We had another full house at our spring meeting to hear a quirky, fun presentation by Steve Roberts on the history of Christchurch. In response to several requests we’ve received – yes, we’ll let you know when the book is published
Local Council Election Results
No surprises locally. Colin Bungey and Fred Neale were returned in Jumpers whilst Margaret Phipps and Sue Spittle won in St Catherine’s and Hurn. Overall, four councillors have been elected for the first time – Janet Abbott (UKIP) in Grange, Wendy Grace (Con) in the town centre, Andy Barfield (Con) in Mudeford & Friars Cliff and Vicki Hallam (Con) in Highcliffe.
Full results for Christchurch Borough Council are available at:
We attended the count are were impressed by the overall organisation
Proposed New School at Marsh Lane
We don’t usually report “no news” but people keep stopping us in the street and asking what is happening. The answer is that we continue to await action by DCC. They have now taken a count of volume of traffic movement in the area. They have not yet given us a full written report on sites other than Marsh Lane investigated but rejected.
We continue to receive e-mails from local residents on this subject – here’s an extract from one of them:
Christchurch desperately needs a new school. This isn't a luxury, it's a basic service and as a resident living 0.6 miles (WCRA: about 1,000 yards or just less than 1 kilometre) from Christchurch Infant School we were shocked when our child didn’t secure a place at the main school.
Marsh Lane and the surrounding roads have many, many families living there. (If no school is built) these families will find themselves in the same position as we are now, offered Burton Primary or Somerford.
In terms of the environment I think the Marsh Lane site will give the pupils a fantastic chance to learn about their local surroundings and take pride in caring for the landscape and its natural inhabitants. This really could be a great opportunity to educate the children to be enthusiastic environmentalists
Health and Social Care Act
Under this Act DCC is required to create a Health and Wellbeing Board charged with creating joined up local health services to replace the sometimes rather fragmented current arrangements. The Act is built around making the patient the focus of attention and putting carers on the same footing as those they care for.
There is a legal requirement to focus upon prevention rather than waiting for a crisis to precipitate action by providing a range of high quality local services. The rights of patients to choose their preferred course of action are preserved.
Local Authorities will take on new functions and are charged with ensuring that their residents have access to a range of appropriate service providers and can thus receive services that either prevent their care needs from becoming more serious or delay the impact of their condition. They must also ensure that residents can obtain information and advice to underpin their decision making.
It is believed that this more integrated approach will also be more efficient and will cost less than current arrangements. We will follow that up with DCC.
More Advice from the National Fraud Intelligence Bureau (NFIB) – Part One
NFIB have been made aware that there are currently emails being sent out that appear to be coming from Apple iTunes, detailing a recent purchase.
The email states that if customers did not purchase the item they should click on the link provided to obtain a refund. Once redirected to a web page they are asked to fill out their credit card and other personal details. This is a spam email with links to a malicious web page that is being used to harvest personal details, possibly in order to access victim’s bank accounts.
If you have filled in one of the forms, do not use online banking until you have had your computer checked out by an expert. Also consider contacting your bank to make them aware of the situation – money held in your account may be at risk.
Double check where the email has come from before clicking on the link
Check your iTunes account for recent activity
Consider contacting iTunes separately to double check your account activity
Remember iTunes will not request your personal details via email or through attached links
More Advice from the National Fraud Intelligence Bureau (NFIB) – Part Two
Online auction websites are being used by fraudsters to advertise vehicles for sale which do not exist.
The fraudster advertises on an auction website and gets their victim to agree to purchase a vehicle, making sure that all correspondence is done via email. The victim then receives emails which claim to be from genuine payment merchants or auction websites which state that the money they have paid for the vehicle will be held in an ‘escrow account’.
The email indicates the money will be released to the seller, once the person has confirmed that they’re happy with the purchase. The email says that this will provide the person with ‘buyer protection’. In reality these emails are fraudulent, they don’t come from the named companies and the bank accounts are controlled by fraudsters.
First and foremost, if the vehicle is below market value consider whether this is an opportunity which is too good to be true!
Always stay within the terms and conditions of the auction websites.
Remember that PayPal do not include vehicles under their buyer protection.
Meet the seller ‘face to face’ and view the vehicle before parting with any money.
Be vigilant of emails that purport to be from genuine companies and check the ‘domain’ name of the email address for any inconsistencies.
