Cllr. Simon Christopher’s Report On Common Water Lane – Sept 21

At Monday night’s Group Parish Council meeting, Cllr. Simon Christopher delivered 3 separate reports: a general one, one on Waste Management (Click HERE) and this one – on Common Water Lane:

Dear Councillors and Helen

I thought I would send you a separate report in respect of Common Water Lane for Helen to distribute please.

Earlier this Summer I met with a solicitor at a practice that I have worked with for almost 30 years. The solicitor in question is a specialist in public rights of way and access to land.

I took this decision as I am clearly not the font of all knowledge on these matters and would be beneficial in an attempt to move matters forward and the meeting and written advice to me would not involve a cost to the parish council. It was said of him in the Chambers UK solicitors guide that: “His knowledge on public rights of way is vast“.

His is also honorary adviser to the Green Lane Environmental Action Group  (Until April of this year Prince Philip was Patron of this organisation). Within the legal directory , the Legal 500 he is considered “an industry leader in his own area of expertise public and private rights of way and access to land and leaving no stone unturned”.

I was advised by the solicitor that the power to  a Traffic Regulation Order exists under the Road Traffic Act 1984 and Regulations made under Statutory Instrument 1996/2489.

The question arose as to whether it would be appropriate to make a TRO while allowing private access. The power exists to do so if Dorset Council accept that any one or mor of the of the specific powers listed in as 1(1) of the 1984 Act applies to the Lane. From the explanations that I gave he concluded that those powers or at least those first six powers listed in section 1(1) of the 1984 Act do apply there should it his opinion be no issue that a TRO would be appropriate.

I have to say at this point that as a Dorset Councillor I commented that the present position is in my opinion unsustainable and needs urgent control. We concluded that for the same reason that it is both appropriate and a priority there can be no doubt about necessity.  We then went on to discuss the physical possibility of installing barriers , which prevent unauthorised use but which allow private access to land and property served by the Lane but also public non vehicular use, principally on horseback and on foot.  The solicitor after considerable comment about the benefits to adjoining land owners and local residents, horse riders and walkers  then examined what the thoughts of more learned persons at Dorset Council might be if the struggle is continued!!!

His opinion was that Dorset Council would no doubt want/ need to make 3 specific assessments as to:

  1. What is precisely the current highway status of the Lane?
  2. As to what is its true legal width?
  3. What private rights can be shown to exists?

With respect to the first assessment it was the opinion of the solicitor that “the likely answer  was that the status of the Lane is an Unclassified Road (UCR) – probably no surprises for the reader there it may he said have been a RUPP (Road Used as a Public Path) in 1949, but others may be able shed light on this.

One of the more interesting points to observe is that the solicitor did point out that even if the Lane is a Unclassified Road there is, in his opinion , “no guarantee that public vehicular access exists in a UCR. It depends upon an assessment of all the available evidence of status , as to what the public status is.“  Further he added “One needs to be absolutely sure about this question of status before proceeding.

That research would need to include research of such things as The Object Names Book, The Finance Act 1910, map and book entries, the Handover Map 1929 , the list of streets and the Definitive Map and parish survey . It may also be necessary to go back further , to tithe records and inclosure records

With respect to the second assessment he added: “The width of a highway is  a notoriously difficult question to be sure of. Put simply , the width will encompass not only the metalled strip down the middle but also the verges wall to wall as it were, BUT the latter point is not certain and depends upon whether the boundary features in question which bound the Lane were put in by reference to the highway or for other purposes

With respect to the third assessment:  “Private rights will normally benefit all properties and fields having access off the Lane.  The rights will either be expressly contained in the deeds of the property or field and or have arisen by long use . If the latter the purposes will be only be for the purpose for which it was exercised during the long use period . Thus for houses the private right will normally be for residential purposes only; for agricultural property normally for  agricultural purposes only”.

He essentially finished his advice by adding that the spending of public money will be a key factor in Dorset Councils decision making process!

I look forward to meeting with, perhaps, a working party of parish councillors to discuss further if you decide this is appropriate.  Clearly to arrive at a satisfactory position in respect to the Lane is even more difficult than I might have thought!

Best regards


Simon Christopher
Dorset Councillor Marshwood Vale
077988 33715

Edited by: Wendy Shields.


