January 2009 Meeting
Schools in Purbeck
Dorset County Council has initiated a review of school provision in the Purbeck area.
In their background document on this they state that the key objective of this review is “to improve the life chances for children and young people in the region.
Schools within the Purbeck district have seen a considerable decline in the number of school aged children.
This has led to a significant number of surplus places across Purbeck” Without grossly oversimplifying the situation the basic idea is to move from a three to two tier education system which would mean closing the middle schools and changing first schools to primary schools.
The major impact for Bere Regis would be the closure of Sandford Middle School and the repositioning of our first school as a primary school.
Consultation has commenced and will close on 25th February 2009.
Copies of the document are available from Caroline Cole at DCC on 01303 228621 or are on line here
Please come along to the next Parish Council meeting 12th February at 7.00 pm where we want to hear your views before we submit our formal Parish Council response to DCC.
Also at that meeting will be the Chair of Sandford Middle school Reverend Ian Woodward and the Headmaster of Bere Regis First School Mr. Steve Battishall.
We welcome Keith Nurrish who has joined the Parish Council.
Keith is a retired airline pilot who lives in White Lovington and who is known to many of us as a keen golfer and man with a wicked sense of humour!
New Joint Surgery
On Saturday 7th February a Parish Councillor will be joining Peter Wharf our District Councillor at the regular surgery he holds.
This is held at Turbeville Court on the first Saturday of each month from 09.30 to 10.00 am. We have decided to combine and hold a joint surgery as many of the issues raised cut across Parish, District and County responsibilities and it makes sense for us to work together to address any issues that arise.
February 2009 Meeting
Your Parish council met for its monthly meeting on Thursday 12th February
The Purbeck Schools Review-Public Views
There was a very good turnout for this meeting, with nearly 20 people present to contribute to the debate about ‘The Purbeck Schools Review’.
We were particularly pleased to welcome our MP, Annette Brook, as well as the Conservative parliamentary candidate for our constituency, Nick King.
Lively contributions, some in favour of the status quo, and some in favour of the two-tier system, from Steve Battishill, our village school head teacher, Ian Woodward, our vicar, in his twin capacities as a governor of the Bere Regis School and chairman of the governors of Sandford Middle School and Andy Kent, amongst many others, helped inform the Council’s own debate which took place later in the meeting.
The PACT Initiative
We were also very pleased to welcome Inspector Chris Weeks, who is responsible for the Purbeck section, along with Karen Jaggs who works for Purbeck District Council as the Community Safety Officer. Inspector Weeks reported on his satisfaction with the development of the PACT initiative in the area.
Peter Wharf, as the Councillor with responsibility for policing and police liaison, reported on the first successful combined village surgery held last Saturday, involving himself as District Councillor, a Parish councillor and PC Jonathan Stuart, our community policeman.
The next combined surgery will be at Turberville Court at 0930 on Saturday 7th March.
Anyone with any matters they would like to raise will be most welcome.
Allotments and Composting
The council was continuing to talk to the Drax Estate, and to Grainger’s, the landowners to the South of the village, about possible allotment sites and a possible green waste composting site. The agents for the Drax estate have asked whether the council would be willing to take on the running of the allotments at Court Green. More information has been requested.
A good number of responses have already been received, but as, due to an oversight, a number of houses did not receive the questionnaire last month, more have now been distributed.
Consequently, the responses will be discussed at our next meeting in March, so as to give everyone a chance to comment.
In the meantime it was reported that all the pupils at the village school had taken part in a project to look at the pros and cons of the various alternative sites, and to discuss what sort of play equipment they would like to see in the new play park.
Three councillors had very much enjoyed listening to feedback about the results of the project from the children.
When the time comes, the children’s views will be taken into account in the layout of a new site, and in the selection of equipment.
The Purbeck Schools Review
The council had a long debate on how to frame its collective response to the consultation document. Everyone expressed great disappointment about the quality of Dorset County Council’s consultation exercise, expressing frustration that in effect, only two options were being put forward, and these in very stark terms.
There was insufficient assurance about the certainty of funding to enable either the two or three tier options to be successfully implemented.
Consequently, the council decided that it could not support the recommendation to move to a two-tier system, and could only support the status quo.
County Councillor’s Report
Malcolm Shakesby, our county councillor having taken part in the Schools Review debate, also mentioned actions he was taking about flooding on the A35 road, and about the need for measures to reduce the danger of cars hitting increasingly large numbers of deer.
