January 2006 Meeting
At the January meeting Doctor Harley addressed the Council and expressed the gratitude of the Medical Practice for the support that they gave in the recent matter concerning a possible Pharmacy being allowed.
Details of this are the subject of an article elsewhere in this magazine.
Doctor Harley also spoke of the Practice’s desire to form a Patient Participation Group in the future.
Councillors expressed their concerns regarding the litter that seems to decorates our streets at present. Discarded sweet wrappers, crisp packets and drink cans give a very poor impression of a Village that does care .
Sadly we do not have road sweepers these days so its up to ourselves to keep the village tidy.
The Council appeal for everybody not to discard unwanted litter in the street, but to drop it off in a bin or even to take it home
The Council received a recommendation for the precept of £16,550 for the forthcoming year.
By making use of reserves the increase is restricted to 7.5% over the current year.
The recommendation was agreed unanimously by the Council.
The matter of graffiti on the Youth Shelter was discussed at length.
One Councillor had attempted to use a special fluid to remove the writings but clearly this was of insufficient strength.
Other methods will need to be used but the best one is that the youngsters should not desecrate their own, requested, Shelter.
It is all a matter of respect and the Parish, who have really made an effort to meet the needs of todays young people and tomorrows Council Tax subscribers - deserve a better response.
It may not be our own young people, but somebody knows who goes around with paint cans and fibre pens, all very ordinary every day items but devastating in the wrong hands.
The Council is aware that a greater Police presence would help and has represented this thought to the appropriate Authority.
This year is Election Year for the Parish Council and this is an appeal to find some fresh faces for the Council. Ideally the Council should represent a cross section of the Parishioners and coming from all quarters in the Parish.
At this same time four years ago we only had four people for the eleven seats, which did not form a quorum.
Thus the other seven seats had to be filled by co-opting.
If you have doubts about what the Council is doing then the best way to get your thoughts over is to come forward. In April posters will be put up calling for nominations.
If more than eleven names are offered then there will be an election on the first Thursday of May.
If only eleven or less names come forward, then those who offered themselves are appointed without an election.
It is far better to have an elected body who come from all parts of the Parish.
It is several years since the last election and the Council asks everybody to give it some thought and support.
The next meeting of the Council will be on Thursday 9th February at 7.30pm in the Drax Hall.
February 2006 Meeting
The opening question from a parishioner at the February meeting came as a surprise to all Councillors as it was stated that a description of a proposed extension consisting of many houses had been included in our Parish Web Site.
The surprise was that the Council had not been requested by any developer, or had it given approval for its inclusion.
Equally no Councillor was aware of it being included.
In this case it was the Grainger Trust, who own the land from the watercress farm through to Shitterton. The Council has, of late, been on the receiving end of requests by developers who wish to talk about future extensions to the village.
The Chairman suggested that we could be likened to a honey pot with the bees (developers), buzzing around outside.
In response the Parish Council have stated that their policy is to provide ‘affordable housing’ that meets the numbers stated in the Housing Needs Survey conducted in April 2004.
Our Rural District Councillor, Peter Wharf, has written elsewhere of the Spatial and District aspects for the provision of housing.
Our needs within the Parish are for twenty four units of affordable housing.
These homes can be placed on in fill sites or on what are known as rural exception sites.
Rural Exception sites are defined as those communities with less than 3000 population, situated next to existing settlement boundaries indicating proximity to transport links and some local services - shops etc.
Exception Sites are an exception to normal planning policy exclusively aimed at meeting local need.
All the homes provided on such a site must be for people from the surveyed community, or who come from the community and have been forced to move away by prohibitively high accommodation costs.
All housing provided on an exception site must be affordable to local incomes and remain affordable over the long term.
Thus the Council has a policy which it believes meets the needs not only of those in the Survey but also in line with the results of the Parish Plan Questionnaire.
The next step is to find sites, as defined above. For this the Council has requested assistance from Synergy, the Group that incorporates the Purbeck Housing Trust.
It is also likely that other Trusts may be approached to advise in due course.
It is to be hoped that between Councillor Wharfs article, and this statement, that any rumours which may have been started, with the item being included in our Web Site, may be negated.
Parishioners will be aware that the long awaited Safe Route to School pathway will be underway when this is published.
This will provide a safer environment for all pedestrians on Rye Hill when completed.
Also when the new bridge (The Munro Bridge) is in place there will be a link across The Moor from Southbrook to the Board Walk.
The Council has been very concerned for a number of years about the condition of the Young Childrens Play Area.
This was provided originally by the parents of the young children who had nowhere to play.
They did some fantastic fund raising.
However over the years the Council has continued to maintain the equipment and replace broken items.
The sad fact is that some young people damage the items which causes the costs to increase.
These Play Areas are supposed to be fenced in and well gated.
Ours is, from time to time, but witness at present how the fence has been sawn through on the south west corner and the double gate so damaged that it requires replacing.
These are not the result of small childrens activities.
The Play Area was provided for small children by their mums and dads.
The money to keep it going is Council Tax – yours - and the Council is concerned on your behalf.
They would like to know whether there is a future in this Play Area.
They would welcome ideas as to how to keep it safe and enjoyable to the young children.
The older ‘young people’ now have their own area so there should be no excuse for them invading this area.
