From previous newsletter you will recall that we supported an application by Friends of St Catherine’s Hill and CBC for a lottery grant in aid of an event History on the Hill which will be mainly focused around a one day on-site and outdoor public event on Sunday 24 September 2017, celebrating the rich heritage of St Catherine's Hill with a strong First World War theme.
CBC Officer Robin Harley tells us that a grant of £10,000 has just been agreed. He will give us a full report in July. Anyone that would like to get involved or find out more should contact him
Christchurch's planning committee have voted to approve the outline plan for the proposal to build 875 homes at Roeshot Hill off the A35 near Hinton.
The site will provide at least 27% affordable housing, which goes some way to meeting CBC targets. Planning officers do not believe that additional traffic will be a major issue – presumably because Christchurch is already close to gridlock at times.
Worry has previously been expressed concerning a lack of health care facilities on the site. The plan commits £55,000 to the local NHS to add 20 new parking spaces at Burton and Bransgore surgery and Highcliffe Medical Centre to deal with more patients. There is no mention of additional doctors.
A lack of schools in the area was also an issue previously raised. Planning officers believe that existing schools (Somerford Primary and The Grange) have the capacity to accommodate extra pupils. DCC Education does not object to the plan, which includes a contribution of nearly £2.9 million to education facilities in the area.
New Roadworks at Chapel Gate
As part of the Dorset Local Enterprise Partnership's BIG programme, DCC will be making improvements to the Chapel Gate Roundabout. The £1.5m work is currently scheduled to start on 3rd July 2017 and will take four to five months to complete.
- A new dedicated left turn filter for westbound traffic from Hurn
- An additional lane providing eastbound traffic better access to Aviation Business Park
- A new cycleway and footway links into Aviation Business Park
The 40mph speed limit at the current roundabout will also be extended east so that it includes the length of the new dedicated left turn filter.
For the latest news and updates, follow the BIG project blog (opens in a new window)
Meanwhile, Bournemouth Council has purchased the Wessex Fields site for £2.25 million to build a new link road from the Spur Road. This expenditure is linked to plans to create a new junction on the A338 between Blackwater and the Cooper Dean.
The land between the Royal Bournemouth Hospital and the golf course is earmarked for housing and has been talked about as a potential location for a new Council Headquarters building.
Such a development would enable the sale of the existing inefficient buildings, including the Bournemouth office that is in a prime tourist location.
Guidance Training on Avoiding Scams
Our thanks to Winkton Residents Association for drawing our attention to an on-line training session that could benefit you and your relatives
Scams come in many different forms and often start as an uninvited letter, email, phone call, text message, or cold calling doorstep trader. Behind these “amazing offers” of winning the lottery, fixing your roof, etc are criminals and fraudsters who are just out to con you or your relatives.
Many scammers can be very believable and often leave those who have been scammed feeling ashamed, scared and silent. Scammers often return again and again till the money has been drained.
Action Fraud has received the first reports of scammers claiming to be from Microsoft who are taking advantage of the recent global ransom-ware attack that affected the NHS so badly. (Ransom-ware locks you out of your own files and demands a ransom to unlock them for you)
One victim fell for the scam after calling a ‘help’ number advertised on a pop up window. The window which wouldn’t close said the victim had been affected by ransom-ware.
The victim granted the fraudsters remote access to his PC after being convinced he had insufficient anti-virus protection. The fraudsters then installed Windows Malicious Software Removal Tool, which is free, and took £320 as payment.
It is important to remember that Microsoft’s error and warning messages on your PC will never include a phone number.
Additionally, Microsoft will never proactively reach out to you to provide unsolicited PC or technical support. Any communication they have with you must be initiated by you.
How to protect yourself
- Don't call numbers from pop-up messages.
- Never allow remote access to your computer.
- Always be wary of unsolicited calls. If you’re unsure of a caller’s identity, hang up.
- Never divulge passwords or pin numbers.
- Microsoft or someone on their behalf will never call you.
If you believe you have already been a victim
- Get your computer checked for any additional programmes or software that may have been installed.
- Contact your bank to stop any further payments being taken.
Were our hospitals affected
At the NHS Board of Directors' meeting on Friday, 26th May a detailed update was provided to Board members, Governors, staff and the public who were present.
Most of the computers and servers at our hospitals were protected because the technical resolution (patch) had been applied to around 90% of the PCs and servers in March 2017.
For those that had not previously been protected Microsoft released a patch on Saturday 13th May which then enabled our hospitals to protect the computers and servers running on the older Microsoft operating system.
Virus scans showed that no computers or servers at our Trust had been infected with the ransom-ware virus.
Planned Changes to our local NHS facilities
NHS Dorset Clinical Commissioning Group has published the headline responses from the recent consultation on proposed changes to health care. Independent analysts Opinion Research Services (ORS) has produced the headlines from over 18,500 responses which were submitted during the public consultation on proposed changes to local health care as part of the Clinical Services Review.
The consultation asked for feedback on site specific options for Dorset County, Poole and Royal Bournemouth hospitals, the configuration of maternity and paediatrics, changes to community services and the redistribution of community beds across the county.
Between 1 December 2016 and 28 February 2017, 18,713 questionnaires were submitted along with 245 written submissions. In addition, over 1,900 people attended drop-in events, 14 focus groups took place and 1,005 people took part in telephone surveys.
