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427 UK & international governance: Good practice in local government


Making the most


of local knowledge North Dorset District Council is helping the region’s businesses and areas of natural beauty to flourish


As with all of our projects, the work was crucial, valuable and led by the people.”


Striking landscape North Dorset covers 238 sq miles of striking rural landscape, including two sweeping Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty and sites of special scientific interest. “I have to pinch myself sometimes that I get to work in such an incredible place,” says Goodall. “As well as being surrounded by breathtaking scenes, it’s also a very friendly, active and social environment.” And, with a wealth of quality workspaces


I


t is the people who live and work in a community that know best how to make it great,” says Liz


Goodall, Chief Executive of North Dorset District Council. It’s a philosophy that sits at the core of the council’s belief in community-led regeneration. A prime example of this is its project to extend


the southern end of the town of Gillingham with an additional 1,800 homes by 2026. “Based on a careful, continued dialogue between the community and developers,” says Goodall, “locals are helping to create the master plan. Tis very close interaction with communities is characteristic of the council.” A precedent for the Gillingham project was


a similar development in the town of Sturminster Newton. Says Goodall: “It meant a complete revival of the town, at a time when it was suffering from the closure of its central cattle market.


available, the council is encouraging businesses into the area, promoting its status as a prosperous and enjoyable place to work. North Dorset is also home to a lot of small businesses, which the council helps to make viable and sustainable. “Our whole vision is about creating thriving, balanced and environmentally responsible communities in our towns and villages,” says Goodall. “We want to do this by building our economic prosperity and safeguarding our unique surroundings.” Te council may be a relatively small one,


but it boasts multiple assets. “Just one example is our incredibly innovative workforce, who are forward-thinking and customer-friendly,” says Goodall. “We’ve also managed to reduce running costs by over 40 per cent in the past six years.” Whatever decisions are made, the council


wants local people to be involved. “Tey are our eyes and ears,” says Goodall. “We are close to communities, and we know the importance of allowing them to have input—really, they are the best people for the job.” — www.dorsetforyou.com/398154


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