Purbeck District Council has welcomed news that the Secretary of State for Transport has refused an application for toll increases for the Sandbanks to Studland Ferry.
Following objections to the increases by local residents, businesses and councils, the application by the Bournemouth-Swanage Motor Road and Ferry Company was referred to the Secretary of State who decided that a local Public Inquiry should be held.
Six local councils* worked together to object to the proposed increases, and a barrister presented their case to an Inspector appointed by the Secretary of State at the public inquiry in September 2018.
The Inspector has now reported to The Secretary of State and, on 12 December 2018, confirmation was received that the application had been refused.
The Secretary of State agreed with the Inspector’s conclusions that, although a replacement ferry will be necessary at some stage, there was no confirmation that a toll rise would result in this being achieved.
The Secretary of State also agreed there is no assurance that the ferry replacement reserve would be safeguarded and reach the level required to enable a replacement vessel. He said the fact the ferry replacement fund was not ring fenced and did not provide for an assured separate fund was “a significant area of concern.”
The Bournemouth Swanage Motor Road and Ferry Company must wait at least another 12 months before it can make another application.
Councillor Gary Suttle, Leader of Purbeck District Council said: “We welcome the Secretary of State’s decision to refuse the application.
“We had grave concerns that the proposed increases would only benefit the ferry company, whilst leaving residents who rely on the ferry disadvantaged.
“The increases would also have a detrimental effect on our local economy and the district’s already-congested roads, so the company needs to radically alter its approach to its ferry replacement fund before it makes another application.”
* The six councils were Purbeck District Council; Swanage Town Council; Corfe Castle Parish Council; Studland Parish Council; Wareham St Martin Parish Council; and Worth Matravers Parish Council.
After the extreme weather of last winter – which saw 24-hour working to keep strategic roads open – the 10 largest vehicles in the Dorset Highways gritting fleet have been named by residents.
Martin Hill of Dorset Highways said: “During the snow events of February and March quite a number of people got in touch and asked whether we could name our gritters like other authorities have, so we challenged residents to come up with Dorset-themed names for our dedicated vehicles.”
We enjoyed reading through the many suggestions, and the names are now being unveiled:
- Gold Chill
- Ice Maiden Newton
- Osmington Chills
- Wooly Monkey
- Wimborne Monster
- Polar Bere Regis
- Cerne Giant’s Chilly
The final names were chosen by the gritter drivers and, where possible, the vehicles are being named after the route they serve.
Dorset Highways’ winter service started on 1 November with more than 80 drivers on a shift pattern to ensure 22 drivers can jump into action for any 12-hour period.
Twenty-two main routes cover the 680-miles of road that make up the gritted network, which accounts for 27 per cent of the county council’s roads.
Members of the public and the media attended a public engagement event last week about the new Harbour School at the former Bovington Middle School site.
It was a chance to learn more about plans to turn the site into a new day school for children with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND).
The Harbour School will be a new Free Special School on the former Bovington School site, in partnership with the Delta Education Trust.
It will meet the needs of children with autism and social, emotional and mental health needs, from the ages of 10 to 19.
At full capacity, the completed school will be able to accommodate 160 pupils, and will employ at least 80 people.
Dorset County Council, along with Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole councils, has significant demand for additional special school places. Currently, some children require residential provision as their education is provided so far from home. The Harbour School will provide an opportunity for children in Bovington and surrounding areas to access education closer to home, eliminating excessive travel for some, which can be stressful for pupils with additional needs.
Cllr Andrew Parry, Cabinet member for Education, Learning and Skills said: “Dorset County Council is committed to providing ‘Great education, close to home’ for as many children as possible. Local education means that children can be part of their community and parents can more easily engage with their child’s school.”
The Harbour School is expected to open in temporary buildings on the Bovington site, accommodating 25 children, in September 2019. There will then be a phased occupancy of the new school once it has been completed, which is expected to be at the end of 2020.
The new school will engage with the local community, developing positive relationships and providing a new resource for the residents of Bovington and the surrounding area.
The event was attended by Cllr Parry, as well as Assistant Director for Children’s Services at Dorset County Council, Andrew Reid, and Chief Executive of the Delta Education Trust, Jo Perry.
The funding will support a year-long project to fully catalogue the Herrison Hospital (the county asylum) archive.
The archive dates from 1832 and is of great interest to researchers and family historians alike. It will be made available to the general public through the Dorset History Centre website. In addition, the funding will allow a significant amount of conservation work to take place – cleaning, repairing and packaging the archive to assist in its long-term preservation.
Cllr Andrew Parry, Cabinet member for Education, Learning and Skills said:
“We are so grateful to the Wellcome Trust for their support. Securing this vital funding will enable the completion of work to catalogue the fascinating history of Herrison and create accessibility for anyone researching important aspects of hospitals work over a 160 year period”
The archive consists of 300 boxes of material, including thousands of often poignant individual patient records, as well as a wide range of other material – from the hospital’s farm to building plans, and even social activities such as the rounders society.