John Pitts reported that work had started on installing the Zebra Crossing near the School, and that yellow lines should be painted on the road near the surgery and either side of the Snow Hill junction in March.
He also reported on the activities of the village Environmental Group who he had recently met, and their desire to become more involved in the stewardship of the natural environment near the village.
We are continuing to look for new councillors, to co-opt to the one vacancy we presently have.
Councillor Ventham reported that he and Councillor Maunder intended contacting all village organisations over the coming months to ask if they would like a councillor to join a meeting to talk about the Parish Plan and the work of the Council.
It was also intended to ask representatives of all the organisations to join the Parish Council Annual Meeting on Thursday 12th March at 7pm.
The council approved a precept of £23495 for the 2009/10 year.
The next combined parish, district and PACT surgery will be held at Turberville Court at 0930 on Saturday 7th March.
Please come along if you have a problem you wish to discuss or an issue you wish to raise.
Parish Annual Meeting
The next council meeting and the Annual Meeting will be in the Drax Hall at 7pm on Thursday 12th March, when we will be debating the future Play park site.
We would love to see as many people their as possible.
March 2009 Meeting
Annual Parish Meeting Thursday 13th March 2009
The Annual Parish Meeting was held at the Drax Hall on Thursday 14th March. Jim Parsons, Chairman, welcomed 25 parishioners to the meeting.
Organisations represented included the Parish Church, Scouts, the WI, Pop in Place, the Drax Hall, the Village Conservation Group, the Royal British Legion, Autumn Leaves and Friends of Bere Regis School.
Jim Parsons presented his annual report on the progress made this year on the many matters that have come before the Council.
He commented that there are simply too few Councillors to be able to do everything necessary, and that we badly need the active involvement of local people and organisations to be able to succeed.
He then commented on a number of the matters the Council has been involved with in the past year.
Allotments and Composting Site
We are still in active contact with the agents for the Drax estate and Grainger with the view of providing additional allotments and a village composting site.
Just over a year ago this Parish Council took the initiative to convene a meeting of 8 Parish Councils to discuss the traffic problems in Purbeck and in particular the need for a southern by-pass of Bere Regis. This resulted in a joint demand going to Dorset County Council and was a major factor in the decision` by County that such a by-pass is justified and to carry out design work on the four alternative routes. We have been promised that we shall be consulted on these designs in the next two months or so.
He expressed his concern over the safety of children going to and from the school.
We all know that Rye Hill is extremely busy and potentially very dangerous.
However he had many times seen young children running several yards ahead of their mothers and this is very worrying.
He urged parents to keep their children under close control.
Affordable Homes and The Play Park Site
A major part of our work has been the play park.
We reported very fully at the annual parish meeting last year and in parish magazine articles over the months but will summarise the situation again.
For some time we have been exploring the possibility of relocating the children’s play park, and the sale of the land to a housing trust to enable affordable homes to be built.
This would give two benefits—the provision of more affordable homes which was a high priority in the Parish Plan, and the upgrade of the play park with modern equipment using the sale proceeds.
We have to bear in mind that it is some 20 years since the present play park was created and, as you would expect the equipment has suffered much wear and tear in that time. In addition the safety regulations for play equipment have become stricter. So even if the play park remains where it is the cost of repairs and replacement would soon be a problem.
If we are able to re-locate the play park we want to make the new one as vandal proof as possible. We might also be able to create a separate second site for the older children.
When Purbeck District Council sold the land to the Parish Council a restrictive covenant was added so that building would not be permitted.
We have been in discussion with Purbeck and it may well be possible that the covenant can be lifted, taking account of the double benefits which would follow—i.e. the affordable homes and a new modern play park.
Purbeck required us to consult widely within the village on possible alternative sites and this we have done over recent weeks.
The results will be analysed shortly and we will then review the way forward.
This matter will undoubtedly be discussed fully in future Parish Council meetings and will be reported in the Parish Magazine and our web site.
Or you will be most welcome to attend our meetings to express your views.
Volunteer of the Year
Purbeck District Council have introduced a Volunteer of the Year award scheme, the idea being that Parish and Town Councils nominate a volunteer from their areas and then a decision will be taken as to which one is the overall Volunteer of the Year for the whole of Purbeck.
He said that, after consultation, he had nominated Kath Jeeves as the Volunteer of the Year from Bere Regis and was sure that will be a very popular choice.
