TRANSPORT AND TRAFFIC – ROAD SYSTEM
Blandford Forum on the Stour lies at the intersection of two major North Dorset routes, the A350 running from Warminster in Wiltshire to Poole on the coast in the South.
The A354 connects Salisbury in the NW to the County town of Dorchester to the SE. Both roads skirt the entire town in a loop running around the Eastern side on a wide single carriageway bypass with traffic islands at four key junctions, which connect Blandford to neighbouring towns. The daily traffic flow in 2012 was just under 19,000. (DCC traffic data)
BLANDFORD FORUM ROAD LAYOUT
FIG 1 – ROAD LAYOUT AND TRAFFIC VOLUMES
This is the only North/South A class route through North Dorset between A36 twenty two miles to the West and the A38 fifteen miles to the East. This is single carriageway with multiple severe bends and ‘pinch points’ making the road unsuitable for heavy traffic heading to and from channel ports and local freight traffic including agricultural movements. The Blandford By-pass is the only
traffic easing measure over the entire passage of the road through Dorset and carries an average of 19,000 vehicles per day. Special events such as Bank Holidays and the local Annual Steam Fair results in much higher recorded levels of movement. Unless a strategic decision at national level was taken leading to drastic upgrading of the road to dual-carriageway status through much of the County no dramatic increase in commercial activity in Blandford could be expected because of the poor regional road infrastructure. Ironically if any decision for major upgrade was proposed it is likely to be vehemently opposed by many residents along the route who complain bitterly about existing traffic levels and do not wish to see this increased.
Blandford Forum Access
Those coming to the bypass from the Warminster direction requiring Blandford are directed onto the B3082 and into town on an unsuitable narrow road with traffic calming past the Blandford School and Community hospital. In September 2013 this unsuitable road recorded a daily average of 6,000 vehicles.
Vehicles travelling from Salisbury or Wimborne are also directed into town from the northerly direction and only traffic from Poole or Dorchester would expect to enter the town from the South across the river bridge. Average daily traffic volumes on Salisbury road (2013) were 5,600.
Other than Bank Holiday weekends and the time of the Great Dorset Steam Fair the bypass remains fairly free flowing with few holdups or accidents. There are few signs on the bypass encouraging visitors, those that are highlight the Royal Corp of Signals Museum and the Hall and Woodhouse Brewery Visitor centre neither of which require access to the town centre. There is no signage highlighting Blandford as a unique historic Georgian town.
Blandford St Mary to the South of the town has only the Bournemouth road running through the village which has no pedestrian crossings and is seen as dangerous by many residents. Bryanston village to the NW has only one route into the town via a badly congested road.
Blandford town centre, as a Georgian architectural gem has few traffic lights and controlled crossing but has five ‘courtesy crossing’ close to the main Market square which can result in heavy congestion and delay at busy and peak times with a 480 yard journey through the town centre on market days taking up to twenty minutes giving a transit speed of just under 1 mph with resultant high levels of kerbside pollution. The town has two major car parks adjacent to the town centre, one off the Wimborne road to the East and a second to the West.
West street was recording daily traffic at 10,200 vehicles in November 2013. A third major car park lies South of the river close to the Tesco store that lies on the Trailway and provides a parking spot for ramblers and tourists This car park is due to revert to free parking in July/Aug 2014 which may help reduce on street congested parking to the South of the river. Almost all other car parks are
‘Pay and Display’. A number of Community groups, including the Town and Parish Councils have been lobbying to encourage trade and visitors by abolishing car-parking charges.
Traffic data from DCC Highways Dept
Parking charges are determined by North Dorset District Council and are fairly constant through the District. Sample charges for Blandford in Pay and Display parks are 70p for an hour, £2.40 for three hours and £4.00 for eight hours. This compares favourably with charges in Poole of 80p for and hour, £3.50 and £7.20 for 4 and 8 hours respectively. Visitors and tourists are not likely to be deterred by parking charges which have the greatest effect on those from the rural catchment area who visit the town regularly for work or shopping and have little opportunity to use public transport.
The Market square in the town centre has bus stops which add to the congestion as does the number of HGVs delivering to the town supermarkets including Cooperative, Iceland, SPAR and Morrison’s.
NDDC/DCC has proposed the insertion of a roundabout at the A350/Milldown Road junction. The signage at this point directs traffic to Blandford. This road is unsuitable for heavy volumes of traffic; it has traffic calming over the entire length, passes the entrances to a School, Hospital and Leisure centre. It would give better safety and traffic flow if vehicles requiring Blandford were directed to the town centre from the Salisbury Road/A350 Junction and the B3082 only had signage directing traffic to the Blandford School and Community Hospital . This would reduce traffic in a quiet residential area and reduce congestion on the Milldown Road/Park Road section.
Dorchester Hill Congestion
The junction of Dorchester Hill, Fair Mile and New road is one of the busiest junctions in the area and carries traffic, including many heavy agricultural units to and from Winterborne Stickland, Bryanston and the Dorchester Hills development. Any further housing development at Dorchester Hill or Lower Bryanston farm would make a bad situation worse.
Unrestricted parking on the lower stretch of Dorchester Hill leads to congestion, traffic delays and considerable danger for pedestrians on Dorchester Hill, which is without pavements.
It was suggested a way to ease this congestion would be to link Fairmile to the A354 at their closest point 370m apart thereby reducing traffic into this junction by at least 30%.
(Bryanston Council Survey 2012)
FIG 2 – LINK FAIR MILE ROAD TO A354
In May 2014 media outlets announced a planning application for sixty domestic dwellings on Dorchester Hill. No details or plans are yet in the public domain but if road access were confined to Dorchester Hill and fair Mile this would make the congestion problems South of the town considerably worse.
Problems Caused by Vehicle Parking –Dorchester Hill, Blandford St Mary
Summary of Residents Meeting 23rd May 2012, 7pm, at Kilderkin Cottage
There has been a considerable increase in the number of vehicles parking on the side road adjacent to The Stour Inn and on the main road from the mini-roundabout to Berkley Lodge. This is largely attributed to the introduction of charges being implemented at the Stour Meadows car park by North Dorset District Council. The problem is further exacerbated by an increase of trade vans, many of which belong to clients of the Stour Inn; these and other users of the Stour Inn who park inconsiderately in the side road. Additionally, the side road has been seen to be used as a shortcut to avoid the mini-roundabout by vehicles turning left from Bournemouth Road to Dorchester Hill.
- Exiting from the side road onto Dorchester Hill frequently requires a three or four point turn to be made; this is hazardous and in contravention of the Highway Code.
- Residents are denied exit and access to garages and parking within easy reach of their properties.
- Safety Hazards are created by those just passing through or parking dangerously, e.g. vans and Land Rovers at dangerous angles parked on the triangle.
- Long Term. Seek support from Chamber of Trade, via Trina Horrocks, and Tescos to consider funding of the Stour Meadows as a free car park as happens in Stalbridge and Shillingstone(?). Necessary to conduct a count of vehicles. Action: JR/KK, JI (?)