Cllr. Simon Christopher’s Report On Waste Management – Sept 21

Following Dorset Council‘s announcement last week about the difficulties they are having, mainly due to the national HGV driver shortage, Dorset Cllr. Simon Christopher issued this report at Monday night’s BWGPC meeting:

Dear Councillors

Having supplied  a report devoted to Common Water Lane, I now report separately on a most important matter. Central to the work of Dorset Council is the collection of waste.  The National lorry driver shortage is impacting on kerbside collections and litter bin emptying across Dorset.

Indeed the effects of the National HGV driver shortage added to the continuing impact of Covid are starting to be felt across Dorset Council’s waste services as collection rounds feel the strain.

As recently reported in the National  the impact of the driver shortage is being felt by councils across the county . In Dorset some crews are regularly having to work overtime and often at weekends, which is not sustainable. These pressures come on the back of a year of increased household waste amounts as more people have been working from home.

Dorset Council Senior officers recently briefed local MPs on the issues currently impacting Waste collections , street cleansing and bin deliveries in the hope that a long term solution can be found.

Recruitment of drivers in Dorset has always been challenging particularly due to high local housing costs but the current wide scale staff shortages across all depots are unprecedented. The Council currently has multiple vacancies and drivers and Loders across their waste team, along with some absence due to sickness and others on planned annual leave.

All employees across waste services  are working hard to ensure that key waste services continue to run throughout this challenging time.

Dorset Council are having to temporarily suspend or delay some garden waste collections so that crews can be ready deployed to support vital rubbish food and recycling collections.

If any garden waste collections have to be cancelled stood down Dorset Council will automatically apply a discount to next years subscription fee.

Litter bins are being emptied less frequently in some parts of the county and new bin deliveries are also being delayed.

Councillor Jill Haynes portfolio holder for Customer and Community Services has said  “We are proud to provide one of the best kerbside collection services in the Country under normal circumstances . Bit I’m afraid the current situation is both unprecedented and un sustainable”.

Council Haynes has added   “While we will continue to ensure that Dorset’s waste is dealt with as best as we can there and do whatever is necessary to address local concerns we need actions to be taken by central government to address the National drivers shortage and help to mitigate the continuing effects of the pandemic”.

I want to thank the hard working waste services crews and admin  staff , who are doing a brilliant job  under very different circumstances “.

I also want to thank the people of Dorset for their patience and understanding as we tackle the issues at hand, most of which are outside of our control “.

Rather than continuing the commentary I would ask that you please e mail if you have queries for me to answer. If I do not know the answer myself I will contact the portfolio holder, the excellent Councillor Jill Haynes!

Best regards


Councillor Simon Christopher
Dorset Councillor Marshwood Vale
077988 33715

Edited by: Wendy Shields.

Read Cllr. Simon Christopher’s Report on Common Water Lane by clicking HERE.



SEND Support For Back To School

Dorset Council’s Local Offer for children and young people from 0 to 25 years with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) provides information, advice and support for children and their families.

They offer information and how to access:

  • Early years & Childcare.
  • Education & Learning.
  • Activities & Short Breaks.
  • Social Care.
  • Preparing For Adulthood.
  • Transport.
  • Health Services.
  • Money


Contact West Dorset’s SEND team:

Tel: 01308 425241

There is also a Family Information Directory helping you to access local services:

  • Starting School – Click HERE
  • SEND Support in Schools – Click HERE.
  • Moving to Secondary School – Click HERE

Read the full latest newsletter HERE.


Dorset Homechoice – Closed To New Applications

Without any notice from Dorset Council or our Dorset Councillor, Simon Christopher, Dorset Council’s housing register, Dorset Homechoice, is now closed to new applications. If registered, you can still bid for properties and view your feedback by logging into your account as normal.

Both Dorset Council and BCP Council are changing how properties are allocated and how people can apply for housing. From October 1st 2021, they will be introducing a new Dorset Council Home Choice website and allocations policy. This means there will be some changes to how applicants apply for social housing and some of the assessment criteria.

To view and download the Draft of their new Housing Allocations Policy 2021 – 2026 – Click HERE.

Dates of note:

  • 26th July 2021 – Existing applicants who are registered with Dorset Council were invited to apply to join the new housing list.
  • 23rd September 2021 – Last advert date for properties in West Dorset (& Weymouth & Portland, East Dorset, North Dorset or Purbeck).
  • 1st October 2021 – New applicants will be able to apply to join the new Dorset Council housing list.

Former District Councillor & Local Parish Councillor, Jacqui Sewell has already submitted an email to a Dorset Housing Officer with many questions including what will happen if a CLT tenancy comes up before then & there is no-one on the housing register who qualifies, but the CLT are aware of an individual or a family that are not yet on the register but do qualify to apply for a CLT property?  Additionally, as there is a list of 21 disabilities as per RPWD Act 2016 , it is hoped that Dorset Council consider every applicant’s needs and capabilities.

