Letters to the BV Editor March 2022


On Mr Loder & the sea eagle
I, like so many others, was shocked and appalled by our MP Chris Loder’s comments on social media around the death of the Sea Eagle this month. I am staggered that a man so connected to a rural community, who has until this month made such a name for himself as an advocate of animal welfare, could be so astonishingly ill-informed.
The original comment – basically that he would not support the police using time and resources investigating the killing of unwanted birds of prey instead of drug crime – was badly done, and contained a number of factual errors.
The drugs team is entirely unrelated to the wildlife protection team, and the birds were not ‘introduced’ to Dorset, they flew here of their own volition from the Isle of White.
Are politicans now to choose which crimes are to be investigated? Can the police not do both? Should the Dorset Police Rural Wildlife & Heritage Crime Team be disbanded then?
And if there are not resources to do both, then surely that is his failing as our local representative to ensure the police are properly funded to do so?
Mr Loder then compounded his error by seemingly supporting his case by sharing an article from The Scotsman, in which the only unbiased facts seemed to be from the RSPB
“What’s being said about [sea eagles] attacking livestock is inflammatory and people are basing their opinions on what they perceive to be the case rather than reality.”
Commissioned Report 370 on Sea Eagle Predation on lambs in the Gairloch area was commissioned after farmers and crofters complained of high lamb mortality.
Within the study area in the radio-tagged flocks, no lambs (including both tagged and non tagged lambs) were taken by white tailed eagles.
Surely local sheep farmers have more trouble with uncontrolled off-lead dogs than they do with birds of prey?
Mr Loder appears to have upset the rural police, many wildlife organisations (Mr Packham was one of many outspoken in his disapproval), farmers, and he sadly made the national press with his ill-informed views. His suggestion that local residents may be concerned for the safety of their domestic pets is frankly alarmist.
I congratulate Dorset Councillors Laura Miller and Byron Quayle for publicly reprimanding him for his comments. Perhaps it’s time the Conservatives need to reconsider who is representing this nature-bound, agriculturally-important constituency?
Dr Charles Mathews, nr Sherborne
(there was also a heated discussion on Facebook here around Mr Loder’s comments)

Sherborne’s CCTV
I was disappointed to read a statement from Sherborne Town Council following their meeting on February 21st indicating once again that CCTV would not be supported in the town. In a town with barely any Police presence and increasing crime and antisocial behaviour, residents and business owners are now being forced to spend hundreds of pounds installing their own CCTV to protect themselves and their businesses.
The Town Council quote a figure of £130,000 for six cameras. I find this sum ludicrous. Just recently it was reported that sixty CCTV cameras are being setup along the French coast at a coast of £170,000, all with live 24hr feed.
Surely, as a bare minimum working practice, at least three quotes should be obtained before spending public money?
Of course, all of us would rather we had more Police on the streets but that simply isn’t going to happen any time soon and in the meantime I and others are no longer able to walk home alone after dark for fear of attack. Not only would CCTV help to deter and convict criminals but it can also be used to trace missing persons, important in a town with a high population of young and elderly people.
Mary Carr, Sherborne

Stur’s Little Mermaid Panto
I had to write and commend the SNADS group for the Little Mermaid production – specifically for the special ‘relaxed’ performance. We attended with my daughter, who is autistic, and it was utterly wonderful. It was admittedly chaotic, loud and frankly rather mad with an entire audience of ‘free thinkers’ enjoying the liberation of responding how they chose. It was brilliant to see so many who are often excluded from live theatre deeply enjoying the show. Above all it showed the amazing professionalism of the cast – no matter what was going on out in the seats, the show went on with gusto.
Bravo, SNADS – and thank you.
Jenny G, by email

On Noc’s Dorset Island Discs
Thank you BV for shining a spotlight on our amazing local councillor Nocturin Lacey-Clark. I have always respected and admired his integrity and his unstinting work and support for our community. But I never really knew ‘the man’ rather than ‘the councillor’. What an inspiring story, and such an asset for our town.
Mary White, Blandford

What a terrific selection of tracks that Nocturin Lacey-Clarke selected. I have to admit, I never expected to see Korn or Talking Heads featured in a rural Dorset magazine – but it’s all the richer for it! Fascinating inisght into the Blandford councillor, too – I get the feeling the town are lucky to have him representing them.
Martin Grey, Verwood

How brilliant it is to have the ability to hear the music being talked about in your Dorset Island Discs!
I do love the way you include videos in your pages – where they are pertinent and helpful – and it works especially well when reading about music you do not know or cannot place.
I would expect the original ‘Desert Island Discs’ radio format to lose something without the ability to listen too, but I am enjoying the new series immensely!
Iris Altrincham, Wimborne

Access to cash
Which? Magazine recently asked readers to write to their local paper to support their campaign to highlight the impact of lost access to cash in their community. The two following are representative of the letters we received, all of which began “I’m concerned about my ability to access cash in my local community….”

The number of free cashpoint machines has decreased in Blandford, which is 6 miles from where we live.
Tescos is the most convenient for us, but they have recently reduced from two to one – and that is sometimes temporarily closed. Lloyds Bank is the nearest alternative.
We still need to pay cash for certain items such the newspaper, as well as others who help us with occasional shopping etc.
James Hamilton-Brown, email

I am disabled and can no longer drive, so having cash in my purse is crucial in my local rural community or if I am taken out by some kind soul.
I am also concerned about the ability of criminals being able to knock on the door and demain my card and card number.
In a rural and sparsely habited situation I need to feel secure – and a bit of cash in my pocket can be very reassuring.
Paula Andrews, by email

From Facebook this month:
Our most-commented post on Facebook this month was on last month’s story that the increase in second homes combined with rocketing property prices mean tough decisions must be made for planners wanting to house modestly-paid key workers. The Leader of Dorset Council, Spencer Flower, has instigated a radical proposal, potentially looking at an entire new town:

“I think it would better if a proportion of houses being built around current towns such as Wimborne and Blandford were actually sold at a price people on low incomes or single salaries could afford to buy. More affordable housing is needed even if that included housing such as tiny houses or sustainably built out of wood etc.”
Anne Biggs

Time to take a look at renovating the decaying buildings in town centres and sadly neglected buildings with very very greedy owners just sitting on them. Turn them into realistic affordable/ starter homes/ single person homes for working class local people.
Susan Colings

What about all the existing developments being built? Why are they not affordable for local people? We already have another town built in west Dorset, Poundbury. Why are they not affordable houses for local people?
Andy Angler

“The council don’t want to pay anymore for low paid jobs – however the people doing them can no longer afford to live in Dorset – so they are losing their minimum wage labour. They have to be housed somewhere because otherwise the council will go bust trying to afford to pay Teaching Assistants, Admin Assistants, Care Workers, Cleaners etc. all those people saying no thank you! You have kids right? You are going to get old? You will at some point need someone being paid minimum wage. Where is fitting to live for those people doing those jobs? A tent? Remember – those people kept the country going.”
Mary Seer


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