Have your say about where we focus our village funds…

Drawing of village centre plansOver the last two months we have been going through the prioritisation and budgeting process. This is an important time as we have to consider the many projects that are on our wish-list and identify what will deliver the greatest benefits to the village.

We also have to consider how to allocate funds to deliver them, because although we can do some of the project ourselves, some need to be done in partnership with others. For example:

  • Sorting a Wareham Road crossing, High Street crossing and other traffic solutions, such as introducing 20mph zones, have to be done in conjunction with Dorset Council.
  • Similarly, redesigning the Tesco Island needs input from both Dorset Council and Tesco.
  • Other elements, including setting up areas on the Rec for outdoor Table Tennis and Boule pitches, re-establishing the Eldons Drove Pond, regenerating the Youth Hall and restarting a Youth Club, could be funded from the PC reserves and remaining Community Infrastructure Levy funds.

To help towards funding priorities such as the Wareham Road issues, we approved a precept for 2023-24 of £108,009 at the Full Council meeting on 25th January 2023. This represents an inflation linked increase of 5.5% year on year on a D Band property, and equates to an average of around 7.3p per week.

As listed above, we do have lots of projects to deal with, but it is always important to know what your priorities, concerns, and ideas are to ensure that we are making the right decisions.

Dorset Local Plan and our Neighbourhood Plan 2, 2023

The focus for 2023 is to work on and formalise the new Neighbourhood Plan 2023. We have a working group (NP2WG) of people from the village and councillors who are looking to ensure the LMNP-2023 addresses the new issues we face, and supports our right to have full input into the Dorset Planning process.

Although the Stage 1 consultation for the new Dorset Local Plan took place in 2021, the data, comments and views collected during this process are still being processed and Dorset Council is unable to say when, or if, this will be completed. Interestingly, recent announcements from Government suggest that local areas may be able to decide on their own housing target numbers. In addition, according to the most recent communication from Dorset Council, Natural England has significantly changed their position on how to deal with the problems relating to phosphorus in Poole Harbour. As a result, Dorset Council is no longer able to agree planning consents through the use of a pre-commencement condition. Until these contradictions can be clarified, developments on the Purbeck Local Plan are on hold, which will in turn affect the Dorset Local Plan.

Despite all this, the planned date for the publication of the draft local plan remains December 2024 at the moment.

Unpredictable weather & flooding

Whilst thinking about our local environment, it is impossible to ignore the unpredictable and extreme weather we are starting to suffer. Although the village is predominantly set on the top of a hill, many roads and fields rapidly dip and rise, which can cause issues when it rains so heavily. For example, narrow roads with grass verges are being badly churned up where vehicles have to move over to pass. We are currently looking at developing a community flood plan for the village and exploring whether we should have a flood plan and perhaps a flood warden. We would like to hear from anyone who would be interested in helping to assess how this could be undertaken.

Planning for the 2023 Coronation

The coronation of HM King Charles III will take place at Westminster Abbey on Saturday, May 6th 2023. To mark this there will be an extra bank holiday on Monday, May 8th 2023.

The Parish Council is currently exploring options to mark the occasion and how to support villagers to come together and enjoy some of the community spirit that was so evident in 2022 at the Queen’s Jubilee celebrations.

Local celebrations could include street parties and a big party on #UpOnTheRec.

Supporting street parties: we would like to encourage residents and community groups to organise street parties for the Coronation weekend and will be working with Dorset Council to provide information on how to apply for road closure notices, etc.  At the time of writing this report, Dorset Council has not published any special advice or deadlines for submitting applications to hold a street party over the extended bank holiday weekend, but it is likely to be around 1 April 2023. We will publish more details on our website as we get them, but residents can read more on the Dorset Council website at https://www.dorsetcouncil.gov.uk/roads-highways-maintenance/highway-licences-and-services/events-on-the-highway-licences/special-events-on-the-highway# or email trafficteam@dorsetcouncil.gov.uk to request a street closure.

We also have several other ideas to host a celebration on the Rec:

  • Big Coronation Picnic: up on the Rec on Saturday, May 6th from 2-7pm, with music, licensed bar and food Hopefully, the rain will hold off but village gazebos would probably be a good idea too
  • Community big screening of the Coronation on Saturday, May 6th: Depending upon the timing of the coronation, we could put a big screen up in the Village Hall before the celebrations commence
  • Village Carnival on Sunday, 7th May: up on the Rec and replacing the usual late summer village fair with a small carnival including music and entertainment from different clubs and groups from the village, food and craft stalls, licensed bars stalls, etc.
  • We do not think fireworks are suitable within our rural setting but welcome any ideas for ways to perhaps replicate the great evening event that we had last year for the lighting of the Beacon.

We will be discussing ideas at the public council meeting on Wednesday 8th February and would like to finalise the outline plan and agree on a budget at the meeting on 22nd February. Based upon the 2022 Jubilee celebrations this is likely to be in the order of £2-3,000.   Please email us or come along to the meeting on 8th February if you have any ideas as to what would be the most fitting and enjoyable way for our village to celebrate this event.

February council meetings

The February meetings will be at 7pm on Wednesday 8th and 22nd in the Village Hall. Agendas are published online on the preceding Saturday, and the minutes of each meeting are also available online about one month later.  All Parish Council meetings start with the Public Participation session and everybody is welcome.

Please come and have your say.

Alf Bush,
Chairman, Lytchett Matravers Parish Council

LMPC Newsletter February 2023
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