Tackling Dorset County Council; the Purbeck situation; Supermarkets latest

July-August 2013

Dealing With Dorset

One of our objectives is to increase the influence of Christchurch Residents Associations with Dorset County Council.

Nearly 90% of Council Tax is spent, one way or another, through decisions taken by people working from Dorchester. Historically DCC has been a difficult organisation to deal with. It’s not just us that have experienced that: local Councillors; Council Officers; all will tell you a similar story. We’ve taken a small number of steps to start the process of correcting that situation.

Our new County Councillor Margaret Phipps has agreed to let us have reports on what is happening down in County Hall on matters she is involved in. Her first report is on the website and covers: Buses; School Places; and Road Maintenance. Go to www.wcresidents.co.uk and click on latest updates.

With Councillor Phipps we will be talking to DCC in September about Christchurch’s road system. We have made some suggestions as to how the gridlock that follows hard on the heels of some road accidents could be avoided. One of the things we have already discovered is that the current response time for DCC Highways Officers to a road accident is one hour! We have suggested that this could perhaps be reduced somewhat!

In a separate meeting with DCC, we and Councillor Phipps will be talking to the people who are responsible for the trees that damage roads, pavements and even house drives. Local Councillor Sue Spittle will also be involved as many of these trees are in West Christchurch.

We have also made contact with DCC Councillor Robert Gould who has taken over from Councillor Flower responsibility for the DCC Budget and thus the drive to increase efficiency and productivity in Dorchester. The notes of our first meeting with him are on the website www.wcresidents.co.uk and click on latest updates. Amongst other financial commentary related to future Council Tax they carry the latest news on the Icelandic Funds.

And Closer To Home

We can’t of course afford to ignore Christchurch! In July we had a meeting with the CBC Executive Directorate and Council Leader Ray Nottage. Amongst other topics, we discussed the amalgamation of CBC and EDDC administrations. This project, which has already delivered substantial cost savings, remains on schedule and on budget.

CBC confirmed that Purbeck District Council had approached CBC-EDDC with a view to exploring their potential utilisation of the new joint administration.  Their head office is based in Wareham where 87 full time and 78 part time staff are employed. They have 24 Councillors comprising 13 Conservatives, 10 Liberal Democrats and 1 Independent. Population is approximately 45,000.

CBC-EDDC will apply due diligence to this approach and a business case will be raised and debated by all involved parties.  We discussed the dangers of allowing this approach to dilute the existing programme and are confident that CBC will not allow that to happen.

As to why Purbeck have done this, our analysis suggests that they have to take such steps as a matter of survival in the current climate. In a nut shell, they are too small for today’s world.

Full details of our discussions with CBC are at www.wcresidents.co.uk and click on latest updates

The Supermarkets Planning Issues

Morrison’s have decided to re-apply to develop the Stony Lane site; the Bailey Bridge site paperwork has been put to bed. The developer now urgently needs a supermarket partner

Marsh Lane-Bronte Avenue Road Calming

Traffic counting strips have shown that whist there is some speeding most drivers are behaving sensibly. This makes it unlikely that Marsh Lane will get precedence over other more dangerous sites when it comes to funding traffic calming measures

History Corner

We know that some of you have an interest in what has gone on in and around Christchurch in recent years. The minutes of all our meetings since 2004 are held in electronic form and this has enabled us to create an archive on the website. If you want to know what people were getting worked up about in say July 2007 go to www.wcresidents.co.uk and then latest updates


There will not be an August Newsletter because we are taking a short holiday.
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