Community Hall

May 2017

We need help to take this project forward.

Following the Parish Council’s endorsement of the initial work of the Bere Regis Community Hall Working Group (see the report on the ‘Projects’ page), the next stages of work on this important project for a new Community hall to replace the Drax Hall are now underway.

A Community Hall sub-group of the Parish Council has been set up to act as a steering group, with two working groups doing the bulk of the work. One working group is tasked with looking at funding issues. The other working group will look at property, legal, site selection and design matters.

It would be very helpful for someone with a legal background to sit on the latter working group or be available to answer queries. If you are able to help with this or have any questions or suggestions about the project, please contact Mike Gee at

January 2017

The Working Group have now completed the first phase of the project and the full report can be found by clicking on Projects in the menu bar or follow the link below:

BRISCFWG Hall Report Findings Jan 2017

August 2016

The Bere Regis Indoor Sports and Community Facility Working Group would like to thank all those who responded to the recent survey. The Group received responses from approximately 250 households in the Parish (just over 30% of the total). These responses have provided the Group with lots of valuable information about what local residents would like to see. Over the next few months the Group will be analysing the responses to the survey, examining the need for a new facility, what facilities might be provided in any new facility, the likely costs and possible sites. To ensure a wide breadth of knowledge and views, representatives from a number of village groups and organisations sit on the Working Group (including the Sports Club, the Drax Hall, the Parish Church, the School and the Scouts). The Working Group will complete its work by preparing a report for the Parish Council to consider the need, and support within the community, for a new indoor sports and community facility. Further details of the work of the Group will appear in the Parish magazine and on the village Facebook page. If you have any questions about the work of the Group or any thoughts or comments, please contact Mike Gee –

July 2016 Survey 

The Bere Regis Indoor Sports and Community Facility Working Group, have been asked to advise the Parish Council on whether there is a need, and support within the community, for development of a new indoor sports and community facility.

They have surveyed the managers and users of all the meeting places in Bere Regis. They told us that they are generally happy with the existing venues, with the exception of the Drax / Village Hall which has some limitations due to its age, size and layout.

They are sending a survey to every household in Bere Regis Parish and need you to reply to help decide what will happen. Your answers will enable them to gauge public demand for any new hall, the way in which it is likely to be used and the facilities it might provide. So tell us what you think, as your opinion counts.

The survey can be found here:

Indoor Sports and Community Facility Survey (survey is now complete)

Village Forum – 23rd April 2016

35 people were present, including County, District and Parish Councillors as well as representatives of parish organisations and residents.

Cllr Ventham welcomed everyone to the meeting and introduced those councillors present before giving a brief outline of the format for the Forum. He then ran through the work and achievements of the Parish Council over the last year, including the current status with regard to the Neighbourhood Plan, before introducing Colin Eversden, the project manager for the new school.

Colin gave a brief history of the work to date and what had been achieved on the site so far. The access road has been completed, the excavation work to level the site has been done, the piling for the main building is almost complete and the ground level foundations are in. The steel framework is half way through and the brickwork will be started towards the end of April/beginning of May. The work is on schedule in terms of the main contractor’s programme. Morgan Sindall is the contractor carrying out the work. They are aiming to complete the work by the end of the year. Road improvements in Southbrook, the crossing point in Elder Road, the footpaths in Southbrook and the final works to the access road will all be done towards the end of the project.

Wayne Roberts, the new head teacher of Bere Regis primary school, was then invited to say a few words. The school now has a new web site which is updated regularly and contains a weekly blog and photographs of the new school’s process. There is a web cam on the new school site and this will be linked to the school web site. This can be found at In September 2015, the school took over the running of Ragamuffins and the new school will have a purpose built nursery. The school now caters for children from 2 to 11 years old. They are in the process of recruiting a new nursery nurse in order to bring the staffing level up to full capacity. 17 children started reception in September – 16 of these came from the nursery. The school is looking to become a Multi Academy Trust and are considering all the options – whether to link with Lychett or possibly Purbeck School. They are currently also looking at their travel plan. At the moment, a ‘drop and go’ system has been put in place with the school opening at 8:45am. This has reduced some of the traffic congestion outside the school in the mornings. Once the new school is completed, it is intended that a cycling plan be considered for years 4, 5 and 6, with the children undertaking their cycling proficiency and being encouraged to cycle to school.  The handover date is set for 12th December, 2016.

