parish need.
The Joseph Rowntree Foundation report ‘Can work, Can’t buy’ states that 89.6% of first time buyers in Purbeck cannot afford to buy the cheapest housing.
Thus the need to carry out a survey.
Incidentally if, when you read this, you have failed to respond please do send a response – it is never too late.
If you have lost your forms – filed away in the waste bin etc – give me a call for a replacement. (471342).
The Council has noticed that household rubbish is being deposited in the trees on the south side of Elder Road opposite the bottom of Manor Farm Road.
We have big enough problems with keeping the street clean so we ask that whoever is doing it, to please cease doing it.
The next meeting of the Parish Council will be on Thursday 13th May at 6.30pm.
The early start is to allow for an Address on the proposed Parish Plan.
It is hoped that all organisations in the village will be represented as it is intended to form a Parish Plan Committee from this meeting. CM