Category Archives: News

County & District Councillor Pauline Batstone’s Final Blog

This will be my last report as your County and District Councillor as both the County and District Council’s ceased to exist on the 1st April and were replaced by the Dorset Council. Along with three others I am putting my name forward in the Dorset Council Elections on 2nd May but at this point who knows what the outcome will be.

It has been eight years since I became your District Councillor and six since I became your County Councillor. The main local authority theme running through those years has been Highways – speeding, vehicle size, road conditions, parking and potholes. The next most important theme as been planning – where properties are proposed, what the properties are for, density of building, impact on neighbours and whether or not the parish should do a Neighbourhood Plan. I fear it will be ever thus under the new Council. The main issue raised with me outside of local authorities matters is that of local policing and unhappiness with the service provided in the rural area. The next most important is that of rural transport. Our rural area has changed from the long settled dairy farming area I grew up in to an area which is increasingly urban in its population and in the expectations of that population, the majority of whom are newcomers from towns and cities elsewhere.

I thank all those who have worked with me over the years as your Councillor, especially in those parishes which will no longer be part of the Blackmore Vale Ward, should I be successful in being elected as its councillor.

Pauline Batstone
County and District Councillor
Elvlyn Cottage,
Glue Hill,
Sturminster Newton
Dorset DT10 2DJ
Facebook – Councillor Pauline Batstone

The Stainer Field

Latest news on The Stainer Field  – 2 April, 2019

Following the sad death of Margaret Stainer some months ago, her daughter Carol very kindly agreed to separate the field attached to her mother’s bungalow in Glanvilles Wootton. Today, her agents accepted an offer made by the Village Hall Committee for the 2/3 acre field which is directly behind the village hall.

At last week’s AGM of the Village Hall Committee, with 57 people attending, 48 pledged their financial support for this exciting project. The present Hall was built in 1932 and funds for that were raised in exactly the same way as now; by the generosity of people here in the villages of Glanvilles Wootton, Holnest & Middlemarsh.

Through the efforts of everyone who has contributed, this important addition to the village means we can use it as overflow parking for village hall events. So, no more tricky parking on the grass verges at night.

We can also use the extra space for community events – barbecues, children’s parties, picnics etc.

The committee set themselves a target of £25,000 to buy the field and we’re almost there!

However, we still need to raise some more before the field is properly secure. Everyone is delighted and proud to hear of the amazing support shown by our own small community.

If you want any more information or wish to contribute yourself, please get in contact with the Chairman of the Village Hall Committee, Paul Goodfellow on 01963 210487 or the Chairman of the Parish Meeting, Mike Sandy on 01963 210256 (email:


Village Hall Appeal

Glanvilles Wootton, Holnest & Middlemarsh Village Hall Appeal

Your village hall needs you!

As you may have heard, Margaret Stainer died a short while ago. Her property, next door to the village hall, is now coming onto the market via Symonds & Sampson. The Village Hall Committee as been given first refusal to buy the field directly behind the hall.

This small paddock will provide an extremely worthwhile amenity for all of us here in the three villages. However, we now need to raise up to £25,000 to help cover the cost of purchase and all legal fees etc.

The Village Hall has very limited funds and so we are asking people to contribute towards this appeal. If you would like to help in any way or want any further information please  contact Mike Sandy in the first instance on 01963 210256 (email: before 27 March 2019.

There will be an AGM of the Village Hall Committee open to everyone on Wednesday 27 March 2019 at 7.30 pm and this appeal will be an important item for discussion.Whether or not you’re able to help, do please come along and hear about Margaret’s field.


Dear All,

I have found recently (much to my own amazement) that I have signed up to do the Diabetes UK Swim22 Challenge. In the next 3 months I need to swim as many miles across the English Channel as possible; 22 miles apparently (good grief). Thankfully I can swim this in the Oxley Sports Centre pool at my own convenience. Phew.