If you have concerns, please contact our current Dorset Councillor – Simon Christopher:

Address: Hawthorne Cottage, Ryall Road, Whitchurch Canonicorum, Dorset, DT6 6RH
Home: 01297 489582
: 07798 833715


Election: Broadwindsor Group Parish Councillor – Burstock Ward

Click below for the active links shown in the document:


The Parish Clerk, Helen Cudmore may be contacted at


Invasive Plants Cleared At Hursey

The weather was glorious and a lot was accomplished on Saturday when volunteers helped clear invasive plants from the wildflower meadow at Hursey…

Sheila Hawkins.

Many thanks to volunteers from Dorset Wildlife Trust.

Read the original post from Nick Gray, West Dorset Conservation Officer HERE.


Conservation Volunteers Meet At Hursey Common – Thursday, 15th July

Very recently confirmed, Nick Gray, Conservation Officer for West Dorset’s Wildlife Trust will be at Hursey Common tomorrow (St. Swithin’s Day), July 15th and is calling out for local volunteers to join in…

“Dear All,
I hope this finds you well and relishing sunny prospects. We meet this week on St Swithin’s Day, July 15th, a day steeped in folklore and hay-making tradition… appropriately enough, as it turns out, because we’ll be swinging scythes and raking up arisings from a couple of species-rich patches at Hursey Common, near Broadwindsor.
You might think it’s a bit early to be cutting wildflowers off at the knees but I don’t have to tell you guys there’s always a balance with the more boisterous species, and cutting some areas slightly earlier will prevent weed species seeding and, as our aim is only to cut between a third and half of the target areas, begin a rotational cutting pattern that will tempt the flowering season to continue well into the autumn. Justification enough, I hope, and I’ll look forward to seeing you for a bit of mowing or raking or both.

PLEASE LET ME KNOW if you can make it so I can keep an eye on numbers as there may be a few local volunteers along to join us too. And, with apologies for another truncated day, we’ll be finishing around lunchtime again this week. But, in the sunshine’s honour, some of us can start a bit earlier too…

Please meet at Hursey Common – as on the map, or grid ref ST434026. There is a parking area on Hursey Common where there’s plenty of room. There are two patches to tackle, one next to the car park and one down the road, so if anyone who’s keen to do some mowing can arrive a bit earlier than usual at 9am, we can get a head start before rakers arrive at normal time of 10am… When you reply, if you could let me know your preference, I can manage tools too. If anyone has a rake or pitchfork they can bring along, that would be brilliant. And don’t forget gloves for the attendant nettles and thistles.

Also below is the Coronavirus Consent form that you may know about by now. Anyone who hasn’t already done so, please fill it in and email back to me, or if that’s tricky, I’ll bring along some paper copies. But please do have a look at it before the day. (Anyone who HAS already filled one in, I’ll bring your form along so you can just sign and date for this week…)

Don’t forget your drinks and snacks as I fear we still can’t share just yet.

Very many thanks as always, I’ll look forward to seeing you there.

Best wishes,

Nick Gray
West Dorset Conservation Officer

The Kingcombe Centre
Toller Porcorum

Tel: 07824 438974

*If you would like to be involved with the limited volunteer activities going ahead – please download and complete the Coronavirus Consent form HERE.


Broadwindsor CC v Les Erbs – Saturday, 17th July

This Saturday at 2pm, Broadwindsor Cricket Club are playing host to Les Erbs at Broadwindsor’s Cricket ground.

Les Erbs comprise of players from different clubs around the U.K. who all went to University together.  They have been playing matches here for approximately 20 years.

A bar will be available – bring your own sandwiches or snacks and enjoy a sunny afternoon 🙂

Learn more about Broadwindsor Cricket Club – Click HERE.

Good luck Broadwindsor CC!


Councillor Simon Christopher’s Report – July 2021

Cllr. Simon Christopher submitted the following report at this evening’s Informal Meeting of the Group Parish Council:

Dear Helen and Councillors,

It is good to see so much physical activity in keeping our local village halls up together and meeting the aspirations of residents both in terms of their actual use, but also their environmental impact. There was much discussion of what was termed the big society a decade or so ago and evidence of collaboration is very much in my mind in terms of not just community shops, but also possible community run pubs and existing community sports clubs in the Dorset Council Marshwood Vale Ward.
Dorset Council has continued to have virtual meetings. The most recent meeting of the Cabinet was on 22 June 2021 as social distancing requirements were not lifted on 21 June 2021.

