Hospitals, buses and superfast broadband

September 2013

Good News Department

The Office for National Statistics has devised a measure of “deprivation”! For any given location, it is based upon perceived levels of: income; employment; health; education; crime; and environmental factors: the lower the score the “better” the area.

The average score across England is 20. The average score for seaside towns is 27 (with “deprived” Margate scoring 50). And the best score of the lot? Why Christchurch, of course, with a score of 4. But we didn’t need a statistic to tell us that - did we?

More Good News – No Special Measures for our Hospital Trusts

We are happy to confirm that despite rumours to the contrary, Bournemouth and Christchurch Hospitals are most definitely not one of the 14 Trusts that have been put into “special measures”.  

This confusion may result from the recent article in the Echo which reported that The Royal Bournemouth was to be one of the first 18 Trusts to be inspected under the new regulations.  This is to do with mortality rates and the fact that Christchurch Hospital (one of the few hospitals in the country to have a palliative care unit) has a higher than the normal mortality rate directly caused by the Mac Unit.

We believe the inspection will take place before Christmas and that the process for reporting mortality rates is being looked at more carefully by the health authorities to reflect the fact that some hospitals have palliative care within their organisation. Our thanks go to Sue Bungey for helping us to clarify that situation.

Not Such Good News - Changes to Local Buses

Dorset has to save £800,000 of the money it currently spends subsidising buses. Some areas are having their services cut completely, which is not the case with us.  DCC Councillor Margaret Phipps reports on the current state of play:

“This bus issue will not be finalised until the County Cabinet meeting on 2nd October. I believe I have managed to secure the inclusion of the Bronte/Marsh/Suffolk loop which was not served before, so that is an improvement and I am still doing my best to increase the frequency of buses proposed for The Hill and River Way. 

I have heard from Yellow Buses regarding passenger numbers from the River Way area on Service 21. They say: “We would estimate a total of 12,500 passenger journeys a year from River Way.  Based on 188 journeys per week this is on average less than 2 passengers per journey from River Way”. (WCRA comment – averages can be very misleading but unfortunately this apparently low level of activity is supported by independent observation undertaken by DCC)

Our main problem seems to be the proposal to stop the No. 21 at Christchurch, so Marlow Drive/The Hill and River Way will have a cut in service.  The routes of the buses which will serve our area are proposed to be: 

Service 111 from Christchurch Town Centre will run via Bargates, Fairmile Road, Bronte Avenue, Marsh Lane, Suffolk Avenue, Fairmile Road, Hurn Road, Marlowe Drive, Hillside Drive, Hurn Road, St Catherine's Way, River Way, Oak Avenue, The Grove, Jumpers Corner, Barrack Road, Christchurch Road, Castle Lane East, The Royal Bournemouth Hospital Travel Interchange, Castle Lane East, Castle Lane West, Castlepoint.

The section between Christchurch and Highcliffe will be as now and the frequency will be as now.

Service 21 is still in effect being discussed with Yellow buses but eventually it will not run between Christchurch Town Centre and Bournemouth. This means no bus along Fairmile Road, Hurn Road, St Catherine's Way, and River Way on this route.

Service X1 and X2 is a commercial bus service with the exception of some early morning and early evening services and will continue to run half hourly between Christchurch Town centre and Bournemouth via Fairmile Road and The Grove”.

If you want to comment on all of this go to: 
This web page has an area for responses to the consultation and it is very important for bus users to fill it in as soon as possible.

On-Street Parking Charges in Dorset

A recent court case highlighted that a local authority was acting illegally by making large profits out of on-street parking charges. We asked DCC to let us know if this would affect them. Here’s the reply from Councillor Robert Gould (the man who controls the money)

I did see the coverage of the recent court case. I am pleased to say that the short answer to your question is that it will have no impact on our budget in future years because we have always been aware that the legislation forbids authorities from making a profit from on-street parking.
The aim of the DCC on-street parking service is to break even and each year a public report is made to the Environment Overview Committee to ensure we comply with the legislation. The most recent report was in January and can be seen on this link:$file/JAN1312.pdf

As you can see, a small surplus was made, amounting to about £11,000, which is not significant compared to our overall highways budget.

Superfast Broadband in Dorset 

Currently in Dorset broadband is mostly delivered by copper wire.  Superfast broadband is delivered by a variety of technologies but mostly via fibre optic cable.  It is anticipated that in Dorset 97% of premises will have access to the fibre network by autumn 2016.

New fibre optic cabinets will have to be installed in locations across the County.  Surveying work is currently being carried out, but normally cabinets will be as close as practical to existing cabinets. A broad overview of areas to be covered for superfast can be seen at:   

(As further surveying is carried out and more information obtained, the maps will change and the page will be updated.  Also it is based on postcode data and therefore isn’t accurate at individual property level). 

The next big announcement will be at the end of the year when the County Council will tell us which are to be the first cabinets to be upgraded through the project.  Meanwhile the commercial rollout is continuing, and much of Christchurch will be covered by that, as can be seen from the blue areas on the map.

Speed Watch

In recent years, a consistent local theme has been concern about excessive speeding on our roads, and other dangerous practises such as not wearing seat belts or using a mobile phone whilst driving.

One way to try to tackle this is for residents to be trained and equipped to monitor driver behaviour, and to report to the Police. This has been around nationally for some time and is now being rolled out across Dorset as Community Speed Watch. You can get general information about the scheme from the Police and Crime Commissioner's website:

In Christchurch, implementation of Speed Watch is being led by the North Christchurch Safer Neighbourhood Team. If you are interested in joining or forming a Team, get in touch with PCSO David Thompson or PC Jane Moore (contacts given below).

PCSO 5477 North Christchurch Safer Neighbourhood Team,
Dorset Police, Barrack Road, Christchurch, Dorset BH23 1PN  Tel.  07825 521 829

Ash Trees in Danger

Sad to say, Chalara Ash Dieback has been found west of Dorchester.  See the links below for information.

What’s On at The Hall on the Hill: Saturday 28th September 7.00 for 7.30pm

Darren Mullan sings the songs of the sixties
Buffet supper by Greg the chef - bring your own drinks.
Tickets: £7 on line at

New Readers

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