A Police Survey; Tackling Dorset Council; that oak tree moth

June 2013

Police Survey
Dorset Police would like to hear from you! They tell us:
The views and opinions of local residents are important to us. The values that we each hold affect the way that we support our communities and it is important that in difficult times we understand what their core beliefs are and how these translate into our values as an organisation. 
As a result we are asking you to take part in our consultation through the Force website to select five words that reflect how you want to feel when in contact with us. You will also have the opportunity to include your own words should you wish to.  This process will help us to review whether our current Force values actually best represent the needs of our communities. 
The consultation can be accessed through the Dorset Police website http://www.dorset.police.uk/ and by clicking the link on the front page Let us know your expectations of Dorset PoliceThe consultation closes on 30 June 2013.
We have been critical of the Police in the past for not communicating well with local residents so please take advantage of this opportunity.
Meet Martyn Underhill – The Police and Crime Commissioner
Martyn has agreed to address our next public meeting on Thursday October 31st at 7.30pm in The Hall on the Hill, Marlow Drive – a date for your diary.
Getting To Grips With DCC
Following the County Council elections we met with our new Councillor, Margaret Phipps to discuss future dealings with DCC. We agreed a number of topics that needed to be addressed in coming months but if you want to highlight an issue for us to put on the agenda, please let us know.
In conjunction with Cllr Phipps we have contacted DCC about their overall financial situation and their relationships with the local police (as highlighted in our meeting with the Police and Crime Commissioner Martyn Underhill – see www.wcresidents.co.uk and click on Dorset Police).
However, top of the agenda was local schools. This year there has been a very high demand for infant school places in West Christchurch.  Although the County Council was able to offer every child a school place within The Borough, it meant that over 20 young children from the West Christchurch area would have to travel long distances across Christchurch to get to school, instead of going to their local school, which is Christchurch Infants. (We know of one local child that was offered a place in Burton)
Obviously parents were not happy with this situation and got together as a Group, to discuss the problem with their local Christchurch Councillors, and they then met with the County Council Head of School Organisation.
Dorset County Council was very quick to respond positively, and the result is that due to the high numbers of catchment children being unable to access Christchurch Infants School, The County Council has arranged, with the co-operation of the school, that 30 additional school places will be created in West Christchurch, on the Christchurch Infant School site, as a temporary arrangement for September 2013.  This will give time to organise longer term school provision in the area.
A full report from Cllr Phipps is on the website www.wcresidents.co.uk and go to latest updates. All of this is yet more evidence of the failure of local planners to live in the real world. For years we have been telling them that our local infrastructure is under considerable strain but they continue to do nothing now whilst drawing up plans for hundreds of new houses in our locality.

Sustainable Travel Schemes for Christchurch

DCC is developing five schemes for the A35 corridor through Christchurch, Bournemouth and Poole. In Christchurch, just over £1million has been earmarked from the Local Sustainable Transport Fund to make it easier for residents to travel by walking, cycling and using the bus. (£780,000 from Central Government, plus £270,000 from DCC)

Engineers are looking at improving the Stour Road junction with Bargates to make it easier for buses to turn right onto Bargates. Plans also include upgrading Purewell Cross junction to include more pedestrian ‘push button’ crossings to make it safer and encourage residents to walk into town. There are also two cycle-ways being designed, one along the north side of Somerford Road and one along Barrack Road. These aim to improve cycle access into the town centre. The fifth proposed scheme affects traffic passing under Stony Lane Railway Bridge. This will allow the footpath/cycleway to be widened and make it safer for disability scooter users and parents with buggies, as well as cyclists, to access the town centre.

Plans will be on display and questionnaires will be available, with a county council engineer on hand to answer questions, at the following exhibitions:

Wednesday 26 June to Friday 5 July: Civic Centre on Bridge Street
Monday 1 July: Christchurch Library, 10am to 2pm
Thursday 4 July: Christchurch Library, 3.30pm to 6.30pm

You can also have your say and find out more about the project online at www.dorsetforyou.com/threetownstravel

How Well Do We Represent Your Views?