Finally, we have continued to work on the action items from the parish plan. With a view to greater efficiency we have very recently reorganised our work and have set up 4 working groups so far and we want to establish a fifth working group when we have recruited a new councillor, with responsibility for Young People.
Environment led by Councillor John Pitts, Housing and Planning led by Councillor Laurie Fairhurst, Police and Community led by Councillor Peter Wharf and Village Organisations Liaison led by Councillor Ian Ventham.
Each then gave a short report of their work.
Planning and Housing
Laurie Fairhurst said that the Planning and Housing Working Party had met ten times in the past year – mainly to consider planning applications.
The PWP considered twenty-five applications during the year and recommended no objections to twenty-two. Of the three we raised objections, two were for the same site – namely the conversion of a garage to a dwelling behind 3-4 North Street.
The other application objected to was the enclosure of an open space at 1 South Mead.
Our chairman spoke to PDC planning board on all these objections and the planning board upheld our recommendations.
• Affordable Housing
Of the six affordable homes built by Wyatt’s at Griffin’s Gardens, five are now occupied and at least three of the occupants are from the village.
The investigations into building seven affordable homes on the site of the existing play park are on hold until the results of consultation with the village on re-locating the play park are finalised.
• Housing Action Plan
The housing working party have studied a map from the 1986 village plan and a map produced in the mid 1990’s showing possible development sites for housing.
After discussion on various sites Councillor Malcolm Munro has volunteered to produce a new map based on these ideas.
This will be presented to the parish council late spring/early summer.
In his absence, John Pitts’ report was read out.
Amongst many successes, the following were significant:
1. Safe Route to School. Zebra Crossing Beacons and electrics are installed.
The non-slip surface laid 18 months ago had failed and had to be removed and re-laid.
Zebra Crossing road markings and commissioning remain.
Then the Safe Route will be complete.
2. Yellow Line Markings. Shell Garage– Double yellow lines from roundabout to junction of Industrial Estate completed. ’30 mph’ entry signs from roundabout now installed.
Entrance to Snow Hill – Double yellow lines now installed. Manor Farm Road opposite Dr.’s surgery – Single yellow line now installed.
3. Road Signage. A scheme to rationalise/update the signage to and from the car park/refuse area and to include the Church symbol continues to be developed with Dorset County Council.
Currently, we are awaiting the cost of the proposed scheme before, hopefully, we can finalise.
4. Car Park Recycling Bins Relocation.
The toilet block has been demolished and amended to an enclosure to enable some recycle bins to be relocated.
The work has been completed by the builders for Purbeck District Council.
Not all the recycle bins can be relocated in the area but rationalising the area of bins is being concluded.
• Natural and Village Environment
1. A meeting has been attended with the Parish Conservation Group, which was well attended.
A map of an area alongside the Bere Stream that the group would like to develop further as a conservation area has been received.
2. Maps [updated] of all Public Rights of Way in the Bere Regis Parish have been received from Dorset County Council.
A maintenance and reporting system is being developed.
3. A survey is being carried out of wheel chair access on the village roads/pavements.
Police and Community
The Chairman reported as follows on Peter Wharf’s behalf:
We have recently attended two meetings of PACT. As you may recall this acronym stands for Partners and Community Together.
It is often thought that the P of PACT stands for Police and although the Police are heavily involved, the idea is that members of the local community work together as Partners.
One of the meetings was to review the working of the Homewatch scheme.
This used to be called the Neighbourhood Watch scheme.
We have asked for a current list of the organisers in Bere Regis so we can advertise for new members where there are gaps.
At the second PACT meeting we asked for the anti-social behaviour near the stream to be monitored more closely by the Police, with a Police presence from time to time at the bridge and all along the stream from the Scout Hut to Shitterton Bridge.
We shall continue to attend PACT meetings and report any crimes in the village. It is important that residents bring any such problems to our attention or direct to the Police.
Village Organisations Liaison
Ian Ventham stated that this is a new responsibility, created at the end of last year, with the aim of trying to ensure that the Parish Council engages with all organisations active in the village.
To start with, we are offering the organisations the chance to invite a Parish Councillor to a meeting or an AGM to talk briefly about the Parish Plan, and how that organisation and its members might relate to, and help implement the plan.
At the very least, we hope that by opening a dialogue, we will become more aware of the issues that are important to parishioners.
