The Dorset Echo has started a brand new weekly column, giving councillors the opportunity to talk about the issues they care about and what's great in their community. Here is a contribution from Cllr James Farquharson, who represents the Preston ward.

At this time of year, ‘It’s a Wonderful Life’, is remembered as one of the great Christmas films. It’s a story of how we can take life for granted, forgetting how lucky we are and the importance of our relationships.

Weymouth is at heart a lucky town. We have a multi-award winning beach, a World Heritage coastline, a beautiful harbour, wonderful heritage architecture and a backdrop that is an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

While changes in tourism and the Royal Navy’s departure caused problems, the economy didn’t collapse. Our high street remains vibrant, especially compared to many other towns. While we’d like higher salaries, overall employment is high. The opportunities to meet friends on a night out are legendary.

Of course, things aren’t perfect. Many residents are passionate about the need for improvements. What to build on town centre development sites. Anti-social behaviour and drug dealing. Road and rail infrastructure. The poor condition of some historic buildings. The season when dogs can exercise on the beach. We all want to see the town reach its potential.

For Weymouth, this New Year will be different. The reputation of Weymouth & Portland Borough Council is poor. Rightly or wrongly, it’s viewed as unresponsive, as well as lacking in aspiration and ability. That negativity can be consigned to history in April when it’s shut and two replacement councils are launched.

My hope is that both councils will use this fresh start to do things better. Weymouth Town Council needs to work much more closely with residents, converting enthusiasm into results, rather than frustration. Dorset Council needs to get the big calls right, delivering major projects that will help us thrive.

I said Weymouth is a lucky town and I know some won’t agree. Yet the strengths that caused the town to exist remain in place. And perhaps more by hard work than luck, Portland Port is growing fast, Eden Portland is gathering strength and in whatever form they eventually take, we will see developments on the Peninsula and North Quay soon.

In coming years, I think 2019 will be acknowledged as when our wonderful town started to regain its purpose and its confidence.

Are you a councillor? If you would like to contribute, email your column to

We have also started a 'Prime Minister for a day' column, where our readers tell us what they would do if they were running the country. To contribute to this, email

Please keep any contributions to 320-350 words.