West Dorset District Council and Weymouth & Portland Borough Council have responded to South Western Railway’s proposed changes to train timetables.Borough Council responds to proposed train timetables
On 29 September 2017, South Western Railway opened a consultation on changes to train timetables across their rail network.
Currently, weekday train services on the Weymouth to Waterloo line provide a twice hourly direct service to London Waterloo. Journey times from Weymouth being between approximately 2 hours 45 minutes and 3 hours. See the current timetable.
South Western Railway are proposing to reduce the service to one per hour. Although the time taken to Waterloo will reduce by 12 minutes. See the proposed timetable.
West Dorset District Council and Weymouth & Portland Borough Council have sent separate responses objecting to the majority of proposals in the timetable.Key points
- Reduction in services
While Improved journey times are supported by both councils, this improvement is not enough to compensate for the reduction in services. The suggested changes are both adverse and severe
Currently, trains from London can be significantly overcrowded. Replacing three trains that currently run from London to Bournemouth with two direct trains and reducing the number of services to the area can only result in increased overcrowding especially at peak times.
- Impact on tourism
There is potential for a significant impact on tourist visitors to the South Dorset area. The current service of two direct trains per hour enables users to travel from London and Southampton Airport to Dorchester and Weymouth. This is a significant, convenient and sustainable route into the area for visitors. Similarly, for residents of the area, direct trains to London and Southampton Airport are considered important. A reduction in direct services and the need for a change of trains at Southampton makes the journey significantly less convenient. Especially for those travelling with heavy luggage or those with a physical disability.
- Short sighted
Of particular concern is the impact of the reduced service from Upwey and Moreton. Residential growth is committed at these locations. There are around 600 new homes to be built at Crossways which is served by Moreton Station and around 900 additional homes proposed close to Upwey Station.
In addition, further residential expansion at the two locations is being considered as part of the review of the West Dorset, Weymouth & Portland joint Local Plan. It is therefore considered to be short-sighted to remove direct London services from this location given the increase in population that will occur in the area.
- Weymouth to Portsmouth welcomed
The service connecting Weymouth to Portsmouth is welcomed as it offers greater connectivity to the local area. This potentially opens new employment opportunities for residents and for businesses. However, the Southampton to Portsmouth area is already well served by frequent trains. The introduction of this service should not be at the detriment of the more frequent direct service to London.
- Improve Infrastructure
Existing rail infrastructure restricts rail capacity. There should be a commitment to improving this rail infrastructure (dualling of the line to Dorchester and an upgrade of the power supply) to increase the frequency and speed of services on the railway. Upgrades to Dorchester South station and improvements to Weymouth station would further encourage use of the line.
- Weymouth, Yeovil and London services should be all year round
Seasonal Weymouth, Yeovil and London connecting services should be maintained and expanded to a year round service. This helps to deliver alternative options for services to the southern Dorset area. Although there is a need for some infrastructure works. The connection to Yeovil from Weymouth and on to London and Bristol is a significant opportunity to enhance the connectivity of southern Dorset that should be explored further.
Cllr Ian Gardner, West Dorset District Council’s Portfolio Holder for Planning, said:
“Losing one of the direct trains to London is unacceptable. We expect South Western Railway to consider our response and provide more suitable proposals.”
Cllr Colin Huckle, Weymouth & Portland Borough Council’s Briefolder for Transport & Infrastructure, said:
“While we support the improvement in travel times to London, this is simply not enough to compensate for numerous negatives from South Western Railway’s Proposed changes.”Full responses
Christchurch residents have voted not to support joining a unitary authority with Bournemouth and Poole in the local poll.
By a majority of 84.18% to 15.82% of the 21,022 votes cast, residents voted no and members will now discuss the results at an Extraordinary Full Council meeting on 2 January 2018.
David Flagg, Leader of the Council, Christchurch Borough Council, said: “It was extremely important to Christchurch Borough Council members that we heard the views of our residents prior to making our final representation to the Secretary of State on local government reorganisation.
“The result of the poll clearly shows that the majority of Christchurch residents do not support becoming part of a unitary council with Bournemouth and Poole. Whilst the final decision on reorganisation will be made by the Secretary of State we will now look to agree a robust representation at our Extraordinary Full Council meeting on 2 January 2018.
“We remain committed to the Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole Joint Committee to ensure that whatever the outcome moving forward, we make sure we continue to achieve the best for our residents.”
The poll, which ran from 1 – 14 December was sent to 39,183 residents on the electoral roll in Christchurch and asked if they supported the current proposal to join a unitary council comprising Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole. The turnout was 53.65%.
The Secretary of State, the Rt Hon Sajid Javid, announced in November that he is ‘minded-to’ support the Future Dorset proposal to reorganise local government in Dorset. The closing date for representation is 8 January 2018. During this time councils can submit alternative proposals or modifications to the existing proposal to replace Dorset’s nine councils with two unitary councils.
