Local Schools; Dorset Police; Waste Collection; etc

December 2014

School Enrolment

Children born between 1st September 2010 and 31st August 2011 will be eligible to start school in September 2015. The closing date for applications to start school at that time is the 15th January 2015.
Christchurch, together with Dorchester, Shaftesbury, Sherborne and Weymouth, are all under significant pressure as far as school places are concerned.

With the rise in the number of school age children across Dorset it is very important that families apply on time. Families who apply late stand a significantly lower chance of being offered a place at one of their preferred schools. They will also not be eligible for transport support to an alternative school even if their catchment school is full.

The Proposed New School at Marsh Lane

Sembcorp have written to a small number of local residents about this proposed development. Their letter and the map that accompanied it are on our website www.wcresidents.co.uk and click on “latest updates – important message regarding school admissions”. In a separate letter to a local resident DCC has confirmed that the access point shown on the map is the one that will be used should the plans reach fruition.

In our view there is little mileage in outright opposition to these plans unless somebody can come up with a sensible alternative location. Our community as a whole needs a new school.

What we can do is try to secure the safest and best result whilst trying to minimise the disruption caused to those who live close to the site. We have already identified the whole road system comprising  Suffolk Avenue, Marsh Lane, Bronte Avenue, Walcott Avenue, Flambard Avenue and of course Fairmile Road as requiring a lot of attention. The bend at the junction of Suffolk and Marsh being so close to the access point strikes us as particularly dangerous as well as the speed at which some irresponsible motorists drive along parts of particularly Suffolk and Bronte. We will be making representation on these and other relevant points at the appropriate time.

The Proposed Development at Roeshot Hill

Some detail has emerged related to the proposed housing development at Roeshot Hill. They are looking to build about 950 dwellings in total with an affordable housing provision of up to 35% or say 330 dwellings. The development will comprise two neighbourhoods.

Further requirements include: a local centre and a central parking area; a river buffer to the River Mude; the provision of open space and recreation space; allotment provision (The Roeshot Hill Allotments will be relocated to a suitable site); and movement of the overhead power cables to underground.

Transport requirements are said to include a pedestrian / cycle link through the site and improvements to: A35 Lyndhurst Road; A35 Staple Cross Junction; A35 Somerford Roundabout; A35 Stony Lane Roundabout; A35 Fountains Roundabout. Since a lot of these new residents will undoubtedly use the B3073 Fairmile Road-Hurn Road access route we might ask why those two roads have not been included in this analysis.
Changes to X1 & X2 Bus services in Stanpit and Mudeford

Following the withdrawal of some funding by Hampshire County Council, there will be a revised timetable from January 2015, with lower frequency at peak times. The routeing will be revised via Wessex Way and Holdenhurst Road at Lansdowne (instead of via Boscombe and Christchurch Road).  Route 120 afternoon school service will be renumbered X2. The Sunday service will be withdrawn.

You’ll find the full timetable at www.morebus.co.uk and then in the top right hand corner where it says “know your route” enter X1 X2.

 Dorset Police Reviewed
Dorset has just been subjected to a Police Effectiveness, Efficiency and Legitimacy assessment (you guessed it, known as a PEEL – unfortunately, Sir Robert was not available for comment)

The Inspectors found that crime has continued to fall in Dorset at a greater rate than England and Wales, although levels of victim satisfaction are slightly below average for some crime types. 

In terms of effectiveness, Dorset Police is rated good at reducing crime and preventing offending and is also good at tackling anti-social behaviour. It has achieved large reductions in crime. The Force operates a good threat, risk and harm assessment process linked to effective force and local level tasking arrangements.

It was reported that Dorset Police has a strong focus on tackling and dismantling organised crime groups, and that they had effectively redeployed investigative resources to target new threats, in areas such as cyber-crime and child sexual exploitation.

The Inspectors were also impressed by “the evidence-based approach Dorset Police uses to evaluate new ideas and to understand what works in practice”. (Question from a retired businessman – what other approaches are there?)

Dorset Police has made good progress in making financial savings whilst continuing to fight crime, in spite of the significant financial challenges of recent years. Dorset Police already spent less on policing than most other areas in England and Wales.

However, we and other nearby Residents Associations don’t think that relationships between local communities and Dorset Police are improving and we intend to take this up with the Dorset Crime Commissioner in the first instance.

The Dorset Waste Partnership (DWP)

DWP is struggling with some financial issues. They’ve issued a statement that you can read at www.wcresidents.co.uk and then click on “latest changes”

We asked some questions to amplify the statement and received some surprising answers.

