Rejection of plans for Christchurch Hospital and other news
January 2013
Happy New Year everybody

Police Message

Recently there have been a number of opportunistic thefts in various parts of West Christchurch from unlocked cars parked on drives.
Come and say Hello

We have a public meeting on Thursday 28th February at 7.30pm in The Hall on the Hill, Marlow Drive.

First we will give you an account of what we have achieved in 2012; then we will ask you to reappoint the management committee (which will include two new members); then this year your local councillors Colin Bungey, Fred Neale, Margaret Phipps and Sue Spittle have agreed to sit as a panel with WCRA Chairman Jim Biggin to answer your questions – rather in the style of BBC Question Time.

If you can find the time, we’d love to see you

Christchurch Hospital

Much to our surprise CBC Planning Committee turned down plans to maintain and improve the local services at Christchurch Hospital. The Hospital Trustees have made a statement regretting what has happened in which they say:

Two years ago we understood the Borough's priority was to retain the site for health care use. We have worked hard, following extensive engagement and consultation with the public and health partners, to develop an option for Christchurch that does this. Yesterday’s disappointing decision is a missed opportunity and goes against this and the amount of community support we have for our scheme. Over 600 people took the time to show support for this scheme, whose opinions appear to have been overlooked.

The Planning Committee has opted to keep empty buildings over local health care for residents. H block is a non-listed building in a degraded conservation which has been empty for three years. We cannot justify investing significant public money in a building that is unfit for delivering any kind of modern health care. The viability of the scheme presented to the Committee relied entirely on the demolition of H block.

You can read the whole statement on our website and click on latest updates. We hope that the Trustees will appeal this decision because unlike a majority of the CBC Planning Committee we think the provision of local health care is more important than the preservation of some bricks and mortar, no matter what their history might be

Marsh Lane Action Group

The petition to enhance road safety in the Marsh Lane – Bronte Avenue area will be debated by the DCC Roads and Rights of Way Committee on Thursday 17th January at 10.00am in Committee Room One, County Hall, Dorchester. This is a public meeting so you can attend if you want to.

Flooding at Burton

We were sad to learn that after many years of behaving itself The Avon had flooded parts of Burton. Whilst it has rained a lot, in the recent past a very large number of trees have been felled on the Avon side of St Catherine’s Hill and we did forecast that mass felling could lead to flooding!

Navitus Bay Wind Farm

In February 2012 we learned of plans to build a huge wind farm off the Isle of Wight – known as Navitus Bay. We set about organising other local Residents Associations and that spread out to Councils, local MPs, and so on. Our umbrella organisation ACRA has written to CBC in the hope that they will formally oppose the scheme. In the letter ACRA say:

At the national level, a majority of us believe that issues including the controversial foundation for the huge subsidies from us the tax payers, the many billions now being spent on green policies and the fact that UK wind farms will have minimal effect on global carbon dioxide emissions are in themselves sufficient to cause us to oppose this scheme.

However, the unanimously agreed local view is that defects such as: the adverse visual impact; tourism losses; risk of noise affecting human health;  risk to migrating birds; unbelievably poor choice of such a sensitive site of outstanding natural beauty that could have a severely detrimental effect upon the SSSI in Christchurch Harbour and the Avon Valley RAMSAR; and sailing and navigation problems; are sufficient to brand the scheme as unsuited to our area irrespective of the national position .

However, we must recognise that there are other perfectly valid opinions. Here’s one that was sent to us by a local senior engineer:

Generally I feel we should look at the big picture; every type of technological development has had its teething problems from the internal combustion engine this time last century to mobile phones more recently (plus a hundred more such examples).  Everything needs the chance to be developed fully - and wind power has not had that yet; even so its capabilities and efficiencies are much better than they used to be.

Some people like the look of wind turbines; some hate them - as I daresay windmills were hated centuries ago by some.  They are part of the technology that allows us to have cushy lives - and be in no doubt that we currently do.  But fossil fuel sources cannot be relied upon in future so we have to be brave and work out other ways; Navitus Bay is one such opportunity.  I believe that, even if people don't flock here to see our latest tourist attraction, it will do nothing to the Jurassic coast protection status; that is to do with cliff geology; not what may or may not be out to sea.

In the end I doubt whether our views will matter anyway; this will be a political decision; but personally I am happy to trust my fellow engineers working on this amazing technology and be proud that our region has been chosen to host what, I am sure, will become a common sight in future (as it is elsewhere in the world).

Waste Collection

During 2012 our waste collection systems were changed dramatically. The pilot scheme that had been operating in St Catherine’s Hill for some years was used as a basis to extend the scheme across the whole of Christchurch.  We asked Councillor Margaret Phipps if she would summarise progress made so far.

The new ‘recycle for Dorset’ collection service, which launched in Christchurch at the start of October is settling in well, and despite some early teething problems, the majority of residents are making good use of it by recycling more than ever before.
The first two weeks of the new service saw the borough’s recycling rate double, from the previous 35 per cent to more than 70 per cent.  There has also been a high take up of the new, optional garden waste service, with more than 12,000 households in Christchurch and East Dorset paying for the fortnightly collection. 
The service also started in half of East Dorset at the end of October and will be introduced across Dorset (not including Bournemouth and Poole) by 2015.  By working together with one service, Councils aim to drive down costs by £2m a year, boost the county’s recycling rate to more than 65 per cent and send less waste to landfill.
You can read her full report at and click on “latest updates”

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