Please forgive me but could I ask for sponsors? So far I’ve swum 5.34 miles and raised £100.00, I’m aiming for £220. The link for my Just Giving page where you can donate electronically is below:


Thank you all in anticipation,

Bernie Egan ( Ben and Tess’ Mum).

County & District Councillor’s April Blog

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…
Preferred e.mail address –
Phone – 01258 472583 Twitter @paulinebatstone Facebook Page – Councillor Pauline Batstone
Facebook – Councillor Pauline Batstone

Elvlyn Cottage, Glue Hill, Sturminster Newton, Dorset, DT10 2DJ.


County & District Councillor’s February Blog

A new year and a new Council as from 1st April. The existing Councillors will continue in post until 2nd May with the Shadow Council and Shadow Executive Committee having responsibility for running the new Council until a new set of 82 Councillors have been elected. The new Ward of Blackmore Vale takes in the parishes of Pulham, Mappowder, Hazelbury Bryan, Fifehead Neville, Woolland, Ibberton, Okeford Fitzpaine, Lydlinch and Ibberton and replaces the former Lydden Vale Ward of North Dorset District Council which in turn is part of the Blackmore Vale Division of the County Council. Glanvilles Wootton becomes part of the Sherborne Rural Ward. The plan is to save money and deliver a more efficient service to residents by operating more efficiently with fewer managers, fewer councillors (saving £500,000 pa.) fewer buildings and continuing and growing use of electronic means of communications. As I have said before, the biggest budget items are Children and Families and Adult Social Care taking three quarters of the income of the current County Council.

Before Christmas the County Council received a large sum of money towards our high cost of road repairs so please make sure you report the areas and potholes which are worrying you – either report on line (dorsetforyou) or by telephone to 01305 221000. The Shadow Council have agreed a Highways Maintenance Programme for the next two years who indicates resurfacing or surface dressing to a number of roads in our area. I try and drive around most of the lanes in my Division every month or so, in addition to the direct journeys I may make, and am pleased to see how some of them have been improved over the past few months. In particular the dreaded Marsh Lane between Hazelbury Bryan and Ansty has received long overdue treatment although the water leak at the Hazelbury Bryan end is still a problem causing surface erosion and needs sorting.

An Enquiry Day into the service which children with special educational needs (SEND) get from the County. Councillors met with children, their parents and carers, head teachers, practitioners and those who commission services to hear what works and what does not work. In the absence of more money from central government for SEND Councillors are determined to see what can done to make the existing funds go further and be used more effectively.

My attention was drawn this month to the work of The Prince’s Countryside Fund which has grants of up to £50,000 available for projects that will provide a long-term positive impact to the individuals and communities they seek to benefit. The Trust provides funding towards projects affecting areas of greatest rural need. The grants aim to sustain rural communities, improve the prospects of viability for farm and rural busineses and supports ai delivery in an emergency and build resilience. For more information look at their website but it may be of value to people in our community. The closing date for the current round of applications is the February.

During the coming month I will be at:

Pulham Coffee Morning on Saturday 2nd February at 10.30 a.m. the Exchange Coffee Bar at 11.30 a.m.

Hilton Coffee Morning at The Church on 9th February

Okeford Fitzpaine on Saturday 16th February

Preferred e.mail address –
Phone – 01258 472583
Twitter @paulinebatstone
Facebook Page – Councillor Pauline Batstone
Website –



County & District Councillor’s January Blog

A small team is working to grow the economy of Stur. and the surrounding area by bringing local businesses together in a new Chamber of Trade and Commerce. This is really taking off thanks to the efforts of former Community Resource Worker Jacqui Wragg. Businesses around the area are steadily joining and a launch meeting is planned for Thursday 31st Jan in the Bow Room, 5.30 p.m. with an outside speaker to tell us what other towns have done to support their businesses. Frome, Dorchester and Wimborne are all good examples of local retailers and service providers working together to keep their town centres thriving. We believe that by working together the businesses have a better chance of getting their collective voices heard by the new Dorset Council which will be in being from April. The Chamber will also offer the opportunities for networking and mutual support.

