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Dorset Council News magazine - issue two - November 2019

Audio recordings of the magazine

Recordings of the summarised magazine content are available to listen to and below are transcripts.

Transcript of the recording of issue two

Welcome to the second edition of Dorset Council News. My name is Elaine and I will be reading with David. Derek is our sound engineer today.

1 Customer services

Christmas opening

We are open on the 27, the 30 and 31 December.

Between Christmas and New Year, telephone, email or visit us as you would normally. Our customer services team will be on hand. You can telephone:

  • Blandford 01258 454111
  • Bridport 01305 251010
  • Dorchester 01305 221000
  • Wareham 01929 556562
  • Weymouth 01305 838000
  • Wimborne 01202 795096 (please phone before visiting as hours may differ)

Improving our service – get involved

If you would like to join our People’s Panel and provide feedback to help shape our service to our customers, telephone 01305 858233.

Peer Review

The council was recently visited by officers from other UK councils. They reviewed our progress since we formed in April. They told us:

  • there is good working across the political parties that make up the council
  • it is good we are asking residents about the Plan for the council
  • we need to develop our relationships with town and parish councils
  • we need to be realistic to meet financial pressures
  • although employee morale is good, many feel anxious and we must respect that

We are grateful for this early feedback.

Have your say on the council’s priorities

Councillors have developed a draft council plan for Dorset for the next four years.

There are five priorities and we would like to know what you think of them. You can call 01305 858233 to request a paper survey or visitwww.dorsetcouncil.gov.uk/council-plan.

The priorities are:

Economic growth; environment; suitable housing; strong, healthy communities; and staying safe.

2 News

We are working with parents to improve information for families with children who have special educational needs and disabilities. They may need an Education, Health and Care plan (EHC).

We want to make the process as simple as possible. So far we have improved our letters and web pages for parents. We have also produced a tracker so parents can follow applications on their phone and receive updates. Find out more about EHC plans and the help available at www.dorsetcouncil.gov.uk/ehcp

New CCTV centre for Dorset

A new CCTV centre is helping prevent, detect and reduce crime, and improve traffic management. It currently covers Bridport, Dorchester and Weymouth and we hope to see it extended to other parts of Dorset. The system links to council and police staff on patrol. It also links to Shop Watch, Pub Watch and Taxi Watch schemes.

Speed reduction success

A speed indicator device (SID) in Wool has helped reduce the speed of traffic travelling through the village. There are SIDs around Dorset and if you would like one for your community send an email to sids@dorsetcouncil.gov.uk

Business and economy

We are asking local business what they think of plans for Dorset’s economic growth. This will help a strategy be developed which builds on the strengths of the region and sets out a commitment to support businesses and industries through investment.

Money for fast broadband

Funding is available for homes and businesses towards faster internet connections. Qualifying premises can come together and claim up to £3,500 per business and £1,500 per home towards full fibre broadband. Visit www.dorsetcouncil.gov.uk/full-fibre-vouchers

Computer support

Volunteers run computer help sessions around Dorset. The superfast volunteers (or digital champions) help with everything from switching on a computer and using the internet safely to managing email and digital pictures. If you would like help, telephone 01305 221048.

Dogs in public places – have your say

In 2020, we are planning to ask people for their views on dogs in public places, such as beaches.

Your views will help enable everyone enjoy their area with or without a dog.

3 Christmas bin collections

Between Christmas day and Sunday 12 January, your rubbish and recycling collections will be on
a different day of the week than usual. Collections may also take place at an earlier or later time of day, using different or multiple vehicles.

We will now give the usual collection day followed by the date it changes to

Usual collection day

 

Tuesday 24 December

No change

Wednesday 25 December

Friday 27 December

Thursday 26 December

Saturday 28 December

Friday 27 December

Monday 30 December

Monday 30 December

Tuesday 31 December

Tuesday 31 December

Thursday 2 January

Wednesday 1 January

Friday 3 January

Thursday 2 January

Saturday 4 January

Friday 3 January

Monday 6 January

Monday 6 January

Tuesday 7 January

Tuesday 7 January

Wednesday 8 January

Wednesday 8 January

Thursday 9 January

Thursday 9 January

Friday 10 January

Friday 10 January

Saturday 11 January

Monday 13 January

No change

We will collect up to two extra sacks of rubbish beside your bin on your first rubbish collection after Christmas Day.

