I attended the protest gathering against closure of the Weymouth Women’s Refuge and the subsequent DCC Cabinet meeting at Dorchester County Hall during which the proposal for closure was purportedly discussed.

There are many circumstances in which one can understand, tolerate or even sympathise with an adverse decision, but the events of this meeting fall beyond acceptable boundaries.

Mr Jim Knight, Labour MP for South Dorset, made a powerful plea, highlighting the value of the refuge.

Conservative candidate Richard Drax was honourably present to join the protest against his party colleagues and would undoubtedly have spoken had protocols allowed.

Coun Ros Kayes sent a strong message as to the perils of closing the refuge and Coun Roger Ellis delivered a devastating critique of the proposal based entirely on the DCC’s own analyses and findings, from its own published documents!

Coun Ellis’s argument alone would have survived any attempt at refutation and would have carried the day in any rational debate.

This was not a rational debate.

These elected representatives of the people of Dorset voted unanimously, at the behest of the unelected council officials - arguing from the most flimsy of evidence - to abolish a vital service of proven value and quality costing £83,000pa.

They will replace it with a different service that they have not yet even defined, but which is projected to cost at least £100,000pa and very likely tens of thousand more.

Of course, herein lies the rub. This decision was taken in the interests of producing a more economical and efficient service.

A service so much more economical and efficient that it will cost at least 20 per cent more than the existing one.

On top of which, it will place women’s physical safety and even lives at risk by removing a vital place of refuge and safety.

In addition will inevitably expose outreach workers to certain physical risk.

Dr Ian Sedwell, Greenhill, Weymouth.