The summary report of findings is available here
The Local Government Association (LGA) airs its views
The LGA of England and Wales seeks to promote better local government. It maintains communication between officers in different local authorities to develop best practice and represents the interests of local government to national government.
The LGA has for example highlighted the need to give local councils power to decide whether to keep, amend or scrap EU laws once they are converted into domestic law.
Unsurprisingly, the LGA also said that closing the £2.3bn funding gap for social care services
should be on the government’s to-do list on top of carrying out a formal review to figure out how the system can be sustainable in the long term.
DCC has spent more money than it has taken in for each of the last three years thanks to this problem
LGA’s chairman, Lord Porter, stated that:
“The need for financial sustainability for local government is urgent. Councils need fairer funding to continue to provide the full range of services that support their local communities, alongside a fairer funding system for all schools.
To build new homes, create jobs, provide the dignified care for our elderly and disabled and boost economic growth, all councils also need greater freedom from central government to take decisions over vital services in their area”.
Key figures across local government and the health sector sharply criticised the Queen’s Speech
for its blatant lack of information around fundamental issues, such as devolution
, business rates retention
and social care reform
There were no firm proposals on social care funding and no mention whatsoever of devolution
, as well as no extra detail on the journey towards 100% business rate retention.
Jonathan Carr-West, the chief executive of the Local Government Information Unit argued that when it comes to local government, the speech “hovers around the edge rather than directly confronting the big questions. If local government is to plan effectively for the future, it desperately needs more clarity on the big issues.”
Not to be left out, the Chartered Institute for Public Finance
stated that the local government borrowing
system will have to be reformed to accommodate change. At present, councils can only borrow for capital spending, and it is illegal for councils such as DCC to borrow to provide services
With some councils already close to the position where they must by statute freeze expenditure because their current budget is not balanced
, they said the government will also have to reconsider the legislative framework for local government finance.
General Election Result
Following the election our local MPS are:
- Bournemouth East - Tobias Ellwood, 25,221 votes
- Bournemouth West - Conor Burns, 23,812 votes
- Christchurch - Christopher Chope, 35,230 votes
- Dorset Mid and Poole North - Michael Tomlinson, 28,888 votes
- Dorset North - Simon Hoare, 36,169 votes
- Dorset South - Richard Drax, 29,135 votes
- Dorset West - Oliver Letwin, 33,081 votes
- Poole - Robert Syms, 28,888 votes
All are Conservatives and all except Christopher Chope and Richard Drax have endorsed the plans to reorganize local government in Dorset. Sajid Javid was reappointed to his position in the cabinet as Communities Secretary with responsibility for Local Government.
The Leaders of DCC, Bournemouth and Poole, along with North Dorset, West Dorset and Weymouth & Portland Councils lost no time in reconfirming to the minister their commitment to plans to modernise local government in Dorset, to protect frontline services to say nothing of making much needed financial savings.
Cllr Rebecca Knox, Leader of Dorset County Council, said, “The Future Dorset proposal is about being aspirational and ambitious for all of Dorset. It’s a chance in a lifetime to make Dorset a more successful, healthy, vibrant and prosperous county, for everyone who lives here.”
She continued, “The councils that spend the greatest percentage of the county’s local government money and represent every resident of the county – Dorset, Bournemouth and Poole – have democratically voted to back this proposal and continue to do so.”
Local Authority Reorganization
We have previously reported to you that Bournemouth and Poole are actively working on reorganization plans, a process in which Christchurch does not currently participate.
Bournemouth and Poole have now announced their first voluntary redundancy scheme for staff in Corporate Services. Speaking on behalf of the two Councils, Julian Osgathorpe, joint director for corporate services, said:
"Bournemouth and Poole are committed to working more closely together to reduce costs in the face of significant financial pressures and deliver services more efficiently to our residents and customers.
Work is now underway to bring together important back-office functions, including finance, HR, IT, legal and other support services, with a view to establishing a single corporate services function for the two councils by April 2018.
Both councils are keen to reduce the need for compulsory staff redundancies as part of the process of restructuring services. Therefore, each authority has agreed that staff employed in their existing corporate service functions will be offered the opportunity to express interest in applying for voluntary redundancy over the next few weeks”.
The next stage is likely to involve discussions with Dorchester on the transfer of Christchurch and its associated share of DCC’s overspend.
Dorset Waste Partnership (DWP)
CBC continues to be well managed financially. They are projecting a revenue surplus for the 2016-17 financial year of £601,845, which represents 1.92% of the Council’s £31,224,000 gross expenditure budget.
Some of this is down to contributions from partner organizations such as DWP which is predicted to have spent £2.7 million less than its budget in 2016-17.
Some of the factors that have contributed to this include: lower staff costs; the use of a new facility at New Earth Solutions; an improvement in fuel and transport costs; an improvement in the income received from recycling.
DWP is involved with primary and secondary schools in educating our children in the need to recycle and the mechanics of the operation. They also produce explanatory leaflets in for example Bulgarian and Polish to assist residents from Eastern Europe to understand the process.
Quiz Night at the Hall on the Hill, Saturday 8th July 7.30pm (Doors open 7pm). Tickets priced at £8 to include a Fish and Chip supper (Any special requirements contact John Spittle on (01202) 484623)
Bring your own drinks, glasses provided. Team size maximum eight please. Tickets available from the Launderette, Phil the Print and online
via the website