So, the invitation is there! Just let us know if you would like a Councillor to attend a meeting to speak for a few minutes about the Parish Plan.
During the public participation period various points were made and issues raised:
• Ian Woodward stated, as chair of the local PACT panel, that PACT was not just about dealing with crime, but also about anything to do with public safety.
• Sue Stone made the very helpful suggestion that to help deal with the demand for allotments, perhaps those older people who were finding their gardens a bit too much to cope with, might be put in touch with those wanting an allotment, to the benefit of both parties.
[If there were any residents who would be willing to hand over part of their garden for cultivation by someone else, perhaps they would let one of the Councillors know.]
• Sarah Welton, on behalf of the Court Green allotment holders, expressed interest in the landlord possibly handing control to the Council, and said there was the possibility that the allotment holders might form a self-managing association.
• Tony Bates queried why the Back Lane allotments were largely disused.
The Chairman said the council was awaiting a response from the landlord on this very subject.
• The chairman of the Bere Regis Branch of the Royal British Legion requested that the council pay for the cleaning of the War Memorial, and some necessary re-lettering.
The Council agreed to look into this.
He also raised the issue of traffic safety at the junction of Manor Farm road and Turberville Road.
• A number of people raised the issue of dog fouling on pavements in the village, particularly on the School route, the need for more enforcement of anti-fouling regulations, and the need for more dog waste bins. We were reminded that there were now very severe penalties for allowing dogs to foul pavements, and residents were asked not to hesitate to take dog-owners to task if they were seen not to clean up.
• The need for improving the footpaths on Souls Moor and along the Bere Stream was raised.
This was on the Council’s agenda for this year
The Annual Meeting then ended, and the normal monthly Parish Council meeting continued.
Finally, please don’t forget:
• If you have any problems you wish to discuss come to the monthly joint Parish, District and PACT surgery on the first Saturday of the month (Sat 4th April) at Turberville Court at 9.30am.
• Our next monthly meeting, at which all residents are welcome, on Thursday 9th April at 7pm
April 2009 Meeting
Zebra Crossing outside the school
We have asked Dorset County Council (DCC) to review the installation of the zebra crossing as the “belisha” beacons can be difficult to see in the sunlight and to see whether DCC can extend the cowling on the top to help people see the crossing more clearly.
PC Craig Tatton attended the Parish Council Meeting and agreed to follow up on enforcing the newly installed yellow lines around the village to ensure they are adhered to.
The Parish Council requests all people to park considerately particularly around the Doctors’ surgery and around towards the car park.
This is particularly important when patients are entering and leaving the surgery.
The annual volunteer of the year award was held on 8th April at Purbeck District Council in Wareham. Eleven people from across the district attended a ceremony where they were presented with an award for their services to the community.
These people had all been nominated by their local Parish Councils and Bere Regis was represented by our very own Kath Jeeves.
Jim Parsons (Parish Council Chair) gave a short acceptance speech (below) on behalf of the parish Council and the people of Bere Regis.
“Kath as she is known throughout the village has worked tirelessly for over 30 years for the good of the village and the district community as a whole.
In the earlier days, she recognised the need to establish a club for older people so that they could get together and keep in touch with their friends.
The club is still very active and continues to provide a most valuable service to the community.
As a pianist, Kath has formed a choir of ladies who, in many cases, would not have considered themselves performing musicians.
Her enthusiasm brought them together and formed a talented group who perform to audiences young and old, regularly performing at old folks clubs, nursing homes and sheltered housing.
Kath also accompanies on the piano for the Pop in Place choirs for younger members of the community.
Kath has also enthusiastically guided the Village Hall Committee as its Chairman, inspiring the committee to make great improvements to the elderly Village Hall and today it is a welcoming meeting place for all who care to use it.
Over the years, Kath has set a very high standard for voluntary work in the village and surrounding areas, quietly getting on with things, including taking elderly folk on shopping trips, giving friendship and companionship to all.
Kath is an outstanding example of a very good citizen, well deserved of this award.”
Monthly Joint Surgery
A Parish Councillor will be joining Peter Wharf our District Councillor at the regular surgery he holds.
This is held at Turbeville Court on the first Saturday of each month from 09.30 to 10.00 am.
We have decided to combine and hold a joint surgery as many of the issues raised cut across Parish, District and County responsibilities and it makes sense for us to work together to address any issues that arise.