We understand that the American head office of Asda has given the go ahead for the new store at Bailey Bridge. As we understand things Quantum will now prepare and submit to CBC a detailed planning application which if passed will mean that work would start on site in 2015. Quantum also hopes that they will be able to set up the proposed community fund at about the same time.
As you are probably aware Martyn Underhill, Dorset Police and Crime Commissioner, wants to close Christchurch Police Station. He has two main reasons (1) he’s under pressure to cut costs in any event and (2) he wants to use some of the savings to further other police activity.
If you want all the background go to www.wcresidents.co.uk and click on “latest updates” then “February 2014” and then on the link at “25th February” to read our conversation with Martyn earlier this year.
Some residents have expressed concerns (1) that this closure will lead to a loss in CCTV coverage and (2) that all support officers who deal with violent and serious events will be based at Ferndown so in the event that an officer is confronted with a robbery or street violence there would be a considerable delay in any response support arriving.
The New Milton Advertiser recently carried a report about the resident who prevented a robbery in Highcliffe and waited 20 minutes for police to arrive whilst he restrained one of the offenders.
On the other hand last week an elderly woman had her handbag snatched from her grasp by a man in the Suffolk Avenue – Fairmile area. The man ran off but was quickly apprehended by Christchurch Police officers. The woman was thankfully uninjured and her handbag, together with the money in it, was recovered by police. The man has been charged and will appear at court
Here we have a classic need to save money having to be balanced against the need to serve the community that is being repeated in various guises across the country.
We have made some enquiries and our understanding of current thinking is that the small existing staff will be leaving the current Police Station site towards the end of this year but the Safer Neighbourhood Teams will remain based in Christchurch using space in the CBC offices. Maybe we should press for an enquiry desk staffed mainly by civilians and volunteers to compliment that presence.
The CCTV facility is highly valued by both the Police and CBC so it will be relocated and will not lost.
As things are now Ferndown is primarily a communications centre and rapid response vehicles can come from anywhere in the County depending upon where they are deployed when the emergency call is received. Thus response time depends upon officer availability and location rather than distance to Ferndown (or any other communications site)
Meanwhile, a caravan was stolen from outside a house in Hurn Road and in a separate incident a house in Hurn Way was burgled. The robbers broke in round the back of the house which is not overlooked by any other houses. They scaled the locked side gate and tried to open the downstairs toilet window with a chisel. They failed to gain access so they climbed up a drain pipe and entered the property from a small window in the upstairs study. The residents concerned asked us to urge you all to make sure you are on the alert and vigilant with your security.
The New Plaque on St Catherine’s Hill
The Friends of St Catherine’s Hill are including with their seasonal walk this Sunday 18th May the unveiling of an Orientation Panel situated by the old Trig Point.
The panel illustrates various points of interest that can be seen from this location and has been funded by all the organisations involved in the management of our SSSI – including ourselves.
We feel the creation of the plaque represents a milestone as it demonstrates how all the parties concerned have worked together to satisfy the needs of both the naturists and the local residents. If you want to see just what all this means go to www.wcresidents.co.uk and click on “Environment – St Catherine’s Hill” and then on the left hand side “2004 Documents”
The walk starts at 3.00pm at St Catherine’s Hill Community Hall
There was a public meeting recently at the BIC attended by over 600 people including our WCRA representative. There were also representatives from both sides, the developer in the blue corner and Challenge Navitus and Bournemouth Borough Council in the red corner.
One fact we did learn is that The Planning Inspectorate is to stage an 'information meeting' to explain more about the wind farm planning process at the Wessex Hotel on Thursday May 22nd (2 to 7pm).
As the wind farm is a nationally significant infrastructure project, the final decision will be made in Whitehall after the next election.
We have been involved in a meeting with CBC, The Environment Agency and Councillor Margaret Phipps to see what can be done to improve our local response to flooding. Following that meeting we have drawn up a blueprint that will now be considered by both CBC and The Environment Agency. Once that has been agreed we will set about creating an action plan for affected areas.
If you think your location should be on our list of affected areas please let us know.
Half Term events
CBC and others have organised some half term events. You can find out about them at:
For Moors Valley www.moorsvalley.co.uk or call 01425-470-721
For Two Riversmeet www.dorsetforyou.com/2-rivers-meet or call 01202-477-987
For QE Leisure Centre (Wimborne) www.qe-leisure-centre.co.uk or call 01202-888-208
For the Verwood Hub www.lifestyleverwood.com or call 01202-828-740
For the Christchurch Countryside Service call 01425-272-479
For the Mr Selfridge Exhibition www.highcliffecastle.co.uk or call 01425-278-807
Finally, we have sadly to record the death of one your association’s best friends, Councillor David Fox OBE, after a long illness.
When your correspondent first became involved with WCRA just over 10 years ago what I knew about local government was both sketchy and inaccurate. David took time to educate me and to point me in the right direction. Several times over the years he was there to help and support – not least when we took on DCC and succeeded in stopping them from building a massive multi-million pound white elephant of a waste processing plant at Hurn.
I have many personal memories of him but the most vivid was when he accompanied Margaret Phipps and I to give evidence to the Forestry Commission as we battled to prevent the felling of thousands of trees across St Catherine’s Hill. He was magnificent that day and the fact that some trees are still standing is a testament to him.