- Intermediate Action. Seek consent for to be designated a Residential Parking area through the gathering of signatures and formal application via the Parish Council. Action: JI
- Contact Dorset County Council Highways representative, Steve Howard, to ascertain possibility of road marking to identify access points, dropped kerbs, and to restrict parking near junctions. Also to identify responsibility for policing the points with or without further road marking. Further contacts to be made at NDDC: Debra Croney and Bernese Deakin. Action: GB
With thanks to John Stayt, NDDC Councillor for BSM and Parish Councillor, for joining the residents and providing contacts.
Geoff Barnett 24.05.2012
The Stour Meadows car park charges were removed by NDDC in August 2014 and has reduced but not removed parking congestion in lower Dorchester Hill. Proposed housing developments at Dorchester Hill (60) and Lower Bryston Farm (140) will made a bad situation infinitely worse.
REDUCTION IN TRAFFIC & POLLUTION MARKET SQUARE & EAST STREET
Suggestion to ease traffic flow along East Street. Revised 24/5/14
Aim: to get more local cars to use the by-pass
The drawback when using the bypass and entering Blandford over the bridge is:
When one reaches the junction at West St. & Salisbury St., there is often a queue of traffic.
This is because the priority for traffic is from East St. At peak times it is very difficult to turn left from West St. into Salisbury St. It is therefore quicker to use East St.
This suggestion is for 3 possible ways of solving this.
Option 1. Change priority so that the priority is given to the traffic entering Salisbury St. from West St.
Option 2. Make the junction a ‘merge in turn’ one.
Option 3. Make a ‘no right turn’ from East St. at the junction.
Options 1 and 2 are not contentious and should be readily acceptable and also very cheap to implement. The third one is more contentious, although still cheap!
Radical revision to direct traffic away from town centre
FIG 3 – REVISED TRAFFIC FLOW THROUGH BLANDFORD
Suggestion for revised traffic flow excluding through traffic from Market Place and East Street.
From Wimborne Rd traffic is directed up Damory St (no cycle lane), down Salisbury St (reversed one way) and into West St.
From West St traffic goes up Salisbury St, Whitecliff Mill St, Park Rd and Damory St.
The only portion with two way traffic is Damory St and section of Salisbury St Nationwide to Horrocks & Webb.
The Close & Plocks to remain untouched.
Marketplace to become ‘shared space’ pedestrianised.
Access through market place limited to Public Transport, residents and Disabled (East & West St only). Commercial traffic access time limited weekdays & Sat 6-8am and 4-11pm.
Scheme very similar to that applied in Yeovil.
Option – To restrict traffic in town centre without route change
Introduce a Bylaw that would restrict traffic in East Street and Marketplace to certain categories of traffic at specific times. Unrestricted traffic would be public transport vehicles, residents with permits, and disabled badge holders, Deliveries would be limited to 6-8am and 4-11pm.
Traffic in West Street would continue to use Salisbury St. A roundabout would be required at the junction East Street/Damory Street to permit unauthorised traffic to return up Wimborne road.
Short term revision to direct traffic up Sheep market Hill
Traffic Obstruction Jubilee Way
Jubilee Way is often very obstructed between Milldown Road and Heddington Drive. This occurs from 9 am to 5pm Monday to Friday and results from the Community Hospital car park being far too small for the requirement by visitors and staff.
The solution would for Blandford School to make available some of their ground not being used on the other side of the road opposite the hospital.
Speeding in St Leonards Avenue
Many complaints have been made by the residents of Leonards Avenue regarding speeding. This route via Kings Road and St Leonards links Salisbury Road to Wimborne Road missing out the town centre.
Pedestrian Access to Blandford from Bryanston Village
FIG 4 – PEDESTRIAN ACCESS FROM BRYANSTON
As can be seen from the map above, the centre of Bryanston village lies 850m from the Blandford Community Hospital on the other side of the river. However the only existing pedestrian route to the town is over private land belonging to the Crown Estate and Bryanston Public School via the road bridge over the Stour at the end of Bournemouth road. The distance to the Hospital via this route is 2km 300m. Equally large distances separate the residents of Bryanston from Blandford School, Leisure Centre, Doctors surgeries and the town retail outlets.
If agreement could be reached with the relevant landowners to grant pedestrian access over their land and sufficient funds raised to permit installation of a pedestrian bridge over the Stour residents would be tempted out of their cars on to a far healthier and shorter access route to the town.
PARKING – BLANDFORD FORUM
The 2014 Blandford Town Survey result pointed to car parking being second in priority to town cleanliness.
There is a tension in the issue from NDDC wanting more revenue against residents and traders wanting easier and cheaper access to the town centre.
Tesco, and in future Asda, have free car parks. The more recent residential developments all have designated parking. There is no problem parking on the industrial estates. The problem is in the town centre. If this carries on as it is at present it will have the continuing effect of driving residents and businesses out of the town centre, as has happened in many towns in the rest of the country.
Blandford has many residents living in the town centre and a quite lively shopping centre, especially on market days. This is its charm.
Recent rises in car park charges have resulted in increased congestion for residents. They have not resulted in more revenue for NDDC. Neither party is therefore achieving their needs. NDDCs policy seems to be a standard charge for town car parks across North Dorset. However, it would be more logical to take into account the facilities available in each individual town.
Blandford has good car parking facilities:
Access to the town centre for shopping is nearby in the Marsh and Ham and Langton Road car parks.
The Stour Meadows car park is well placed for more long-term parking.
Some free 30-minute street parking is available in the town centre.
FIG 5– PRINCIPAL BLANDFORD CAR PARKS
At present the car parks are rarely at full capacity. Reduce charges so that more people will use the car parks. This would increase trade in the town centre. It would also ease congestion on residential streets. It would almost certainly result in more revenue for NDDC.
Abolish charges in Stour Meadows and Station Court. The imposition of these has directly contributed to congestion on residential streets.
Increase number of spaces for free half hour parking e.g. Sheep Market hill and Damory St. if cycle lane is taken away.
Abolish parking in market place to make town centre more attractive.
(naturally, access for residents and deliveries will need to be maintained.)
Suggest charges in Marsh and Ham & Langton Road car parks are:
20 p for half hour. 50p for an hour. £1 for 2 hours. £2 for 4hrs.
Traders and shop workers permits if cheap enough would discourage them from parking in residential streets. Suggest £25 per car annually as in Exeter.
Town Team Survey
COMMUNITY TRANSPORT SCHEMES
A number of long established community transport schemes have recently been strengthened by new proposals given emphasis by a reduction in some rural bus routes as a result of subsidy reduction by Dorset County Council. Those hardest hit by recent service reduction are the elderly without transport means and the young who rely on public transport to access meaningful paid work. Current schemes operating in the Blandford+ area are listed below. Other schemes including vehicle hire are at the planning stage.
North Dorset Age Concern (Blandford Forum)
Age Concern North Dorset / Country Car Scheme
Friends of Blandford Community Hospital
Hillside Car Scheme
Marnhull Village Care
Motcombe Country Car Scheme
Shillingstone Country Cars
Dorset Community Transport Directory – Oct 2013
In 2013 Dorset County Council committed to make savings of £850.000 in public transport subsidies. The cuts were introduced on 1 April 2014.