At its peak, Herrison Hospital was home to nearly 1000 patients and only closed its doors in 1992. The archive is a fascinating and important resource for medical and social history and Dorset History Centre has been working closely with academics from Bournemouth University and the University of Exeter who intend to use the collection for their research as the project unfolds.
Can you help?
It is thought that some of Herrison’s archives were retained by hospital staff when the institution closed its doors. These records could add a further fascinating dimension to the history of the hospital.
Only very recently, Dorset History Centre received some records that had been rescued by a former employee, whose son brought them in to join the rest of the archive.
If you know of any records such as these, Dorset History Centre would like to hear from you. To get in touch: email email@example.com or call 01305-250550 and ask to speak to an archivist.
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Weymouth and Portland Borough Council has given outline planning consent for a development of apartments on land next to Goulds Garden Centre.Potential look of Littlemoor Road development
The development, on Littlemoor Road, will provide a total of 24 apartments which includes eight affordable homes.
A further ‘Reserved Matters’ application will be needed in order to set the design and layout of the scheme, amongst other details.Rewarding opportunity
Mark Butcher, Principal Designer at A1 Plans, said:
“Although the site presented some design challenges due to the AONB location, it has been an exciting and rewarding opportunity to design a scheme which provides much needed housing whilst enhancing the area visually. The sweeping grass roof design reflects a rolling hill backdrop which we hope will set a benchmark for quality design in future development of the area.”
Cllr Ray Nowak, Weymouth & Portland Borough Council’s Briefholder for Environment and Sustainability, said:
“I am pleased this application, which sits within a defined development boundary, has been approved. I look forward to seeing the detailed Reserved Matters application in the near future.”Opening Doors
Cllr Gill Taylor, Weymouth & Portland Borough Council’s Briefholder for Housing, said:
“It’s good to see the council approve more housing developments in the borough. We are in need of more homes for our residents to live in, this is why we launched our Opening Doors Programme.
As part of this programme, we have started a Home Ownership Register to learn more about housing demand and find out the size and locations of homes that people want. As part of this we also forward on details of upcoming developments and opportunities to own a home.
“I would recommend anyone looking to own their own home to sign up to the register.”
Members today gave the green light to introduce a trial pedestrianisation scheme in St Alban Street. This popular road in the centre of the town is currently open to both car traffic and pedestrians.Trial over 6 months
The trial will take place over 6 months after consultation with businesses and the general public.Supporting the town centre economy
Cllr Colin Huckle, briefholder for Transport and Infrastructure, said: “I’m delighted that members have agreed to take this scheme through to an experimental trial period. This is part of our efforts to continue to make further improvements to the pedestrian use of Weymouth town centre. We’ve already implemented a scheme to improve pedestrian
access to St Mary and St Thomas Streets. Improving pedestrianisation of the town centre is a key component of the Weymouth Town Centre master plan. We recognise this is an important way of supporting the town centre economy and the safety of shoppers.”
We have asked Dorset County Council to put in place an experimental Traffic Regulation Order for the street.Part of wider pedestrianisation strategy
The council has already implemented a scheme to improve pedestrian access to St Mary and St Thomas Streets, working with Dorset County Council and requiring input from the Town Centre Manager. Improved pedestrianisation measures in the town centre are action 41 in the Management Committee Action Plan.
The £12,000 required for this project will be considered by the Budget Working Group, who will be meeting in the near future.
If successful, the full cost of implementing the scheme covering St Alban Street and related streets is estimated to be £80,000.
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East Dorset District Councillor, Derek Burt and former East Dorset District Councillor Pat Hymers have both been made an Honorary Alderman in recognition of their services to East Dorset.
They were presented their awards at East Dorset’s Full Council meeting on 10 December 2018.
Cllr Derek Burt, Ward Councillor for Corfe Mullen, has been serving his local community for over 52 years. He has been instrumental in the development of multiple popular sites across East Dorset, including Moors Valley Country Park and Forest and East Dorset Heritage Trust. He has also worked to support many local initiatives including Wimborne Folk Festival and the Tivoli Theatre.
He served as Chairman of the Council three times during his time as a councillor, in 1977-1979, 2011-12 and 2017-18.
Pat Hymers served on East Dorset District Council between 1983 and 2015 and was Chairman of Dorset County Council from 1993 to 2001.
She played a key role in numerous committees, and has worked closely with Wimborne Model Town, Dreamboats, the Folk Festival and pre-school education.
Cllr Toni Coombs, Chairman of East Dorset District Council said: “It is important to recognise and thank those in our communities who have given that bit extra. The position of Alderman is the way in which the Council can give this recognition to councillors in honour of all they have done for East Dorset. It is particularly poignant with the move to unitary status next year that these two outstanding councillors have been honoured in this way as our first Aldermen of East Dorset.”
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