Letters to the Editor May 2023


Laura editor of the BV Magazine
Laura editor of the BV Magazine

I write this at 3:44am Friday morning. I sat down here at my desk 22 hours ago, well prepared for the monthly ‘pre-publication day marathon ahead.
Two hours ago I was standing in my kitchen eating a hot buttery toasted bagel with peanut butter, thinking ‘just a couple more hours’. But we’re not done yet. Beside me, Courtenay is slowly clicking through page after page of this oh-so-nearly done May issue (just this letter and the Index to go. Whose idea was the clever clicky index anyway?)
I know I mentioned it last month, but in a couple of weeks we head to London for a national awards ceremony. We don’t care if we win. The very fact that we made that list is beyond astonishing. Because it’s just.. us. I’m not sure if most people truly grasp that.
Obviously we’re here, now, putting the magazine together, and we of course have a big team of writers and columnists who fill it with us.
But apart from that… Website design? Us. Website content? Us. Ad design? Us. Networking? Us. Event coverage? Us. SEO work? Still us. Accounts? Us (C’s money in, I’m money out. Would appear I’m better at spending it). Social media? Us. Stats analysis? Also us. We often tell people this, and they nod, and say ‘OK, but can I talk to the person who does the…’. Yes. Yes, you can. How can I help?
When we booked our awards dinner seats, we were asked how many places we wanted. I think he thought I was joking when I said ‘well, as there’s actually only two of us…’
Yes of course it’s exhausting, and we have no idea when we’ll next get a holiday. But every business owner knows there’s a tipping point before you expand; we’re teetering on the brink.
And there are benefits. It means we know every single last detail about this gorgeous magazine of ours. It’s innately ours in the way only something that grows under your fingertips can be. We know everyone in it. We remember every article. We read every Facebook comment, see every email, write every tweet (and worry over whether tweet should be capitalised).
So for a panel of judges to think The BV is up there with two of the best regional newspapers in the country? We’re already winners.
(what I actually meant to talk about this month was mugs. I got a bit sidetracked. In the space of the last month, every single one of my favourite mugs – the sturdy afternoon coffee looks-like-an-enamel-mug mug, the thin small evening one, the round comfy hug-in-your-hands one, the I-run-like-peanut-butter funny one… has developed a chip, a crack, been dropped or come out the dishwasher in two pieces.
How does that happen?
Have a wonderful May – and think of us on the 18th.

On planning applications
I am concerned about the number of recent planning applications submitted by developers in our area – as discussed in Rachael Rowe’s excellent article of the March issue (Is North Dorset overwhelmed with housing developments?).It has recently come to my personal attention that developers may not always disclose all details within their applications, leaving room for potential harm to our neighbourhoods.
I would like to urge all local residents to take the time to thoroughly examine the documents submitted by developers. If you wish to object to a proposal, it is imperative to review all submitted materials with a critical eye. It may seem overwhelming at first, given the volume of paperwork, but I believe this is precisely what the developers intend. They may use excessive documentation to obfuscate important details or hide major gaps in their proposals.
As communities, we must not let ourselves be overwhelmed by the daunting task of reviewing these applications. Rather, we should work together, dividing the paperwork and sharing our findings with one another. By doing so, we can ensure that all developments adhere to the needs and requirements of it’s neighbours.
I encourage all residents to take an active role in reviewing local planning applications and voicing their concerns when necessary. As a united community, we can welcome much-needed excellent housing expansions, but also prevent undesirable developments, ensuring that our area remains a great place to live for years to come.
J Nailsea, Sherborne

On climate protesters
Criticism of climate protesters is a sad indictment of how seriously many view the looming crisis. The criticism most widely hurled at these various forms of direct action is that they are counterproductive, that they antagonise ordinary people and make them stop listening.
There is an obvious reply. No one was listening in the first place, before the activists took to the streets. Even endless scientific warnings have made little impact on public or government behaviour. The establishment media have paid only lip service to the dangers, even as the effects on the climate have become harder to overlook. And governments have made placatory noises while doing nothing meaningful to reverse the collision course humanity is on.
There have been repeated promises to stay under 1.5ºC of global warming while already emitting enough greenhouse gases to cause an increase that means we have little chance of avoiding staying under 2ºC with what we are doing.
We need change on a scale that no one is grasping, apart from the protesters, and I appreciate how drastically they are trying to get that message across. The future looks pretty dire. If we lose the biodiversity we lose everything, there’s no going back. It scares me a lot. Its not a rebellion we need. Its a revolution.
M Holderness, Charlton