Last month we said that WCRA was against the wind-farm proposal and that provoked some response, of which the following is a good example:

I know that West Christchurch Residents Association represents all of us who pay our dues but I am concerned that you are saying that WCRA is opposed to the Nautilus Bay Wind farm. 

This resident, my partner and others I know who live in the area most certainly do not oppose the wind farm.  We have to do something about climate change, why on earth are we having such odd weather patterns in the UK and the prospect of another wet and cold summer?   It is always a case of “not in my back yard”.  I think wind mills are rather beautiful things and if they are giving us the energy we need and not harming the planet I’m all for them.  
Please in future say the majority of residents agree with your point of view but don’t dismiss those of us who feel differently.

This is our reply:
Thanks for getting in touch. We so much appreciate it when residents take the trouble to let us know what they think because, as you say, we should try to represent what our members want and not our own personal opinions

This wind-farm is proving to be a difficult and complex issue which we spend a good deal of time trying to understand and evaluate

A while back we actually put into the Newsletter a note we had received from a local engineer that was very much in favour of the wind-farm. We have also made ourselves a tad unpopular by chastising the anti-campaign for straying from the verifiable facts

WCRA as an organisation on balance opposes the present proposals partly because as best we can tell that is the stance of the majority of our members (it splits by age, the younger ones tending to be being in favour, the older ones mainly against, with a fair number simply not sure) and partly because we

(a) don't think the proposed farm is large enough to be economic given the huge amount of infrastructure that it will need to get the current generated into the grid and (b) because the picturesque Dorset Coast and its associated bird life just seems to be an inappropriate location.

(On reflection, and following a recent conversation with a Hurn resident, we think we could add to that list the plan to drive a massive motorway-wide trench through Hurn Forest)

Should We Have a Referendum?
It has been suggested that Bournemouth, Christchurch, and Poole should hold a referendum on the adoption of the wind-farm.
We suspect there can be no referendum, as our understanding is that it would have to take place at the same time as other elections and by the time the next ones come around the planning application for the wind-farm will already be with the Government's Planning Inspectorate. We think that a local referendum would be a total waste of time and tax money we can’t afford to spend in this way.
First, we have elected representatives who we rely on to be sufficiently well briefed on issues such as this (partly with our help and through our activities) so as to decide whether the development is or is not in the public interest and therefore whether it should be supported or opposed.
Second, we think this issue will be determined in the back corridors of Whitehall with scant regard to local opinion. Europe has been the strongest supporter of heavy green taxes, carbon trading and wind farms although it only produces one eighth of global emissions of carbon dioxide. That contrasts with the developing world which produces half the emissions but is totally free from any restrictions.
At a recent EU meeting the costs and impacts of carbon dioxide reduction targets on industrial companies were considered because energy costs are a main factor of industrial competitiveness.  US energy costs have been broadly level since 2005 (partly due to shale exploitation) Japanese costs have risen steadily whilst European costs have increased most of all. These, we think, are the sort of factors that will influence the decision making process.
WCRA and Local Politics

In May we thanked some people who had helped us in the past. They happened to be local politicians and this provoked a resident to comment.
To be clear, as an organisation we are not allowed under our constitution to be political so you will never find us making any comments about party politics

We thank people who help us irrespective of their personal politics. So in recent months you will find our thanks to Cllr Colin Bungey (Independent) for instance who helped us with Christchurch Hospital

It is a matter of fact that in this area most elected representatives are Conservatives but when we thank say David Fox or Spenser Flower we are saying thank you for things they did to help us and not in any way reflecting their political leanings

If you believe we have failed to thank somebody who has assisted us please give us details and we will correct that omission in the next Newsletter

Oak Trees Under Attack

As we outlined last month, the Oak Processionary moth poses a very real threat not just to the oaks themselves, which can be left stripped bare, but also to humans and animals due to the intensely irritant hairs covering the caterpillar which can disperse in the wind, and cause very serious skin rashes and breathing difficulties. If you spot them it is vital that you don’t handle them or disturb them in any way.
A local resident has kindly produced a detailed report which can be found at www.wcresidents.co.uk and click on “latest updates”. The report contains links to other websites which cover this topic fully

Druitt Hall

The plans for the proposed new hall are on our website www.wcresidents.co.uk  

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