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Your Residents Association Newsletter

Community Matters April 2018

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
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Member's Meeting
More Fraud
Door Step Selling
Road Repairs
Airport News
Bus Passes
Parish Councils
CBC Judicial Review
Local Government Reorganisation
Members: Wednesday 18th April
A date for your diary

Hall on the Hill, Marlow Drive, at 7.30pm

Dorset and Wiltshire Fire and Rescue

Area Commander Craig Baker and Chairman Councillor Spencer Flower will tell us how the service is getting on despite a 17% reduction in funding since 2010. Look forward to seeing you there.

An elderly Dorset lady received a phone call and the caller said he was a member of the NatWest Fraud Team. 

He verified some of her bank details, gaining her trust so that she would disclose her pin number. He sounded completely genuine. Subsequently £38,000 was stolen from her account.

Banks will NEVER ask for pin numbers over the telephone, so don't give out this information. If you have any doubts, terminate the call. 

Sellers of items on online marketplace websites are falling victim to fraud by bogus buyers.

Typically, the bogus buyers contact the seller wanting to purchase the item for sale and advise they will be sending the requested amount via PayPal or other electronic payment method.

The seller then receives a fake, but official looking email stating they have been paid more than the asking price and to send the difference back to the buyer’s bank account.

No money has been sent to the seller. The bogus buyer has spoofed an email and purported to be an online payment company. All contact is then severed with the seller.  

Visit Take Five and Cyber Aware for more information about how to protect yourself online.

Dorset Police has received reports of abusive door step sellers visiting local addresses.

The reports indicate that in a small number of cases, doorstep sellers have become abusive when people refused to buy from them.  

If a doorstep seller becomes aggressive, contact police giving as much detail as you can, including descriptions and vehicle registration numbers. If the trader won’t leave your premises, dial 999.

The Asphalt Industry Alliance says the cost of getting roads in England and Wales back into a reasonable condition has increased to £12bn.
A study it commissioned concluded that too much money was being spent fixing cracks and patching holes rather than on long-term maintenance and investment.

In total, in England in 2016-17 some 3% of A-roads were deemed to be in a poor condition. For minor roads (B, C and unclassified) around 5% were in a poor condition.

RAC spokesman Simon Williams said: "Local roads across Britain are suffering from years of underinvestment, which is why the RAC believes the Government, as a matter of urgency, needs to look at the issue from a long-term point of view.

This means identifying a funding strategy to address both prevention and cure and give local authorities certainty of funding, so they can plan.

We calculate that if the Government was to ring-fence 5p a litre from existing fuel duty revenue, this could provide £11.8bn over five years, which would go a long way to fixing our roads

The Department of Transport has recently announced that £100m is being handed to local authorities to help repair almost two million potholes across the country. Dorset will receive nearly £1.5 million.

In Dorset, surprising data from Department for Transport shows road quality has improved since 2009.

Survey data shows Dorset County Council had 4% of its trunk road network and 8% of minor roads in need of repair in 2009/10, but only 3% of trunk roads and 4% of minor roads in 2016/17 – the most recent year for which data is available.

Last month we reported that the transition from Manchester Airport Group to Regional and City Airports should be complete by the autumn.

They say their strategy is to provide local people with a credible alternative to the London airports by increasing the range of services available for both business and leisure customers.

We said we suspect that they may need to look a little closer to home with Southampton currently having better road, rail and parking facilities. That comment was closely followed by the Transport Secretary Chris Grayling saying that he is committed to bringing forward a southern rail link to Heathrow Airport from Woking (which is on the Weymouth, Poole, Bournemouth, and Southampton to Waterloo mainline).

At the same time, the House of Commons Transport Committee released a report into the draft Airports National Policy Statement suggesting that such rail access was essential for Heathrow even before the addition of a third runway. It is estimated that the rail link could be used by as many as 33,000 people per day.

A direct rail service from Dorset to Heathrow would be very good for attracting inward investment as well as business and tourism in our area. Quite what it would do to Bournemouth and Southampton Airports is open to debate.

Central Government have announced that disabled and older people in England will continue to benefit from free off-peak bus travel for the foreseeable future.

Bus passengers aged over 65 or with a disability have been entitled to travel free of charge on any off-peak local service in England since 2007, thanks to the English National Concessionary Travel Scheme.