First-time buyer Evan Cull has hailed an affordable housing development in Dorchester for helping him onto the property ladder.Evan Cull receives key to new home
The 31-year-old has become the final homebuyer in the first phase of a Discount to Open Market scheme at Vickery Court in Poundbury.
Developer Zero C is to start on the second phase of the project early next year. This is part of its affordable housing contribution for its schemes at Poundbury.
It comes amid a new Opening Doors campaign by councils to encourage greater construction of a mix of quality homes of all tenures with a target of 20,000 properties by 2033.
Evan, who is a software developer, said: “Discount to Open Market is a great scheme.
“It is a real challenge to save enough for a deposit and there is the well documented affordability gap between house prices and wages in this area, so I am delighted to be able to buy this property.”
He added: “The way the scheme works means that the property will remain affordable for the next buyer when I leave. It is definitely a good model and we need more houses of this kind.”
Zero C has built six properties in the first phase of Vickery Court and is building three more in the scheme’s second stage. More are due in a development at Conningsby Way next year.
Zero C sales consultant Catrina Harfield said: “Discount to Open Market is a brilliant scheme.
“We have managed to include more properties in this development than first envisaged and look forward to continuing to help the council meet housing need in the area.”
Catrina was joined by Zero C associate director Craig Bates and Cllr Tim Yarker, who is housing portfolio holder for West Dorset District Council, to hand over the keys to Evan.
The two-bedroom flat at Vickery Court was sold for £163,500, 25% off of the open market price of the property.
The Opening Doors campaign has been launched by West Dorset District Council, North Dorset District Council and Weymouth & Portland Borough Council.
Cllr Yarker said: “Discount to Open Market provides homes that are up to a quarter less expensive than the open market, with the discount locked in as and when the properties are sold. This is a big help for local people getting into the home market.
“We need a mix of quality homes of all tenures, including Discount to Open Market, which Opening Doors seeks to address.”
Developers are required to provide 35 per cent affordable housing under West Dorset District Council’s Planning Policy. Unless they prove that this is unviable.
Discount to Open Market is one form of affordable housing which can be supplied by developers. Evan is an example of a young local working person who has found housing through the scheme.
Usually, affordable homes in schemes are subsidised by the open market sale of other properties in developments.
Discount to Open Market properties are typically sold on a long lease with the discount applied to all subsequent sales.
Zero C is a sustainable property development company which has been building residential and commercial properties since 2008.
They have included landmark buildings at Poundbury and the Officer’s Field development used as the athletes’ village on Portland for the 2012 Olympics as well as schemes nationwide.
We are proud to report another successful year for both of our harbours.
Cllr Mary Penfold, Briefholder for Enabling, says: “The harbours of Lyme Regis and Bridport play a valuable role in supporting the economy of Dorset. They are a beautiful destination for visitors, and inspire pride from our communities.“They are also very important to maintaining Dorset’s reputation as a capital of seafood in the UK! “I would like to thank both of our harbour masters and their fantastic teams for all their hard work.” We work closely with harbour user groups at both Bridport and Lyme Regis. These meetings give an opportunity for harbour users to comment on a range of issues. There is representation from all the main user groups of the harbour. There is a great working relationship between the council and the groups. Lyme Regis Harbour Visiting boat numbers increased from last year. We also installed an extra pontoon length. This has proved to be very popular. The extra length encourages extra visiting craft. The harbour walls can now be utilised by commercial fishing vessels. This has increased the ease in which they can offload their catch. Waiting list for boats There was an introduction of a pilot scheme in 2017. It offered day launch customers the opportunity to park their vehicle and boat trailer on the slipway. This was in return for a set fee, on quiet days through the week. This service has proved popular and we look to introduce it again during 2018. There continues to be a waiting list for private moorings at the harbour. Commercial moorings also continue to increase year on year, which highlights the quality of fresh seafood found in the area. Investing in the Harbour The harbour office extension has had full planning permission granted. The project will begin in 2018. An exciting to the addition to the harbour is a proposed observation platform. This will offer a fantastic view of the south west harbour approach. The RNLI is planning to help with the costs. An installation of a replacement crane for use of the commercial fishermen to unload catch on the quayside is due in March 2018. Busy harbour launches continue to be invaluable Specialist boats called “harbour launches” continue to be vital in the smooth running of our harbours. They fulfil a multitude of roles, such as recovery, maintenance tasks and towing. In Lyme Regis, the craft even assisted with filming for the BBC! Success of events RAF red arrows, Fireball dinghy European sailing championships, RNLI week and carnival, water polo, gig club regatta and a water ski event… these were some of the great events supported and/or hosted by the harbour throughout the year. Bridport Harbour Visiting boats nights increased dramatically from 2016. This highlights the continued appeal of West Bay for tourists. Private and commercial moorings remain steady with the diving air station increasingly popular. This allows further dive boats to use and park at the harbour. This allows private boat owners and commercial diving boats – and their customers – increased opportunity to dive an explore ‘The Bay of a Thousand Wrecks’ [also known as Lyme Bay!] Investing in the Harbour Engineers from West Dorset District Council managed £1m worth of repairs to the ’deep water berth’ harbour wall. This happened at the beginning of the year. A successful dredge of the outer harbour followed in April. Dredging of the inner harbour – that began in October – is ongoing, and running to schedule. There are plans for further works in 2019. The Environment Agency [in partnership with us] will be providing new flood defences to East and West beaches, too. Success of events The annual bonfire night event, Bridport Gig Club’s annual gig race, West Bay Day, Pirates Day, Bonfire by the Beach, RNLI raft race, Power Boat Racing weekend and water polo competitions … some of the great events that the harbour supported and/or hosted during the year.
