Posts tagged “Dorset County Council

Bridport Town Hall’s golden weathervane restored

The golden weathervane on top of Bridport Town Hall, regilded in 2011 by Bridport artist Jemma Thompson, pictured on the right.

YOU'RE SO VANE: The weathervane on top of Bridport Town Hall, resplendent in its new coat of gold. Bridport artist Jemma Thompson is pictured right.

THE WEATHERVANE on top of Bridport Town Hall has been re-gilded – and very fine it looks too.

Bridport artist Jemma Thompson applied sheet gold in her studio on St Michael’s trading estate in the South West Quadrant.

The weathervane is much bigger – and heavier – than it looks from down on the ground.

It’s 2.4 metres long and is made from lead and copper, so it weighs around 100kg.

It took 10 men to get it back up on top of the Town Hall’s cupola.

Bob Gillis, clerk to Bridport Town Council, said: “The dome of the cupola has also been cleaned and the columns repainted. The clock face and surrounding slates are now being repaired and restored and as work is completed from the top down we will be lowering the scaffolding.” 

The weathervane and cupola on top of Bridport Town Hall before re-gilding and restoration, with a view over the town towards the West Dorset countryside.

LACKLUSTRE: Bridport Town Hall weathervane and cupola before re-gilding and restoration.

Bridport Town Hall is being restored as part of a £1.2 million Heritage and Conservation Project funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund, Bridport Town Council, Dorset County Council, and West Dorset District Council.

Weathervane was stuck in Somerset cart wheel hub

Bridport Town Hall is Grade 1 Listed but that doesn’t mean it was constructed with impeccable skills and materials first time round.

I was talking about it in The Loders Arms the other evening to structural engineer Simon Brody of Brody Forbes Partnership in West Bay.

He was saying that a key part of the structure supporting the weathervane (the bit the pole was stuck into, in very non-technical terms) had been found to be the hub of an old Somerset cart wheel. He knew it was Somerset because there was a name inscribed which he’d traced back as far as 1823.

Mr Brody wondered whether a cart had come down from somewhere like Taunton or Shepton Mallett and broken down and, rather than try to repair it, they’d salvaged the wheel hub for re-use.

And you have to say: it may have been improvised back in the 19th century, but no one could say that it hadn’t lasted, given that it’s now 2011.

Editor’s Note: Jemma Thompson also gilded the fine golden bull hanging outside The Bull Hotel in Bridport. Pretty cool to have two gold artefacts in Bridport town centre. I can only think of the King George III statue in (say) Weymouth. The statue’s mason, incidentally, was James Hamilton – who also worked on Bridport Town Hall…

Lush Places: the PFI street light pact, coming to a lamp post near you

I am so incensed after returning from a public meeting about street lighting in Dorset. No. I’m more than incensed. I’m bloody incandescent.
How can it be, in these days of so-called people power, that Dorset is under the threat of being changed for ever?

“Precious little ‘democracy’” at West Dorset District Council

“Much that I’d been warned about in relation to the way in which West Dorset District Council conducts its affairs appears to be true. There is precious little “democracy” as evidenced by the fact that there’s virtually no debate on major issues.” So argues independent councillor Alistair Chisholm, who was elected in May 2011.

Your Dorset: A Rant

Dorset County Council's newspaper Your Dorset

Dorset County Council's newspaper Your Dorset. The Red Bladder questions its value at a time when the council is planning to cut £31 million.

SO, EVEN in these straitened times, Dorset County Council has still managed to bring us yet another edition of that little belter Your Dorset.

A 16-page, full-colour publication that unashamedly assures us that the council is constantly striving to make our lot a better one and glorifying in its own spectacular achievements in a way that would make even the Communist-era Pravda blush.

Self-gratifying, vainglorious and Panglossian are words that might spring to your mind when thumbing through its turgid prose but they are not ones that I would use to describe it – I would be a lot blunter.

It comes at a time when old Eric ‘give him the money Mable’ Pickles, our much-loved Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, keeps harping on about what a waste of money these ludicrous rags are.

After all they have to be written, designed, printed and then, probably most costly of all, distributed to every household in the county. None of that comes cheap.

Still the bigwigs in County Hall are facing tough decisions, burdens must be shouldered and the pain shared out.

So come on then lads, which is it to be, lollipop ladies guarding and protecting the children of the area or another batch of free lining for the bottoms of their hamster cages?

We know that you are all wonderful on the Council, we know that you labour tirelessly both night and day to improve our lot and we know that making cuts hurts you just as much as it hurts us.

So for pity’s sake stop telling us about it in expensive publications  and, just for once, face up to your proper responsibilities.

Editor’s Note: You can download a PDF of Your Dorset by clicking on this link – that is, if you never got your copy, or you’ve mislaid it, or you’re visiting from elsewhere and you’d like to assess it for yourself.

Your Dorset is written by the county council’s communications team, designed by Deep South Media of Bournemouth, printed by Newsquest in Weymouth, and distributed by the Royal Mail. The council says the cost is about 12 pence per copy.

West Dorset: Have your say on free bus travel

IT SEEMS that all the news is about cuts these days and this is no exception. Money available for bus passes for older people is being significantly reduced.

At the moment, responsibility locally lies with West Dorset District Council but as of April 2011, it will be with Dorset County Council. 

Up to now West Dorset has been offering extra concessions e.g. free travel before 9.30am. Older people elsewhere in the UK – depending on the goodwill of their councils – have to travel after rush hour.

What seems to make sense in towns and cities where buses are busy with people travelling to work does not necessarily add up in remote parts such as ours. 

Imagine you live in Melplash and need to go to Yeovil for the morning. If you can no longer take the 07.44, the first bus available is at 10.24, getting you to Yeovil at 11.20. 

And if you want to travel from Beaminster to Weymouth without going around the houses, then you can no longer do it for free as the only bus is at 08.45. 

The consultation ends this Friday, 14th January (it started on 3rd December). Seems a bit short but I have only just been made aware of this (then again, I don’t qualify for free travel yet!). 

I understand that this consultation has had a postal survey and a web survey. If you qualify for a free bus pass, are affected by the proposed changes but have not been made aware, here is your chance:

A Dorset County Council spokesman commented: “Whilst the official deadline is 14 January we will be processing responses received for at least 5 working days after the deadline.”

He went on: “We are consulting, amongst other things, on the possibility of restricting the use of passes before 0930 on weekdays in West Dorset, East Dorset and North Dorset (this restriction already applies in Christchurch, Purbeck and Weymouth & Portland).

“The final decision will be made by councillors taking into account the much reduced government grant and the impact on passengers of such restrictions.

“It is, however, highly likely that where buses are infrequent officers will be recommending that exemptions are allowed (there are already precedents for this in areas where the pre-0930 restriction already applies).

“We are currently identifying those journeys likely to be recommended for exemption and it is quite a long list!” 

Dorset cuts to cost local newspapers £45,000 a year

DORSET County Council hopes to save about £45,000 a year by reducing the size of its adverts about roadworks in local newspapers.
Is this a dodgy assault on the public’s democratic right to information?
Or a sensible move to safeguard front-line services?