Blandford Forum Town Council is the parish authority for the town of Blandford Forum and has an estimated population of 10,325, is 409 hectares in area and has approximately 4,806 dwellings (2011 census).
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 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 Council
The Town Council is made up of 16 Councillors who 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. Councillors represent different wards of the Town. The North Dorset (Electoral Changes) Order 2014 abolished the 5 wards of Blandford Forum and created 4 wards as follows: Blandford Central, Blandford Hilltop, Blandford Langton St Leonards, and Blandford Old Town Ward. Three Councillors will be elected to represent each ward with the exception of Blandford Central which will be represented by seven Councillors.
The Mayor and Chairman roles will be filled by one Councillor. The Chairman is responsible for ensuring that effective and lawful decisions are taken at meetings of the council and that Councillors are fully informed in order to make those decisions. They are often the public face of the Council and attends many functions arranged by local organisations throughout their year of office. It is a demanding role, but one that is very worthwhile as there is so much contact with the public. In the absence of the Mayor, the Deputy Mayor will preside at meetings and attend functions. However they do not wear the robes or chains of office as they are only deputising for the Mayor.
The Town Council’s Officers are made up of a team of 18 staff. The Town Council recognises the importance of ongoing training for both employees and Members and therefore adhere to a Training Policy.