The Town Team Survey highlighted reduction in services Blandford to Wimborne to run on only two days per week have generated 16 complaints as has the withdrawal of the weekend service Blandford to Poole which leaves young residents without transport with little social opportunity outside of Blandford which has little to offer youngsters other than alcohol.
The following services have been amended, or are entirely new services.
|Blandford – Sturminster Marshall (Lytchett Matravers) – Poole||Funding for Friday night, Saturday night and Sunday service withdrawn.
Bus Company has indicated that they will continue to run Sunday service commercially.
|Blandford – Shaftesbury – Gillingham||New service Mondays – Saturdays.
Replacement for service 83 between Blandford and Shaftesbury and 309 between Shaftesbury and Gillingham also serves Motcombe
|Blandford – Sturminster Newton – Sherborne – Yeovil||New service Mondays – Saturdays.
Replaces most journeys on service 368 between Sturminster Newton and Yeovil and on service 309 between Blandford and Sturminster Newton
|183 Salisbury – Blandford – Weymouth
184 Salisbury – Blandford – Weymouth
|Sunday journeys withdrawn – Service will now run on Mondays to Saturdays only. Route no longer serves Blandford Camp and revised stops in Salisbury following closure of Salisbury Bus Station.|
|301 / 302
|Blandford – Wimborne – Salisbury||Routes revised and combined to run as service 302 only on Tuesdays and Saturdays only|
Notes: Some of these routes will be considered for conversion to community transport in the future. No subsidised service or journeys will run on a Public Holiday except service 5.
The following services were withdrawn from end of service on 5 April.
Dorset Community Transport
|Blandford – Winterbornes – Bere Regis – Wareham||Route withdrawn|
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LOCAL TAXI SERVICES
Public transport links with many popular destinations in North Dorset and on a wider basis in the County are not extensive and have recently been further reduced by a £850,000 cut in bus subsidy by Dorset County Council.
Many residents rely on local taxis and the town is well served with six local companies and other firms providing taxis and car hire service over a wide area.
In addition to holiday support traffic, airports and ports etc many older people, including those with disability would of necessity use a taxi to meet essential appointments, such as Hospital visits, as a patient or visitor and would not be able to travel without taxi services. An extensive hospital chauffeur service is provided by the Friends of Blandford Community Hospital via a GP referral system but can only support a fraction of the total need.
Although Blandford and the surrounding rural catchment area is well served with taxis those with limited income would find it difficult to afford journeys on a regular basis. The exception being short distance shopping runs from Blandford and adjoining villages.
The following sample fares show costs to popular destinations including the major hospitals in the district. It is believed few residents could afford more than one or two trips a week on a regular basis.
Wimborne centre (related to recent reduction in bus service) – £20.00
Poole Station – £30.00
Poole shopping centre – £30.00
Poole Hospital – £30.00
Bournemouth Hospital / Courts – £45.00
Bournemouth Airport – £40.00
Dorchester Hospital – £35.00 – £40.00
Dorchester Station – £35.00 – £40.00
Weymouth Court – £50.00
Gillingham Station – £30.00
Salisbury Station – £40.00
Kens Kabs Blandford Forum
SUMMARY ROADS AND TRAFFIC
As an historic market town in the heart of rural Dorset, Blandford should be one of the most attractive places to live, work and visit in the County. In reality the town fails to reach this potential by a wide margin. To a great extent this failure can be attributed to a town centre heavily congested for many hours each week and with little safe and comfortable pedestrian access to the historic areas. The problem has been acknowledged by civic leaders and residents over many years and known increases in housing development and populations over the next twenty years will only acerbate current problems.
The development of a Neighbourhood Plan gives a unique opportunity to ‘seize the bull by the horns’ and take the opportunity to clear the majority of motor vehicles from the town centre once and for all and give residents and visitors alike the opportunity to stroll among the historic setting in safety and without traffic pollution.
LITTER AND STREET CLEANING
A large number of Blandford residents complained during the recent survey about litter, highlighting alleyways in the town centre and dog fouling. Similar concerns were expressed in previous surveys at BSM and Bryanston as were similar issues raised at the now defunct PACT (Police and Community Together Group). In Blandford St Mary the Skate Park and picnic ground were mentioned as problem areas. In general anywhere close to fast food and late night retail outlets are usually very littered. The principal littering problem in Bryanston is fly tipping in the woods and litter thrown from moving vehicles transiting the village.
The Town Council provides a pretty efficient early morning street cleaning team who concentrate on main town centre areas, which probably explained why survey complainants mentioned alleyways in particular.
Measures to reduce litter fall within the classic carrot and stick approach. Without early education, home and school we will continue to see new generations who think littering is acceptable or, more to the point, don’t think about it. Sanctions, including fines are rarely effective; most littering is at night with Police occupied on more pressing issues.
Some measures that may be worth considering are: –
School seminars. A display with a mornings worth of collected litter on the classroom floor (H&S beware!)
‘Litter Education’ posters. Preceding and following organized ‘litter pick’ activities.
Articles highlighting problems and costs to taxpayers in publications. BMV and Forum Focus.
Encouragement to fast food outlets to provide bigger and better litter receptacles outside their shops.
More prominent display of signage highlighting the level of fines for litter and dog fouling.
Ensuring the Police are aware of the level of community concern and respond accordingly.
The Community ‘Clean Up Blandford’ Group organise regular blitz sessions and pick litter in and around the town centre to great effect as do both Parish Councils, Blandford St Mary and Bryanston. However the subsequent publicity tends to concentrate on neat and tidy volunteers rather than the disgusting mess that was removed.
FIG – WHAT’S FOUND?
The River Stour
The Stour runs to the West and South of Blandford with the town being the historic crossing point on the route from Salisbury to Dorchester. The river runs for 5.5 km from the Durweston Bridge to the Blandford bypass and is the responsibility of the Environment Agency who are mainly concerned with flood mitigation measures. However residents of Blandford, Blandford St Mary and Bryanston have access to only 250 m of the North bank and 500m of the South bank, the remainder is private property with the Crown Estate, Blandford School, Bryanston School and Hall & Woodhouse being owners of the majority of private riverbank.
The river in tranquil and picturesque surrounding could be a major leisure attraction for residents and visitors alike if negotiated access could be agreed with landowners to provide a boost to the attractiveness of the town. Otters heron and other wildlife is regularly seen close to the town centre and the involvement of the Dorset Wildlife Trust could help publicise the area.
The Trailway, as a tourist attraction and economic asset runs through and around the town to the East and North. The river circles the town to the South and West. A footpath along the river from Stour Meadows to Durweston would allow a Trailway link at either end of the path and provide an additional facility for residents and visitors alike.
FIG 6 – STOUR/TRAILWAY PATH
A number of Fishing Clubs use the Stour for sports purposes. The Wimborne and District Angling Club hold rights on approximately 15 miles of the Stour including the section through the Blandford+ designated area.
Club venues include Durweston Mill to the NW and Buggs and Maitlands outside Charlton Marshall. Adult membership currently costs £130 per annum. Guest tickets may be purchased.
Fishing is seen on the Stour within the town including small boys who may or may not be licensed to fish.
Boating and Water Sports
The river to the NW is extensively used between Durweston and The Blandford School weir for rowing and canoeing by Bryanston School who have one of the top schools rowing teams in the country. The river stretch further South through the town is sometimes used for canoeing by youth groups such as Scouts.