Cllr Tom Bennett then gave a brief outline of the work of the Open Spaces Group both on the Nature Reserve site on Souls Moor and the work carried out in clearing areas of the stream and woodland to the north of the stream. He explained that, whilst some of the work appears a little drastic, it is all being done under the guidance of the Dorset Wildlife Trust with a view to encourage flora and fauna into the areas. Some areas of the stream have been cleared of weed to enable the free flow of water, whilst other areas have been left in order to encourage weed growth. This provides shelter and spawning grounds for the fish. This coming year it is hoped that there will be two ponies put on the nature reserve site during the summer months. Once the ponies arrive, members of the public are asked to ensure they keep their dogs on a lead, clear up after their animals and do not feed the ponies.

Neal Unitt-Jones then gave a report on the work of the Bere Regis Sports and Community Facility Group. They have been set up to look at the viability of a new facility – does the village need another such facility, will it be used, where it will go, etc. He stressed that the group is in its very early stages and will be approaching all the other groups in the village to ask about their existing facilities and how they see themselves progressing in the future.

Robert Beadell gave a brief outline of the work of the PPG.

Sarah Brady reminded everyone that the Twinning Weekend will be on the 16th September with visitors from Cerences coming to us this year. New families would be very welcome.

Alison Bennett spoke on behalf of the Drax Hall and Pop In. saying that this is Pop In’s 20th birthday year. They have raised over £80,000 for local charities during that time and will be continuing to hold fund-raising events this year – 24th July there will be a cream tea for the over 50s with the Dunovaria Band accompanying the proceedings. Alison went on to explain that the building is now 239 years old and is experiencing a few problems, not least of which is with the stair lift.

Neal Unitt-Jones reported that the Scout Group goes from strength to strength but they still need one more Beaver Leader for the 6-8 year olds.

Cllr Ventham informed everyone that the Parish Council is in the process of organising a street party to celebrate the Queen’s official 90th birthday on Saturday 11th June. West Street will be closed from the Manor Farm Road junction to the North Street junction. Tables and chairs will be brought from the Scout Hut and residents of the parish will be invited to bring along a picnic. There will be live music in front of Cyril Wood Court and the day will run from about 4.00pm until 9.00pm. Everyone is welcome.

Open Forum –

If the Drax Estate will not talk to us, does that mean the proposed 70 houses will not get built? Cllr Wharf explained how the number 70 was arrived at and the existence of SHLAAs (Strategic Housing Land Availability Assessment) which are primarily based around Drax land. Bere Regis has a very limited number of sites available so, if the Drax Estate does not come forward, there would be considerably fewer houses that could be built. The old school site could provide for a maximum of 30 houses but, more probably, the number will be nearer 15.

Alison Bennett – where would the proposed new community facility be situated? Cllr Ventham explained that there are a number of possible sites but the group is still in its very early stages to be considering the location. However, possibilities could include Back Lane, the site of the Scout Hut, the bottom field at the Sports Club, the old school site or the new school site. A need has to be proven before the group starts to look at possible sites.

Sarah Welton – she has written to express her concerns about the traffic using West Street and feels that it is being used as a rat run for people who think it will be quicker than going around the by-pass. StatNavs are directing people to Monkey World and Bovington, via West Street as this represents the most direct route.

It was noted that there is no ‘traffic merging’ sign on the approach to the west-bound slip road. Cllr Wharf will look into this.

Wayne #2 - 23.04.16Tom - 23.04.16

Village Tidy – 17th April 2016

On a lovely sunny Sunday morning, a group of villagers met at the central car park, were issued with pickers and yellow high viz jackets and then went off to various locations around the village to begin tidying. An hour later and several very full black sacks, the hard workers retired to the Drax Arms for a well-earned cup of soup. Thanks are extended to all those who helped. We are lucky to live in such a beautiful part of the world and a village with such a strong community spirit.

Village Tidy - April2016 - Team Fairhurst at workVillage Tidy - April 2016 - Scouts clearing the stream sideVillage Tidy - April 2016 - The ScottsVillage Tidy - April 2016 - A well earned mug of soup


Indoor Sports and Community Facility

Following on from comments made in various questionnaires and surveys in recent years, the Parish Council has set up an independent Working Group to advise it on whether there is a need, and support within the community, for a new indoor sports and community facility. This is a potentially exciting project for the village, although the Working Group will have to be realistic about what can be achieved and wishes to be careful about raising false hopes.

Representatives from a number of village groups and organisations sit on the Working Group, including the Sports Club, the Drax Hall, the Parish Council, the School and the Scouts.

The Working Group held its first meeting on 9th March when it discussed how to set about its work. The Working Group will be contacting all local groups so as to understand their requirements and how well they are currently met and will be looking at all existing sports and community facilities in the Parish to see what they provide. The Working Group will be seeking views from the wider community. The first opportunity to do so will be at the Village Forum to be held at the Scout Hut on the morning of Saturday 23rd April.

