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Mayor’s Blog – Christmas Cheer, Light up a Life, Bridport Investment Plan and lots more



Earlier this year Bridport Town Council and other stakeholders raised concerns about the pressing need for investment in our area and the relatively low level of historic funding allocated to Bridport and West Dorset.  When the Town Council spoke to West Dorset MP Chris Loder about this, he rightly advised that we needed to articulate our investment needs to provide an ‘ask’ of the larger funding allocations for the area.  The Bridport Investment Plan responds to that advice and makes an evidenced case supported by extensive stakeholder input over the summer months.

The investment opportunities identified in the plan are set in a strategic context that will increase the resilience of Bridport’s local economy and drive future sustainability.

I very much hope you will join with the Town Council, the business community and other local stakeholders in supporting the plan as the basis for achieving our investment needs.  Bridport has responded to our MP’s advice and I hope it is appropriate in that context to now ask for his and your help in driving forward our aspirations.  To that end, we are of course ready to engage in further discussion with you and your organisations.

You can read more about how the plan was developed, along with the supporting evidence HERE.



I attended an emergency meeting of the Foundry Lea Working Group on Monday evening which was also attended in person by representatives of the developers. Other stakeholders also joined us at Mountfield and via Zoom.

The developers set out weaknesses in the administrative, communications, and supervision processes that led to the mistaken removal of trees, hedgerow, and shrubs on West Road, outside the development site.

They were very apologetic and set out work they are doing to ensure there is no repeat, and to reinstate the hedgerow. They can’t plant fully mature trees but are looking at ‘semi-mature’ replacement.

The developers have also offered other forms of ‘reparation’: They will be working with BTC, Wessex Community Assets, and Raise the Roof, to train people in the skills needed to re-use the wrongly removed trees, the aim being to provide a legacy made from the wood. They will also be sending staff to carry out community volunteering activities in the New Year, and are working with schools to provide student-designed ‘hedgehog houses’.

There are separate ongoing discussions with the landowner whose hedgerow was affected, Symondsbury Estate.

WELDMAR HOSPICARE – ‘Light up a Life’

Once again this year, Weldmar Hospicecare is holding local ‘Light up a Life’ services at venues across Dorset, the first of which I am thrilled to tell you was right here in Bridport at Groves Nursery and Garden Centre last Friday evening.

‘Light up a Life’ is an opportunity for our community to come together to remember those who are sadly no longer with us, whether they were cared for by Weldmar or not.

The ‘Light up a Life’ service combines readings, hymns, and carols supported by local community musicians and singers, bringing people together during a season when feelings of loss are very often strongest

Weldmar Hospicecare is an independent, local charity for the people of Dorset supporting adults living with any life limiting illness, and also provides support to their family and loved ones. This care is given at home, via Day Services across Dorset, or at their Inpatient Unit in Dorchester

All of Weldmar’s care is provided completely free of charge, but Weldmar needs to raise over £18,000 every single day, I repeat £18,000 every single day or to put it another way £12.50 a minute in order to keep providing these vital services when they are needed most.

Sadly demand for Weldmar Hospicecare’s services is rising year by year, and they couldn’t continue to provide this care to every adult who needs it in Dorset without the help of the local community.

During the 2 minutes it took me to say my few words of welcome and switch on the lights on the magnificent tree Weldmar Hospicare would have had to raise £37.50. To find out more about Weldmar Hospicare and make a donation click HERE


Due to a clash of appointments I was unable to attend the Christmas Tree Festival Service in the United Reform Church. Deputy Mayor Dave Bolwell went along instead and his report follows:

I attended the annual Christmas Tree service at the United Church Bridport last night and had the pleasure of switching on the Christmas tree lights. It was a joy to see all the decorated Christmas trees and having done my own for quite a few years now I can appreciate all of the hard work involved. I was particularly taken with the ones from the primary and pre-schools, all of which were spectacular with hand made decorations by the children. It is definitely worth a visit to see them and perhaps take the opportunity to make a donation for charity.

I was asked to do a reading, Luke Chapter 2 1-20 and I always marvel that the events leading up to and the actual birth of Christ are told in so few words. Worth a read if you are not familiar with it.

Do pop in and have a look at the creative way in which the trees have been decorated this year. Whilst there you can also take the opportunity to make a donation to some very special local community groups and charities.


Help spread festive cheer around the town by entering our new competition for The Most Festive Front Door! Open to all residents in and around Bridport. A prize will be awarded to the home with the best festive front door by competition sponsors , Karen & Godfrey from Bridport Banners.

All you need to do to enter is send a photograph of your festive door and email it with your name, address and a contact phone number to Entries will need to be in ready to be judged on Tuesday 20th December. Good Luck.


A gentle reminder that as you receive your Winter Fuel and Energy Support payments to consider donating some of it to this years Mayoral Charity’s.

We are all very aware of the escalating cost of energy to heat our homes, to cook our food, to wash and dry our clothes and run our vehicles. An additional consequence of the dramatic rise in energy costs is an equally significant rise in the cost of everything we purchase, whether it be our everyday food and other essential household items or the little luxuries we have been accustomed to treating ourselves to.