We will always collect extra recycling if it is placed in a sturdy box (no bags). Please keep glass separate.

No garden waste collections will take place from Christmas Day until Wednesday 8 January.

Household recycling centres are open from 10am to 4pm daily, except Christmas Day, Boxing Day and New Year’s Day.

Remember you can recycle cooked and uncooked food, using your food waste bin.

You can recycle wrapping paper (not foil or glittery paper, please).

You can recycle cardboard boxes and recyclable packaging (not polystyrene).

You can recycle Christmas cards and envelopes.

You can recycle your real Christmas tree by home composting it, or cutting it up and placing it in your garden waste bin, or taking it to a household recycling centre.

4 Dorset Council News - your feedback

  • Over 1,000 people gave feedback in the survey in issue 1 of Dorset Council News
  • 89 per cent agreed Dorset Council News is an important way to find out about council services
  • 93 per cent agreed the magazine is easy to understand
  • 81 per centre said: I know more about Dorset Council as a result of reading Dorset Council News
  • 88 per cent said: the magazine should continue
  • 89 per cent said keep it at no cost and continue with the same number of adverts

The magazine is printed on paper from renewable sources, such as wood pulp, that can be reused. The ink is also vegetable based.

To ensure your magazine is recycled, please place it in your recycling bin when you have read it.

Dorset Council News is delivered by a distribution team or by Royal Mail as part of their regular postal deliveries.

We have included more telephone numbers in this edition.
We have included details about the council’s emerging plan. We also have a feature about our climate commitment.

You told us you want more information on things like recycling, plastics, schools, cycle routes and scams and we will make these a priority in future editions.

We’ve included more information in this edition about council meetings.

Your feedback is important and we will continue to take this on board.

5 Climate change commitment

Dorset Council has to play its part in helping to tackle climate change and we have declared a Climate Emergency.

By declaring a Climate Emergency we are:

  1. taking direct action to reduce the negative environmental impact of our services
  2. using our services to support and influence Dorset communities and organisations to reduce their carbon footprint
  3. working with partner organisations to develop our climate change strategy and action plan

Climate Change Panel

The council has set up a panel comprising councillors from all the political parties that
make up Dorset Council.

The Panel is gathering information and working with council officers to create a climate change strategy and action plan for the council.

This will build on past and current successful initiatives.

We are looking at a number of actions to reduce the negative environmental impact of our services.

These include:

  • converting some of the council’s vehicles to electric or bio-fuel models and installing more electric vehicle charging points in our car parks
  • enforcing minimum energy efficiency standards for new buildings (e.g. heating and insulation).
  • continuing to reduce carbon emissions from our own buildings
  • looking further at investment in sustainable energy production, such as wind and solar farms, and purchasing green energy from external suppliers.

We have web pages about our commitment to climate change.

6 Tackling climate change

Dorset Council supports a number of projects which offer advice and incentives to residents and businesses to help tackle climate change.

Low Carbon Dorset offers free technical advice and financial support to businesses and community organisations for energy efficiency and renewable energy projects.

Recently, Charlton Marshall Village Hall received some funding from Low Carbon Dorset to help design and build a new low carbon village hall. The building uses a hybrid air source heat pump for underfloor heating, solar panels and LED lighting.

Find out more about Low Carbon Dorset.

Litter Free Coast & Sea works with businesses, residents, visitors and education providers. Current projects range from helping local businesses move away from single-use plastic to community beach cleans.

Find out how to get involved at litterfreecoastandsea.co.uk

Litter Free Dorset is made up of local organisations, charities and community groups, working together to reduce the impact of litter.

It is working with the council to develop an action plan to remove single use plastics from all council workplaces and replace with sustainable alternatives.

Get involved at litterfreedorset.co.uk

We support ‘Healthy Homes Dorset’ which offers free energy advice to all Dorset residents on keeping homes warm and saving money on energy bills.

The scheme also offers free loft and cavity wall insulation and replacement heating systems to Dorset residents who meet the relevant criteria.

