By the time you read this April edition, the Dorset County Council and North Dorset District Council will be no more as the new Dorset Council comes into being on 1st April. The aim of all those working in either organisation is that there should be a seamless transfer of responsibilities with the new body being safe and legal on Day 1. The current phone lines and e.mail addresses should still be working unless you have specifically been given a different one. The administrative address is South Walks House, Dorchester, although different services will still be operating from County Hall or Area Offices. Savings made through amalgamating services and reducing management, Councillors and backroom staffing are going into front line services where there are increases for children and families services, care for vulnerable adults and the homeless. Those increases are to keep up with the increasing demand and also to invest in different ways of working to save money in the long term. For example an additional £900,000 is being used to expand our fostering service with the aim of keeping those Dorset children who cannot live with their families, in family homes in Dorset, rather than in institutions. As I have written before, it is those services where the bulk of the Council’s income goes.
There will be one councillor for the Blackmore Vale which is as it is now coincidentally, as I am both your District and County Councillor. On 2nd May there will be an election to elect one Councillor to represent the Blackmore Vale Ward on the new Dorset Council. The villages in that Ward are Pulham, Mappowder, Kings Stag, Hazelbury Bryan, Stoke Wake, Fifehead Neville and St. Quintin, Woolland, Ibberton, Okeford Fitzpaine and Shillingstone. Glanvilles Wootton will now be represented as part of the Sherborne Rural Ward. There is a weird period between 1st April and 2nd May when the new Council is in existence but all the Councillors remain legally in office Some parishes may also have Parish Council elections on that day. I would urge anyone who has the time and energy to put their name forward to the Parish Council as they are usually struggling to find volunteers and it is a interesting role to play – its not all planning and footpaths, it can be an opportunity to promote new ideas and support village life. For those of you in villages where there are Parish Meetings rather than Councils (notably Pulham, Mappowder and Glanvilles Wootton) you all have an equal say as long as you turn up twice a year.
I am always happy to be contacted by phone or e.mail…
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Elvlyn Cottage, Glue Hill, Sturminster Newton, Dorset, DT10 2DJ.