Comrades Hall 100 Club

The Autumn draw took place on Tuesday 7th September  2021 at the Comrades Hall Post Office. The numbers were drawn by John, the Post Office Outreach Clerk.

The winning numbers and names are as follows:

  • 1st £75          No 02         Winner    Rita Haggett
  • 2nd £50        No 75         Winner    Helen Guppy
  • 3rd £25         No 42         Winner    Mike & Judith Hahn
  • 4th £15         No 61          Winner    Brenda Smith
  • 5th £10         No 62         Winner    Andrew Hookings
  • 6th £5            No 48        Winner   Liz Studley

The next draw will take place on Tuesday 7th December 2021 at Comrades Hall. This will be the first draw of the new season with a first prize of £100.  Just in time for Christmas! Keep your eyes & ears peeled for details about renewing your subscription for the next season.

Any queries or questions, please contact Joyce Chumbley (868286) or Sally Sarling (867672) for details.

Thank you to all the Members for your continued support for Comrades Hall.

Joyce & Sally


Buses – Closing Date 15th August

Only one week remains to submit your comments to ensure Dorset Council provide Rural Areas with a bus service.

Read/download the West Dorset Western Area Transport Action Group (WATAG) newsletter HERE

Please complete the survey by clicking HERE to help to shape the future vision and priorities for the bus network in Dorset.

Comments, suggestions, and ideas can also be emailed to


Bus Back Better

Dorset Council would like to know how they can improve local bus services and what would make you use local buses more. They would like to hear from both people who already use buses, and from those who currently do not and why. They also want to hear from public, private and voluntary organisations who have an interest in making our bus services work better.

Please complete the survey by clicking HERE to help to shape the future vision and priorities for the bus network in Dorset.

Comments, suggestions, and ideas can also be emailed to

The Bus Service Improvement Plan will be published by 31st October. It will be further developed and updated annually.


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



Councillor Simon Christopher’s Report – June 2021

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.

Best regards

Councillor Simon Christopher.
Dorset Councillor Marshwood Vale
07798 833 715


*Cllr. Rebecca Knox:

Committee appointments:

Her other appointed positions include:



Farewell Lloyd Curtis

This morning, members of the Parish Council and local community applauded as Lloyd Curtis drove through the village on the back of a trailer which looked absolutely beautiful in it’s simplicity in today’s beautiful sunshine.

The Group Parish Council commented on social media: “ Lloyd was a long-standing member who made such a positive contribution to the Council, he had an amazing local knowledge and a true community spirit. Lloyd will be greatly missed by all and the Parish Council offers its sincere condolences to his family.

R.I.P. Lloyd.


Lloyd Curtis’ Funeral Arrangements

Local Farmer and Councillor for Burstock Ward, Lloyd Clifford Curtis (65yrs) who died on 1st June, will have a farewell drive past in Broadwindsor Square tomorrow morning at approximately 11.10am. The service will take place at 12 noon in St. Andrew’s church in Burstock and will be conducted by The Reverend Canon David Baldwin. The service will be broadcast outside the church.
There will be standing room in the graveyard,  in the field around the church and on the entrance to the church. Please observe social distancing rules.

If Someone Dies . . .Our deepest condolences go to his wife Alison, his children Sonia, Emma and Stuart, and his grandchildren.

Any donations, if desired, for Weldmar Hospicecare which may be sent c/o A J Wakely & Sons, 7 North Street, Beaminster DT8 3DZ or online HERE.


3 In Community Stores + Cashback

Broadwindsor Community Stores announced this morning that they are now allowing 3 customers at a time into the shop.  They do have a one way system in operation.   Please follow this without bumping into each other: the social distancing rules are there to protect everyone.


The store has also reintroduced their Cashback facility: up to £30 cashback with a minimum spend of £5.

They issued their thanks “to our wonderful customers for helping our dedicated volunteers make sure we’re all as safe as can be. 🙂

Follow them on Facebook HERE.


Comrades Hall 100 Club

The Comrades Hall 100 Club held their Summer draw on Tuesday 1st June 2021 at the Comrades Hall Post Office. The numbers were drawn by John, the Post Office Outreach Clerk.

The winning numbers and names are as follows:

  • 1st £75         No 45    Winner  – Diana Stothard
  • 2nd £50       No 30    Winner –  Wendy Shields
  • 3rd £25        No 87     Winner  – Val Madder-Smith

Congratulations to all 🙂

The next draw will take place on Tuesday 7th September 2021 at Comrades Hall.

Joyce and Sally say thank you to all the Members for their continued support for the Comrades Hall.


Councillor Simon Christopher’s Report – May 2021

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

Dear Helen and Councillors,

Further to my previous report I comment as follows re school buses:
My understanding is that Service SB5 route operated by First Wessex running via Misterton Drimpton and Broadwindsor has been affected for a number of weeks by a road closure at Misterton associated with bridge strengthening.
I further understand that the work is for Somerset County Council and per the latest report I have, the work  is due to end on 21 May 2021.

