Category: Dorset

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The UK fails to value our English language sector and students – letter to the editor

Editor-in-chief

Dear Editor Our exports are falling, farmers are discouraged from farming, fishermen from fishing, miners from mining, windfarms are blocked, and the London Stock Exchange has been overtaken by Paris. There is, however, still one profitable sector where the UK is genuinely a world leader – and Bournemouth is its second most important base. Publishing, entertainment, tourism, hospitality, […]

Hello South West Water! No more poo, please!

Sonia Rai

Having noticed the increase in sewage smells in their bay, Jovi and Sonny send a message to local water company, South West Water, to clean up their act. In 2021, South West Water intentionally discharged 680 hours of sewage into the River Lim – the equivalent to the whole month of February, 24 hours a […]

Two cheers for democracy – the BCP leadership petition debate

Ian Lawrence

For the background to this story, please read: This summary is written particularly for the 3,081 people, including 2066 locals, who signed our petition of no confidence in the leadership of Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole Council. As a Facebook commenter noted: Brian Sutcliffe: This petition run by one resident on a Facebook site obtained 3000 […]

BCP leadership debate triggered for Nov 8 – get involved!

Ian Lawrence

Kamikaze budget, casino economics, bankrupting policies, freezing taxes while increasing borrowing dangerously as interest rates soar. Sound familiar? No, not Number 10, but BCP (Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole) Council leadership promising low tax/small state, but instead wasting millions on high-rise, big plan transformation vanity schemes while neglecting the basics. Consequently, BCP suffers some of the […]

Local leaders in a land of make-believe: the latest in the BCP saga!

Adam Sofianos

Picture this scene. An embattled Conservative leader sees the failure of their headline economic policy. As the plan collapses, critics surround them from every side – even their own. With the economy plummeting, the leader needs others to bail them out financially. And then, at the moment of greatest humiliation, with public finances and services […]

The sewage scandal: letter to the editor

Editor-in-chief

Dear West Country Voices, We have beautiful beaches in East Devon; Weston Mouth, in particular, is very special to me: pristine, crystal-clear water and I have enjoyed swimming there all through the year. I am very sad that since sewage has been pumped into the sea; ALL of the beaches in Lyme Bay are now […]

On the rocks: the BCP disaster movie blunders on

Adam Sofianos

In a previous article on these pages, Bournemouth, Christchurch & Poole Council (BCP) was likened to a shopping trolley, smashing from one side of the aisle to the other. Based on recent events, it looks like we’re gonna need a bigger metaphor. Yes, the south-coast disaster movie continues to amaze and astound. Even the council’s […]

BCP beach hut meeting: I was there!

Ian Lawrence

Here at WCV, we’ve been intrigued by the goings-on at Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole Council. Ian is the latest resident to contact us with a story about the rather shabby goings-on. Editor-in-Chief For the background to this latest development in the beach hut saga, please read this: If you want a masterclass on how to […]

Two years of telling it like it is.

Editor-in-chief

Wow! It’s our second birthday on 23 July. We started out as West Country Bylines and now we’ve completed nearly 7 months as West Country Voices and all thanks to the same great team of editors and proof readers, excellent writers – some new, some longstanding contributors – and a growing band of loyal readers […]

The interminable Battle of Jesmond Wood

Adam Sofianos

Sometimes a small issue can cast a big shadow.  It just depends how much light you shine on it.  A small story can act as a signpost to much larger concerns.  This is certainly one of those. In June 2022 a team of demolition vehicles entered a small village wood in Highcliffe, Dorset.  They arrived […]

BCP Council: the beach huts story…

Daniel Parkin

According to the Bournemouth Beach Huts Association, there are some 20,000 private beach huts in the UK and, despite their limited size and lack of home facilities, they have become icons of the British seaside resort. Many beach huts were former fishermen’s huts, boatsheds or converted Georgian or Victorian bathing machines, which looked like beach […]

Ghost gear: meet the heroes cleaning up our ocean’s frontline

Kristy Westlake

With our oceans quickly filling up with plastic and fish stocks dwindling, it’s time to start talking about the massive whale in the room: ghost gear. An enormous environmental problem caused by commercial fishing and fuelled by our ever-growing appetite for seafood. Kristy Westlake talks to some of the heroes on the ocean’s frontline and […]

