Wareham Town Council was formed after local government re-organisation
in 1974 when Purbeck District Council took over many of the powers
of the former Borough of Wareham. The Town Council has 16 Councillors
who represent all parts of the town. In April 2006 there were 4685
registered electors. Elections are held every four years. All Town
Council meetings are held in the Town Hall in East Street on Tuesday
evenings at 7.00 pm. The public are very welcome to attend and may
speak on any topic of public interest relating to the Town at the
discretion of the Mayor.
Wareham has a long tradition of Town Mayors stretching back to 1336
and every name to date is recorded on panels in the Council Chamber.
The Mayor is elected annually in May by the Town Council at a special
'Mayor Making' meeting. A book is kept to record Mayors' names since
1703, witnessed by Councillors, and forms part of the Town Council's
civic regalia. The proceedings in the Council Chamber feature the
Sergeant at Mace bearing the splendid Town Mace given to Wareham
in the reign of James 1st. Two Constables from Wareham's historic
Court Leet in dark suits and bowler hats also bear their own symbols
of authority, a pair of two-metre wooden staves dating from 1778.
It is thought that very few councils can trace their Mayors back
as far as 1336 - although the Wareham names were almost lost for
ever. Prior to 1703, a Clerk named Nathaniel Child absconded to
London with most of the Town's records, including the book recording
past Mayors' names. Child then attempted to blackmail the town for
a large sum of money, effectively saying "pay up or the records
will be destroyed". Payment was refused, the records promptly disappeared
and the name boards were made up later (from local records which
still existed before they were destroyed in the Great Fire of Wareham
in 1762) as the only record available of those times.
The activities and responsibilities of the Town Council are many
and most of its work is overseen by various Committees appointed
by the Council. The powers and duties of these Committees are set
Standing Committees (members of the public are welcome to attend
and also ask questions):
Management of the Wareham Recreation Ground in Worgret Road containing
cricket/football pitches and a play area, three other play areas
in North Wareham, open spaces, allotment matters, rights of way,
Howard's Lane car park, land and property management, public seats,
war memorial, street lighting, arts and entertainment, litter/environmental
issues, shelters, signs and matters arising from Wareham Burials
Planning and Transport Committee
Consideration of all planning applications within the Town area.
Consideration of transport matters including liaison with Dorset
County Council on highway and traffic regulation orders, parking
and traffic calming, local and strategic plans, all other highway
Policy, Resources and Finance Committee
Deals with matters concerning policy, resources and general financial
decisions, including the annual budget setting process, borrowing
and investments, financial regulations, land and property (leases,
rents, disposal etc.), legal proceedings, public relations, tourism,
standing orders, crime prevention, bye laws. Determines applications
for donations (grants) from local groups and organisations, and
generally advises the Town Council on policy matters. Considers
all other matters not within the purview of another committee.
Committees (not open to the public):
Looks after all things connected with the Town Museum: acquisitions,
exhibitions, projects, policy, finance, volunteer support.
Wareham in Bloom Committee
Deals with all aspects of Wareham in Bloom including annual fundraising
and sponsorship, allocation of floral display contracts, community
involvement, environmental tidiness of the town, the local Wareham
In Bloom competition and the annual entry for South East in Bloom.
Human Resources Panel
Responsibility for all staff matters including recruitment, training
and implementation of certain internal procedures.
Wareham Town Council has supported a number of initiatives in the
town, including highways and traffic regulation issues, and six
CCTV cameras have been installed with Council and Police support.
There are also Council 'reps' on PACT (Partners and Communities
Together) a government-inspired body which seeks to solve problems
on a local level in a 'joined up' partnership approach. Local Twinning
Associations are supported in their efforts to maintain links with
Hemsbach in Germany and Conches-En-Ouches in France. The Town Council
is also proud to have completely replaced all of its four play areas
since 2004, either with grant funding, its own capital resources
or a mixture of both. Local children now have superb play facilities
and can enjoy a variety of equipment to stimulate and entertain
them as they grow into the citizens of tomorrow. The Town Hall,
a historic Wareham landmark,has recently been fully refurbished.
In 2009, a new Town Criers Competition was supported by the Council,
together with an innovative Wareham Music Festival, and these are
now annual events to attract even more visitors
The Town Council takes bookings for the Recreation Ground (cricket
and football pitches), the use of the Corn Exchange situated in
the Town Hall for jumble sales, farmers markets, meetings etc.,
and for use of the Council Chamber for weddings and civil partnerships.
Those who wish to book are requested to telephone 01929 553006 and
speak to the administrative staff.
The Town Council ensures that allotment sites are provided for local
residents in the town, at Northmoor and Bestwall. Contact the Council
offices for details of the allotments secretary at your preferred
site. In 2006, the Town Council approved a new 'Best Kept Allotment
Competition' for its hard working gardeners and the presentations
of trophies will take place annually in October.
Wareham Community Plan
In 2005, Wareham Town Council adopted the Wareham Community Plan
as the cornerstone of its future policies and is working to implement
all aspects of what local residents said they wanted for their town
after extensive consultation. With the help of community organisations
and volunteers the Council is committed to all of its goals. If
you want to get involved as a community volunteer, please let us
know and we will pass on your details.
Wareham Town Council:
"Working for Wareham"
Tel. 01929 553006 (General Enquiries)