The Annual Town Assembly, usually held in the Corn Exchange, was held online on Monday 26th April 2021. Members of the public and local groups and organisations were in attendance. The Mayor read out her report, which is as follows:
My name is Cllr Lynn Lindsay and I am the Mayor of Blandford Forum.
I look back on this year and, despite all the unknown elements we have been facing, I have been continuously proud of this town and how it’s community quickly – and kindly – pulled together to keep each other safe.
It must be a very difficult time for younger people and I praise the work of the organisations such as Treads and the Youth Centre who have continued to support them as they navigate their way through this period.
The Food Bank has been under increasing pressure and like my chosen charity, The Community Kitchen, they have continued to support those in need.
As a Town Council, we have worked hard to continue to provide services this year, support local businesses, our hirer and residents and we have continued to work on projects too.
The annual meeting of the Town Council was postponed until May 2021 due to Covid-19 restrictions and it was agreed to carry town councillor positions over until that time. I agreed to continue as Mayor for 2020/21 with the Community Kitchen remaining as my charity for the year.
VE Day events were cancelled but we were able to compile a fitting virtual celebration with the help of some wonderful people.
The custom designed bench to mark the 75th Anniversary of both VE and VJ Day was installed in the Tabernacle, located next to the WWI bench.
Tree photography competition launched for its second year.
A new conference system was purchased to use for the council meetings in the Corn Exchange.
We marked Armed Forces Day but we were disappointed we were not able to go ahead with the Royal Corps of Signals Freedom Parade to mark the Regiment’s 100th anniversary. A small ceremony was held in the Market Place in lieu of the parade when we would have stood shoulder to shoulder, and waving our flags, lining the streets in support of the troops.
Two additional internet ports were installed in the community room to assist with social distancing in the office and this will also be of use in the future for meetings held in the community room.
Skate Parks, Play Areas and Outdoor Gyms were re-opened following the government advice and the relevant safety procedures and signage put in place.
Regular stall holders on the market were offered a temporary rent reduction for the month.
Street dressing items (bollard sleeves, bench stickers, floor stickers) to encourage social distancing and hand sanitising stations were installed.
Payments relief from July – September given at 50% for the sports pavilions.
We were honoured to be joined by the High Sheriff of Dorset for the presentation of community awards to some of those who had gone above and beyond during the first lockdown.
Planning permission and Listed Building Consent were granted to replace the lantern light between the Town Hall lobby and the Corn Exchange.
A Covid secure Community Expo was held.
A grant of £1,470 was approved for In Jolly Good Company.
Work started preparing the budgets for the 2021/22 financial year.
We worked with Soldiers from Blandford Camp who cleaned memorials of those who served in the Armed Forces but do not have a Commonwealth War Grave in Blandford Cemetery, following research carried out by Town Council Staff. We also replaced the information board at the cemetery, which lists all casualties of war buried there.
Access to the top of the railway arches was opened to the public.
The Climate Change and Biodiversity Action Plan was expanded and updated.
We have now switched to 100% renewable energy for our electricity supply and have a timeline in place with achievable aims.
BFTC was awarded three annual DAPTC Star Awards for training for the 4th year running.
The Town Pump was restored and is looking stunning, especially with the Blandford Fire bench now located next to it, which was moved earlier in the summer.
Expenditure authorised for the demolition of the toilet block at Park Road recreation ground.
Expenditure approved for the supply and installation of an outdoor table tennis table at Larksmead recreation ground.
Grant of £2,000 awarded for the introduction of a community fridge.
We held an Act of Remembrance on Wednesday 4th November prior to the second lockdown. It was a significantly reduced service, to avoid creating a gathering and wreaths were laid privately.
I am very grateful to our local garrison, parish church and Royal British Legion for their contribution and support to ensure we were able to commemorate both Remembrance Sunday and Armistice Day.
Architectural Technician appointed to complete the Town Hall façade project.
2021 Calendars sold out!
Payment relief of 50% given to Sports Clubs during October and December and 100% payment relief for November 2020 due to the lockdown.
Expenditure approval given for the introduction of three raised beds for wildflower areas at Jubilee Way. These are due to be installed in May.
Woodhouse Gardens was lit up (almost a month earlier than planned due to the lockdown) and it looked beautiful. It is always a peaceful haven away from the bustle of the market town and had an extra touch of magic about it.
Small Christmas tree and lighting columns lit up through town.
Shops and businesses of Blandford Forum contributed to the small Christmas Trees again this year. Thank you to everyone that contributed to this!
The Christmas Window Competition was held.
Grants awarded to Blandford Opportunity Group, Panda pre-school and Blandford Railway Club.
5 laptops gifted to The Blandford School.
Historic England approved a grant of £4,000 towards the replacement of the lobby glazing between the Town Hall and the Corn Exchange. Works started on 20th January 2021.
Water Refill point installed in Market Place, in collaboration with Wessex Water and the Dorset Council.
Venue charges frozen for the 2021/2022 period.
The Town Council agrees that 100% payment relief is to be extended for the period January to March 2021 due to the national lockdown for use of the Sports Pavilions.
The Town Council agrees to waiver the utilities charges for the sports clubs, and sending a zero-charge invoice, for the period October 2020 to March 2021.
Expenditure of £2,885.40+ VAT approved for the planters and bedding around the town.
Toilet Cleaning Contract renewed with a local contractor.
Expenditure approved for works to Lime Trees at Cemetery.
Public Art Installation at Persimmon Estate completed.
Expenditure of £1,552.78 approved for lighting up Woodhouse Gardens in the month of December due to last year’s success.
Commonwealth Day flag raised at the Corn Exchange.
Works have started at Park Road Recreation Ground car park to extend the car park, demolish the toilet block and introduce two new electric vehicle charging points.
Works completed on the lobby glazing between the Town Hall and the Corn Exchange.
A total of 74 Planning Applications were considered by the Town Council between May 2020 and April 2021, which are dealt with by the Planning department at the Dorset Council.
Last modified: May 4, 2021