Ukraine rocks

Gérard Fabrice Guminski

On 24 February 2022, I saw the first footage of Putin’s invasion of a sovereign nation, Ukraine: the beginning of what will be a long journey of suffering for so many innocent civilians. I’m sure we all agree that this conflict doesn’t belong in the 21st century, whether here in Europe or anywhere else in […]

BCP Council’s shopping trolley of doom

Adam Sofianos

Back in May 2021, Boris Johnson’s former guru, Dominic Cummings, painted a scathing picture of the Prime Minister. Describing a culture of U-turns, policy changes and general chaos, he likened Johnson to “a shopping trolley smashing from one side of the aisle to the other”. Since then, Cummings’ tweets and blogs have often referred to […]

BCP Council – the death of scrutiny

Alex Mckinstry

Few BCP Council committees were more highly regarded than the Overview & Scrutiny Board (OSB), which tracked and challenged Cabinet policy, grilled the leadership, and benefited from a truly impartial chairman … Clearly it had to go. It was abolished under a proposal brought by the Council’s deputy leader, Philip Broadhead, on 10 May 2022. […]

Is BCP the most corruptible council in England?

Adam Sofianos

In 2020 the anti-corruption group Transparency International UK published a paper on the potential for corruption in English local authorities. Fifty key councils were assessed on how they manage corruption risks such as lobbying, oversight and conflicts of interest. One council was deemed by far the worst in England: Bournemouth-Christchurch-Poole (BCP). Why was BCP Council […]

Fear and loathing in East Dorset

Adam Sofianos

If you think your local government is chaotic, just take a trip to the Bournemouth-Christchurch-Poole region.  BCP Council was only formed three years ago, but already we’re on our second administration, with possibly another change next year.  There’s been corruption fears, departments in special measures, budget scandals, and major concerns raised about everything from the […]

Dorset Council environmental decisions: moral and economic madness?

Sarah Cowley

Moral and economic madness? That is the charge being laid at the door of Dorset Council, by local environmental activists, who question whether the Council understands the realities of the climate crisis. Just six months ago, the UK hosted the UN Climate Change Conference (‘COP26’) in Glasgow, in November 2021. That conference concluded with a […]

Tory council leader Drew Mellor faces Vote of No Confidence tonight at Bournemouth/Poole/Christchurch Council

@Adam5of

It’s story time:A land politically divided. Run by a controversial Conservative group. Where public services are visibly failing, and accusations of cronyism are growing.No, not the UK. Welcome to the metaphor that is Bournemouth-Christchurch-Poole Council.Let me begin… Tonight sees a vote of no confidence (VONC) in BCP council leader Drew Mellor. It’s the first VONC […]

Fire service cuts: Ashburton area protection downgraded and more to follow

Tony Morris

Fire Authority stealth cuts put lives and property at risk, argues Tony Morris. Just a couple of years after Ashburton residents successfully fought to save their fire station, the Conservative controlled fire & rescue authority has stabbed them in the back. In a secret move, Ashburton’s properly equipped fire engine has been removed and replaced […]

“My small business is in ruins and I see no way out.” An update

Anthea Simmons

More than a year ago we published this article about two small businesses being ruined by Brexit. We now have an update from the second of those profiled – Steve Shovlar. Over to you, Steve. (Oh, and just to explain, ‘Sir’ Steve references the ludicrous award of a knighthood to Gavin Williamson, a serial failure […]

The strange case of the disappearance of Dorset’s wildlife cops

Ian Denton
Dorset wildlife police officer

In late January 2022, Dorset had a strong and healthy wildlife cop presence. Positive messages abounded far and wide…. However, by February 10, there was a severe climate change…. Storm Loder blew in from the west and wrought havoc across the land: By the next day, the wildlife team was unable to communicate further! On […]

Standing with Ukraine

Lucy-Ann Pope
Pro Ukraine banner

I first heard late on Tuesday about the call from the European Movement (EM), for their members and local groups to come to the ‘London stands with Ukraine’ rally and march on Saturday 26 March. They had joined with London mayor Sadiq Khan, who’d asked Londoners to stand in solidarity with Ukraine. Could I attend […]

Latest dire warning from the IPCC report – what are we doing locally to counter climate breakdown?

Belinda Bawden
IPCC report cover

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) published its latest report this week. The UN secretary general, António Guterres, described it as an “atlas of human suffering”. Alice Bell, co-director at the climate change charity Possible, wrote in the Guardian: “The key findings are bleak, if familiar. Climate breakdown is accelerating rapidly; many of the […]