Telephone 0300 003 7023

Since 2012, when our kerbside collection scheme was introduced, waste sent to landfill in Dorset has decreased from 71% to 16.8%. Recycling rates in Dorset have risen from 29% in 2004 to 59.7%.

We also collect your food waste. This is processed within Dorset to produce biogas which is used to generate electricity, heat and transport fuel.

Changing driving and travel habits

We have fitted some of the council’s vehicles with a telematics system which reduces the types of driving that wastes fuel. This has helped save over 28,000 litres of fuel and prevented over 200 tonnes of carbon emissions being released into the atmosphere.

We encourage our employees to share vehicles when possible. We also encourage working closer to home and are improving our use of video conferencing to reduce unnecessary journeys to meetings. We support healthy lifestyle projects and we maintain cycle paths and walking routes around Dorset to encourage non-car use.

We are working with parents, schools and local organisations to promote cycling as an alternative
to travel by car.

Looking after the countryside

We have changed the way we manage our roadside verges to allow natural grasses and wildflowers to grow, while still protecting road users.

We are working with landowners, wildlife and conservation organisations, neighbouring councils and Dorset & Wiltshire Fire and Rescue Service to help protect and restore rare heathland across Dorset.

We have acted to protect bees, butterflies and other pollinators by restricting the use of neonicotinoid pesticides, cutting hedgerows less frequently and planting flowering trees and shrubs.

7 Helping shape Dorset

Work has started on a new Dorset Local Plan to set out proposals for new development, including homes, commercial areas and community facilities, while protecting the area’s special environment.

The Dorset Local Plan will be adopted in 2024 when it will replace the existing plans used by the former district and borough councils. Until then, those existing plans will be the basis for making decisions on planning applications

Working with local residents and other interested parties at an early stage is key to getting the plan right for Dorset. Information gathered will be taken into account before drafting the plan. This will include the comments previously made on the district local plan reviews, and there will also be further public consultation before the plan is agreed.

Planning for your neighbourhood

As well as one plan for the Dorset Council area, local towns and villages are developing their own plans. Law requires these must be in general conformity with the strategic
policies in an adopted Local Plan. A number of these neighbourhood plans have already been adopted and are helping with planning application decisions.

8 Young people

Little one starting school in 2020? Apply now

If your child turns four between 1 September 2019 and 31 August 2020, they will start reception in September 2020.

For the best chance of getting a place at your preferred school, you must apply by 15 January.

For more information and to apply online, visit dorsetcouncil.gov.uk/school-admissions

Council tax support for care leavers

Care leavers in Dorset will not have to pay council tax until they are aged 25. Dorset councillors agreed these young adults who have spent time in foster or residential care will be exempt if they live alone, or given a 25 per cent discount if they live with someone else.

Currently, 225 care leavers aged 18 to 25 are the joint responsibility of the council, councillors, employees, and our partner agencies. It’s estimated that 104 of these young people live in Dorset and will qualify for a discount. This new scheme will cost the council up to £46,500 per year.

It will apply from April 2020 and adds to the list of other people eligible for a discount or exemption.

Dorset’s stars

At our recent Dorset Stars awards ceremony, we celebrated the achievements of foster families, the children they look after and the youngsters who are leaving care.

Awards included the recognition of birth children who have welcomed foster children into their homes, qualifications gained by young people in care, and adult carers for their long service and outstanding contribution to fostering.

9 Understanding Dorset Council

Dorset Council has 82 councillors who represent, and are accountable to, residents and businesses in their wards.

Councillors decide and vote on what the council does. They set policy, scrutinise and make decisions through Full Council and committees.

They work with the employees of the council (the officers) who deliver the services and implement their decisions

Meetings

You can attend committee meetings to listen to the debate, ask questions, make a statement or submit a petition. Request a copy of guidance by telephoning 01305 221000 (ask for the Democratic Services Team).

You can also contact your councillor direct to discuss local issues. Telephone 01305 221000

Who does what

Leader of the Council – overall responsibility for providing effective leadership of the council.

Cabinet – comprising Portfolio Holders who have responsibility for particular areas of work
Full Council – all Dorset councillors. Approves the council’s budget and key plans and strategies
Overview and Scrutiny – holds the council’s decision-makers to account
Other committees – deal with a range of decisions, including planning and licensing applications

Chairman, Councillor Pauline Batstone, has been elected by the whole council to chair Full Council meetings in a fair and politically neutral manner. She is assisted by Vice Chairman, Councillor Val Pothecary.