The river, which should represent a valuable asset for the town and an attraction for visitors has very little public access and plays little part in encouraging residents or tourists.
FIG 7 – PUBLIC AND PRIVATE RIVER ACCESS
Blandford Forum is a unique Georgian Market Town with many passage ways and walks situated between Salisbury to the north and Poole & Bournemouth to the south. It has been said that “Blandford Forum is one of the finest examples of a Georgian Town in England” having been rebuilt after the great fire in 1731 by the Bastard Brothers. Today stringent policies from the Local Planning Authority North Dorset District Council, maintains the mainly untouched architecture of the 18th centenary street scene.
Tourist Information Centre
The town is fortunate to have a Tourist Information Centre which is located in the Marsh & Ham car park and offers information in person or by phone and email. This was earmarked for closure by North Dorset District Council as it was not a “statutory” duty to provideTICs. The Town Council supports the Information Centre by way of an annual grant and taking on the lease of the building. The Centre provides a multitude of information on places to visit, ticket sales to Bed & Breakfast availabilities and is open from 10.00 15.00hrs Monday to Saturday.
Town Team survey May 2014
Blandford Information Centre – maintain -1
The town has a block of toilets including disable situated in the Marsh & Ham car park next to the Tourist information centre, there is also a unisex & disable toilet at the entrance to Woodhouse Gardens in the Tabernacle both locations cost 20p per visit. In addition the Corn Exchange toilets men’s, women and disable are open on Market days from 8am – 4pm which are free. The conveniences are provided by the Town Council, after the District Council would no longer be responsible for them. Unfortunately the toilets are often vandalised.
Town Team Survey May 2014
Toilets – Free – Improve -7
Toilets – More / Better – 5 – Town Centre, Langton car park
Toilets – Directional Signage – Improve -1
Hotels & Bed & Breakfast
Blandford Forum has lost many of its hotels which were entwined with public houses now demolished with housing erected in their place. The Crown Hotel a Hall & Woodhouse flagship hotel is the only hotel left in the town and is in the up market price range. There are approximately eight Bed & Breakfast establishments within the town and one at Lower Byranston. To encourage more visitors a moderate priced hotel is required.
Town Team Survey May 2014
A chain hotel – More -1
Caravan Park / Camping
The Inside Park, a farm based site situated in the parish of Bryanston offers pitches for caravans, tents and motorhomes. It has 120 pitches with free hot water; large children’s play area, site shop, laundrette and dish washing area, indoor games room with pool & table tennis & free WI-FI zone. Low season prices – pitch fee £8.50, adult £4.50, children 3-15 £1, dogs £1, high season pitch fee £11.50, adults £5, children 3-15 £2, dogs £1.50. Hire of electric hook up point £3.95.
Accessibility: – Very Good
The Town Pump is located in the Market Place in front of the parish church of St Peter & St Paul, built by the Bastard Brothers and installed after all the rebuilding of the town.
Year published 1970 Sponsor English Heritage
(5) Fire Monument. It was designed by John Bastard and was erected in 1760 at a cost of £66 os. 5d. (Bastard’s Survey Book, D.C.R.O.) and bears the following inscription: ‘In REMEMBRANCE of God’s dreadful Visitation by FIRE which broke out the 4th June 1731, and in few Hours reduced, not only the CHURCH, and almost this whole Town to Ashes wherein 14 Inhabitants perished, but also, two adjacent Villages. And, In grateful Acknowledgement of the DIVINE MERCY, that has raised this Town, like the PHAENIX from it’s Ashes, to it’s present beautiful and flourishing State, And to prevent by a timely Supply of Water, (with God’s Blessing) the fatal Consequences of FIRE hereafter THIS MONUMENT of that dire Disaster and Provision against the like, is humbly erected by JOHN BASTARD, a considerable Sharer in the general Calamity. 1760’. An inscription of 1768 records an endowment of £600 by John Bastard and another inscription records the repair of the monument in 1858.
The Town has many Grade 1 and Grade 11 listed properties, which include the Town Hall & Corn Exchange, the Old House and the parish church of St Peter & St Paul with its famous Cupola, placed on the building as reportedly funds had run out, always intended to be replaced with a spire when funds permitted which they never did.
The Cemetery Chapel c1855 is located in the cemetery grounds on the outskirts of the town. The chapel is still used for
Funeral services and is opened every year for the Dorset Architecture week held in September or by request to the Town Council at other times.
Source Blandford Forum Town Council Website
St Leonard’s Chapel
Tucked away a short walk from the town centre and now surrounded by houses sits this 15th century chapel, although only able to be viewed from the outside.
Year published 1970 Sponsor English Heritage
(2) St. Leonard’s Chapel is a half-ruined 15th-century building. The ‘chapel’ is notable as the only mediaeval building to survive in the parish. It probably originated as an infirmary.
Places to Visit
Tucked away in a corner adjoining the Post Office you will find Woodhouse Gardens, given to the townsfolk in the early 1900’s by the Woodhouse (brewery) family. Run by the Town Council this garden is well-stocked, free to enter with a peaceful and serene feel.
Accessibility: – Very Good
The River Stour
The River Stour offers pleasant walks on both sides of the river accessible from the Marsh & Ham car park in Blandford Forum and the Stour Meadows in Blandford St Mary. Two pedestrian bridges span the river – the Preetz Black Bridge (named after the town’s twinned town in Germany) joins together the Langton car park area to the Stour Meadows and the Mortain Blue Bridge (named after the town’s twinned town in France) goes from the Marsh & Ham car park to Stour Meadows. Otters are often seen swimming and playing in the river. A disable ramp has recently been installed from West St prior to the bridge down to the grassed area of the Marsh & Ham car park.
Accessibility: – Very Good but only to the East of the Mortain Bridge
Source – Environmental Agency website:
The river level at Blandford is 0.47 metres. This measurement was recorded at 04:00 on 17/06/2014.
The typical river level range for this location is between 0.39 metres and 1.10 metres.
The highest river level recorded at this location is 2.78 metres and the river level reached 2.78 metres on 24/12/2013.
- Station name: Blandford
- Site id: 3305
- Watercourse: River Stour
- Site datum: 31 m AOD
- Site opened: Jan 1991
Dorset Mammal Group Website:
Otters -Status in Dorset
Now present on most of the county’s rivers although still rarely seen in most areas. However easily seen by the weir near the Morrison’s car park in the centre of Blandford Forum, and the population here although not continually present can be seen at any time of the day, often feeding unconcerned a few feet away from photographers. They have even been featured in several television programmes.
Picture by Whot2 – A Dorset Diary www.surfbirds.com/communityblogs
Town Team Survey May 2014
Bridges (blue & black) over River Stour unattractive – Replace -1
The Stour Meadows situated in Blandford St Mary is a large expanse of grassed area which has a wealth of wildlife and birds. The area is suitable for dog walking.
