Your Residents Association Newsletter

Community Matters Issue 4 - September 2017

Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression.

This right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.

Universal Declaration of Human Rights
Marsh Lane School
Crime in Christchurch
Vocational Training
Local Traffic
History Day
Children's Social Care
Frustration Mounts

The building of the new school is progressing satisfactorily. The first phase, involving the creation of an entrance from Marsh Lane, the connection of the usual services and the improvement of boundary walls, is complete. If you want to see the latest situation for yourself, visit these time-lapsed photographs which contractor Morgan Sindall are providing as a history of the development. The site is updated weekly. 

The making of the required Traffic Regulation Order is now likely to be confirmed in Spring 2018. 

Your contact at Morgan Sindall is:
Jeff Kinnon, Senior Site Manager
Direct Tel: 07712 868095;

Local police have finally evacuated the police station on Barrack Road (which was closed to the public in 2015) and moved into the fire station on Hurn Road. 

This is part of a much larger scheme, supported by DCC, to house emergency services together rather than have them split inefficiently across multiple sites. There is no reason to think that this move will do anything other than improve our local service.

The site of the old police station, that includes a car park and the old magistrates court, is scheduled for redevelopment.

Crime in Christchurch

CCTV continues to provide a proactive service in relation to the prevention and detection of crime in Christchurch. The relocation of the control room from the old police station to the civic offices has been completed. Police officers are still able to access the information they require in a timely manner and have highlighted several incidents where the operators have been instrumental in the identification and apprehension of offenders.

During the year 2016-17 we suffered an overall increase of 14.2% (289 more offences to a total of 2,325 crimes).

Anti-social behaviour has risen by 11.1% (130 more reports). The police focus is to protect vulnerable victims and the community safety team work closely with the neighbourhood policing teams and wider partners to ensure victims are supported as necessary.

Whilst violence against the person has increased by 34.9% (an additional 166 offences in a total of 641), only ten offences relate to serious assaults which is the same number of incidents reported last year. The offence of harassment falls into this category as well as minor assaults, which make up most of the reported incidents

There is some good news. Burglary is down by 31 offences to 236 incidents; theft from vehicles down 23 to 122; criminal damage down 8 to 358.


Christchurch continues to be a safe place to live and levels of crime and anti-social behaviour are still low compared to other areas in the Country.

Dorset Police and Devon and Cornwall Police could merge. The Chief Constables of both forces have revealed plans to explore further collaboration leading to full merger. The police are funded out of your Council Tax (about £11 in every £100 that you pay), so a prospective lack of funds to tackle things like the rise in cybercrime is a big driving force.

A strategic alliance between the two forces was created four years ago and has led to greater efficiency. Shared leadership is already in place across the forces.  For example, some operational commanders operate across both areas. 

We understand that one of the two Police and Crime Commissioners will disappear.

The Dorset Community Foundation Bursary Scheme supports young people who want to access vocational training and the Superior STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) Bursary Fund supports students taking STEM subjects. Both are open to young people aged between 16-21 living in Dorset (including Bournemouth and Poole). Click here for details.

Local traffic congestion continues to increase

Data produced by the Department for Transport reveal that compared with ten years ago, car users on a return journey between Bournemouth and Poole spend nearly ten extra minutes every day stuck in traffic. That’s a 25 per cent increase in journey time in the past decade.

There are up to 24 buses per hour operating between Poole and Bournemouth from a combination of Yellow Buses and Go South Coast (MoreBus).

As reported in the Echo, Yellow Buses has said that it plans to cut the number of buses on the road as one way of helping to ease the traffic by working with MoreBus on initiatives such as joint ticketing.

Into that situation we can throw the recent changes at the Iford Roundabout where a new bus stop built right on the roundabout appears to be adding to congestion

Public Meeting

On Thursday 26th October, we are holding a meeting in The Hall on the Hill, Marlow Drive starting at 7.30pm. A representative of DCC will be talking about the development of the local road system including the work planned for both the A338 Spur Road and the B3073 Hurn Road. Why not come along and say hello?

Our local MP, Christopher Chope, has taken to sleeping in the Commons.

He camped out there for three nights to be sure he was at the front of the queue to lodge not a private members bill but 47 of the things covering such matters as the privatization of the BBC. They stand next to no chance of becoming law but may effectively block other more important legislation, which has angered some fellow MPs.

Every two years, The Friends of St Catherine's Hill organise a History Day to educate and entertain residents by highlighting the Hill's past and its contribution to the history of the local area.

This year, they are holding the History Day on Sunday 24th September from 10.30am to 4.00pm on the Hill. The organisers have asked us to apologise in advance for any local congestion that the event causes. 

As we are in the centenary years for World War 1, they are emphasising the part that the Hill played during that time. They have been awarded a Heritage Lottery Fund grant to help fund and promote the event. They are looking for volunteers for various roles such as setting up and running the stands and helping to clear up afterwards.

They are also keen to hear from anyone who feels they have some knowledge of that era, or who may have artefacts from that time which they would be willing to exhibit.

Please contact Robin Harley at CBC 01202 795-628 or Mel Gibbons of FSCH 01202 470-849

Last year DCC exceeded its children’s social care budgets by £6 million which contributed to a countrywide overspend of £605 million.

In analysis from the LGA, it was found that this overspend was happening during a time of unprecedented demand for services, as more than 170,000 children were subject to child protection enquiries in 2015-16 compared to 71,800 a decade before. They said:

 “The fact that most councils are recording overspending in children’s services shows the sheer scale of the funding crisis we face. Government cuts to the Early Intervention Grant have exacerbated a tricky situation. The reality is that services for the care and protection of vulnerable children are now, in many areas, being pushed to breaking point.”

It’s a problem across the country. Lancashire Council has announced that a combination of inflationary pressures and unprecedented demand for services means that it is now facing a funding gap of £167 million.
Frustration is mounting in several quarters over the perceived inaction of Rt. Hon. Sajid David. 
Alderman Douglas Eyre has written to The Rt. Hon. Sajid Javid MP, Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government (our added emphasis)

We write to express our concern at the delay in the announcement of your view of the plan to reform Dorset local government by replacing the present eleven local government units with two unitary authorities (one for our urban conurbation of Christchurch-Bournemouth-Poole and another for the more rural areas of Dorset).

This proposal, which was carefully researched and received overwhelming public support (Our comment: 65% in favour across Dorset), was submitted to your Department in February 2017 with a tight programme for implementation to avoid uncertainty and disruption of the electoral timetable. 

The research identified significant administrative cost savings to be made from merging public services in the urban and rural areas.

Equally significant however are the major long-term social and economic benefits which will flow from a new ability to plan and service our conurbation’s economy as a single entity.  Our urban population is close to 400,000, which approaches the size of Bristol, and we urgently need to develop a strategic vision of our future development and goals.

While awaiting the public announcement of your initial response, our existing authorities have started to merge some back-office functions and have also announced a programme of redundancies (Our comment: as reported in our previous newsletters). 

This will yield cost savings but as it will yield few, if any, strategic benefits it cannot be good for morale. 

Others are also frustrated by the Secretary of State. Basildon Council is complaining about his failure to respond to a letter concerning council finances sent to him 10 weeks ago in July. Basildon is trying to close a budget gap of £4.1 million.

Remember, if you want to refresh your memory of past events our website  holds a wealth of information including previous newsletters and analysis.

Community Matters is produced and edited by a team of local residents who try to present you with the facts that will both keep you informed and enable you to make up your own mind on local issues
Jumpers and St Catherine's Hill RA
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Your Residents Association
7 Hurn Road
Christchurch, England BH23 2RJ
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