The government has now amended legislation to protect the scheme in its current format so that it no longer needs to be reviewed every 5 years and can thus continue for years to come.

All Dorset now needs are some funds to subsidise local buses so that people with passes can use them!

A couple of months ago we asked for your feedback on the suggestion that Jumpers and St Catherine’s should become a separate parish within Christchurch. The topic did not generate much interest and those that did respond were largely against the idea.

Following that input from us and views received from other interested parties, CBC have just published draft recommendations on the formation of new parishes. They are:

Retain the existing parish councils at Burton and Hurn

Form a new parish of Highcliffe and Walkford

Form a new parish of Mudeford, Friars Cliff and Stanpit

Form a new parish of the remainder (Grange, Jumpers and St Catherine’s, Priory) called Christchurch Town

Council Reorganisation 

At the end of the last episode, CBC had decided to revisit QC Nathalie Lieven to discuss applying for a Judicial Review.


CBC was represented by the Council Leader and Deputy Leader plus four officers including David McIntosh and Ian Milner. MP Sir Christopher Chope also attended.

The purpose was to review the CBC case for requesting a Judicial Review of the Future Dorset plans. If you want to know more about Judicial Review follow the link and click on “council Affairs” and “Local Government Reorganisation” to find a plain language explanation

The day after the meeting Council Leader David Flagg reported that the QC had repeated her previous opinion. CBC has no case and would not succeed in obtaining such a review. We have not yet seen her written report, nor do we know how much it has cost tax payers.

The draft legislation to dissolve the nine local authorities and to replace them with two unitary authorities can now be read online. The summary is reasonably readable!

What should our councillors be concerned about?

What additional powers should the new urban unitary authority have to tackle for example the acute and growing issue of road congestion in the conurbation and other strategic planning matters without reference to Central Government?

We believe that some additional powers have been delegated to merged authorities in the North of England. They should find out about such powers, see if they are relevant here and what needs to be done to acquire them.

They should consider what powers (if any) the new urban unitary authority should delegate to the districts “where people consider they live” such as Boscombe, Mudeford, and Parkstone and how such local forums should be run.
Bournemouth-Christchurch-Poole Joint Committee

We continue to attend these meetings on your behalf. You can read our reports here 

In a report on Medium Term Financial Plans it emerged that Dorset Council’s targeted savings of £10.2 million in 2018-19 are rated as “high risk” (no surprise there) so the assumed cumulative funding gap of £24.1 million could be higher.   

28 staff were made redundant by DCC in the period April to December 2017 at a cost of £938,000. The expected annual savings to the tax payer exceed £1 million in a full year. Given the DCC funding deficit this development should not come as a surprise.

More than 3,000 jobs have disappeared at Dorset County Council over the past eight years – with the council now down to just over 4,000 full time equivalent posts. There have also been redundancies in Bournemouth and Poole.

We now have a rule of thumb used to determine how much of Dorset’s funding deficit relates to Christchurch - which gives a cumulative funding gap of £2.8 million. Christchurch, like everywhere else in Dorset, costs more to run than it contributes.

During the amalgamation of the Councils changes to operating methods and procedures will be kept to a minimum. Once the new Council is operational, a whole new phase of amalgamation will consider new ways of working.

On that topic, in our last newsletter we talked about artificial intelligence and the changes we can foresee in the way Local Authorities will function. That prompted several you to ask for more information.  Click here for a paper in ordinary language that outlines the development of AI and explains what is happening today. 

Change will be managed using a managerial device invented by an ICT company called Digital in the 1970s. It’s called Matrix Management and involves dividing the organisation into “lines of business” (e.g. Children’s Services; Adult’s Services; Environmental Services) and into “support disciplines” that interact with every line of business (e.g. Finance; Legal; ICT; Human Resources).

It replaces rigid hierarchical top down structures with teams drawn from different disciplines. It requires an elevated level of managerial skill to make it work properly but is very effective in engineering change.

Parish Notices
Subscriptions for 2018
We are recommending a subscription of £1 per household.

Marlow Drive Car Park
The promised contractor did not arrive to resurface the car park. We have contacted the landlord’s agent and asked for a progress report
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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Your Residents Association
7 Hurn Road
Christchurch, England BH23 2RJ
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