Agenda and minutes

West Dorset District Council Full Council
Thursday, 10th January, 2019 2.15 pm

Venue: Committee Rooms A and B South Walks House

Contact: Lindsey Watson 01305 252209  Email:

No. Item


Opening the meeting


In opening the meeting, the Chairman asked members to stand quietly for a moment to consider the decisions that they would be making at the meeting.


Code of Conduct

Members are required to comply with the requirements of the Localism Act 2011 and the Council’s Code of Conduct regarding disclosable pecuniary and other interests.


Check if there is an item of business on this agenda in which the member or other relevant person has a disclosable pecuniary or other disclosable interest


 Check that the interest has been notified to the Monitoring Officer (in writing) and entered in the Register (if not this must be done within 28 days


Disclose the interest at the meeting (in accordance with the Council’s Code of Conduct) and in the absence of dispensation to speak and/or vote, withdraw from any consideration of the item where appropriate.  If the interest is non-pecuniary you may be able to stay in the room, take part and vote.


For further advice please contact Rob Firth, Monitoring Officer, in advance of the meeting.



There were no declarations of interest.



To confirm the minutes of the last meeting, (previously circulated).


The minutes of the meeting held on 18 October 2018, as previously circulated to all members, were agreed and signed as a correct record.


Public Questions and Statements

Members of the public who have given appropriate notice may ask questions or make a statement in accordance with the constitution rules.  This session is restricted to a maximum of 30 minutes.


A question and the response from the Leader are set out in Appendix 1 to these minutes.



Members of the public who have given appropriate notice may present a petition to the Council in accordance with the council’s petition protocol.


There were no petitions.


Member's General Question Time

In accordance with the Council Procedure Rules to receive questions (if any) from any member.



Councillor D Rickard asked two questions.  The questions and responses are set out in Appendix 2 to these minutes.


Chairman's Announcements

To receive any announcements from the Chairman of Council or Head of Paid Service.



The Chairman announced that Councillor Molly Rennie had been awarded an MBE in the New Year’s Honours List 2019.  Councillor Rennie thanked all for their support for the work undertaken with regard to domestic abuse.


The Chairman noted that at the end of the meeting, all members would be invited to watch a short film.  Councillor D Taylor introduced the film on behalf of Councillor S Jones.  The film produced by People First Dorset aimed to raise awareness about the barriers people who were disabled faced and how a little change in attitude could make a big difference.


Urgent Business

To consider any items of business which the Chairman has had prior notification and considers to be urgent pursuant to Section 100B (4) (b) of the Local Government Act 1972.  The reason for the urgency shall be specified in the minutes.


There were no urgent items.


Leader's Update

To receive a verbal update from the Leader or Portfolio Holder on district council matters and to respond to any questions from members of the Council relating to those items.



The Leader provided an update in respect of work being undertaken and arrangements moving towards the new Dorset Council, which included:


·                Appointments to the Senior Leadership Team had been made and details of the appointments were provided

·                Consultation and briefings would be undertaken with staff with regard to the transitional arrangements as the individual councils converged into one organisation

·                The Constitution for Dorset Council would be considered by the Shadow Executive Committee on 14 January 2019, with final consideration and approval of the document at Shadow Dorset Council on 24 January 2019

·                The Shadow Dorset Council meeting to be held on 20 February 2019 would consider and agree the budget for Dorset Council for the next financial year.  Member briefing sessions would be held prior to this on 29 January and 12 February 2019

·                The Shadow Executive Committee would be holding their next meeting on 14 January 2019 at South Walks House, Dorchester and detail was provided of the items to be considered.  All members were welcome to attend the meeting.


Portfolio Holders Report pdf icon PDF 76 KB

This report is intended to give a summary of the work of each portfolio for West Dorset District Council.  The minutes of all of the meetings setting out the detail of decisions made and information received will have been previously circulated to all members.


Members received and noted the Portfolio Holder reports and made the following comments, observations and questions:


·                A comment was made that the car park information signs installed in Dorchester were still not showing accurate information.  This issue had been raised with the parking team

·                The Planning Portfolio Holder noted that the results of the Government Housing Delivery Test were still awaited.  In addition, the council had published its 5 year land supply and the document was available to view on  Work was currently being undertaken to look at the 5 year land supply across the six council areas

·                In response to a question with regard to the use of brownfield land for development, it was confirmed that the council had a brownfield site register

·                A discussion was held in respect of the suitability of land at Upper Woodsford for inclusion within the local plan and whether this would be more suitable land for development than the site currently proposed to the north of Dorchester.  The Planning Portfolio Holder noted that when the Preferred Options document had been approved for consultation by Council, the Upper Woodsford site had not been available for consideration.  This would now be a matter for the new council and the local plan inspector to consider

·                Councillor Bundy spoke as the ward member for Crossways and noted that he did not agree with proposals for development on the Upper Woodsford site and referred to other potential development in the area including other housing development, minerals development and proposals contained within the Purbeck Local Plan.  He was confident that all matters would be considered by due process

·                In response to a question, the Housing Portfolio Holder noted that as the Chair of Homes Dorset there would be a need to consider future governance arrangements and that informal discussions had been held with the Chief Executive Designate of Dorset Council.  It was hoped that the body would continue, moving forward, but this would be a decision for members of the new council

