Prior to Cllr. Simon Christopher submitting the following report at last night’s meeting of the Group Parish Council, he requested the Town Clerk “put it on record” that Cllr. Rebecca Knox* (Beaminster Ward), Cabinet Member for Communities, Health & Wellbeing had been extremely helpful with her experience and knowledge of the Broadwindsor Ward.
“I was deeply saddened to hear of the death of parish councillor Lloyd Curtis. As Philip Hardwill has stated “We will miss him and the good he did for his local community”.
It is disappointing that we are not meeting face to face as I continue to believe that a face to face meeting is preferable to virtual meeting. However there is still justifiable concern about the spread of the Covid Virus and your caution is perfectly understandable. It will not have escaped the attention of many of you that I have been corresponding with the Highways team including Highway Lead Council member Councillor Cherry Brooks to press for resurfacing of local roads. This has been successful in some places but certainly not in relation to the B3165. I have the assurance of the lead member for highways responsible for road surfaces that this will be looked at further. That is to say every metre of the above road within Dorset from the Somerset Border down to the Devon border. To remind you Councillor Ray Bryan is the Cabinet Member responsible for Highways . Councillor Cherry Brooks as stated is responsible for road surfaces.
Councillor Nocturin Lacey Clark is the lead member responsible for Hedgerows and verges. This leads us to the matter of Common Water Lane and the issues relating to its use or mis use. Councillor Rebecca Knox also has interest here, as part of Common Water Lane is in her ward. Common Water Lane which appears to have been as issue for many years prior to me becoming a Dorset Councillor, is the subject of continuing correspondence where we are waiting various responses from Dorset Council . I am not a solicitor or highways expert but I will be seeking a legal opinion at a face to face meeting this week with a specialist solicitor.
You will have noted my concerns over so many months about dogs not being on leads and disturbing and indeed harming livestock. This problem has been highlighted still further with the death of the cow at nearby Eggardon. It is useful to remind all that farmers have the right to shoot dogs in circumstances where dogs are deemed to be loose such that their livestock may be protected.
I have received on Friday 18 June , a lengthy e-mail about the damage to verges banks and road surfaces drains etc. by large vehicles .
I look forward to hearing your thoughts in the future and indeed speaking with you in the days ahead. Suffice it to say that the e-mail is written in what may be termed a legal way quoting the Highways Act and the responsibilities of Dorset Council and the police.
I will be looking to arrange a meeting with the concerned resident shortly.
I am corresponding in the first instance with the Highways Team about this for their view. Such damage to drains is seen as leading to eventual greater damage to road surfaces property etc. This has been a concern across the Marshwood Vale and obviously across the Country for many years.
I have also received a residents e mail expressing concern re the possibility of the creation of a concrete ramp across Hursey Common amongst other concerns.
Last week Dorset Council received an update from the Cabinet Member for Planning Councillor, David Walsh. In the update he stressed the amount of officer time being devoted to consideration of the responses to the consultation to the first draft of the Dorset Local Plan. Councillor Walsh stressed his dedication to making sure that Dorset has a new adopted Local Plan by the end of 2023.
Clearly the Government has previously indicated it wanted to simplify planning within England. I am referring here to the Planning For the Future White Paper last August seen as the largest overhaul of the planning system since the 1947 Town and Country Planning Act. This may or may not ultimately be pursued. In the meanwhile the sensible and appropriate course of action is for the local plan to progress through its various stages.
You may have read that Dorset Council has called for more Government action to bring better broadband to more remote rural areas. Dorset Council is quoting that 96 per cent of Dorset can get super fast broadband. Dorset Council’s deputy leader Peter Wharf said “While we very much welcome the National Project Gigabit funding coming to Dorset we want to ensure that this and any future investments in improving connectivity are directed at our hardest to reach areas first”.
The Council has also invested £1million to give our residents and businesses in rural areas an additional top up when they apply for government broadband vouchers.
- “However we get no say on how or where that top is spent and we are urging the Government to enable councils to have more influence on where money is invested locally”.
- “Crucially we would like to see the Government return to its original commitment of bringing gigabit capable broadband to 100 per cent of premises”.
- “In this day and age where broadband is essential it is imperative that no home or business is left behind “.
In addition to more funding, Dorset Council would like to see national subsidy offers improved so that anyone on sub super fast broadband speeds can apply. Currently the offer, called the Universal Service Obligation (USO) is for people whose internet speeds are less than 10 Mbps.
I am meeting the Council Leader Spencer Flower for a one to one discussions on Wednesday (23rd June). Amongst the discussion topics will be the need to see improvements to bus services.
To remind you earlier this year Sue McGowan Head of Dorset Travel said “We are intending to refresh our public transport strategy in line with the new national strategy ( Bus Back Better). I will be looking for commitment to improve bus services.”
You may recall that only local transport authorities who commit to establishing an Enhanced Partnership across the whole of the LTA area by 30th June 2021 and to have published by 31st October 2021 a bus improvement plan will continue to receive the Covid 19 Bus Services Improvement Grant or any new sources of funding from Central Government.
I look forward to working with the new Police and Crime Commissioner Mr. David Sidwick. I have started to make him aware of issues within the Marshwood Vale Dorset Council Ward.
It is excellent to see the desire within the community to maintain the existence of a shop in Broadwindsor . It will also be interesting to hear the thoughts of people on the viability having a community run pub at the heart of the village.
With the planned improvements to the Broadwindsor Comrades Hall (including air source heat pumps and photovoltaic roof panels), the recent repairs to planned improvements to Bernards’ Place by way of installation of new equipment and the the continued progress of the Broadwindsor Cricket Club these are encouraging times.
Councillor Simon Christopher.
Dorset Councillor Marshwood Vale
07798 833 715
*Cllr. Rebecca Knox:
Her other appointed positions include: