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Councillors pose for first council photo

Dorset Council councillors

Councillors of newly-formed Dorset Council posed for a photo after their first meeting.

The 82-seat unitary authority, which met in Dorchester yesterday, replaces six previous authorities and 170 councillors.

Weather: 'Cloudier and cooler'

Bee Tucker

BBC Weather

Sub-postmasters wanting to quit 'in limbo'

BBC Spotlight

Post office counter

Sub-postmasters in the South West say they are in limbo as they wait for new operators to take on post offices in their communities.

Steve Pile said he had been waiting seven years for a new operator to be found in Charmouth in Dorset. He is retiring on Friday without anyone taking over.

In Trewoon in Cornwall, Sally Bourton said she could not afford to leave until another post office was established at another shop in the village.

This is despite the Trewoon branch earmarked for what Post Office Ltd calls its transformation programme in 2012, meaning it could be moved into another shop or taken over by another business.

Post Office Ltd describes such closures as temporary and its planned changes would lead to a sustainable network across the country.

Weather: Dry and sunny, but breezy

Alex Osborne

BBC Weather

Wednesday will be dry and fine with a brisk east-southeasterly breeze making it feel less warm in coastal areas.

A change in the weather is on the way from Thursday, bringing a risk of showers.

Tuesday's weather forecast: Chilly start but dry and bright day

Today there will be some chance of clouds but generally clear skies.

Temperatures will range from low single figures to highs of 20°C.

South weather: Chilly start but dry and bright day

Monday's weather forecast: Dry and sunny today, but rather breezy

Today will be a dry and mostly sunny day with a chance of some cloud.

However, there will be a keen easterly breeze.

Maximum Temperature: 14 to 17°C (57 to 63°F).

Dry and sunny today, but rather breezy
Dorset nurses celebrate International Nurses Day
Nurses from Dorset tell us why they love their job on International Nurses Day.

Weather: Early mist will clear to sunny spells

A clear and dry start, but there will be some areas of early morning mist or fog.

There will be long sunny spells throughout the day, but there is a chance of an afternoon shower. Light winds.

It will become rather cloudy this evening and some outbreaks of rain will spread from the west overnight, but it will be quite mild.

Maximum Temperature: 16°C (61°F).

Hawk takes on seagulls in Dorchester

Bandicoot is going to be driving out seagulls from the Dorset town, and he'll be watching them like... a hawk.

It looks like he means business too.

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Green and independents join forces on new council

Green and independent councillors on the new Bournemouth Christchurch and Poole Council (BCP) have joined forces to secure stronger representation on the new unitary authority.

Having worked together over the past year, Simon Bull (Green) and Kieron Wilson (independent) have been joined in their grouping by new Green Chris Rigby and independent Lisa Northover.

Being part of a group gives its members a right to seats on committees while its support will be required if any non-Conservative majority coalition is to be formed.

No party won overall control in last week's elections and discussions on a way forward are being held with the chief executive.

'Giant' sink-hole in Dorset

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A hole the size of a dinner plate discovered in February beside the Inland Coast Path on Bronkham Hill, West Dorset, has grown to be many times larger.

"When this hole was first reported we took action as we knew it could indicate a chasm of unknown depth," John Sellgren, from Dorset Council, explained.

"I am happy to report that the sink-hole now appears stable and the National Trail is open."

The hole sits in the Dorset Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty where rain water sometimes seeps through the surface flint and gravel to dissolve the porous chalk beneath.

Dragonfly project in Dorset extended

Melanie James

BBC Radio Solent

Dragonfly Logo
You First

A Dorset project to help victims of domestic abuse is to be extended.

The Dragonfly project uses the symbol of a dragonfly to show people in an abusive situation where they can find confidential support and advice.

The project trains people to become champions within communities. They're able to receive and respond to disclosures of domestic violence and abuse.

Funding has now been secured to continue the Dragonfly project in Dorset and to extend it to Hampshire, the Isle of Wight and West Sussex.

Weather: 'Sunny spells and heavy showers'

Dan Downs

Weather Forecaster

Council Conservative group leader replaced

Tristan Pascoe

BBC Radio Solent political reporter

The former leader of Bournemouth Borough Council John Beesley (pictured) has been replaced as leader of the Conservative group of the new Bournemouth Christchurch and Poole (BCP) Council.

John Beesley

He was ousted in a party vote by Bob Lawton, until recently the cabinet member for housing in Bournemouth.

Following last week's local elections, the Tories are the largest group on the new council with 36 seats but the other 40 opposition members are continuing to discuss forming an alliance to wrest control from the Conservatives.

