Section: Region

Somerset cuts and the cost of care: a story of defunding and privatisation that is replicated right across the country

Mick Fletcher

In 2021, I wrote about the dangerous dowry left to the new Somerset unitary authority by the previous Conservative council. The combination of an unwanted reorganisation and a systematic failure to invest in local services had left Somerset especially vulnerable to financial crisis. The warning of trouble ahead was all too correct. In November 2023, […]

BCP’s big SEND dilemma

Adam Sofianos

In a matter of days, the members of Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole Council (BCP) will make a momentous decision. The result may affect the delivery of services to vulnerable children across the region. And though this will only apply to local council services, it could become a national touchstone. The question is whether to join […]

Climate and nature café to open in Wimborne

Editor-in-chief

A new climate and nature café is to be launched by Extinction Rebellion (XR) Wimborne for people suffering from eco-anxiety over the climate and nature crises. The pop-up café is at the Cafe @ The Allendale in Wimborne on Thursday 15 February from 4pm to 6pm. XR Wimborne say it is an opportunity for people […]

Plymouth City Council’s ‘consultation’ fail

Ali White Founder, STRAW Plymouth

Recently, Sheffield City Council issued an apology to the courts to whom they lied during the tree felling debacle. This follows on from apologies to the people of Sheffield and personal apologies to the tree campaigners. Sadly, no individuals ever took responsibility for this shocking episode, and nobody in charge fell on their sword. In […]

Don’t Pay for Dirty Water campaign vows to get 10,000 to boycott water bills

Daniel Glennon

A bill payers’ boycott targets Wessex Water and demands they fast-track infrastructure upgrades and stop dumping raw sewage in our seas and rivers. Extinction Rebellion Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole (XR BCP) has launched a new campaign calling for ten thousand people nationwide, including Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole (BCP) residents, to stop paying their wastewater bills. […]

Time to get fair about farming! UPDATE

Anthea Simmons

Update: Riverford’s petition will be debated in parliament Jan 22 with potentially important ramifications for farmers across the UK. We’ll be listening in. Devon-based Riverford (of veg box fame) have launched a new #GetFairAboutFarming campaign, calling for British supermarkets to sign up to the principles of Riverford’s Fair to Farmers charter: Pay what you agreed […]

A dangerous dowry for the new Somerset unitary authority

Mick Fletcher

We are reissuing this horribly-prescient article, given the parlous state of so many councils across the UK. The prospects for the new unitary authority recently imposed on Somerset are not good. Like local government everywhere, the county is having to cope with a dysfunctional funding system and a decade of austerity. It will soon have […]

BCP stripping public services – an open letter to the council

Editor-in-chief

Councils have been facing a growing funding gap since the Conservatives came into power in 2010. It is estimated that one in ten councils face bankruptcy. The government has just announced the first increase in funding, following this protracted period of austerity, but councils maintain that it is still not enough to meet rising costs […]

Dartmoor is leaking – carbon, biodiversity and actual water…

Harry Barton

The much-anticipated Independent Review of Protected Site Management on Dartmoor was published on 13 December 2023. It was overshadowed by the COP28 deal, but locally it’s just as significant: after all, Dartmoor is by far the largest area managed for wildlife in the south-west, and its peat bogs hold carbon stores equivalent to an entire […]

Dartmoor Review: yes, but where’s the urgency?

Tony Whitehead

Dartmoor Environmental campaigner Tony Whitehead looks at the Independent Review of Protected Site Management on Dartmoor published this week and asks whether it will help nature restoration in this precious landscape …  When I first skimmed through the Independent Review of Protected Site Management on Dartmoor that was published this week, my initial reaction was […]

Dartmoor at risk!

Jim Funnell

Does Lib Dem-led South Hams Council know what the Freeport really means for our wild spaces? Jim Funnell questions whether the council is in control of the full facts… Last week I wrote to all the South Hams councillors with wards bordering on Dartmoor. I expressed my concern that South Hams District Council has failed […]

‘Defend our Juries’ at Bournemouth Crown Court

Defend Our Juries

On the morning of December 4, 2023, a group of Dorset residents joined about 500 others around the country holding signs outside Bournemouth Crown Court, as part of the growing public campaign Defend Our Juries. Their signs displayed the centuries-old principle of ‘jury equity’, which is the right of all jurors in British courtrooms to […]

PART II: Has South Hams District Council lost credibility?

Jim Funnell

As the reality of the libertarian Freeport experiment unleashed on Plymouth and South Devon comes to weigh heavily on the shoulders of South Hams Council, the Task & Finish Group internal report (which will be discussed in Council Executive on Thursday 30 November) highlights issues of substantial concern. I unpack the concerns in detail in […]

Five key tests for the panel on the Dartmoor inquiry

Harry Barton

Dartmoor is one of England’s most treasured landscapes and important wildlife havens.  Just as the brooding hills, hidden valleys and spectacular tors delight visitors year-round, the oak woodlands, heath, bog and mires are home to many species that are vanishing elsewhere – including golden plover, curlew, high brown fritillary and countless rare insects, plants and […]

‘If volunteers went on strike, half the country would collapse’ – The Crafty Fox Cafe’n’Hub on the Foxhole Road

Anthea Simmons

I ran into Robbie while campaigning for the South Devon Primary. Robbie’s controlled anger and frustration with the current state of affairs was mirrored in a democracy meter filling up with the stickers that represented people’s view of the current government – not positive. At all. A resident of this rather run-down estate, she explained […]

Plymouth and South Devon Freeport – the official response

Editor-in-chief

As those who attended last night’s session, either in person or via YouTube, will know, we empty-chaired representation from the Plymouth and South Devon Freeport. Towards the end of the session, a Liberal Democrat councillor pointed out that an official response had been sent at 15:50 on the day of the event , which started […]

The advent of a more sustainable festive season?

Plastic Free Axminster -

Advent calendars are already in the shops. They have been a feature of the festive season for more than 170 years and originated in Germany. Printed versions started to be produced in the early 1900s. 16 million advent calendars are sold in the UK every year, most containing single-use plastic. The actual proportion of chocolate […]

Freeports: what does it mean to live in a freeport or special economic zone and does it matter? Event TOMORROW live-streamed

Editor-in-chief

What exactly is ‘one of the largest economic development projects in the South Hams’ – and why has no-one heard much about it? Why did South Hams District Council enter into a legally binding agreement with multi-million pound risks and liabilities over a year ago without asking its tax-paying residents? Is anyone pulling the strings of […]

Save Seaton Hospital!

Editor-in-chief

Why this petition matters The petition was started by Seaton resident, Martin Shaw, who explains why it’s needed: The Seaton area community paid half of the cost of building the Hospital in the 1980s. The NHS agreed to own and run it with NHS services for the local community. In 1991, a new wing was […]