Supermarkets; the hospital; selling the Council Offices

October 2012

The Proposed New Supermarkets

If you’re a new reader, this is something of a continuing saga. If you can’t understand some of the references it might help to first read the August Newsletter and then click on newsletters

Thanks to Dorset Cllr Spencer Flower we now know something about the Dorset Development Partnership. DDP is a joint venture between Dorset CC and an organisation called Public Sector Plc. It is designed to provide inward investment from the private to the public sector.
Dorset CC has opted to commit its landholding on the old magistrates’ court site (where the old police station is in-between Barrack Road and Bargates) to DDP with a view to demolishing the redundant buildings on the site and obtaining a planning consent for a commercial scheme, thereby eventually converting an asset into funds.  

We are told that to date, DDP's involvement has been to instruct a planning consultant to make representations to the CBC planners stating that there is a strong possibility that this site could be available for development  (our italics – this means as we see it that the site is not currently available, and that’s important in this context).

The site is also clearly unsuitable as a place to locate a supermarket: the impact upon traffic approaching Fountain Roundabout would be horrendous; there would be a loss of parking spaces; the other town centre supermarkets would likely up sticks and leave; and so on.

If Dorset CC are so keen to sell the site why don’t they approach somebody like McCarthy and Stone and look to produce a mixture of dwellings, including some much needed affordable housing for nurses, policemen and fire officers?

The key CBC Planning Committee meeting will be held in public on Tuesday 23rd October 3.00pm at the council offices in Bridge Street  – get there early to reserve a seat and be warned, the last one went on for 5 hours. Details of both the Stony Lane and the Bailey Bridge applications are on the website plus an open letter from Quantum to residents click on planning

Potential Sale of Civic Offices

As promised in September, we have contacted the Council Leader, Cllr Nottage and will be meeting with him and CBC CEO David McIntosh to discuss this project later this month. The questions we will be asking are:
  1. Is the main driving force behind this investigation the need to save overhead costs?
  2. If sufficient costs can't be saved by this means, what other avenues is CBC exploring in parallel?
  3. Please outline the process that the Council is going to take to determine the future location of Christchurch Borough Council staff and the systems that will be required to support this division of labour whilst maintaining service levels?
  4. How does CBC plan to involve stake holders in the process?
  5. What might the time line look like for this process?
  6. Is provision for Tax Year 2013-14 Budget a significant factor in determining the time line?

We will be accompanied by the Chairman of Christchurch Citizens, the Residents Association that covers the centre of town. Regular readers will know that we put the minutes of our monthly management meetings up on the website. As an experiment Christchurch Citizens have put their September minutes up as well, to see if there is any local interest. then click on minutes and scroll down the page.

Navitus Bay Wind Farm

The Hengistbury Head RA conference was considered a great success with particularly good input from Bournemouth Council Officers. All local organisations now appear to be against the development but concede that a decision will be made at national rather than local level. The factors most likely to militate against the development are considered to be the special status of much of Dorset’s coastline and the impact upon local bird migration.

Christchurch Hospital

Thanks to local Governor Sue Bungey we met with a member of the hospital directorate who confirmed that nearly all GP surgeries across Christchurch are full to capacity with little room for expansion. This has major implications for everybody who is trying to stop a large housing development – it’s another example (similar to all the school lists being full) of an infrastructure that is over stretched.

We learned that the suggestion of moving all local hospital services away from Christchurch has been investigated and dropped.  All current services will be retained as well as the McMillan Unit. The GP surgery from The Grove will relocate to the site. A commercially run Nursing Home will be introduced as well as accommodation for the elderly

Rented accommodation will be provided for public sector workers. We have been assured that these will not overlook the properties of local residents. The lawns that run alongside Fairmile Road will be retained and greater public access encouraged. Traffic access will remain as now.

New Police Tsar

Thursday November 15th is the date upon which we elect the new police overlord. Our webmaster Eileen has managed to find a picture and a write up on all of the local candidates – go to click on latest updates then Dorset Police Commissioner at 24th September. The only one of the candidates to talk to us so far is Nick King.

St Catherine’s Hill Trees

The new management committee held its first meeting at the beginning of this month. No minutes have yet been produced. We concentrated upon drainage issues and building as much flexibility as possible into the detailed plans: more on this next month.

WCRA Public Meeting

Thursday 25th October at 7.30pm in The Hall on The Hill, Marlow Drive, with presentations from Sue Bungey on the hospitals and Trelawney Dampney on waste disposal in Dorset - plus your chance to quiz your local Councillors.
Copyright © 2012 West Christchurch Residents Association, All rights reserved.
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