INTRODUCTION TO THE TOWN COUNCIL

Blandford Forum Town Council is the parish authority for the town of Blandford Forum and has an estimated population of 9,200, is 409 hectares in area and has approximately 4,657 dwellings (The Dorset Data Book 2010, Dorset County Council).

It is the fourth tier of government after parliament, the county council and the district council and its legal powers are granted to it and regulated by various government acts.

Blandford Forum Town Council is the first council in North Dorset, and the fifth in Dorset, to be awarded with Quality Council Status.

 

The Town Council supplements the provision of local government services in Blandford Forum and provides a range of social and recreational facilities, while promoting and representing the town with other national and statutory bodies.

For example, the Town Council acts as a consultee and lobbying force with both the County and District Councils and regional and national government putting forward the wishes and needs of the local community.  Dorset County Council, which covers the whole of the county except Bournemouth and Poole and whose main responsibilities include education, social services, highways, strategic planning and libraries, consults with the Town Council on such subjects as the County Structure Plan, the Local Transport Plan and the Mineral and Waste Local Plan.  The District Council, which is mainly responsible for development control, environmental health, refuse collection, economic development, tourism and major recreational facilities such as the Blandford Leisure Centre, also consults with the Town Council on such matters as the District Wide Local Plan, planning applications within Blandford Forum, the economic development strategy, etc.

The town is divided into 5 wards; Blandford Damory Down, Blandford Old Town, Blandford Langton St Leonards, Blandford Hilltop and Blandford Station.  Three Councillors will be elected to represent each ward with the exception of Blandford Old Town which will be represented by four Councillors.  Click here for a list of the wards and the roads which they cover.

The Civic Year runs from May to April with the election of the Mayor, Chairman of Council and the Deputy Mayor and Vice-Chairman taking place at the Annual Council Meeting in May.  These roles and those of the Chairmen of Committees are filled by Councillors who have been nominated and voted for by their Councillor colleagues.  Town Councillors are voluntary although they can choose to receive the allowance that is now available to them to cover Council-related costs such as stationery, telephone bills, travel, etc.

The Town Council’s overall precept for the year 2012/13 is set at £565,489 which is a total of £150.34 per Band D property, a total increase of 0%. 

 

Strategic Plan 2007 – 2011 - The Town Council approved a Strategic Plan to cover the period 2007 – 2011 at the Town Council meeting held on 10 September 2007. This was the culmination of an exercise undertaken by a small working group of elected Members and Officers during the summer months. The Strategic Plan is intended for the residents of Blandford Forum, partner organisations, Town Council elected Members and staff. The aim of the Strategic Plan, supporting Action Plan and Gantt Chart are; to establish BFTC’s overall vision, priorities and how these will be delivered, to give clear direction for resource planning and budget setting decisions, and to guide our dealings with the community and partner organisations. The Town Council hopes that you will find it informative and should you have any queries regarding the Strategic Plan please do not hesitate to contact the Town Council using the details above.

Meetings & Committees - The Council operates on a Committee system according to the remits of the Committees and where necessary the Committees make recommendations to full Council.  The Recreation & Amenities Committee (R&A) and the Town & General Purposes Committee (T&GP) meet every other month. The Town Council and the Town Council Planning Committee meet monthly.  In addition there is a Finance & Staffing Committee which meets on a quarterly basis. Councillors can express a preference for a particular Committee but are voted onto Committees at the Annual Council Meeting along with the election of the Chairmen of Committees. Vice-Chairmen are elected at the first Committee meeting in the new civic year.

Subject matters are brought before Committees and Council by means of the Agenda which is issued a minimum of three clear working days before a meeting and is posted on the various public notice boards around the town and on the website. The agendas are set a week before each meeting by the Chairman and Vice-Chairman of Council or Committees in liaison with the Town Clerk.  At full Council meetings the Committees’ minutes are received and any Committee resolutions involving major changes to Council policies are voted upon. 

The press and public are welcome to attend all Council meetings and the public may put questions or make statements on any matter in the public period at the commencement of each meeting.

The minimum commitment expected of Councillors is that they will attend full Town Council and Planning meetings together with either R&A or T&GP Committees.  There are generally no meetings held during August and Councillors with holiday commitments at other times are asked to notify the Town Clerk.

Meetings usually take place on a Monday evening at 7.00 pm in the Community Room, Town Clerk's Office, Church Lane where there is access for the disabled.  Town Councillors receive their agendas and papers via the post unless an electronic version is requested.

Calendar of Meetings 2011/12 and 2012/13

 

HOW DO COUNCIL AND COMMITTEE MEETINGS OPERATE?

The following items appear on all agendas and in addition each Town Council/Committee agenda will detail the specific business relevant to that Committee. 

Public Session (15 minutes)

Apologies

Declarations of Interest

Urgent Business

Approval of minutes from the last meeting

Town Clerk’s Report & Correspondence

Confidential 

The Town Council agenda also covers recommendations from the Committees, reports from the County Councillor, the District Councillors and representatives to Community and Local Organisations plus any other Council business not covered by the Committees.

Although agendas are set by the Chairman and Vice-Chairman of Council or the Committees in liaison with the Town Clerk, any Councillor can request any item to be put on the agenda providing it is relevant to the Council.  This can be done informally either through the Town Clerk or Chairman or formally by means of a motion. Each agenda item is discussed and voted upon by the Councillors. 