The Chairman is an ambassador for the council, working hard with local communities. She attends many community events and meetings. Get in touch by telephone on 01305 221000 and ask for the Chairman.

We work with town and parish councils on matters which affect them locally or will be of interest to them. We consider their views when making decisions on issues including planning applications, education proposals, highways and other items.

Councillors from across the political spectrum discuss matters which affect the whole of the Dorset Council area.

We have set up Executive Advisory Panels to look at a range of topics, including climate change, the Dorset Local Plan and economic development. Councillors from the various political parties sit on the panels, enabling cross-party involvement in shaping policy. 

10 Are you winter ready?

Make sure you are prepared for winter.

Sign up as a priority user with your utility companies. The Priority Services Register is a free service provided by all suppliers to vulnerable customers. Once signed up to the register you may receive priority support in an emergency. Find the contact details on your household energy bills.

Prepare your vehicle for winter. Pack water, a warm coat, blanket, torch, shovel, ice scraper and a soft brush (to brush snow off the roof of the vehicle). Don’t travel in hazardous conditions, unless absolutely necessary.

Pack a bag containing the essentials if need if you were asked to leave home and move to a temporary place of safety. This could include: spare keys, medicines, emergency contact details of family and insurance providers, and copies of personal ID.

Ensure you have a pet carrier to carry your pet safely. Agree in advance who will look after your pets if you are unable to stay at home. Pack a bag with your pet’s essentials.

Don’t forget to check on your neighbours, especially those who may be vulnerable to the cold or unable to get out.

You can complete your own Home Emergency Plan. Call 01305 221000 to request a copy of the plan.

Have you had your flu jab?

A flu jab protects you, your family and community against flu. Some residents who are at highest risk are eligible for free vaccines. 

These include adults over 65; pregnant women; children aged 2 and 3; pupils in reception class and school years 1 to 6; people with long-term health conditions such as asthma; COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease) and cardiovascular issues; and many health and social care staff.

To get your vaccine, or to find out if you are eligible for a free vaccination, contact your doctor, pharmacist, midwife or school immunisation team.

Give a warm feeling this winter

Dorset residents who receive a Winter Fuel Payment, but don’t feel they need it, can ‘recycle’ their payment to help support vulnerable fellow Dorset residents.

We support the Dorset Community Foundation’s `Surviving Winter’ appeal which gives individual grants of up to £200 for everything from fuel bills and hot water bottles to boiler repairs.

Local residents over 60 who are in fuel poverty can apply for support. So can those over 50 who meet the winter fuel poverty criteria, have significant health conditions, are on the highest level of benefits and have little current chance of improving life circumstances.

To donate, telephone 01202 670815. If you need support, talk to your local Citizens Advice (telephone 03444 111 444for your local office).

Helping you to keep moving

For information about council services during bad weather, phone our customer services team on 01305 221000.

Free health check

NHS Health Checks are available for adults who are aged between 40 and 74; have not had an NHS Health Check in the last 5 years; do not have an existing condition (heart disease, diabetes or kidney disease) or had a stroke.

They are designed to spot early signs of stroke, kidney disease, heart disease or type 2 diabetes.

To find your nearest or most convenient NHS Health Check provider visit www.publichealthdorset.org.uk/your-health/nhs-health-checks

Track 11 - Local content

Now follow recordings for the western, northern, eastern and southern areas of Dorset

News for the eastern area

Book early for the Santa special:

Climb aboard the Santa Special at Moors Valley Country Park and see Father Christmas in his magnificent grotto. There are presents for adults and children, plus mulled wine, mince pies and Christmas cake.

Advanced booking is essential. Tickets costs £18.50 per person including parking. Telephone 01425 470721.

A new guide will be available in the New Year featuring outdoor activities at Moors Valley Country Park. You will be able to pick one up at eastern Dorset community centres, libraries and tourist information centres or visit activate@dorsetcouncil.gov.uk

The grounds maintenance team has been planting new trees, cutting back hedges and preparing the ground for flowering bulbs in eastern Dorset.