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Dorset County Council is working with bus operators across Dorset to spruce up bus stops on its core interurban routes. They are being improved with new flags and timetable cases. Some stops are also getting new shelters and raised kerbs using developer funding.
Cllr Daryl Turner, the county council’s Cabinet member for the natural and built environment, said:
“Over the last few years the county’s bus stops have become a bit shabby. This tidy up will help people know where the bus stop is, where it’s going and at what time.”
The cost of the facelift is being funded by the county council as part of its Passenger Transport Strategy making interchange between different modes easier.
Over the coming months all 3,748 bus stops will be assessed and catalogued through a new online tool which will also allow easier reporting from the public. This will then enable priority for funding to those stops in the greatest need or have the greatest potential for interchange points to link other forms of transport with bus travel. For example, adding cycle parking nearby.
Communities are also being encouraged to look after their bus stops and create a ‘friends’ group that can keep the area tidy.
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Advice about how to stay safe and secure at Christmas will be on offer at crime prevention roadshows in Dorchester and Weymouth.Improve your security
A campaign will also be launched on social media giving residents tips about how to improve their security during the festive season.
Weymouth & Portland Borough Council and West Dorset District Council’s Community Safety Team will join forces with Dorset Police to bring these safety messages to our streets. They will be in New Bond Street, Weymouth, from 2pm-4pm on Thursday (14th) and in South Street, Dorchester, from 10am-12noon on Friday. (15th)
Councillor Francis Drake, Community Safety Brief holder, at Weymouth & Portland Borough Council, said: “I am pleased that we are getting the message about improving security out there, both through roadshows and on social media. Dorset is a safe place and burglary is low, but it still makes sense to be vigilant and take care.”
Councillor Alan Thacker, Community Safety and Access Portfolio Holder at West Dorset District Council, said: “We can all improve our security by taking simple steps and I am glad we are working hard to get this message across. However, please don’t worry unduly as West Dorset is a safe place and burglary is low.”Simple steps to boost security
Simple steps residents can take to improve security include locking windows and drawing curtains if you are going to be out when it gets dark. Keep doors locked and take keys out of locks if people could reach them through a letter box or cat flap. Installing lighting outside and putting lights on timer switches can be used to make it appear that someone is in. The social media campaign asks residents to consider their security, this includes simple things like not to post online that they are away for the festive season.
Around 120 people attended an event held to raise awareness of issues surrounding domestic abuse.
The event, which was organised by the South Western Domestic Abuse Forum and hosted by West Dorset District Council, was called the ‘Dynamics of Power and Control’.
The session was led by Zoe Lodrick, who is a registered Psychotherapist and an experienced trainer and consultant.
Zoe works with the police, health services and councils. She explored the psychology of offenders, the Neurobiology of threat and the impact of this on people who have been and are being abused.Increasing awareness
Cllr Molly Rennie, who is West Dorset District Council’s Champion for Domestic Abuse and Chair of the Domestic Abuse Forum, attended the one-day event at the council offices in South Walks House last month. (24/11). The aim of the conference was to increase awareness of domestic abuse, so those who attended can use this knowledge to improve their working practices.
Cllr Rennie, said: “It was a very informative and useful conference, it explained why people who face abuse ‘don’t just leave’. It looked at the power the abuser has and the effect of this on people of all ages and sexes. The conference message was about understanding this control.
“It was attended by people from many organisations and the feedback was very good, we had comments like ‘this was the best training ever attended’ and it ‘all makes sense now, amazing’ and ‘I wish I had known this sooner, I will never tell a victim what to do again’.
Cllr Susie Hosford, West Dorset District Council portfolio holder for Vulnerable Residents, who also attended, said: “This event was a great success. I’m very glad West Dorset District was able to host it. Everyone who attended gained valuable understanding of the dynamics that surround abuse, which will hopefully help them serve victims better.”
The event was organised as part of 16 Days of Action against Domestic Violence, which started on 25 November, which is the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women.
In the United Kingdom two women are killed each week by an abusive partner and one in four women will face abuse in their lifetime.
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