·                The Enabling Portfolio Holder reported that rebuilding at the Lyme Regis Harbour Masters office had recently started and should be completed by spring 2019

·                The Community Safety and Access Portfolio Holder provided updates with regard to new legislation in respect of private water supplies, feedback from the Community Safety Partnership and a report with regard to homelessness issues that was to be considered at the next meeting of the Overview and Scrutiny Committee

·                In response to points raised with regard to the cost of housing in the area and the challenges around bringing empty properties back into use, the Housing Portfolio Holder noted that the council was active in its work in this area in conjunction with housing associations.  An example of work being undertaken in respect of the St Michaels Trading Estate was provided.  It was also noted that the council had an Empty Homes officer

·                It was noted that documents were shortly to be signed for 15 affordable units in Broadwindsor

·                Councillor Rennie  ...  view the full minutes text for item 51.


Making of the Askerswell Neighbourhood Plan pdf icon PDF 39 KB

To make the Askerswell Neighbourhood Plan part of the development plan for use in planning decisions in the Askerswell Neighbourhood Area.

Additional documents:


The Council received a report to make the Askerswell Neighbourhood Plan part of the development plan for use in planning decisions in the Askerswell Neighbourhood Area.  Councillor Roberts introduced the plan and provided background to the work that had been undertaken by the Neighbourhood Forum.  The plan had received support at a referendum and it was hoped that it would become part of the local development framework.


Members congratulated the Askerswell Neighbourhood Forum and Councillor Roberts for their hard work in producing the plan.


It was proposed by M Roberts seconded by A Alford




a)        That the district council make the Askerswell Neighbourhood Plan (as set out in Appendix A of the report) part of the statutory development plan for the Askerswell Neighbourhood Area;


b)        That the district council offers its congratulations to Askerswell Neighbourhood Forum in producing their neighbourhood plan.

Appendix 1 - Public questions and statements

Question from Kate Hebditch (On behalf of STAND – Save the area north of Dorchester)


“Does the Portfolio Holder for Planning agree that the Upper Woodsford development proposal offers a more viable, better connected and sustainable housing scheme than the North of Dorchester development proposal, and that it offers less likelihood of damage to our environment, cultural landscape and tourist industry?”


Response from the Planning Portfolio Holder


Consultation on ‘preferred options’ for the local plan review took place last year.  Officers are currently considering the responses and no further decisions have been made.


The preferred options document included the proposal for development north of Dorchester, as the next expansion of the county town.  It is important to consider the needs of Dorchester in the longer term, post-2036, and not only for the immediate plan period.  The inspector who examined the last local plan said that the review should include a strategy for meeting long term development needs at or in the vicinity of Dorchester, and this is referred to in the current adopted local plan.  The inspector also considered that without substantial enhancements to transport links, development at Crossways was not a particularly sustainable option for meeting the longer term needs of Dorchester.


The suggestion of an alternative site at Upper Woodsford has been made as one of the consultation responses, and this site was also considered during the preparation of the preferred options document, and in the sustainability appraisal of the plan. 


The Crossways background paper (paragraph 8.69) states that:


‘The Upper Woodsford Farm site has an approximate site capacity of some 4,000 homes.  The site is situated north of the railway line and would involve the creation of a new settlement.  The site is set away from the main settlement of Crossways, and would require significant investments in infrastructure to enable safe access for the increased population.  The Local Plan is focusing development on larger settlements with services and amenities already in situ, therefore development of this scale in Crossways would not fit with this objective.  For these reasons the site has not been taken forward at this time’.


It will be for the new Dorset Council to make decisions about the next stage of local plan preparation, and all local plans go through an independent examination into their soundness before they are adopted.

Appendix 2 - Members General Question Time

Question 1 from Cllr D Rickard


Can the leader assure me, fellow Councillors and councillors and officers of the participating Towns & Parishes, that time and officer capacity has been allocated for the - now drastically reduced – asset transfer programme to Towns & Parishes.  Can he also assure us all that this work will be carried out with all speed to enable forward programmes to be planned in a timely manner.


Response from the Leader of Council


Since the Shadow Executive committee on 17 September 2018 dialogue with West Dorset’s Town and Parish Councils has continued leading to a short list of assets to be transferred. Officers have been tasked with implementing the asset transfer programme including the application of necessary resources to deliver it. A report on progress will be presented to the meeting of Full Council on 26th February 2019.



Question 2 from Councillor D Rickard


Following the failure to unlock the overflow car park ( West Bay Rd – West Bay) on Boxing Day for the West Bay wallow, and also on other occasions over the holiday period, causing problems to visitors, we had numerous complaints from visitors and residents and several incidents of inappropriate parking as a result.


Following similar failures from Easter last year through to the summer we were given assurances that this would be prioritised when numbers were likely to be high.


Can the Leader make sure that robust arrangements are in place as soon as possible to ensure that these facilities are available at all times going forward and that there is accountability for these actions. Failing that can we reopen the negotiations for the Town Council to take over these facilities so that things gets done properly in future?


Response from the Leader of Council


The West Bay Road car park overflow area was locked to prevent anti-social behaviour - unfortunately this car park was left locked over the Christmas period due to a planning oversight.  The gates have subsequently been unlocked and this car park will remain accessible to all users.