I am informed by the Head of Travel at Dorset Council that First Group have been impacted by a number of other roadwork schemes happening before the tourist season proper commences and indeed the head of travel also points out that the service was further  affected by Somerset County Council roadworks south of Crewkerne for a couple of weeks during March.
The Head of Travel at Dorset Council has informed me that First Wessex did communicate with the headmaster at the school about the roadworks before hand and attempted to make appropriate adjustments to pick ups.
The head of Travel at Dorset Council has also passed on the additional comment from First Wessex:

‘’All drivers we use are familiar with the routes ,in fact we do not allow any driver to drive any routes they are unfamiliar with and they can only drive a route once fully trained and signed off’.’

Finally , the Head of Travel reported that First have agreed to look at the diversion route again to see if there are any alternative solutions to avoid the delay and promised to keep the portfolio holders, Councillor Ray Bryan and Councillor Andrew Parry and myself updated

I now turn to the support from HM Government for the bus sector. This involves the Covid 19 Bus Service Support Grant (CBSSG) Restart 

It is interesting to read in HM Governments communication Bus Back Better that there is a declared belief that and I quote ‘ Local collaboration is a key tenet of emergency funding”.  As a condition of receiving CBSSG, the Department of Transport can ask operators to demonstrate on request that consultations on service levels have taken place and that reasonable requests from Local Transport Authorities for service changes have been considered in good faith.
The Department for Transport can deny or recover CBSSG payments from operators who have not engaged adequately with Local Transport Authorities.
By the end of June 2021 Dorset Council, in order to have access to CBSSG is required to commit to entering into  Enhanced Partnerships.
By the end of October 2021 Dorset Council is required to have developed and agreed a Bus Services Improvement Fund.
Clearly there is a lot for Councillor Ray Bryan , the portfolio holder for Highways Travel and Environment to think about.

I continue to engage with interested parties about damage to the verge etc at Common Water Lane.

Turning to farming, which is at the core of economic activity  in so much of the Marshwood Vale Ward, farming has always been a dangerous industry. At this time of year many of us would have been thinking about attending the May agricultural shows including Devon County Show and Royal Bath and West Shows . These shows are both cancelled and as a consequence charities and other organisations and firms lose the opportunity to discuss with people in a true face to face way how farming can be made safer.
Close to one person a week dies in an accident on farms in this country despite countless campaigns to raise awareness of dangers whether to farmers and farm workers or walkers.
Farmers and farming organisations together with the Health & Safety Executive and charities have publicised the risks yet still people die on farms through accidents . No councillor should give up working towards farm safety. With respect to walkers there are risks associated with large livestock and large farm machinery.

Of course farming has changed with some farmers keeping their cattle indoors more than others . It is always helpful when farmers can have the chance to explain what they are doing to arrive at common sense solutions so that farming is safer.
One of the most famous farming commentators recently described the situation in a national magazine for those who work in or enter a farm environment,  your friends and family and I quote ‘may just have a concern about you because you are not young and nimble enough any more to climb a ladder or jump a gate if the bull turns nasty ‘ This may be seen by some as helpful advice!

After recent disturbing local events re attacks on sheep, I was interested and indeed saddened to read that more than two thirds of UK sheep farmers have experienced an increase in attacks on their flocks by dogs in the past  year according to a new survey.
The National Sheep Association (NSA) said the findings of its survey added further weight to evidence that an increase in dog ownership during the coronavirus lockdown may be driving the rise in attacks.
The NSA chief executive Phil Stocker noted that there was still much work  to do to educate the dog owning public about the need to keep their pets under control- and preferably on a lead  in the countryside ,especially near livestock.

Last Friday the National Sheep Association launched #LeadOn –  a two week campaign that aims to encourage dog owners to be responsible and act as an example to others by keeping their pets on leads in the presence of livestock.
Sheep farmers across the UK will be posting their experience on Facebook and Twitter about the devastating effect a dog attack on their flocks can have for all parties.

Finally in the Dorset Council area elections are taking place on 6 May 2021 for the Police and Crime Commissioner. Elsewhere in Dorset there will also be some town and parish council by elections.  I am advised that measures to ensure polling stations are safe include:

1 social distancing inside and outside venues.

2 limits on the number of people inside polling stations.

3 maximum ventilation of polling stations.

4 hand sanitiser.

5 regular cleaning.

Other points:

Voters will be required to follow the signage and any instructions at their polling station.
Voters are encouraged to bring their own pens/pencils.
Face Coverings are also required to be worn inside the polling station (Unless exempt).
Election staff will also be wearing face masks.

Please note that this not an exhaustive list of measures and advice from the Comms team  further info may be available in the first instance from the following – Dorset Council 01305 858233 or email:

Best regards,

Dorset Councillor Simon Christopher
Marshwood Vale
Tel: 07798 833 715