Your Residents Association Newsletter

Community Matters Issue 7 - December 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
If you can't see our logo above and at the end of the newsletter, make sure you have clicked the link to download pictures


Christmas Waste Collections
Road Improvements at Ringwood
More on NHS Changes
BT Internet Scam
Fraud Scam
Regent Centre
The Airport Sold
DCC - A Council in Trouble
The Secretary of State
That Referendum
The Joint Committee
Christmas Waste Collections
Local councils are not obliged to collect Christmas trees and Dorset residents are being asked to consider how they will dispose of their Christmas trees after the festive period.
If you buy a real Christmas tree, there are three options for what to do once you've finished with it and removed all its decorations: 
  • if you subscribe to the DWP garden waste collection service, you can cut your real tree into small pieces and put it in your garden waste bin
  • real Christmas trees can be taken to the household waste recycling centre at Wilverley Road and placed in the garden waste container for composting, free of charge
  • alternatively, you may be able to book a Christmas tree collection with a charity. 
Artificial Christmas trees will also not be collected by the DWP. If you can't keep it to use again, please take your tree to the Wilverley Road recycling centre. 

Garden waste collections resume from Monday 8 January after the Christmas break. Household recycling centres are open from 10am to 4pm daily, except Christmas day, Boxing day and New Year’s Day. 

For more information on revised refuse collection dates over Christmas, click here 


Road Improvements at Ringwood

Highways England have announced that proposals for a multi-million-pound upgrade to improve journeys for the 77,000 drivers who use the A31 at Ringwood each day have won backing in a public consultation. It is hoped that work will start in 2021.

91% of people who responded to the consultation backed the need for the improvements.

It is proposed to widen the A31 between the Ringwood and Verwood junctions and increase the road capacity at Ringwood junction. All local traffic will be stopped from turning directly on to the dual carriageway. Facilities for cyclists and pedestrians will also be improved.

More Information on the NHS Changes

The Royal Bournemouth Hospital (RBH) site will become the major emergency hospital and Poole Hospital will become the major planned treatment hospital for East Dorset.

These changes will involve a £147m investment in our region’s health services. The scale of the changes is huge and could take five years to implement.

Beds at RBH will increase from 630 to approximately 1,150

The number of staff working on the RBH site will increase from 4,000 to approximately 6,000

There will be a new Emergency Department and Urgent Care Centre; new women’s and children’s services; a new Trauma Unit

The plan is for the construction work to start in 2019, with the major transfer of services in 2022/23.

Meanwhile, plans to build a new link road and junction directly from the A338 to connect with the Wessex Fields business park will unlock a major employment site, and provide a second access to Royal Bournemouth Hospital.  
Specific benefits of the proposed new link road and junction include: 

  • the potential to create around 2,000 new jobs at Wessex Fields business park
  • safeguarding the existing 10,000 jobs, including 4,000 at Royal Bournemouth Hospital
  • a second access to the Royal Bournemouth Hospital site
  • improved traffic flows at Cooper Dean Roundabout
  • enhanced facilities for pedestrians, cyclists and bus users


A BT internet scam is affecting residents in Dorset

Many reports have been made from residents across Dorset stating that people claiming to be from BT Open Reach are asking for remote access to computers to 'make checks' on things like connection speed, routers and security software.

These people are convincing and quite insistent.

To offer reassurance about the legitimacy of the request, people are being provided with a telephone number to call. Once the number given is dialled it is answered by a supposed BT operator.

Please be aware – this is not a trusted way to verify a caller’s identity. Always use the company contact number found on a utility bill or correspondence from that company. Never trust a number given to you over the phone to confirm identity.

Please don't engage with these people, just terminate the call.

Please, pass this message to your friends and family members. Stay alert and be aware of this newest scam.

And a Fraud Investigation Scam

A scam in which criminals pose as police officers or members of a bank’s fraud team and ask people to take part in a fake undercover operation has been brought to the attention of Dorset Police.
The scam begins with fraudsters contacting their target, usually by phone, and stating they are a police officer or, in some cases a member of the fraud team with their bank.

The criminal will state they are investigating a fraud at a local branch where staff are suspected of being complicit, including issuing fake bank notes, and ask the person for their help in the operation.
As part of the scam, they will be asked to visit the branch and withdraw a substantial sum, often thousands of pounds, so that the cash can be analysed by police and reassured the money will be returned at the end of the operation. However, once the money is handed over, the fraudster disappears.
In another version, the criminal convinces the target to transfer money to a so-called ‘safe account’ to protect their funds from ‘corrupt’ bank staff. However, the account is in fact controlled by the criminal.
The criminal instructs their victim not to discuss the case with anyone in the branch, giving them plausible explanations as to why they are withdrawing the money. As a result, despite being questioned by bank staff, the victim will take out cash, convinced that the staff are part of a fraud.
Detective Inspector Neil Wright, of Dorset Police's Priority and Volume Crime team, said: “Scams such as this work because fraudsters are so convincing.

We will never ask anyone to carry out any investigative work for us, or withdraw their own money and neither will your bank. If you receive any phone call you’re not sure about, please just hang up.” 


Repairing the Regent Centre 
The estimated cost of the repair works to the south wall of the Regent Centre based on the current level of knowledge of the extent of the corrosion, is £500,000 at today’s prices.

To avoid a significant financial risk to their operation, The Regent Centre have requested that the main repair works are not carried out until summer 2019. That is likely to increase the cost by £50,000.

If the work was undertaken in 2018 it would require the cancellation of acts already in the diary. It is difficult for them to assess the loss of profit for this period but based on previous performance, more than £150,000 would not be an unreasonable estimate. 