Annexes Town Team Survey May 2014
Meadows – riverside – more facilities – Improve – 7
Meadows –Riverside – kiosk for food & drink -2
Activities – Meadows – more – 2
Meadows –Riverside –nature /wildlife area- Improve – 1
Meadows –Riverside – remove litter –Improve – 1
Meadows –riverside – H&W Brewery – Screen with trees -1
Source – Dorset for you website
“An important site for recreation along the River Stour and links into the town centre, it is a popular site close to Blandford town centre. The mixture of riverside vegetation, grassland, mature trees and a pond create a refuge for wildlife. The specially created pond attracts numerous dragonflies such as the Black-tailed Skimmer. There are several attractive walks across the site and picnic tables are provided for lunchtime visitors.
|Look out for Black-tailed Skimmers, Kingfishers, Meadow Pipits, Goldfinches, Purple Loosestrife and Corky-fruited Water-dropwort.|
|Habitats: Grassland and wetland”|
Formerly the old railway line dismantled many years ago the North Dorset Trailway now extends from Sturminster Newton to Spetisbury, providing an off road trail for walkers, cyclists and horse riders. The latest section to be opened is between Stourpaine and Blandford. “Parkrun” a national running group intends starting “runs” along the Trailway on Saturday mornings.
Accessibility: Very Good but signage from local car parks limited.
Town Team Survey May 2014
Activities – Trailway – cycle events –more – 1
Source – Dorset for You website:
North Dorset Trailway
This walking, cycling and horse riding route runs along the route of the old Somerset and Dorset Railway line and takes you through some picturesque villages of the Blackmore vale. The old railway line provides an ideal route for a Trailway as it links many of North Dorset’s towns and villages.
There are four sections you can currently visit that take you through some of North Dorset’s spectacular countryside, towns and villages with views of Hambledon Hill and the meandering River Stour.
The trail runs along a flat, surfaced 3 metre wide track suitable for push chairs, mobility vehicles, horses, bicycles and walkers”.
Places to Visit
The Town Museum
Situated in the heart of the town down one of the passage ways Blandford Forum has an excellent Town Museum which has a wealth of items relating to the town and surrounding parishes. The museum is run by volunteers and is open from Monday to Saturday 10.30 to 16.30 from April to October, entry is free. Exhibits are changed every season and the museum runs educational events for local schools either at the museum or at the schools.
Upstairs is a scale miniature model of the train station which was closed by Dr Beecham in 1963. This exhibit draws in different sections of the community and farther afield who may not necessarily be interested in visiting the other displays the museum has to offer. The Museum Railway Club responsible for building the model and continued upkeep have been asked to take their model to exhibit at a large model railway event held at the NEC Birmingham in 2014.
The museum also has a “Victorian Garden” this is located at the end of the gravelled area and is also run by volunteers.
Accessibility: Limited – only the down stairs exhibits are accessible however a touch screen is available which shows the exhibits situated upstairs.
Source – Dorset for you website
Visitor numbers at selected attractions 2002-2012
2010 2011 2012
Blandford Town Museum 6,447 6,447 6,021
Blandford Town Museum annual report – May 2014
The Fashion Museum
The Fashion Museum, formerly called the Cavalcade of Costume is located just a short walk up from the Market Place and is a feast for the eyes, displaying clothes from across the years some dating date to the Georgian period. Collections range from gloves, hats, shoes, fans, bags and parasols with exhibits ranging from bridal, bonnets, bowlers and berets, passion for pattern and women at work. It is open Monday, Thursday, Friday & Saturday – Easter to September 10.30 – 17.00hrs and October & November 10.30 – 16.00hrs, adults £5, senior citizens £4.50, students £2.50 and children £1.50. It provides educational activities, lectures and study days. The museum is run by volunteers and experts in preserving and displaying old costumes.
The museum also has an excellent tea room and shop.
Accessibility: Limited, wheelchair access restricted.
Source – Dorset for you website
Visitor numbers at selected attractions 2002-2012
2009 2010 2011 2012
The Fashion Museum 2,389 2,413 2,164 2,166
The Brewery Visitor Centre
A short walk over the river in Blandford St Mary you will find the Brewery Visitors Centre which tells the story of Hall & Woodhouse through the ages and offers a unique insight into the workings of a brewery. The acclaimed design surroundings show the heritage of Hall & Woodhouse in a contemporary environment.
This complex also offers conference facilities, bar food and a shop well-stocked with the famous Badger Ales. It is open Monday – Friday 9.00 – 18.00hrs and Saturdays 9.00 – 17.00hrs, Brewery Tours cost £10, concessions £8, children over 6 £6.50.
The Royal Signals Museum
Within the confines of Blandford Camp three miles to the North East of the town sits the Royal Signals Museum, although on a military camp non service personnel may visit the museum but will be subject to ID checks. This museum has everything relating to the Royal Signals history of communications including carrier pigeons and recent tours to Afghanistan. It offers a great range of educational and “hands on” activities for children. It is open Monday to Friday 10.00 -17.00 and weekends & bank holidays 10.0 -16.00hrs, closed Christmas Day & Boxing Day and New Year’s Day. Entry costs – £7.50 adults, children 5-16 £6.50, family ticket 2+2 £22, group rates available. The museum has a restaurant and shop.
Accessibility: The Museum is fully accessible to disabled visitors and has special toilet facilities and wheelchair lifts.
Annual / Bi-annual Events
Blandford Forum has traditionally organised events that continue year on year.
These include the annual Blandford Carnival on the first Saturday of every September, with floats, walking displays and fancy dress.
The annual Blandford Yuletide Festival takes place on usually the second Wednesday of December and comprises of a children’s lantern parade, communal carol singing, markets and a firework finale.
Accessibility: Good – some shops inaccessible
Christmas Tree Lighting takes place in the Market Place together with seasonal refreshments, and Father Christmas in the Corn Exchange followed by a civic carol service in the Parish church, organised by Blandford Forum Town Council everything free, usually either last Friday in November or first Friday in December.
The Georgian Fayre takes place bi-annually and showcases the Georgian town by way of rural crafts, markets, falconry, folk & Morris dancing, demonstrations and displays, with some stallholders and people in Georgian costumes. A Town Criers competition is also included in the programme. The Fayre takes place on the first May Bank holiday from 10.00 to 17.00hrs; entry is by donation and attracts in the region of 20,000+ people through the day.
Accessibility: Streets accessible, wheelchair restriction in some shops.
During the weekend prior to the Georgian Fayre the Railway Public House runs a Beer Festival and the Greyhound Public House runs the Battle of the Bands.
Blandford Hidden Gardens
Around 20 residents open up their gardens for this annual event which usually takes place on the third Sunday in June. Gardens range from small patio to larger plots. Entry is by ticket which cost £4, £3 in advanced & children under 18 free which covers entry to all gardens and can be purchased at the TIC which opens on this Sunday or from any open garden.
Accessibility: Limited – Wheelchair access restricted at some gardens.
In addition the Blandford Arts Society holds an annual exhibition over 5 days in from the August bank holiday and the Blandford Camera Club holds their annual photographic exhibition over the second bank holiday in May, both are free entry.
The Great Dorset Steam Fair – the National Heritage Show
Taking place annually at the end of August and beginning of September this is one of the largest steam events in the world. It runs over five days and is just under 4 miles from Blandford at Tarrant Hinton on the road to Salisbury. Old steam engines, heavy horses, old tractors, vehicles, old fairground rides and stalls form this spectacular event.