Lib Dems, Poole People, Greens, Christchurch Independents and Labour councillors have told the chief executive they would be prepared to work together in a coalition.

Weather: A mostly dry day ahead

Expect highs of 15C

Dorset turnout almost 38%

A higher percentage of voters turned out for the first Dorset Council elections than for Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole.

Turnout for the newly-formed unitary authority was 37.9%, compared with 33.13% for BCP.

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Dorset council merger still an issue in election

Tristan Pascoe

BBC Radio Solent political reporter

Previous local elections in Dorset have been something of a one party affair - with the Conservatives dominating all nine council areas.

But this time the political map has been redrawn - the nine councils have all been consigned to history and two new "supercouncils" have taken their place.

All residents are facing increases in their council tax bills - but some more than others. In the west, Dorset Council is harmonising everyone's council tax - whereas it'll take seven years until residents here in Bournemouth and Poole pay the same as in Christchurch.

As well as saving money by sharing services and back-office functions, it means fewer councillors, but there's still simmering resentment from some councillors opposed to the whole merger process.

In fact a number of Christchurch Tories were suspended by the party after declaring that they'd stand as independent candidates against former Conservative colleagues.

And with those deep divisions - rather like Brexit - no one can predict exactly how it’ll play out.

Ones to watch: Dorset and BCP

Tristan Pascoe

BBC Radio Solent political reporter

These are the first elections to the two new unitary councils in Dorset.

Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole Council (BCP) covers the more urban areas of Dorset and is formed from the two unitary councils of Bournemouth and Poole and the district council of Christchurch and its area of Dorset County Council.

Dorset Council is formed from Weymouth and Portland, West Dorset, North Dorset, Purbeck, East Dorset and those parts of Dorset County Council.

It reduces the total number of council seats in the county from 333 to 158.

Predecessor councils were all Conservative, so it would be surprising if the new councils’ control veered from this.

Counting for both councils is taking place later during the day on Friday.


Dorset Echo: Home gutted by blaze

Dorset Echo
Dorset Echo

Appeal over motorbike and lorry crash

Police have appealed for witnesses to a crash involving a motorcyclist and a lorry in Dorchester.

The crash happened on Tuesday shortly after 20:20 BST at the traffic light junction of Kings Road and London Road.

The motorcyclist, a man aged in his 80s, was taken to hospital with serious injuries. The driver of the lorry was not injured.

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CCTV released of men suspected of cars damage

Footage has been released of two men throwing stones at a car windscreen.

The two are suspected of damaging two different cars at around 13:30 BST on 14 April on Windham Road.

The CCTV has captured the pair throwing stones at the windscreen of a car parked outside a home before damaging one outside a neighbouring property.

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Weather: Dry and sunny

Tuesday will be generally dry with light winds and spells of sunshine.

Generally dry and sunny spells

Good morning

Welcome to Tuesday's South Live.

We'll be bringing you breaking news and updates from Berkshire, Dorset, Hampshire, the Isle of Wight and Oxfordshire until 18:00.

The Dorset family who are living plastic-free
The Fynes family decided to go plastic-free after seeing ducks eating rubbish at a picnic site.

Failed shopping complex building demolished

Local Democracy Reporting Service

Dorchester Community Church site

The final building has been removed from the site of an aborted shopping complex project.

Dorchester Community Church had been the one remaining building which stood in the way of the Charles Street scheme, which was first proposed in the 1970s.

A number of developers did not proceed with the project.

West Dorset District Council spent £930,000 on buying and relocating the church in 2015.

The site will now be used for parking while the new Dorset Council considers its future.

Gold bracelet 'find of a lifetime' for detectorist

BBC Radio Cornwall

A Cornwall metal detectorist got the "find of a lifetime" when he unearthed a gold bracelet on a dig.

Ian Tucker
Pete Penfold

Ian Tucker, from St Agnes, found the bracelet in a field near Dorchester, Dorset, on Sunday.

He was among several from Devon, Cornwall and Dorset Detectorists who had been scouring the area.

Pete Penfold from the group said: "I've never seen anything like it, it's something quite special finding so much because we had never searched that area before."

The bracelet, along with several other gold finds, will now be assessed as treasure by officials and Ian and the landowner could be in line for a handsome payout.

"It's a big heavy lump, about three ounces of gold (85 grammes) so it's a lot of money's worth," said Pete from Helston.

Weather: Mainly dry, sunny spells

Dan Downs

Weather Forecaster

Monday will be largely fine and dry, with a chance of a few showers in Dorset.

Tuesday should be the warmest day of the week with temperatures possibly up to 19C.