If you have any questions about the work of the Group or any thoughts or comments, please contact Mike Gee at or on 0775 988 4942.

Regular updates on the work of the Group will be posted under the Projects section of this web site, on the Village Facebook page and in the Parish magazine

The Queen’s 90th Birthday Beacons – 21st April 2016

There is a long and unbroken tradition in our country of celebrating Royal jubilees, weddings, coronations and special birthdays with the lighting of beacons. The last major beacon lighting celebration was on Her Majesty the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee on 4th June 2012 and the village came out in force to have a wonderful family day at the Sports Ground.

There will be a further opportunity to celebrate on Thursday 21st April, when beacons will be lit throughout the United Kingdom, Channel Islands, Isle of Man and UK Overseas Territories to celebrate The Queen;s 90th birthday and Bere Regis will be part of that celebration, with our beacon being lit in line with the other 255 local communities and organisations around the country.

The official Guide can be found by clicking Queen’s 90th birthday beacons. Watch the Facebook page and notice boards for more information about this event.


Parking in West Street

Parking on West Street has been a growing problem for some time now. The Parish Council has discussed this with parishioners at the June and July meeting and members of the Parish Council have met with officers from Dorset County Council to try to find some solutions. It was originally suggested that the problem of larger vehicles getting through could be resolved by moving the bus stops. This was discussed and generally agreed that it would not work. We now have another suggestion that the installation of single yellow lines at certain points along the road may be the answer. This will be discussed at the Parish Council meeting on Thursday 13th August. To read the full suggestion please click “Letter ” and for the map click “Map“. Everyone is welcome to attend and put their views forward.

The Banter Club Challenge

Up to 30 young people from our village benefit from being a member of “Banter”, socialising and having fun on Friday evenings.

Two years ago Banter was created to provide a venue and an opportunity for some of our youngsters to get together in a relaxed atmosphere. With 35 members on the books it has proved popular and is clearly meeting a need amongst our 11 to 18 year olds.

Its success is entirely down to the enthusiasm, hard work and commitment of the adult team behind it. Sadly, with a number of people having to give it up, that team is at crisis point and, unless more helpers are recruited in the next few weeks, Banter will be forced to close permanently.

Members, please note that it is already closing for the next 2 or 3 weeks because the adult rota cannot be filled.

To enable a 1 in 6 week rota Banter needs to share out the supervision to a team of about 20 adults. 7 or 8 of the present team are very happy to continue if more adults volunteer to share the work. New committee members will need to be appointed too, to bring fresh thinking and enthusiasm.

Thirty or more of our young people really need Banter to continue.

This is the challenge: are there 10 or 12 adults out there who will sign up to a one in six week rota, and perhaps give a little more time as a committee member too? The deadline is Sunday 10th May when the Banter Committee will meet to make a final decision to close or to continue.


To volunteer, or for more information, contact Hannah Mills on 07865 083896, or Kate Morris, 13 Stanbarrow Close BH20 7BE, 01929 472787 or 07881 823139,


Vacancy for a Parish Councillor


If you live or work in the parish, are over 18 years old and would like to make a difference to your community, then why not think about becoming a Parish Councillor.

We meet once a month at the Drax Hall on the second Thursday, commencing 7pm.

For further details and to submit your name for consideration, please contact the Clerk, Mrs Amanda Crocker on 01929 472327 or by e-mail:

Common Land Exchange

Souls Moor is designated Common Land although there are no commoners and no-one with common rights. However, because of the designation, the land should be open and accessible to the public. If some of the land were to be used for something such as the access road to the new school, it must be replaced.

Everyone affected will by now have received a letter setting out the proposal to de-register part of Souls Moor for the road and register an area of land to the north of the Bere Stream as Common Land in its place.

The official application has now been submitted to the Planning Inspectorate and is available for viewing at Rye Hill Farm, Rye Hill, Bere Regis from Monday to Saturday between the hours of 9am to 5pm. Please telephone 01929 472327 to arrange an appointment.

The documents are also available for viewing online by following the link:

Application to Deregister and Exchange Common Land

The Battle of Coronel

Continuing our commemorations of WWI, there will be a talk on the Battle of Coronel on 1st November 2014, at the Drax Hall, commencing 7pm.

The battle took place 100 years ago to the day. Petty Officer William Cox, the first local man to die in the war, was killed seven thousand miles away off the coast of Chile. Rod Arnold of the Western Front Association has made a special study of the Royal Navy in WWI and will explain how and why PO Cox, along with hundreds of his shipmates came to die so far from home.

Tickets are £2.50 each – under 16s go free – and can be obtained from Amanda Crocker at Rye Hill Farm 01929 472327 or