Local News for our Members

February 2012

Decision Time in Dorchester

Through most of the year our dealings are with Christchurch Council.  However, sitting behind them – and spending 74% of your Council Tax (Police 11%, Fire Service 4%, and Christchurch 11%) – are Dorset County Council. And it’s Dorset that has by far the biggest headaches in 2012-13. So who better to tell us about the progress that’s been made and what the future holds than Councillor Spencer Flower, the man who controls the budget on our behalf.

Thursday 23rd February at 7.30pm in The Hall on the Hill, Marlow Drive is the place to be to hear from Spencer and ask him questions. Local Councillors will also be present plus the full Residents Association management committee. Tea, coffee and biscuits will be provided.

Christchurch Council Tax

We attended a meeting with CBC to hear about our local finances. A number of key points emerged:

1.       Central Government funding has been reduced by £513,000 over the past two years. The next two years should see further reductions of £140,000. CBC believe that further, additional cuts may be forthcoming
2.       The Council Tax for 2012-13 remains frozen for another year. In that year there will be no pay increases although employer’s pension contributions will increase by 1%. It is anticipated that Council Tax will rise by 2.5% in 2013-14. CBC believes that 2013-14 and 2015-16 will be challenging years.
3.       Under new legislation any proposed Council Tax increase over 3.5% will force a referendum in that council’s area. That is something CBC wishes to avoid.
4.       CBC 2011-12 budget includes £100,000 towards the provision of superfast broadband locally, something much welcomed by the business community.
5.       Revenue savings in 2011-12 were £358,000 and in 2012-13 will be a further £113,000. CBC’s target is total savings of £688,000 over five years, thus leaving £217,000 still to be found. This target is higher than the current target set by Central Government.
6.       The national change to the way in which business rates are administered should be good news for CBC. However CBC reported that DCC has misunderstood the impact it will have upon them and are re-assessing their already difficult situation.
7.       A national reduction of 10% in Council Tax benefits (to be renamed a discount) will come into force in 2012-13. Pensioners, and some other vulnerable groups, will be protected from this development.

Decision Time in Christchurch

The public consultation on the management plan for St Catherine’s Hill is underway. You will find the full plan, a summary, the hydrology report, and both printable and on-line interactive comments form at www.wcresidents.co.uk  and then click on St Catherine’s Hill Management Plan. If you want to talk to us about the plan come to the drop-in days at The Hall on the Hill, Marlow Drive on Saturday 25th February between 10.00am and 5.00pm or Friday 9th March between 4.00pm and 7.00pm.

We must publically thank all the good folk who volunteered to distribute 4,000 leaflets right across West Christchurch giving full details of how to obtain the management plan and how to respond to it. This is yet further evidence of the community spirit that has underpinned our eight year travail that started with the huge 2004 petition.

We’ve done our part. Now please take the trouble to have your say.

Forthcoming Events

There’s a second-hand book sale on Saturday 11th February at The Hall on the Hill 9.30am to 1.00pm
That’s followed on Sunday 12th February by a Musical Afternoon (light classics). Tickets £2.50 each from Phil The Print (The Grove) or The Laundrette (Marlow Drive)

Happy Birthday

Our Newsletter in its current form is one year old this month and has over 900 subscribers. Our thanks to all the folk who have said complementary things about it to us over the course of last year and here’s to 2012!

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