The Minutes, which are not a verbatim account of the meeting, detail the decisions reached and are a record of the voting. The Minutes are usually available four working days following the meeting and are forwarded to Councillors and local media organisations by post and are also available to members of the public via the Town Council’s Website, from the Town Clerk’s office or the library.

Once a decision has been passed by Council and a course of action identified, the work is organised and carried out by the Council’s staff under the control of the Town Clerk.

 

REPRESENTATION TO COMMUNITY AND LOCAL ORGANISATIONS

Blandford Forum Town Council appoints Councillors to act as representatives to organisations and groups. within the town.  Councillors' involvement as representatives in the local community develops the Council's greater understanding of the role of these organisations and groups.  Representatives are nominated either at the request of a particular organisation/group or, if core funding has been granted, at the request of the Town Council.

The term of office for representatives is normally for a period of one year commencing from the Annual Council Meeting in May.  Town Council representatives are expected to regularly attend meetings of the organisation they represent and take an active part in its operations.  Annual reports are submitted by each representative to the Annual Council Meeting in May.

 

WORKING GROUPS

Membership of Working Groups is also voted on at the Annual Council Meeting or at the Council/Committee Meetings as appropriate.  In addition a number of Working Groups meet as and when required to discuss particular issues and report back to full Council or Committees as appropriate.

 

CIVIC EVENTS

Councillors are expected to attend various civic occasions throughout the civic year ranging from the Mayor Making Ceremony (usually held on a Friday in May at 11.00am) to the Remembrance Day parade and civic church services.  Councillors wear civic robes supplied by the Council at such civic events.

 

Notice Board Locations

Town Clerk's Office

(Church Lane) 

Old Town Ward

 

The front of the Corn Exchange, Market Place                         

Old Town Ward

 

Community Notice Board on the Tabernacle Toilet Block

Old Town Ward

 

NISA Shop, Junction of Heddington Drive and Jubilee Way          

Damory Down Ward

 

Holland Way (opposite Stanton Close)                                    

Damory Down Ward

 

Salisbury Road (next to the bus stop)                                                   

Hilltop Ward

 

Hunt Road

Hilltop/Station Wards

 

Langton Road                                            

Langton St Leonards Ward

 

 

TOWN MAPS

Langton Car Park, Long Stay

Marsh & Ham Toilet Block, West Street

The Shambles, Corn Exchange

Tesco Store (Blandford St Mary)

 

 

BENCHES

Badgers Cross (x 2)

Blandford Cemetery (x 5)

Outside the Corn Exchange (x 2)

Eagle House Gardens (outside the surgery)

Fairfield Bungalows

Holland Way (near the phone box, ‘Jubilee’ bench)

Langton Road

Larksmead Play Area (x 2)

Methodist Church (x 2)

Bottom of Sheep Market Hill (originally donated by Steam Fair, replaced by Town Council in July 2010)

Skate Park (x 5)

St Leonards Avenue/Percy Gardens x 1

Park Road Recreation Ground (x 21)

Park Road Play Area (x 2)

Tabernacle Tree (x 2)

Woodhouse Gardens (x 13)

 

 

GRIT BINS

Installed October 2010

Angus Close/Hunt Road

Elizabeth Road/King’s Road

Highfields/Wilson Park

Queen’s Road/St Leonards Avenue

St Leonards Avenue/Bayfran Way

Westbury Way

Woodhouse Gardens/Post Office

Badbury Drive/Mortain Close

Eastleaze Road/rear of No.62

 

To be installed October 2011:

Westbury Way (Top of)

Ashmore Close

Ramsbury Close

Medbourne Close

Overton Walk/Hilcot Way

Cadley Close/Froxfield Road

Preetz Way

Buttercup Lane/Larksmead

Tudor Gardens

Philip Road/Andrew Close

Barnes Close/Elizabeth Road

Langton Road/Meadow View

 

 

TOWN COUNCIL STAFF

The Town Council's executive officer is the Town Clerk who leads a team of 11 full-time and 3 part-time staff plus the honorary roles of Mace Bearer and Town Crier (click to view organisational structure)

The Grounds & Property Manager leads a team of 4 groundsmen and 3 caretakers/grounds assistants and the office staff provide the financial, administrative, Committee and full Council support services plus the public reception, venues booking service and the administrative support for the mayoral role and civic events. 

 

HOW IS THE TOWN COUNCIL FUNDED?

The Council Tax paid by Blandford Forum households includes the spending requirements of Dorset County Council, North Dorset District Council, Dorset Police and Blandford Forum Town Council.  The District Council is responsible for collecting the Council Tax.  Many people do not realise that the Town Council does not receive any revenue support from central government, unlike the County and District Councils, neither does it receive any funding from local businesses and retailers via their payment of the non-domestic rate. 

Each year the Town Council calculates the money it needs to raise to provide its services.  Then we deduct income which we expect to receive from fees and charges such as the hire of sports facilities, lettings of the various halls, etc, to leave the amount we require to spend on the services and any capital projects which are planned for the year ahead.  This sum, called the precept, is the amount we levy on the district Council and which is collected by them as a proportion of the total Council Tax paid by Blandford’s households. 

The Town Council’s overall precept for the year 2012/13 is set at £565,489 which is a total of £150.34 per Band D property, a total increase of 0%. 

 

Click here for the Town Council's Complaints Handling Procedure