Dorset Waste Partnership (DWP)
Last month we told you about the rather unsatisfactory developments at DWP and indicated we would discuss the situation with CBC Executive. If you’re a new reader go to www.wcresidents.co.uk and read the April 2015 Newsletter.
The predicted DWP 2014-15 over-spend is £2.95 million of which £115,900 will be funded by CBC. This over-spend has arisen from a combination of: additional landfill and waste treatment costs; reductions in the market value of recycled materials; additional vehicle hire costs; and additional operational staff costs.
A 37 point action plan has been developed to both improve on the current situation and to avoid such a large budget variance occurring in the future without proper prior warning. The DWP Management Board will in future meet monthly with the chairman and vice-chairman of the Joint Committee of participating Council’s representatives. We will report anything of significance to you.
Despite this setback, CBC calculates that it has still made net revenue savings of £215,000 and £260,000 on capital expenditure since the inception of the scheme in 2011.
If you want to read the full notes of our meeting with CBC click on www.wcresidents.co.uk and then latest updates.
Licking Dorset Alert into Shape
If you’re new to these newsletters you will not be aware of our ongoing dialogue with Dorset Police related to the Dorset Alert system. To catch up read newsletters January and February 2015 - they can be found at www.wcresidents.co.uk
We have heard that the police are working through important changes as quickly as possible and have made good progress. They have had to focus on some data issues first and, in two weeks, they have reduced 1,800 records showing errors down to below 1,000. They have also started contacting people whose details are incomplete so some residents may have heard from them.
Their next priority is to ensure all the geographical and subject-interest lists are correct. There are over 100 potential categories that we could chose to activate to help tailor messages to people’s needs and we currently have only around 20 in use. The Police are reviewing all of these and will be renaming and categorising them to make the system flexible.
Once these data and category issues are out the way, the Police can start to work on the bigger changes that will make the most difference to residents. The police are still very keen to meet with us again, along with others who use the system, as part of a User Group. They anticipate this will be in June. (WCRA note: we think they mean 2015)
The repeated decision to refuse permission for a Morrisons food store on the Beagle site could cost us Council Tax payers tens of thousands of pounds. The decision by members of the CBC planning committee has been overturned by an appeal inspector from Bristol.
The inspector has ordered CBC to pay partial costs after it was found to have acted 'unreasonably'. The official figure has yet to be decided, but CBC has confirmed the money will be paid from general reserves. The planning inspector's report was critical of CBC planning committee members, saying their reasons for refusal were unsubstantiated.
David Barnes, strategic director at CBC told the Echo: “When the application came to committee the Councillors raised a number of concerns which led to them refusing the application. The planning inspector has now examined those concerns and decided that they were not sufficient to justify refusal of the application.”
What we used to call a cock-up
Arson on St Catherine’s Hill
We have asked that Robin Harley be thanked by CBC Directorate on our behalf for the efforts that he made and in particular the explanatory note that he wrote for local residents in the April Newsletter. In answer to a question from CBC we confirmed that there was no local animosity towards them as landowner, such anger being reserved for the perpetrators.
We do not now think that the idea of a reward is going to progress and would like to thank the many of you that offered to make a contribution.
A new Mayor of Christchurch is to be chosen due to the original Mayor-elect not being available to take up his duties because of a delay in the election in his ward. Nick Geary had been chosen to take up the role of Mayor in 2015-16 on condition that he was elected in the vote on 7 May. However, due to the sad death of a candidate, the election in that ward has been suspended until 18 June. As the Mayor for 2015-16 needs to take office at the Annual Council meeting on 19 May, Nick Geary is not now eligible to take up the post.
An Extraordinary General Meeting will now be held immediately before the Annual Council and the proposal on the table will be for our own Cllr Fred Neale, who was Deputy Mayor-elect, to take up the role of Mayor this year and for Cllr Trish Jamieson to be his Deputy. A vote will be taken at the EGM and, as long as the proposals are carried, Cllr Fred Neale will be invested as Mayor for 2015-16.
David McIntosh, Chief Executive of Christchurch Borough Council, said: “This has been a very unusual, and very sad, situation. We all understand the reasons for delay in the election in Nick Geary’s ward but I am very grateful to our Councillors for coming up with a solution to the problem so swiftly. So long as the proposal on the table is accepted, I look forward to Cllr Fred Neale taking up office.”