Christchurch councillors have agreed their representation setting out an alternative to the Future Dorset proposal.
At its Extraordinary Full Council meeting on 2 January members agreed by a majority of 13 for with six abstentions.
Christchurch Borough Council will now write to the Secretary of State setting out a proposal that the Boroughs of Bournemouth and Poole become a single unitary authority and that the rest of Dorset remains as a two-tier structure.
The council is also requesting additional time to fully work up its proposal.
The representation states that the council believes that rather than implementing two new large and remote unitary councils there is greater strength in developing a mixed approach to the way services are delivered. Christchurch Borough Council estimates that savings of £29.9m per annum, the same as those put forward in the Future Dorset model, could be achieved by implementing the cost savings put forward within their representation.
Cllr David Flagg, Leader of the Council, Christchurch Borough Council, said: “Having carried out the local poll it was clear that residents of Christchurch do not want to be part of a new authority with Bournemouth and Poole.
“Christchurch Borough Council wishes to retain our sovereignty and we believe that retaining the existing two-tier structure in Dorset presents a credible alternative that the Secretary of State will take time to consider. With Bournemouth and Poole already sharing a number of Corporate Services, the suggestion of them becoming a single unitary authority would take this one step further and our representation offers estimated savings at the same level as those of the Future Dorset model.”
The council also approved an initial budget of £15,000 to take legal advice and if necessary initiate legal proceedings to protect the interests of Christchurch Borough Council and its residents.
Members also agreed that should the Secretary of State announce a final decision that he will approve the Future Dorset submission the council will oppose the passage of the Structural Change Order through all appropriate means and strongly support its MP in any action designed to prevent the frustration of the democratically-expressed wishes of the people of Christchurch.
The post Christchurch Borough Council agree representation to Secretary of State appeared first on Dorset news.
Children and staff at St Mary’s Academy Beaminster and local residents took part in a road safety street trial and Christmas celebration event, organised by charity Sustrans.
Sustrans is working with residents and school pupils in Beaminster to come up with ways to make the area around the school a nicer, safer place to move around. In a series of workshops year 6 pupils and local residents have considered what they like about streets, what they don’t like, and how street design might make people feel safer.
To trial things out, St Mary’s Gardens was closed for the afternoon on Monday 11 December, when pupils implemented improvements that they had designed. The school played Christmas songs, and the PTFA served hot drinks and mince pies, all while discussing the issues.
The final part of this project will see Sustrans working closely with Dorset County Council to consider new designs for the streets around the school based on the input from everyone who has taken part in these sessions.
Patrick Williams from Sustrans, said:
“Walking and cycling to school is a great way for our children to get the exercise they need every day to keep healthy, and research shows it allows them to become better students in the classroom. Let’s not forget it’s fun, too.”
Cllr Daryl Turner, Dorset County Council’s cabinet member for natural and built environment, commented:
“The Christmas street closure was a great success. It was wonderful to see children really involved & putting their ideas into reality albeit short term; the families also enjoyed the festive treats on offer & having fun was had by all in a traffic free street.”
Teri Goodinson, Headteacher at Beaminster St Mary’s, added:
“Lots of our children walk, cycle or ride their scooters to school and we try promote this as a healthy way to start and end the school day. We have a duty to ensure that this is a pleasurable and safe journey for all the children and at present this is not always the case. There have been a couple of near misses recently and this has led to us working with Sustrans to try to improve the situation. The children have really embraced the opportunity to raise their concerns and look at ways in which they can be resolved. They loved the workshops run by Sustrans and came up with some brilliant ideas. We just hope that this can now lead to some changes being made in order to keep all the children safe.”
Sustrans is working in Beaminster thanks to funding from Dorset County Council.
The post Christmas brings safer streets to St Mary’s Academy appeared first on Dorset news.
Damers First School has become the first primary school in Dorset to be awarded charity Sustrans’ Silver School Mark Award for its outstanding commitment to cycling scooting and walking to school.
Sustrans Schools Officer Jonathan Dixon presented the award to congratulate children, parents and teachers for their efforts in increasing pupils’ cycling levels by transforming the school journey.
The school has run incentive schemes and competitions, and regularly sees over 50 bikes and over 100 scooters in the shelters. The staff and parents are particularly enthusiastic, with the PTA helping to run many of the events which the school puts on.
With the schools recent move to Poundbury, the Duchy of Cornwall have been very supportive of the initiative, providing prizes for competitions, and helping to install cycle racks outside the school.
Jonathan Dixon said; “It is fantastic to see Damers First School doing so much to help people cycle confidently and safely.
“Cycling is good for pupils’ health, confidence and independence and it makes them better learners in the classroom too.”
“We are very grateful to Dorset County Council for supporting our valuable work which has seen huge increases in the number of students cycling to school regularly.”
Sustrans works with over 30 schools in the county, in partnership with Dorset County Council to help children overcome the barriers preventing them cycling to school.
The post Sustrans school mark award for Damers First School appeared first on Dorset news.
Every year volunteers help Dorset County Council’s greenspace management teams to maintain the county’s rights of ways and open spaces.
There is a huge variety of work that volunteers get involved with from mending stiles, to clearing paths, felling trees, running visitor centres, building bridges, fencing and grass cutting.
In return for this help volunteers receive training in countryside management, information and resources needed to perform this role. The teams are made-up of like-minded people, developing skills and knowledge on the job with the opportunity to gain more formal training and qualifications. They also have the satisfaction of knowing that they are getting fit, improving Dorset’s environment, and making it more accessible to others.
Martin Hibbert, a volunteer in the Stours parishes and in Kington Magna and Buckhorn Weston, said:
“I find it really rewarding to volunteer with the county council’s rights of way team.
“Having retired 12 years ago it keeps me really active, and engaged with our local communities. The support, tools and training that the council provides means that we can help keep our footpaths in good shape, which encourages more people to use them”
In the last year volunteers have worked 16,000 hours helping with over 3000 miles of public rights of way, over 40 nature reserves, many of which are of national and international importance, three visitor centres and countless miles of highway verges.
Cllr Daryl Turner, Cabinet member for rural and built environment, said:
“Our volunteers provide invaluable support for our staff teams. Volunteering is a great way of making new friends, keeping active, and helping others as well as building up your CV for a career in countryside management. On behalf of the County Council I would like to say a huge thank you to everyone who volunteers to make Dorset a better place.”
Anyone over the age of 18 can volunteer from a school leaver seeking a first step for a career in countryside management, to a retired person looking for further lifelong learning opportunities. The amount of time volunteers offer is up to them and the County Council’s team is always keen to fit around personal requirements where they can.
To find out more about volunteering opportunities with the greenspace management team call 01258 456970 or email email@example.com
The post County council says, ‘thank you’ to countryside volunteers appeared first on Dorset news.