Another small team in Stur., pulled together by the High School, is hoping to get support and funding for an astro-turf pitch at the Sturminster Newton High School. It would be aimed primarily at football players but could also be available for other sports notably hockey. An artificial pitch would be of benefit to the school in school time but available for local clubs and teams to hire at other times. We need to hear from any teams or clubs who might be interested in using such a pitch, in order to help us in drafting any funding applications.

Work continues to form the new Dorset Council with Matt Prosser, formerly of Dorst Council’s Partnership, appointed as Chief Executive, and five Officers appointed to the next tier down. It is very clear that if savings are to be made by bringing the Councils together there have to be fewer managers operating in a shallower structure. Parish Councils and Parish Meetings have expressed concerns at the uncertainties which continue as to how the new Dorset Council will operate and what it will mean for them. It is very clear that for our local rural parishes little will have changed, in that they will still be liaising with Highways in particular for roads and drains, the Dorset Rangers for footpaths and Democratic Services for elections. No-one is expecting them to take on child care or adult services. However there may be ways we can work together to make our local communities stronger.


Cllr Pauline Batstone
County Councillor Blackmore Vale Division and District Councillor Lydden Vale.

Preferred e.mail address –
Phone – 01258 472583
Twitter @paulinebatstone
Facebook Page – Councillor Pauline Batstone
Website –

Surgeries during January
Saturday 5th January 10.30 a.m. Surgery Pulham Village Hall. 11.30 a.m. Surgery The Exchange Coffee Ba
Saturday 12th January 11.00 Hilton Church Coffee Morning
Saturday 19th January 11.00 Okeford Fitzpaine Village Hall Mud Pie Cafe

County & District Councillor’s November Blog

As both District and County local authorities come closer together the workload for officers and Councillors is increasing with work to establish the new single Council for Dorset on 1st April 2019 going alongside the normal tasks and responsibilities of the individual Councils. The Parish and Town Councils also continue with their normal agendas but with an anxious eye on what is happening centrally, concerned that additional responsibilities may come their way or that they may miss out on opportunities for positive change. I see it as the role of the existing Councillors to be a channel of communication between all levels to try and help this change to be as smooth as possible.

I decided to take advantage of this relatively quiet time, compared with what is coming down the track as we get nearer to April, to flee the country for a few weeks and catch up with friends and relatives on the other side of the world in Australia and New Zealand. Its good to get a fresh perspective on things from outside – how other people do things. I have come back with enthusiasm for different styles of bicycle racks, brilliant murals on otherwise grotty walls, ceramic mazes, excellent walking tracks ……. and really good and plentiful public loos which no one seems to vandalise. New Zealand in particular is making tremendous investments in facilities for the tourist trade. As far as Highways are concerned, not only does New Zealand have some potholes, but they have whole roads washed away by the sea or mudslides or lost in earthquakes. We are a beautiful county but the coastal settings in which some of their Highways people are working are stunning….. and under the ever watchful eyes of nearby seals.

So now its back to the reality of life in our lovely Dorset and Christmas is just around the corner.

Preferred e.mail address –
Phone – 01258 472583 Twitter @paulinebatstone Facebook Page – Councillor Pauline Batstone
Facebook – Councillor Pauline Batstone

Availability in November:
Saturday 3rd Nov. 9.30 p.m. in Glanvilles Wootton; 10.30 a.m. Surgery in Pulham Village Hall; 11.30 a.m. Surgery in The Exchange Coffee Bar, Sturminster Newton
Saturday 12th Nov. Hilton Church Coffee Morning 11.00 a.m.
Saturday 17th Nov. Mud Pie Café Okeford Fitzpaine 11.00 a.