An advanced adult day ticket cost £16, senior citizens £15, children 6-15 £7, under 6 free, on the day price adult £20, senior citizen £17, children 6- 15 £8, children under 6 free.
A camp site sits alongside the Fair site, pre-booked at £17 per night, pay on the day for tent only £20, pre-booked motor homes & caravans £25 a night
Accessibility: Limited – with caution some areas steep, stony and hilly sections.
Source -The Great Dorset Stem Fair website
“The Fair provides a number of facilities to assist disabled visitors’ needs which include; dedicated disabled camping areas, disabled toilets and showers.
A mobility scooter hire facility is available and located near the Showground entrance. However, scooters need to be booked in advance of the show by contacting Poole Shop Mobility on 01202 670450 or visiting their website www.wheelsforfreedom.org.uk. Scooter availability is limited and it is advised to book your scooter well in advance to avoid disappointment.
The organisers do not have any facilities for charging electric wheelchairs; and advise people to bring their own generator or book an electrical hook-up pitch”.
Badbury Rings is an Iron Age hillfort just under 5 miles from Blandford Forum. The site dates from around 800 BC. Perfect for children to “run around the rings” ! Free entry.
Accessibility: Limited – Wheelchair access restricted.
Hambledon & Hod Hills
Hambledon Hill is Dorset’s most impressive Iron Age hillfort wth muliple ramparts and is just under 5 miles from Blandford Forum.
Accessibility: Unsuitable for wheelchairs
Link – Dorset for you website
Key facts – tourism
Dorset for you website
Basic information on the number of visitors to Dorset, their value to the local economy and the numbers employed in tourism
Visitor numbers, 2011
|Weymouth and Portland||1.7||1.4|
|Bournemouth, Dorset and Poole||14.3||21|
Tourism spend and employment, 2011
|Area||Tourism spend (£m)||Tourism
|Weymouth and Portland||159.8||4,000|
|Bournemouth, Dorset and Poole||1,506.2||53,700|
Source: Volume and Value of Tourism, 2011 South West Research Company
Visitor numbers at selected attractions 2002-2012
2009 2010 2011 2012
Blandford Town Museum 6,447 6,447 6,021
The Fashion Museum 2,389 2,413 2,164 2,166
The Economic Impact of Dorset’s Visitor Economy 2012 – North Dorset
North Dorset District Council Local Plan part 1 2011 -2026
BUSINESS AND INDUSTRY
Predominately Business and Industry is situated on the outskirts of town, at Blandford St Mary and on the C13 – Sunrise Business Park. The later also hosts the Spectrum office, the Environmental Agency, Ambulance Depot and “Monsters” a children’s indoor play area. Blandford Camp has the largest workforce with approximately 2,000 people working on camp each day – this is evident in the amount of traffic on Black Lane, next comes Hall & Woodhouse in Blandford St Mary.
North Dorset Local Plan 2011-2026
WELL KNOWN COMPANIES
Within the industrial estates of Holland Way, Blandford Heights and Sunrise there are some “big” name businesses such as Hospital Metal Craft and their product name of “Bristol Maid” who produce metal hospital goods for home and abroad. Iracroft established in 1972, which specialise in the manufacture of Rigid Tube Assemblies for high pressure Hydraulic, Pneumatic and Coolant applications. Travis Perkins who supply building materials to trade, along with Howden Joinery who supply kitchens, and other wood materials to trade and housing associations. New Glaze dealing in conservatories, replacement windows and doors and Plumb Base supplying plumbing fixtures & fittings and Dextra Lighting – lighting specialists and manufacturers of commercial and industrial luminaires. Sydenhams stock a full range of sales items including power tools, accessories, consumables and spares covering most of the leading brands
OWN GROWN COMPANIES
HALL & WOODHOUSE
Independent brewers situated in Blandford St Mary and Public House owners in Blandford, Blandford St Mary and further afield. Recently upgraded to a “microbrewery” they have planning permission to convert the old brewery into flats, build housing and small factory type units at present we do not have a timescale to implement this scheme. In addition they offer “space” to park up articulated lorries.
Source – Hall & Woodhouse website
We’ve been brewing beer since 1777, ever since an enterprising Charles Hall started brewing beer for the troops stationed in Weymouth whilst they waited to face Napoleon. Over the years we’ve continued to innovate in beer and pubs, ensuring that we remain an independent family company at the forefront of the brewing and hospitality industry.
Source internet – Case study: How Hall & Woodhouse refinanced
M&G Investments recently provided a £20m, 10-year loan to independent brewer and pub owner Hall & Woodhouse. AccountingWEB’s Robert Lovell caught up with company FD Martin Scott and head of direct lending at M&G, James Pearce, to find out about the nuts and bolts of the funding process.
Hall & Woodhouse (H&W) is a family-owned brewer founded in 1777 and is perhaps best known for its animal-themed beer range, including Badger, Tanglefoot and Fursty Ferret.
It currently employs over 1,400 staff and runs more than 200 public houses mostly across the South West. The company also has ambitious plans to continue growing.
Due to the longevity of the Dorset-based business, H&W wanted to secure long-term finance to align debt and underpin its plans to acquire and develop new pubs around the country.
When its existing bank facility approached the end of its terms, the company was open to treading a different finance path.
“We’ve got a club funding facility with Lloyds, Barclays and HSBC, and we had some of that money rolling off in March of this current financial year. So we went to market about a year ago to start looking for alternatives,” explained H&W finance director Martin Scott.
“We just really wanted to diversify and lengthen the finance facility”.
The brewer sought advice from Deloitte who identified insurance companies as a source of business funding. After surveying the market H&W decided to invite a new player, asset manager M&G Investments, part of Prudential, to provide a 10-year refinancing package.
“Most of the other banking money was three to five years. The main thing was length because we’re a very long-term focused company, and we wanted to diversify our funding sources away from the banks,” Scott added.
On working with H&W, the head of direct lending at M&G, James Pearce, said they were attracted to them as a business because of the long history, solid track record and management team.
In particular Pearce found their ambitions and long-term thinking impressive:
“It was the little things, like when they put new windows into a pub, they’ll use hard wood, not soft wood. To you and me it’s not the sort of thing you’d think about, but the hard wood will be there for 30 years.
“They’re very long-term focused and also very relationship-driven,” he said. “They want to go and get on with their business and not worry about the next round of refinancing every three years. That really chimed with them throughout our conversations that we could provide something long-term, we’re also an institution that’s been around for a very long time, being part of Prudential.”
Benefits and impact of the deal
For many, “refinancing” is a negative term that could put them off.
“We didn’t see that at all, but when we announced it some people asked whether it was negative or positive. You hear so many terrible things about refinancing, but when we explained it, everyone understood. We’ve since had more properties come in, and we’re been quite hard on the acquisition trail, trying to buy a few more premises.
The deal highlighted and focused on H&W’s property requirement, which the company perceives as a big reduction in risk.
Up until it achieved its refinancing with M&G, the banks weren’t really providing what Hall & Woodhouse wanted.
Both parties shared a long-term focus and wanted to build a lasting relationship.