Members were advised that where a Cabinet decision was required the appropriate Portfolio holder would be the responsible individual to make the decision whilst considering the views expressed by the wider Cabinet membership 

 You will be aware that the 2 main budgets in Dorset Council are in respect of care for Adults and Care of Children. There are also huge challenges around mental health generally and in respect of learning difficulties .

One report that was considered was the Dorset Care, Support Housing and Community Safety Framework.  Against a backdrop of an ageing population The Portfolio Holder for Adult Social Care and Health Laura Miller, advised that the Council Sought to provide high quality personalised care and support services meeting the needs of service users whilst ensuring that they are delivered and financed in a sustainable way. The current Dorset Care Framework for Older People expires on 30 November 2022 and the Dorset Care Framework for Learning Disabilities needs to be refreshed to include mental health.

Procurement is governed by the Public Contract Regulations 2015 which allows Public Sector Bodies such as Dorset Council in terms of health and social care to adopt /innovate procurement models to best meet the needs of service users.

The framework will be in place for up to 10 years and will enable providers to join at any time (provided clearly that specific criteria is met) instead of fixed opening periods.

The proposed new Framework tool is the key to delivering flexible contracting with all sectors of the provider market including ( and I believe this is absolutely crucial) micro enterprises.

It is fair to say that Dorset Council continues to be under pressure both in terms of dealing with an increase in the number of planning applications and has been attempting to deal with an increase in the level of land charges searches. Across Dorset we are seeing changes in rural property ownership and re-evaluation of business models within the rural community, (which I will write more about later), but often these changes involve the need for planning applications.

With respect to Bus Back Better which was first publicised by H M Government in March 2021, I would like to reiterate that the Dorset Council bus service improvement plan will be published in Autumn 2021.

Councillor Ray Bryan, portfolio holder for Highways Tavel and Environment ,has been working on the Dorset Council Bus Service Improvement Plan.

He is quoted as saying “In response to the Government’s new National Bus Strategy which aims to make bus services more attractive, cheaper, easier to use, Faster, more reliable and greener.
The plan, is the so called Bus Service Improvement (ie: BSIP  Plan)

As a recap a plan will be a collaboration with local bus operators, community groups, and with passengers themselves.

The Council has reviewed the operations that Dorset has through the National Bus Strategy.

Their preferred approach is to develop an Enhanced Partnership for the council area.

An Enhanced Partnership is an agreement between the council and local bus operators to work together to improve local bus services. It requires an agreed vision of improvements and an action plan that will form the Bus Service Improvement Plan”

The plan will involve 5 key aspects:

  • Network and services
  • Fares
  • Ticketing
  • Passenger facilities
  • Bus priority measures

Councillor Bryan has further said that
“By working in close collaboration with the operators and local groups we will develop and deliver an ambitious Bus Service Improvement Plan for Dorset that puts the passenger first, raises further the perception of bus travel, generates mode shift away from private cars, and sees decarbonisation of the local transport fleet.

As a point of record the official notice is as follows
“By executive notice dated 29 June 2021 Dorset Council gave approval to proceed with the Development of and Enhancednotice of the intention to prepare an Enhanced Partnership Plan and accompanying Enhanced Partnership Scheme,as required and set out in section 138F of the Transport Act 2000.

As part of the process to develop the BSIP, the Council will be talking with community groups ,business groups passengers and the public to collect a wide range of thoughts and ideas which will help to shape the future vision and priorities for our bus network. The BSIP will be published in the Autumn”

I make no apology for stressing the importance of the Bus Service Improvement Plan that will be published in Autumn 2021 but the importance of public transport generally to include improvements to rail services and stations.

Several parish councillors are aware that I have continued to lobby Councillor Ray Bryan (mentioned above)  and the lead member for Highway Surfaces Councillor, Cherry Brooks to address the need for extensive parts of our local road network to be re surfaced. There are assurances that further resurfacing , and I refer in particular to the B3165  will take place this autumn.

We are of course in the middle of the most intensive part of the farming year.

While there are many who like seeing so much agricultural machinery working in the fields the fact that the machinery has to travel on our roads causes concern to some residents who write to me in connection with damaged roads, drains and verges. Of course, some damage may for instance be caused by say buses and lorries .

