On Monday, we joined the Littlemoor residents and their councillors for a meeting about the area, which was very well attended, not a seat to be had and extra ones had to be put out.
There were many apologises from those who were expected to attend from the local council on various levels, also the Aster ASB team leader was not attending as planned either.
The police took the hot seat to start, with promising news that Littlemoor was currently "in a good place", but incidents do need to be passed onto the police to deal with them, everyone was encouraged to "Please report everything." They know who the regular offenders are and are working with them. It was highlighted the ways to contact on 101 or on the Police website "report it now" section. Some asked about the analytics used to deploy the resources, and it was something that the police would come back on as there was some confusion over how up to date those figures available were online.
Littlemoor Safety Group reported about flipping water stop cocks on pavements and the dangers they pose. Wessex Water had been informed but found nothing at the time of inspection. They also didn't want to replace with plastic alternatives as the kids use them as frisbees. It was recommended that anyone who spots this to contact Wessex Water so they can investigate further.
There was some talk about the gardens tended by Aster Housing, that the residents felt were not being tended to. Additionally, concerns raised about off-road motorbikes and this was being looked into for some signage to be placed as appropriate later in the year and continues to be monitored. Also concerns about drug and alcohol abuse, with burnt out vehicles, were discussed in Lorton Meadows and were being addressed.
Speedwatch team numbers are low at the moment, especially as the team want to promote reducing the speed limit to 20mph, the procedures to apply for these needs the evidence of the team, and there was a small discussion of joining up with Preston's team, but that would take their volunteers into other areas and limit their availability on their own roads. A resident asked about cameras and was told it costs £80,000 for a fixed camera, and without the speedwatch evidence to show a need, it's unlikely to find that funding. If you are a Littlemoor resident, who would like to get involved, get in touch with us and we can pass on your details.
Louie O'Leary, who was chair for this meeting, commented on some of his actions for the community, including sadly the new bins were put in on Beverley Road, but a car had reversed into them and they hope to be replaced soon. There are some plans to have street meetings around the area later in the year. Additionally, dog mess was mentioned again, but sadly the dog warden only drives through the area and unlikely to see anything from a moving vehicle. A reminder that the next litter pick is on the 8th April, starting from the Community Centre.
The main topic for the meeting was the Community Governance Review, which from the mood of the audience, seems that no one wants in Littlemoor, and the residents have not been consulted about. It also to do with the review of the South Dorset and West Dorset boundaries for parliament, and who should get what areas as they have developed over the past 50 years. The local council want to split Littlemoor with Preston into East and West, however, that doesn't seem fair on many levels, one of the main reasons is that somewhere like that would get 1 councillor for every 18,000 residents, where not so far away at Nottington, they would see 1 councillor per 498 residents. It also seems that it's not that Littlemoor is too small to be its own ward, especially as they are asking the ward to adopt the new 500 homes, which would be better suited attached elsewhere and it's not too big either. There was a survey launched at Littlemoor Library and is available online, and we have requested the link to that, which we will share for you.
The boundaries are supposed to have clear lines and the current suggested changes clouds these clear lines in the Littlemoor area. The other area suggested to take on the new 500 homes is also being suggested to become West Dorset and it's the income from these properties that the council seems to be more bothered about. There is a Section 106 for some additional funding but all that was discussed was monies being given as one-off payment to the doctor's surgery, and some other payments, that were decided on by previous council operations before the two town councils of Weymouth and Portland split, as part of the Dorset Council re-organisation.
To be clear in definition: Section 106 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 allows a local planning authority, to enter into a legally-binding agreement or planning obligation with a landowner as part of the granting of planning permission. The obligation is termed a section 106 agreement. There was some talk last year about changing this to an infrastructure levy, which was part of the final Queen's speech given by our new King, yet to be actioned though.
There were several posters and banners up saying Littlemoor says no, and rounds of applause filled the hall, which hopefully sent a message to the sole representative of the council, who thought it was a good idea. Louie and him clashed a few times on some of the points of fact, there is still further consultations, to follow, but was sad to say many of those councillors who will get a vote, even in an advisory capacity as its Dorset Council who will make the final decision, were not in attendance to hear the communities views.
There was a basic hands up poll done in the hall on who supported no change to the current boundaries and it was unanimous, but once again those who needed to hear this were not there, apart from Louie, who has promised to fight for Littlemoor, although he has an uphill battle as usual as one voice among many others who do not live, work or support anything in the Littlemoor community.
We look forward to see how this progresses, our Nikki was not aware of these proposed boundary changes, but she certainly could hear and feel how disappointed Littlemoor residents are, which seems to be pressing ahead without any consultation or discussion on those it mostly affects.