New Year’s Eve extravaganza

Tickets are available for the Greatest Showman sing-a-long at the Verwood Hub cinema on New Year’s Eve. Tickets are £12 each for adults and children. Call 01202 828740.

Golfing gift vouchers are available to purchase from Moors Valley Golf and Activity Centre. The golf course will be open most of the Christmas period. Check the website at www.moors-valley.co.ukor telephone 01425 47071.

West Moors and Penny’s Hill surgeries are seeking volunteers who can offer non-medical support, such as a warm welcome or making a cup of tea. Contact Jean at West Moors practice on 01202 865800.

A new cycleway has been completed from Canford Bottom roundabout to Hampreston Cross and work is underway on other cycle ways around Wimborne. 

News for the northern area

Arts and sports for children

Activities are available for children aged 5 to 16 years who are disabled, and their families. Including drama, music, crafts, visits to shows, swimming and other sports. Telephone 01305 252215.

A massive thank you to Tarrant Gunville Women’s Institute who made more than 170 bags for children in care. These bags enable children to keep hold of some of their precious belongings while they are away from home.

Road improvements in Gillingham

Four busy junctions are being redesigned to help support planned growth in the town. The final designs will be ready by the end of this year with construction planned to start in 2020.

A new road is also planned for a new development to the south of Gillingham. If planning permission is granted, work will stand in the autumn of 2020.

Enjoy the White Hart Link

A walking route now connects northern Dorset towns and villages, helping people enjoy the countryside of the Blackmore Vale. 

News for the southern area

Patrol officers are out and about in Weymouth to make it even safer. They are specially trained and provide reassurance to residents, visitors and businesses. They wear brightly coloured yellow shirts. Say hello to Martin, Sam, Jason and Sam or ask them a question. 

Work is underway on Weymouth’s harbour walls. Without the work they would be at risk of collapse. It has been agreed the noisiest work will not start until after 10am. 

The Weymouth Library and Learning Centre in Great George Street Weymouth has been refurbished. It shares its space with Citizens Advice and Adult Community Education. There is also a children’s reading area with sensory toys. 

New lighting is being fixed to lamp posts on the Weymouth Promenade. The lights will create visual effects, day and night.

Durlston Country Park is offering the chance to share skills, make friends and improve health. Everyone is welcome, including people with disabilities, dementia or long term health conditions. Telephone 01929 424443.

Purbeck Sports Centre, Wareham offers lots of ways to get fit in 2020, including an indoor pool and activities for all ages and abilities. Telephone 01929 500 000.

Work continues on the Purbeck Local Plan, including policies aiming to restrict the number of second homes, allocating sites for new homes and safeguarding employment land. Call 01929 556561 with any questions.

An independent examiner is looking at the Arne Neighbourhood Plan. If it is approved and then supported at a local referendum it will be used to make decisions on planning applications in the Arne parish.

News for the western area

Arts and sports for children

Activities are available for children aged 5 to 16 years who are disabled, and their families. Including drama, music, crafts, visits to shows, swimming and other sports. Telephone 01305 252215.

Stepping into nature

Get out in the countryside with a reed bed wellbeing walk at RSPB Radipole Lakes on 5 and 19 December. 

There is also a woodland walk at Thorncombe Woods on 9 and 31 December. Telephone 01305 224788 for details.

Queen Thorne Parish Council is preparing a plan that aims to give residents more control over their local area when plans for homes, shops and offices are considered. If you want to get involved, telephone Mrs Rose Edwards on 01963 220491.

Lyme Regis Harbour Office has been extended and improved. The building provides a safe and more secure place for visitors, both on foot and in the water. 

148 homes and 112 businesses are now better protected from flooding at West Bay. The council worked with the Environment Agency to provide this vital sea defence work. Thank you to residents and businesses for bearing with us during the works.

Hanna Baxter, aged 18, from Dorchester received a Diana award for her work with young people in care. Hanna dedicates her time to improving the conditions of young people in care. She also runs training sessions for teachers, potential foster carers and social workers.

Three flood arches have been replaced in Durweston. This was a complex project and the understanding and support from the local community throughout the work has been tremendous. Thank you for your patience.

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