I mention again the possible elections in May.
Would you like to have a say in the governance of your Parish?
Have you ever asked quite what the Council thinks that they are up to – do you have alternative suggestions?
If so how about putting your name forward for election.
The Council meets once a month on the evening of the second Thursday.
Very occasionally there might be another meeting. Watch out for the Official Notices concerning the election, it is eight years since we had one for the Parish Council, simply because not enough people came forward to fill the eleven places at the time of the last elections.
The Council meets next on Thursday 9th March 2006 at 7.00pm in the Drax Hall.
March 2006 Meeting
Do you have a vision for Bere Regis? If so Bere Regis Parish Council needs you.
It needs you in two distinct ways.
Firstly please consider coming forward and be nominated to stand for the election on Thursday 4th May.
There are eleven seats available and it would be marvellous to have at least twelve nominees.
We would then have an election and Parishioners would be able to choose their Councillors.
Nomination papers are available upon application to the Purbeck District Council’s Deputy Returning Officer, Peter Aston, who can be contacted on 01929 557221 or via e-mail here.
Papers have to be returned by Noon on Monday 3rd April.
This means that after this item is published that there is precious little time to get the papers into Wareham.
However this information has been displayed on the Parish Noticeboards for at least a fortnight.
Secondly everybody can give strength to the Parish Council by turning out tovote. How wonderful it would be if we could have a Council that commanded
support from over half the Parish.
The Polling Station is going to be open from
7.00am to 10.00pm on election day.
Please everybody, make the effort to vote.
Parish Councils have a great future. Whereas in the past they have been seen as a ‘talking shop’ they will in only a few years time be the actual ‘doing Council’.
The Government is producing a White Paper that will reorganise Local Government and it is putting great emphasis on to the very local present third tier.
The frustrations of the present arrangements whereby the Parish has to seek the solution to simple tasks from the County or District will change to the Parish actually being able to solve it.
Then when the streets are not cleaned it could be the Parish’s fault for not arranging it.
All of those other tasks which the Council can have little say in, one that annoys the writer is the state of the Board Walk and the Riverside Walk.
Though we ask for the work to be done it seems to take an eternity to get results.
These changes will come in due course and to make them work it will probably mean that we will have to link with neighbouring Councils to share the costs.
Anybody who is interested in reading about the Ministers thoughts on the subject should look into www.odpm.gov.uk
Our Council has a great future.
We are going to receive a very well produced
Parish Plan and that will serve as our guide over the years ahead.
We are not trying to just react to today’s matters, The Plan takes us years ahead in an
endeavour to keep the Community alive and active.
Back to today!
The March meeting of the Council is the Annual Parish Meeting
which is open to all Parishioners to attend and to speak about any problems that they may have.
Sadly we attracted just the one Parishioner but she drew attention to the new pathway on Rye Hill.
She reminded us that the object of
providing the new path was to make the walking to school route safer by providing a wider footpath on the western side of the road.
She had compared the two footpaths and found that the new path was no wider than the old one at fifty seven inches.
Fortunately a drawing was available for consultation and this indicated that the width should be a nominal two metres – seventy eight inches.
The Clerk was instructed to draw the attention of the County Council to this and request that the pathway be provided as originally specified.
Our County Councillor was also present and promised to convey the same message to the County Council the next day.
The Council is trying to make progress with the Sustainable Affordable Housing.
A meeting is being arranged with Synergy, the parent company of the Purbeck Housing Trust but there are minor difficulties in trying to arrange a suitable time and date.
We are seeking their assistance as they are able to obtain Government Grants to build Affordable Housing. In the meantime the Chairman has attended a meeting at which an alternative method of funding, by creating a Community Land Trust, was discussed.
This is being used in a number of locations in Dorset.
The one that the meeting discussed is at Worth Matravers.
It is to be hoped that we might obtain a quicker solution by creating a CLT in Bere Regis.
The next meeting of the Parish Council will be on Thursday 13th April at 7.00pm in the Drax Hall.
April 2006 Meeting
The April meeting of the Council this year was the last meeting of the Council in its four year cycle.
We were due for elections in May but as sufficient numbers came forward to replace those Councillors who have decided not to continue in office, it was not necessary.
Cllrs Richard Hall, Guy Storey and Keith Foster have stood down after giving honourable service, and their places are to be taken by Messes A Duncanson, J Pitts and I Ventham.
The Council discussed Affordable Housing and how we might progress its provision.
We are meeting with a Housing Association in early May as at a previous meeting they suggested various ways forward in which they may be in a position to assist us.
Clearly there are two major obstacles money and sites.
The new Council has to try to resolve these.
The new Play Area if I might refer to it as such will soon have an all weather playing surface and a Basket Ball net attached to the kick wall.
The Council hope that these will prove to be popular with the young people.
The Council is concerned that the young children's Play Area continues to be vandalised by older children and therefore hope that the improvements being provided to the kick wall area will divert the energies of the larger people.
The Council is pleased that during the last four years there have been improvements in the Cemetery. Whereas we used to receive letters of complaint, we now hear pleasantries concerning its condition.
This results from the personal attention from Richard Hall during that period, and the Council is grateful to him.
The next meeting of the Council will be at the Drax Hall on Thursday 11th May at 7.00pm.
All are welcome to attend.