Sprinklers in schools, 

Dorset & Wiltshire Fire & Rescue Service promotes sprinklers in schools

Date: 12th January, 2017
Dorset & Wiltshire Fire and Rescue Service is again urging all local schools to have sprinklers fitted.
Early on 3 January, the Service attended a serious fire at Avenue Primary School in Warminster.
On arrival, firefighters from Warminster, Westbury and Frome found a well-developed blaze within a temporary classroom block. Sadly, the damage was extensive but crews were able to stop the spread of fire to the nearby main school buildings.
Chairman of Dorset & Wiltshire Fire and Rescue Authority, Cllr Rebecca Knox, said: “Fires in schools are really disruptive to children’s education, and they are very distressing for them, their teachers and their families due to the uncertainty that arises as a result. Impacts can include school closures, longer travelling times, disruption of classes and after-school activities, inadequate facilities and, of course, the potential for key classwork to be destroyed.
“Sprinklers can really help avoid this; against the societal costs of loss of jobs, buildings and cost of replacement, a sprinkler system has roughly the same cost as carpeting a school. Nationally, over 635 fires occur in schools each year in the UK, which is more than one a day.”
Chief Fire Officer Ben Ansell added: “In Dorset and Wiltshire, we know only too well how devastating school fires can be and how difficult they can be to deal with, not only for firefighters but also short and long term for the children, teachers and their families.
“Sprinklers within a school building limit the spread and growth of fire and allow for the quick evacuation of children and staff. Our Fire Safety team will now be working with Avenue School to offer advice and ensure that pupils and buildings are safe from fire.”
More information can be found at www.dwfire.org.uk/sprinklers

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Local Government Reform

Presentation today to Councillors, lots of opportunities but the focus from councillors must be on communities and services.  

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Primary Care, GP practices and more

Statement as a result of a debate today at the Dorset County Council.  There is a document too which is a very good introduction to the debate,

Document link:


Primary Care Strategy Statement from the Clinical Commissioning Group:

We want to be absolutely clear that we have no plans to close any practices and any claims that we do are inaccurate. We are in fact actively working across Dorset to support practices where they are facing the greatest pressures.

Primary Care faces a number of challenges in the future, and if we continue as we are doing, our workforce and finances could soon become overstretched.

 The draft Primary Care Commissioning Strategy and Plan considers how services could be delivered differently to ensure they are safe and sustainable for the future; for example consolidation of sites or back office functions. This draft version of the strategy which is on our website has been circulated to key stakeholders to gain their views.

Our ongoing strategy is to work with local groups of practices to help shape the way in which we will deliver services to meet future population needs. This includes looking at how we would support new models of care.

It is up to individual GP surgeries to decide whether to merge or not as they are independent contractors, we cannot force any change.  

We have been listening to the pressures that General Practice faces and it is clear that practices will have to work together and explore new ways of working and looking at transforming the way care is delivered if we want to ensure that services are sustainable in the future.

Dorset CCG


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A bit of an update, Beaminster Broadband

Fleet Street, Beaminster broadband box update.  There have been ongoing discussions about the much needed upgrade BTopenreach box to supply faster broadband speeds to those residents in the Fleet Street area of Beaminster.  This is the latest.

Following further technical review Openreach have confirmed a solution has been found which should get around the issue of buried services and permit use of the existing cabinet location for an all-in-one structure. This required a departure from standard procedures which has just been approved (use of single duct for both copper and fibre, usually two) and estimates are now being raised to get the remaining work programmed. This will require removal of the current cabinet, adjustment of footings and installation of a new all-in-one unit and associated connections. 

No scheduled dates are available at present, but the overall build programme is due to complete by early December of which this work forms a part.  The outcome is looking optimistic for this is the final instalment on this particular issue for the Town.

What I also add is that now that Beaminster is just about finally linked up to the ability for residents to access superfast broadband speeds, please remember that it does mean that automatically your internet will speed up.  Individually we all need to contact our service providers and upgrade contracts to receive the speedier upload and download service.  The latest survey has shown that not everybody is doing this, so please remember you need to express interest to receive it, some suppliers, your ISP may do it for little or no money, others might charge more.   This is demand led, the more who buy in, the cheaper it gets.   

For the many others not living in the Beaminster town area, I do hope that increasingly when you test the broadband speed availability it’s getting better, just about every area is either connected or there is a plan for it by 2017 via BTopenreach, and then your individual internet suppliers.  Where there is a disconnect some great work is happening to use the forthcoming 4g mobile network being supplied via the Cabinet Office and Home Office for emergency services.  Again, you do need to look to your mobile phone supplier to establish upgrades.  It is coming.

What has been surprising is that where there is now a superfast connection, the takeup has yet to be seen in the numbers predicted.  So please check, you might not have realised it was available.

Should you have any queries in the interim please let me know

With best wishes Rebecca

County Councillor for the Beaminster Division


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Local road closure information 

https://dorset.roadworks.org/ an interactive map for local road work information, 

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Local government reform have your say, online or via forms

Local government reform, shaping Dorset’s future, responses by 25 October, public consultation

I invited all the parish and town councils in the area I represent as your Dorset County Councillor to a meeting kindly facilitated by the Broadwindsor Group of Parishes at Drimpton Village Hall on Tuesday 11 October to have a discussion about what the local government reform agenda could deliver for more community engagement, whatever the outcome of the current consultation and what it could mean for all communities.  What is so important is that you all, with this potential change, have the role and voice for what happens locally particularly in the social care arena, where about two thirds of current Dorset County Council finance is spent, have the information and therefore the ability to assist the direction of service delivery.  Social care, across the whole age from young family to those in older age is the most highest spend, yet I don’t think you have enough sight of what this is and the ability to help your communities in ways that can help at a very early stage.  I talked about this at the meeting and heard what those also representing you felt, it was a really good discussion and very much helped in seeing the focus on people, families, those in need, a collective responsibility we all have, and can help.

I was delighted that so many parish representatives attended the meeting.  Out of all those invited, in the Beaminster area, which was all, were Thorncombe, Blackdown, Drimpton, Broadwindsor, South Perrott, Cheddington, Corscombe, Halstock, Stoke Abbott, Netherbury, Marshwood Vale, Pilsdon, Netherbury, Seaborough and Netherhay.  The discussion and therefore action needs to continue no matter what the Shaping Dorset Future consultation concludes. I hope a further meeting will attract those who didn’t attend and perhaps a wider audience.  As your County Councillor I will represent everyone but I would so like to hear your views, that is really important to me.

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Abseil for Firefighters Charity

Abseil for Firefighters Charity, Blandford Church, wonderful support from DWFRS Blandford, Poole and Weymouth @dwfirerescue

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