I would naturally be interested to hear the further thoughts of parish councillors and residents. I say this as I have within the Marshwood Vale Ward experience receipt of communication citing oversized agricultural machinery. In my experience agricultural machinery does not appear to be any larger than that you would see across the West Country.

I am writing this as we anticipate further easing of Covid restrictions and at a time when Covid cases are rising again across Dorset.
As of 9 July 2021, hospitalisations have been increasing with there being 14 people in hospital with Covid 19 in Dorset . The vaccine programme is however assessed as having a significant impact on the number of people being seriously unwell. That is the number of people requiring hospital treatment is at a much lower level compared to when Dorset was experiencing similar case rates in previous waves.

There are several walk-in vaccine clinics taking place across Dorset as residents are encouraged to grab a jab as it is termed prior to likely further easing of Covid 19 restrictions under step 4 of HM Government roadmap.

In summary the most recent data, to 9 July 2021 is as follows:

7 day cases per 100,000.
Dorset 96.4 compared to 69.2 per previous week.
The equivalent figure for Bournemouth Christchurch and Poole was 236.8 per 100.000 compared to 147.7per previous week.

I thought I would now turn to the question of the management of Dorset Council Owned Tree Policy . It is my understanding that Dorset Council is responsible for approximately 250,000 trees . The responsible Portfolio holder stated that town and parish councils were continually consulted and also confirmed that he was working closely with the County Farms in respect of tree replacement.

This now leads to the portfolio holder being quoted as stating that it was important to plant the right tree in the right place. This may seem an obvious comment but never more relevant.

I write this as it is a HM Government target to plant 30,000 hectares a year by 2025 this is under the DEFRA  England Trees Action Plan  2021-2024.  As part of the plan ,it was announced that the Forestry Commission would launch a new England Woodland Creation Offer (EWCO),
There is much discussion of carbon sequestration biodiversity and timber production. And which tree species and location to assist in a fight to prevent soil erosion.

We are now seeing tickets being sold for some local agricultural shows eg: Honition at the start of August and Gillingham and Shaftesbury in the 3rd week of August . Both shows are unusually going to operate as 2 day shows due to ongoing concerns and capacity numbers appear somewhat uncertain Dorset County show in Dorchester and Melplash are both Cancelled.

These events are hugely important as are the functioning of livestock dispersal sales such as the one taking place at Frome market tomorrow (12 July ) in respect of a herd of organic dairy cows as farming is seen to operate in a manner closer to normality and a time when there is so much stress in the farming community . This stress includes the high incidence of TB in cattle and increasing testing requirements and cuts in Basic Payment ie support payments. Income is being lost in the the reduction in the Basic Payment Scheme which is being phased out Payment rates for the new sustainable farming incentive have now been set out by Defra Secretary George Eustace . This will have an impact naturally on farmers in the Marshwood Vale ward and indeed for farmers on the Dorset Council Farms Estate . Many of you will be aware that HM Government are encouraging farmers to move towards what is termed sustainable farming but also encouraging farmers to collaborate be more efficient and diversify.

In fact, with enhanced capital allowances for businesses in assisting with their tax it can be argued that HMG is being very generous in encouraging all rural business to be more efficient but increased efficiency and indeed diversification is not without broadband challenges……

Finally, within the Marshwood Vale Ward I have received notice of difficulties in respect of private drainage. You will be aware that not all of the extensive Marshwood Vale Ward is on mains drainage. The specific difficulties involve soakaways and I would welcome your thoughts by e mail as to  the extent to which private drainage is a problem for individual householders and their neighbours and the wider community.

Best regards

Councillor Simon Christopher
Dorset Councillor Marshwood Vale
077988 33715



Astronomy – 3pm, Wednesday 14th July

Village resident Peter Davies will present his 3rd session for those with an interest in Astronomy this Wednesday at 3pm on Zoom.  Last month’s session had to be cancelled due to illness.

This month there will be a recap on previous content and then move onto the subject of Time.

The sessions are 90 minutes each and there will be a 5-10 min break for tea after 40 mins.  Peter does recommend having a notepad and pen to take any notes. There will also be the opportunity to ask questions and/or discussion.

Magna HousingTo listen/participate – you must first email: to register your interest for Data Protection reasons. If you do not receive an invitation to join from Lori Lee, please email Peter directly:
Those who have already registered should receive their email invitation.

Zoom is Free! – Sign Up and get it HERE.

This event is sponsored by Magna Housing and

The Delta Aquariids meteor shower is visible from 13th July – 24th August, peaking around 30th July.