Times are definitely harder than they were twelve months ago. But for some they are very much harder than for others. For many people struggling to make ends meet additional energy support payments from the Government will make a significant difference in their ability to manage over the coming winter months. But for others in a more fortunate, healthy financial position, these payments are of relatively little consequence in the big scheme of things. If you are one of those fortunate households perhaps you could consider donating part of your energy support payments to one of The Mayor’s Charity’s:

Bridport Youth and Community Centre – Youth Club Account
Bank – Nat West
Sort Code – 60-03-29
Account No. – 79170331

The Bank of Dreams and Nightmares

Bank – Nat West
Sort Code – 60-30-03
Account No – 29324246

Apologies to those who have altready tried to donate for the extra zero in the Youth Centre Account No in a previous Blog, it has been corrected and should work smoothly now. Fingers crossed.


The redevelopment of the St Michael’s Trading Estate is something that is much needed and has long been talked about. The current owners of the estate Hayward & Co have submitted updated planning applications which could in the fullness of time bring this about.

Bridport Town Council were joined by Marin Ridley form Hayward & Co at their recent Planning Committee meeting. The plans were discussed at length and Martin was able to add some important details and clarify several points in response to councillors questions.

There’s not much time left for you to review and comment on the planning applications to redevelop St Michael’s Trading Estate. To have your say on the three applications involved, use the links below:

Application 17118L – 66, St Michael’s Lane

Partial demolition and redevelopment of the Lilliput Building alongside the repair and
re-use of the Grade II listed former Ropework Buildings, to the rear of no. 40 St.
Michael’s Lane, Bridport, to form 9 flats and improved commercial floor space.
Link to application. When the link opens scroll to the bottom of the page and click ACCEPT to go to access the application. Then click on View Documents to view the plans.

Application 2852 – Lilliput Buildings adjoining 40 St Michael’s Lane, St Michael’s Estate (Additional Information)

Redevelopment, including part demolition of listed and unlisted structures and
refurbishment of retained structures to provide: (a) 9 residential units (including
refurbishment of one existing unit); and (b) a net decrease of 47 sq. m. of light
industrial floorspace. (Revised scheme). Link to application.

Application 2012 – South West Quadrant, St Michael’s Trading Estate (Additional Information)

Develop land by the erection of 83 dwellings (48 houses and 35 apartments), new and refurbished commercial floor space, associated car parking and new vehicular and pedestrian accesses following demolition of some commercial units. Make repairs to flood wall immediately west of ‘Tower Building’. Appearance and landscaping reserved for further approval. (Further revised scheme). Link to application.

The Bridport Town Council response to the planning applications is summarised in the video below.


The streets of Bridport were thronging with people on Wednesday evening taking the opportunity to do a spot of late night Christmas shopping and generally enjoy themselves. The smiles and laughter said it all as people young and old took the opportunity to simply be together and enjoy themselves free from the constraints of the past couple of years.

A particular highlight for me was to meet Izzy Follet, a Year 10 student at Colfox School, who designed this years Mayor’s Christmas Card. Just before I switched on the lights on the big tree in Bucky Doo Square I presented Izzy with a specially printed set of cards with her design for her personal use and a cheque for £25.

Her simple but very effective design is now on its way to Mayors across Dorset, our MP Chris Loder, the High Sheriff, Lord Lieutenant and many local organisations and people to wish them a Merry Christmas and say thank you for the work they have done to support the people of Bridport, in a huge number of ways, over the past year.

In addition to the late night shopping opportunities many businesses had mulled wine, mince pies and other snacks on offer to entice people in and say thank you for your custom. Market stalls on the street, craft stalls in the Arts Centre and Town Hall, plus food, drink and music on Millenium Green, and it was particularly pleasing to see the George Hotel on South Street open once again

The images below give a flavour of the evening, but you had to be there to fully appreciate it.

Christmas Cheer does not happen by magic, it takes a great deal of planning, coordination and hard work over many months and particularly on the days running up to it to make it all happen so smoothly. This year the task of bringing it all together fell to the Town Council’s Terri Foxwell and what a brilliant job she did. A big thank you from me Terri on behalf of the town for pulling it off so successfully. But Terri could not have done it on her own as her message of thanks below to all the Town Council team members involved shows. Well done and my thanks go out to all of you.

I will be thanking the Cheer committee separately but want to take this opportunity in the bulletin to thank all Bridport Town Council team members, Mountfield team, Grounds staff, Cleaning team, and the TIC team for their support and hard work.

As you will be aware it’s not just the work on the event itself, it is all the work that goes on behind the scenes and of course the work to make Bridport Christmassy. These jobs can be anything from applying for the road closure, dealing with all the payments, installing Christmas trees, promotion of the event, electrics, logistics of the event, set up, break down etc. etc. etc.; the list goes on.

It is too much to list all the tasks that go on but each one of you will know what your role in this was.

To the ground staff, Sean, Ed, Paul V, Tim, Tom, Paul S, your support, and assistance was outstanding, some of the best compliments I’ve received is about your friendliness, helpfulness and smiling faces whilst working a long, hard, cold day. Thanks to Paul V especially for the electrics and organisation. There is a pint awaiting you all.

To Mountfield, TIC and the cleaning team, thanks for all the background work, you are all stars ⭐ and I should say thank you for putting up with me during the whole process! And to the boss for allowing me to boss him for the day!

I would also like to thank Ken for going the extra mile to support and guide me particularly in the pitching.

Not forgetting one last person, who isn’t working at the moment, Daryl, obviously you taught me well! you were missed but the whole team did you proud!


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