Pearce said of H&W: “They’re not afraid of doing different things, they’ve ambitions going forward and we wanted to be part of that and help realise those ambitions.
“There are winners and losers in this sector, and H&W are absolutely one of the winners. There’s a lot failing pubs which are not very well run and they take those and turn them in to really great, exciting public houses.” Our pub estate has grown to over 200, stretching from Bristol to Exeter, London to Brighton and you can find our award-winning range of Badger bottled ales nationally in leading supermarkets and off licenses.
J&G Environmental: Waste control management services for Print, Photographic and Healthcare Waste who provide expertly managed collection, treatment, disposal and recycling services to thousands of customers throughout England and Wales.
J & G Environmental website
Triple Contract Success For J&G
Monday 19th May 2014
J&G Environmental has announced that, in addition to the recent three year contract renewal by Polestar, it has won waste management contract renewals with Trinity Mirror and Newsquest.
Trinity Mirror is one of the UK’s largest multimedia organisations with an award winning portfolio of newspapers, websites and digital products. J&G has been helping Trinity Mirror identify and implement opportunities for recycling or reusing wastes since 2007.
Since 2006 J&G has been helping Newsquest, a leading UK provider of local and regional news through a network of print, online and mobile media brands, to boost its recycling programme.
Amberley Labels – producing labels for use on foodstuffs and other commodities.
Source -Amberley Labels website
Blandford based Amberley Labels has been operating for over 30 years, more than half of those at the current location in Dorset.
The purpose built manufacturing site designed to house all of the current facilities – sales, reprographics, pre-press, production, finishing, training, quality assurance and technical support.
With £5 million in sales and over 50 staff it serves a wide range of market sectors and many market leading brands.
The company was an early adopter of synthetic materials in labelling and a pioneer of in-house repro and plate making services. In 1989 these services were upgraded to include the latest electronic technology.
The production floor is organised into four manufacturing cells, conventional print, digital print, foiling and finishing.
In 2003 Amberley began producing digitally printed labels using HP Indigo technology and it has invested in the process ever since. It recently invested in excess of three-quarters of a million pounds in the latest digital technology and supporting workflow and software systems.
House of Sarrunds – offers retail and trade sales of continental chocolates & confectionery and a wide range of products from the UK.
Source – House of Sarrunds website
House of Sarunds was created with the mission of offering retailers a wider range of continental confectionery at lower prices than had ever been available before.
Maintaining its rapid growth and developing its links within Belgium, House of Sarunds constantly sought to develop its range and garner better prices for its customers. Following Robert’s retirement in 1999, the reins were handed to Peter Martin, then Managing Director at HOS, and his wife, Jackie.
When new premises were secured in 2001, the company was provided with the facility to expand its services beyond any of its competitors.
House of Sarunds expanded to offer in house packing and custom labelling to complement its distribution business. Through its dedication to helping new and experienced sellers in the art of confectionery retail, the company began to act as a great source of support for businesses across the UK.
John Ballard Ltd – Industrial sprayers, paint & coatings, powder coatings.
Blandford Timber – offers building products for retail & trade.
Blandford Timber website
Blandford Forum Timber Ltd now exceeds 50 years of trading as an independent Timber and Builders Merchant and it is worth reflecting on certain events during this not insignificant period of service in a community
During the early part of 1966 the need for growth and expansion, and to provide better access for road using delivery vehicles, the business relocated to its present purpose built premises in Holland Way Blandford
It is a fact that many established businesses carry a name that does not do justice to the full extent of their activities and this can certainly be said of Blandford Timber Co who having built its reputation on its expertise in timber has in recent years considerably extended its product base to include a full range of building materials and related products and is still able to offer the kind of personal service you would expect to receive from an independent family owned business.
In House Design – interior design and installation with retail sales.
Source – In House Design website
Here at The In House Design Co. we have been designing and installing stunning showhome interiors for house builders for over 20 years. Our unique and versatile working methods have been universally well received by developers large and small. Whether it’s a first time buyers apartment or a 5 bed executive home we have a tailor made design package to suit you. Each of our showhome projects is individually designed to your particular requirements and is combined with a financial package that offers maximum flexibility. With short to long term rental packages, buy back schemes and full purchase options we know we can marry a financial plan to your budget requirements. All our client consultation is without any obligation whatsoever so contact us to see what we can offer you.
Provision for low cost “start-up” business units has been allocated adjacent to the proposed ASDA site; although due to the financial climate it is unclear when these will be brought on line. As previously stated Hall & Woodhouse have permission to erect small business units
Town Team Survey may 2014
Business – start-ups – Support – 1
Community Owned Enterprises – More – 1
Jobs – More – 1
Whilst some land and buildings have not been in use for some considerable new land for industry is a legal requirement in the Local Plan which gives a 20 year supply. Blandford and Blandford St Mary are not easily accessible by way of the road transport network relying on the already heavily used local roads. Although siting industry on the outskirts of town gives some relief to the towns and villages Dorset does not have any motorways in the county.
Town Team Survey May 2014
Industrial Zone –Less -1
Business Rates – Reduce – 8
North Dorset Local Plan
Blandford Forum is a unique Georgian Market Town with many passage ways and walks situated between Salisbury to the north and Poole & Bournemouth to the south. The latter conurbation offers the “out of town” retail experience together with a good mixture of high street names within both town centres; likewise Salisbury has a very good array of top branded shops. It has a post office just off the centre of town. Industrial areas are mostly located on the outskirts of the town and in Blandford St Mary. With its rich heritage, Grade 1 & Grade11 buildings and conservation area, shop owners & proprietors have strict criteria to meet with regard to their shop frontages.
Blandford Forum has a weekly general market taking place on a Thursday and Saturday, the market is located in the Market Place which is in the centre of the town on the car parking area which is under Dorset County Council ownership. The stallholders set up from 6.00am and there is no parking until the stalls leave the area from 15.30 onwards. The weekly markets are run by North Dorset District Council. The stalls usually consist of Fruit & Vegetables, Handbags, Pet Supplies, Watch Straps & Batteries, Household Goods, Socks and a Burger van on a Saturday.
Blandford Forum Town Council has asked North Dorset District Council to explore the possibilities of the Town Council taking on the running of the outdoor markets; BFTC would have to pay NDDC the income that the District Council normally receives, at present this has not moved forward.
For some considerable time the Town Council has asked NDDC for the weekly markets to be tidied up and for traders to move their vans to make the market more aesthetically pleasing. This is supported by comments received in the Town Team’s survey of April 2014.*1
There is also a monthly Farmers Market which is negotiated between the local Farmers market group and the Dorset County Council.
Travelling markets such as French, Italian and the Anonymous Travelling Market visit the town when a large scale event is taking place for instance the bi-annual Georgian Fayre and the annual Blandford Yuletide Festival.