Bournemouth Airport Sold

Manchester Airports Group (MAG) has sold the airport to Rigby Group of Stratford-upon-Avon. MAG says it wants to concentrate on its other airports at Stanstead, East Midlands and Manchester.

Under its management Bournemouth Airport has struggled to reach full passenger potential as airlines have come and gone. The Business Park has been the success story despite the poor road system and difficult transport links with Bournemouth and Poole.

Rigby Group plc is the British parent company for a group of family-owned businesses operating across Europe and the Middle East. It has evolved through strategic acquisitions into an organisation with over 7,500 employees. In the year to March 2017 it reported revenues of £2.17 billion and pre-tax profits of £27.9 million.

Rigby Group also own airports in Exeter, Norwich and Coventry so it’s not new to the game.

DCC - A Council in Trouble

Imagine you owned a house worth £300,000 with a mortgage of £350,000. In addition, each month your living expenses exceeded your income by £2,500. You have no savings to fall back on. You would be right to be worried.

DCC has recently published its 2016-17 unaudited financial accounts.

Over the year they spent £31 million more than their income. They had to dip into their savings yet again – and those savings are nearly all gone.

A balance sheet usually reflects an organisation’s net assets. DCC’s balance sheet bottom line shows net liabilities of £124 million

They have already admitted that in 2017-18 their expenditure, particularly on fostered children, is considerably over budget

Staff are clearly under massive stress. Staff sickness cost more than £2million in the period October 2016 – September 2017.

This is a council on the brink of a very serious situation

The Secretary of State Speaks
Sajid Javid said he is “minded to” implement the Future Dorset plan to create two unitary authorities including Christchurch-Bournemouth-Poole

Christchurch MP Christopher Chope, who has been very active in trying to prevent reorganisation, called the plan "an attack against democracy". It appears to us to have been a demonstration of democracy in action.

The decision was widely welcomed by amongst others: Dorset Chamber of Commerce and Industry; Bournemouth and Poole College of Further Education; Nationwide Building Society; Dorset Clinical Commissioning Group.

At subsequent council meetings, East Dorset Council and Purbeck Council reversed their previous opposition and said they were now in favour of the two-unitary approach.

That left Christchurch completely isolated. Cllr David Flagg, Leader of CBC said:
 “In light of the announcement from the Secretary of State that he is ‘minded to’ support the Future Dorset submission Christchurch councillors will now need to look at holding a postal referendum”


At a subsequent council meeting CBC launched a local referendum. CBC Councillor Tavis Fox summed up the feelings of many when he said:

The issue in question has for me personally been a very difficult one. As a lifelong Christchurch resident, the son of two former mayors, and godson to another, I have never felt that Christchurch should join forces with Bournemouth and Poole. I feel that each authority has its unique attractions.

That said I am an elected councillor put in place to defend and secure the futures of all my residents which is why I voted in favour of change and against the referendum when this was discussed in Council.

I believe that we cannot carry on the way we are. My residents, and indeed all the residents of Christchurch, need and deserve proper and effective social care, school provision, and infrastructure provision, to name a few. These cannot be provided if we continue along our current path.

I am not saying that joining with Bournemouth and Poole would be a silver bullet. However, with growing pressures being imposed this would give us greater economies of scale and enable better use of resources.

That Referendum
The decision by CBC to hold a non-binding referendum, a postal ballot which cost we taxpayers £60,000, met with criticism from several quarters, including our members.

CBC Chief Executive David McIntosh warned that he had been advised by the Department for Communities and Local Government that the result would be regarded as “a very small part of the consideration of the Secretary of State”

CBC Strategic Director Ian Milner said, “in my opinion this expenditure is unwise”.

One of our members wrote:
What alternative are our Council offering us? In the commercial world DCC would be verging on bankruptcy and must either reorganise or slash services to survive.
In the CBC Referendum Council Meeting I heard one councillor say, “someone will pay”. I’m not prepared to trust my family’s future to that sort of statement. On our doorstep we have an opportunity to build something for our children and future generations with Bournemouth and Poole. To ignore that would be like being on unemployment benefit and turning down a perfectly respectable job with a company down the road.

The referendum, never a satisfactory way of judging opinion, was marred by several illegal events.

Christopher Chope MP was obliged to withdraw his leaflet “Six Good Reasons for Voting No” on the grounds that it was illegal. A CBC Councillor and champion of the “vote no” camp distributed the illegal leaflet to residents in direct contravention of the CBC Code of Conduct. Illegal posters urging a “no” vote appeared in several places.

A turnout of 21,000 (53%) voted; NO 17,676; YES 3,321. This sort of result was never in doubt once Christchurch Council sent out their leaflet with the ballot papers, which all but told people to vote NO

This was a parochial referendum amongst some 6% of the population of Dorset. A turnout of 21,000 represents a little less than 3% of the population of Dorset. An against vote of 17,700 represents just over 2% of Dorset's population

Councils representing some 94% of Dorset's population are in favour of 2(b). Nobody knows what Christchurch Council is in favour of.

Bournemouth-Christchurch-Poole Joint Committee

Meanwhile, this committee continues to work on bringing the three councils together. We attended the meeting of 21st November and you can read our full report here 

They believe they have now identified all the critical decisions to be made and are bringing together appropriate resources.

From a parochial Christchurch standpoint, the most interesting development was the announcement that if the merger proceeds our Council Tax will be frozen or even reduced for between 4 and 7 years.

Compliments of the Season

This has been a very busy and at times difficult year. We’re off to put our feet up and we wish you all a Happy Christmas.

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

We are run by a committee of volunteers and a team of helpers who give their time free of charge in an effort to protect the environment that we all enjoy whilst living in this beautiful area
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