County & District Councillor’s October Blog

Summer is normally a quiet time for local authorities and councillors, a time just to catch up with normal life, but this August has been different. It has been different because of the work to set up the Dorset Council, the new unitary authority for the rural County of Dorset. We continue to have have fortnightly Organisational Transformation Board Meetings about the aims, and progress towards meeting those aims. In a nutshell what we want to achieve is doing what the Council needs to do for its residents as efficiently, effectively and economically as possible, amalgamating and reducing duplicating areas of activity which should save money. What it needs to do is deliver those services which it must in law deliver and also endeavour to ensure residents access services which improve the short and long term quality of their lives. It wont be perfect, it wont meet with everyone’s approval but we will do the best we can to build the foundations for the new Council to build on. We cannot commit the new Councillors as to what they do and how but we can provide a basis to work on. Steps are being put in place by the political parties to find councillors to stand for election in May next year and of course anyone can stand as an Independent Councillor. We will be in the interesting position of the new authority legally being in place on 1st April but the existing Councillors continuing to be legally in power until the 5th May, the day after the local elections.

Meanwhile business continues as usual in all the local authorities and in scrutiny we are working towards an Enquiry Day into how the local authority delivers help and support to those with special educational needs and also how the new Youth Clubs are operating after the closure of the Youth Centres – or not. My own committee of Safeguarding Scrutiny has two more meetings to go which will be used to finish pieces of work, notably about school exclusions, and to tie up loose ends.

As well as the work coming directly from the local authorities there is also the locally generated work. Following the closure of the SturQuest Office In Sturminster, and the decision of the Town Council not to continue the employment of the Community Resource Worker, I have been trying, as County Councillor and a Town Councillor to ensure that several of the pieces of work Jacqui had been responsible for did not just come to a sudden end. As well as continuing KnowStur which works with migrants to the town, there are several relatively new projects to move forward. We plan to launch a new Chamber of Commerce in the New Year to bring the businesses of Stur and the surrounding area together to work to improve their economic situation. The existing Chamber of Trace, Commerce and Hospitality (SNATCH) has worked well over the years to promote retail and service businesses in the centre of town but participation has dropped off and it has now become predominantly an information mailing list plus has raised funds for the Christmas tree. The remaining SNATCH Officers are part of the team planning the new body. As said previously a Literary festival is planned on 15th June 2019 to bring people to the town to commemorate the work of Thomas Hardy, William Barnes and Robert Young. A monthly opportunity for the owners and worshippers of classic and vintage cars and motor cycles and indeed any interesting vehicle, to meet and admire will be held in Station on the first Saturday morning of each month from October onwards, with a special price of £5 for a bacon roll and coffee from Poets Corner Cafe. Also on the first Saturday in December we will have our usual day of Christmas events and I am looking for volunteers householders or businesses to decorate a special Christmas Window that everyone can look enjoy during December. Whilst all of these activities are centred on Stur. they will, hopefully, benefit the surrounding area.

I notice that a number of our lanes have had fairly large areas of patching done on their surfaces, which is better than nothing and thanks to the Highways team for doing this. It may not be the total makeover people would like but it does mean the money can go that bit further. The Highways team are also working with the various town and parish councils to try to find ways of reducing the speed of vehicles passing through, although that basically comes down to bad drivers.

I will not be doing my regular Saturday Councillor’s activities during October due to other commitments but will be happy to see people at other times by arrangement and of course am on the end of a phone or an e.mail.

Preferred e.mail address –
Phone – 01258 472583 Twitter @paulinebatstone Facebook Page – Councillor Pauline Batstone
Facebook – Councillor Pauline Batstone


Burns Night at Glanvilles Wootton

In January, before the snow and ice, a hearty crowd of revellers toasted the bard of Scotland and enjoyed an absolutely delicious meal. Tales were told, laughter was heard and very discrete and moderate drinking took place. Louise Dutton and her band of slaves were entirely responsible for the great success of the event. You’d only get sad if you missed next year’s bash …

The evening raised £1,200 for the Sherborne Deanery Rural Chaplaincy project, headed up by the Rev Richard Kirlew.