To improve the appearance of the weekly markets the Chamber of Trade together with the Town Team have produced a scheme of retractable fixed awnings to go across the length of the Market Place which could also be used for other outside events. Initial feedback from English Heritage following a site visit is unsupportive due to the visual impact of the awnings on the backdrop of the historic Georgian architecture. *2
A weekly Indoor market is held every Thursday in the Corn Exchange and in the Shambles, this is run by Blandford Forum Town Council and offers a wide range of stalls including: Antiques, Books, Toys, Food, DVD’s and Café, one table is set aside every week for free use by a local charity. Stalls are also located in the Shambles every Saturday to enhance the general market taking place outside. *3
*1 2014 BLANDFORD TOWN TEAM, TOWN SURVEY FREE TEXT RESULTS
Top general issues: Retail – 83%
Relating to Market Stalls
Town Team & Chamber of Trade suggestion of fixed awnings across the car park which would retract when not in use on market days and could be used for other events.
New market awnings (CoT / TT design) in favour – 36 (1 Town Team Survey, 35 from Community Expo)
New market awnings (CoT /TT design) against – 3 (1 from Town Team Survey, 2 from Community Expo)
Improve market – 18
Move market to the Crown Meadows – 1
Market Traders vehicles – remove – 1
Indoor market – keep -1
Street Fairs on alternative year to Georgian Fayre – start -1
*2 Business Case for retractable awnings – Chamber of Trade – insert !!
*3 BFTC Indoor market information – insert !!!!
Insert BFTC letters re market stall vehicles & about taking on !!
A large Tesco outlet including petrol station is located in Blandford St Mary, the store was granted permission in 2012 ?? (Local Planning authority North Dorset District Council) to enlarge the footprint and add a mezzanine floor to reintroduce a café on site. To date this planning permission as not been enacted. Tesco provides free car parking.
A Morrisons Market Street store is situated on the western side of town at the rear of the Marsh & Ham car park. This store was closed for some considerable time after the Safeway chain was bought up, which was detrimental to the wellbeing of the town. Morrisons decided to re-open the store approximately 4 years ago. There is no free car park only the NDDC pay & display car park nearby.
The Co-Operative has a store on the eastern side of town, which was previously a Somerfield store. Prices are more expensive than that of the old Somerfield store and comparably more than other supermarkets in and around the town. A small number of free car parking is provided with a large NDDC pay& display car park adjoining.
Iceland is located on one of the main streets within the town, it has no free parking with customers using the NDDC pay & display car park to the rear.
In 2012 / 13 ??? the Local Planning Authority gave planning permission for a new Asda supermarket to be built to the north of the town. This also includes a petrol station. The s106 monies to mitigate the impact to the town centre shops included a free shuttle bus back and forth to the supermarket and town, money for a town centre manager and a sum for town centre related projects. Expected build date is Spring 2015.
Find NDDC info on Tesco extension
Find info on Asda
HIGH STREET NAMES
Blandford Forum is not at present overloaded with “High Street Names” but does have some which include: WH Smiths, M & Co, Car Phone Warehouse, Argos, Costa Coffee, Holland & Barrett, Subway, Clarks, Spar, Superbooks and Homebase which is situated in Blandford St Mary. Planning permission has been granted for Argos to “share” space in Homebase, with the vacated premises having been given planning permission from the LPA to turn into two outlets – a shop & a restaurant.
Starbucks coffee has planning permission for premises in West St, proposed start date December 2014
Town Team Survey May 2014
Corporate / High Street names – less – 2
Corporate / High Street names – more -7
Surprisingly the town has three Boots the Chemists, prior to Boots buying all three, the chemists were all owned by the same person but they all traded under different names which gave variety and to the shopper’s choice. An autonomous pharmaceutical dispenser has requested a licence from the CCG – Clinical Commissioning Group to open an independent outlet. The reason behind this request was that the three Boots chemists do not offer any “out of hours” dispensing (late night & Sundays) this request was backed up by an article in Forum Focus asking for support and “on the street” petition signing. The first request was denied by the CCG, an appeal regarding this decision is ongoing. The Town Council has given its support by way of letter.
Town Team Survey May 2014
Boots – monopoly – replace -21
Find FF write up / Town Council letter, Simon’s letter Starbucks planning permission,
INDEPENDENT GENERAL SHOPS
The town has always been fortunate to have many unique shops, giving the local residents and the visitors a pleasant shopping experience. These shops are mainly crafts, gifts and accessories such as The Hambledon Gallery, Papyrus, Gallery 1, Aurora Gems, Moonfleet, the Sapling, Ganesh, The Valentine Gallery, Deck the Halls, The Linen Basket, Hallmark & Thorntons, Terri Harrison- Bag shop, Horrocks & Webb – jewellers, Cotton Moon- haberdasher, The Dorset Bookshop, Modo Interiors, Carrier Courtenay – interiors, Florabunda – florists, Cards & Things.
Blandford has two butchers –Mato and the Dorset larder which is also a delicatessen.
INDEPENDENT FRUIT & VEG SHOPS
Just Stokes remains, which is situated opposite the Morrisons supermarket.
Blandford has only two outlets which are Reeves the Baker which is also a café and the very recently opened Loaf in Salisbury Street.
Town Team Survey May 2014
Independent shops – more -35
The lack of men’s and women’s clothes shops was evident from the Town Team Survey, although the town has the high street brand of M & Co and independent Real Time which caters for the younger element –teens to thirties the survey showed that people wanted more choice.
Children’s clothes was available from independent Ragtags which was also the only outlet to stock school uniforms for all schools within the town and again Reale Time and M & Co.
Town Team Survey May 2014
Clothes more – 44 particularly affordable, M & Co too expensive (4) want M&S (5) Primark (1)
Clothes men – more – 22
Clothes –old people –more 4 – need to go to Poole
Children’s clothes – more -2
Clothes – young- more -1
GOODS / ELECTRICAL SHOPS
Situated within the town are: Roberts Electricals – televisions / repairs, service Appliance – washing machines / refrigeration, Wessex Carpets, Blandford Furniture Bazaar, Roman Glass, Forum Framers including gifts, The Computer shop
On the outskirts of town
Shops / outlets on the industrial estates to the north of the town include Mark Robbins Carpets & Beds, Hardy Carpets, A World of Furniture, Sunrise Warehouse, Plumbs,
Like any town Blandford has a plethora of charity shops, which include, the Weldmar Trust, The Hospice Shop, Sue Ryder, Friends of Blandford Hospital, Mental Health and two Age UK originally one was Age Concern, nationally the two charities merged. Comments from the Town Team survey showed that people felt there were too many.
Town Team Survey May 2014
Charity shops – less -34
LEISURE & ACTIVITIY SHOPS
Conyers gun & angling – one of Blandford’s oldest shops, Coral & Ladbrokes bookmakers
Off Camber – cycling, Blandford Studios- photography, Wessex Photography, Disco Box –music shop, the Computer Shop, and Bath Travel
Pet Shops – Allinghams pet shop in Barnack Walk, national chain of Pets at Home on Salisbury Rd and Healthy Pets on the Clump Farm industrial site.
Town Team Survey May 2014
Shops converted to residential – Stop -1
Historic buildings shop fronts- Improve – 6 – To be in keeping
Historic Buildings – Iceland logo – Remove -3 Or as a minimum make more appropriate to the town
Staff friendliness – Improve – 1
Shop rents – Cheaper -1
Sunday opening – Improve – 1
NDDC Shop Fronts Design Guide 2014
North Dorset Local Plan 2011-2026
NDDC Local Plan Part 1 2011 -2026