As I was unable to attend the council meeting in March, this report is compiled from the agenda and minutes.
On March 30 Dorset Council will decide whether to give notice to the Government that it intends to charge 200% Council Tax on second homes from April 2024.
The public is urged to report acts of vandalism to the police in order to avoid bills such as £220 for repairing a door at the Quay toilets. At not inconsiderable cost, an Energy Performance Certificate must be obtained for the town hall building and pavilion. For reasons of safety it has been decided to use a company to clean and lock up the public toilets.
The planning and transport committee discussed but did not support a suggestion made by a member of the public to Dorset Council that the causeway be permanently closed to motor vehicles.
In February Dorset Council planning committee looked at two planning applications concerning Wareham. Retrospective planning permission was sought for the use of a lake for outdoor swimming and a shipping container for changing facilities near Swineham Farm. Two swimming sessions a week take place between April and September with a maximum of 25 pre-booked swimmers. There is grassed car parking for 20 cars. It was considered that although the use of the land contravened a legal agreement made in 1990 which stated that it was only for wildlife and conservation purposes, the limited season and number of sessions, swimming away from the lake edge plus introducing bat boxes, a tern raft and woodland management would overall not harm wildlife. Another factor in the committee’s decision to grant the application was that there are few suitable sites for this healthy activity.
Wareham Riverboats had applied to replace its existing temporary storage kiosk with one three times the floor area which entailed relocating Bamford’s Water Pump. While recognising the economic benefit of the business, the committee refused the application.
The council is considering the future of ‘Tower Chimes’ and the Visit Wareham website. The council has applied to close North Street for a street party between 2-5pm on Sunday, May 7.
Litter picking in the town has been taken on by the town council grounds team.
The mayor elect for 2023-24 is Cllr Carol Turner and the deputy mayor elect is Cllr Marian Cotton.
The public is welcome to attend the annual town meeting on Thursday, May 6, at 7pm in the Corn Exchange, and the next council meetings on Tuesdays, April 18 and May 30, 7pm in the council chamber. For more information, contact the town council office on 01929 553006 or consult the council’s website, www.wareham-tc.gov.uk