On complaining businesses
As a newly-retired woman who has successfully run my own business for most of my life, I have recently been surprised at the number of local business owners that dismiss, belittle or simply moan about social media. The internet is no longer new, and businesses have had many, many years to adapt to the ever-evolving digital landscape.
It is crucial for businesses to embrace change and adapt to survive in today’s competitive market.
Publicly complaining about the ways of the modern world is, in my opinion, the fastest way to make your brand appear old, dated, and irrelevant to a new audience.
The most successful businesses are those that attract and retain new customers by staying current, utilising the tools and technologies available to them; and in 2023 that has to include social media. I am astonished at the many older, established local businesses who not only struggle to adapt to a newer business model, but publicly bemoan the need to!
Social media platforms offer businesses an incredible opportunity to engage with their audience, build brand awareness and promote their products or services. By dismissing or belittling these platforms, local businesses will simply miss out on valuable opportunities to connect with potential customers and grow their brand. They can ensure their business remains relevant, attracts new customers, and continues to thrive in an increasingly digital world.
Susan N, Blandford

On young people
It is crucial that we begin to address the needs of the younger generation in Dorset.
In recent years, I have noticed a growing number of young people in our community who seem to be struggling to find meaningful activities, support, and opportunities for personal growth. This then leads to feelings of isolation, boredom, and disconnection from the community. In some cases, these feelings might even contribute to risky or antisocial behaviour.
It is our responsibility to ensure that our young people have access to the resources and support they need to thrive. Outside of the uniformed youth groups, where are the safe spaces for them to socialize, learn, and develop new skills? Where are the programs and activities that help them develop a sense of belonging?
I am tired of seeing our young people drift moodily through their teen years, awaiting the day they can escape elsewhere in order for their lives to begin.
What a waste of our home-grown talent and skills.
Ronnie B, Child Okeford

The field solar debate
(In response to the March Rural Matters column from the CPRE – Say YES to solar, but NO to greenfield solar power stations)
Interesting, but not balanced. I have solar panels and battery storage but feel Rupert Hardy’s pro-roof PV, anti-field scale PV stance only tells part of the story. I am no expert but the cost and use of resources to produce 1kW in a field must be less, cleaning, maintenance and repairs must be easier, and linking up with the grid must be better.
I recognise that the UK’s effort to eliminate hydrocarbon use is of little point unless the rest of the world does the same. That said, if I had the choice between having a south facing field in an AONB covered in PV and less global warming … and no field covered in PV and more global warming ….my choice is easy. One is a reversible inconvenience, the other is a disaster.
Keith Beeson, via the website

On being shortlisted!
I am an avid reader of the BV, and wanted to extend my congratulations to the entire BV team for being shortlisted for the national award this month (Regional Publication of the Year in the News and Magazine Awards 2023). It is well-deserved recognition for creating such a high-quality publication.
Over the last couple of years, I have been consistently impressed by the breadth and depth of the magazine. From local news – covered properly – to showing us the beauty of Dorset’s wildlife, to a fascinating insight into farming, allotments and equestrian (I don’t ride, nor do I drive a tractor or grow my own veg. And yet I can’t resist them!), the BV magazine has become my go-to source for staying connected with my county. The digital format makes it easy for me to read and share the magazine with friends and family, even those who live outside Dorset.
Your magazine has a warm voice that makes it feel like catching up with an old friend. And of course the stunning photography keeps me coming back for more every month.
I am sure many others feel the same way.
I congratulate the whole BV team just for making the shortlist, an achievement in itself alongside two big regional newspapers, and I wish you the best of luck in winning the award. You deserve the recognition for the outstanding work you do.
Marie L, nr. Wincanton
Thank you Marie! The swish Mayfair awards night dinner is on the 18th of May; we’ll be sure to keep everyone posted! – Ed

Gorgeous donkeys are apparently a new thing for the letter’s page – this beautiful nose was sent in by Laura McCormick.


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