It is now three months since the new council came into being. Disappointingly there was no opportunity for residents to vote at the election as there were only twelve candidates for the fourteen positions on the council. The two remaining vacancies will be filled by co-option very shortly. However, all committees have appointed members and chairpersons and held their first meetings. Details of committees can be found on the council website www.wimborne.gov.uk with details of when they are having their meetings.
Of the twelve councillors five are new to WMTC and four of those with little or no experience of working as a councillor. The one exception is Cllr. Derek Burt although new to WMTC has had a lifetimes experience in local government serving both as Leader and Chairman of East Dorset District Council and a county councillor for Dorset.
Extinction Rebellion address meeting
The first full council meeting, after the Annual Council in May when the Mayor is chosen (Cllr. Shane Bartlett was installed as the Mayor) was interesting and ground breaking. Prior to the meeting a group from Extinction Rebellion congregated outside the town hall to promote their cause of a biodiversity and climate change emergency. The Mayor invited them to nominate a speaker who would be given time to promote their views and allow five further speakers to raise issues of concern prior to Cllr. Francesca Shirley moving the motion as set out in the agenda. (All this can be seen on the council website if you go to past meetings and read the minutes for WMTC meeting 23rdJuly 2019.) The motion was passed and a Task and Finish Group has since been set up with Cllr. Kelly Webb as Chair and Cllr. Shirley as lead member.
Ground breaking recording
The ground breaking part was that the entire meeting was broadcast live on You Tube and can be seen by searching Wimborne Minster Town Council 23rdJuly 2019. A first for WMTC.
Five year Strategy Plan
At the Personnel, Policy & Strategy Committee meeting on 5thJuly, Cllr. Shane Bartlett outlined his five year strategy plan details of which will be drafted ready for approval by October 2019.
Planning for the future
In July along with over sixty local councillors from all over Dorset four WMTC councillors attended a DAPTC (Dorset Association of Town and Parish Councils) training day on planning and how to get the best for their council and influence the Dorset Council local plan.
The theme of the day was to explain that local councils have greater powers and opportunities than ever before to set the vision for local development and enable their communities to shape their surroundings. But in many cases, smaller councils have difficulty having their voices heard, and necessary local infrastructure is not being provided in the best way possible. The answer promoted by Andrea Pellegram, the course leader, was for town and parish councils to develop their own Neighbourhood Plan in order to influence the upper tier authority. There are already a number of plans being produced in Dorset and some are being examined by Government appointed planning inspectors and close to approval. At the close of the next Planning Committee meeting on the 27thAugust there will be an informal meeting to explain the idea of a Neighbourhood Plan and how local residents can be involvedshould the Town Council decide to go down that route.