We learned that the mixed recycled materials collected at the kerbside currently have no financial value once the cost of transporting the materials to Shotton are deducted from revenue raised. DWP anticipate the value of this material will be negative in the New Year – that is to say it will cost them money to collect and process the recyclable material. We believe this is due to a downturn in the world economic activity.

The separately collected glass currently has a value of a bit over £15 per tonne after transport costs, but again DWP anticipate that their value will decrease in the New Year, probably to zero. 

There are other materials still generating an income: separately collected paper, plastic bottles and cans from bring banks for example but these are in increasingly small amounts and their significance is dwarfed by the price decrease for the other materials.  
Landfill costs are currently about £115 per tonne (£80 landfill tax plus about £35 gate fee). These costs will rise by at least RPI in the future. 

Dorset’s recycling & composting rate was 61.8% in the first half of 2014/15 and our target is to achieve 68% by 2018/19. This would make Dorset the highest performing area in the country (if everybody else stood still in the interim – WCRA comment).

They asked us to publicise the following:

Have your say on changes to household recycling centres

The Dorset Waste Partnership is considering a range of possible money-saving changes to Dorset's household recycling centres (HRCs).

It's important they hear what you think about the options and how they might affect you before any decisions are made.

Have your say by completing our online survey.
The consultation closes on Friday 13 February 2015. (Please have a look and when you do give some thought to what effect their proposals might have upon fly-tipping – WCRA Comment)
Christmas collection dates (correction to Your Dorset)

Between 25 December and 9 January, your normal bin collection days will change.

Unfortunately, in the current issue of the Your Dorset newspaper, 25 and 26 December were missing from the table of Christmas and New Year collection dates. Sorry for any confusion caused.

You can find a full list of revised collection days here.

You can also check your collection days and calendar online and find out how to recycle your real Christmas tree.
News from the Airport

As at end October passenger numbers year-to-date were just over 2% below budget at 550,000 but revenue was just over 4% over budget. As a result the full year target (April 2014 to March 2015) has been reduced down from 690,000 passengers to 650,000 passengers.

With Aer Lingus and Ryanair reducing their flight numbers these remain testing times. On the plus side Flybe will be operating from Bournemouth from March 2015. In view of this passenger numbers for 2015-16 are projected to be 850,000.

Flybe will have scheduled daily flights to and from Manchester and Glasgow with other less frequent flights to Amsterdam, Biarritz, Deauville, Dublin, Jersey, Paris, and Toulon. Many of these are “hub airports” which will link us into an International network of flights.

Flybe have insisted that certain charges be “reviewed” and that includes the £2.50 parking charge!

What Have CBC Achieved so far this year?

Last month we gave our local Councillors the opportunity to give us all their perspective on what had been achieved so far in 2014. We also suggested to CBC that they give us a similar commentary.

Their full response is on the website www.wcresidents.co.uk and “latest updates”. It covers some areas that we rarely have to deal with such as housing for the homeless and assisting victims of domestic abuse. CBC has to spend money promoting health and fitness in the community as well as caring for our environment whilst mitigating the effects of such things as winter storms and floods.

Overall it makes for an interesting read and makes one realise the wide range of activities that local councils are involved in - activities that we often just take for granted.

Christchurch Hospital

The Quality Care Commission paid a follow up visit to Bournemouth and Christchurch Hospitals and came up with much more positive findings than last time. Much has changed for the better – which is cause for relief all round.

DCC Change of Leader

You probably saw on the local TV news or read in The Echo that DCC Leader Councillor Spencer Flower has had to stand down for personal reasons. He has been replaced by Councillor Robert Gould.

We have no interest in Councillor Flower’s politics but have admired his effectiveness in making huge changes for the better down in Dorchester. Under his leadership DCC has come some way towards being a sensible organisation – although there is still a good deal left to do.

You will be aware of our past dealings with Councillor Robert Gould who we wish well in his new role (notes of our meetings with him are on the website). He has a very difficult task ahead as DCC strives to make the savings that are necessary to balance its books whilst also restructuring for the modern era. We will be in touch with Councillor Robert Gould in the New Year.

Our Helpers and Collectors

Finally we have to thank our team of helpers and collectors who distributed newsletters and renewed memberships in 2014. Three of them have decided to stand down and we thank them for their past services.

Compliments of the season to all our readers and we’ll be in touch again in the New Year.
Copyright © 2014 West Christchurch Residents Association, All rights reserved.