Printable version

Your Residents Association Newsletter

Community Matters - September 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
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

The Best Place to Live
They Have No Appeal
Future Investment in Dorset
A View from the Shadow Executive
Council Committee Chaos
News from the Airport
A338 and B3073
Recycling Plastic

YouGov asked more than 42,000 people how they felt about the English counties.  Dorset and Devon top the popularity charts, with 92 per cent saying that they like both.

The south west is home to four of the top five – Cornwall is 3rd at 91 per cent and Somerset 5th at 86 per cent. The only county outside our region to make the top five is North Yorkshire, in 4th place at 87 per cent.

Dorset's is officially the most photogenic county, appearing on Instagram over 98,000 times throughout 2017. South Dorset MP Richard Drax said: “I am not surprised, because Dorset has not only got a stunning countryside and coastline, but is made up of a remarkable mix of people who contribute hugely to the county – all of which makes it a very attractive place to live in.”

While that is true, Dorset is not without its problems – transport links, low wages, and crime are all issues we need to ensure that our representatives continue to address.
After the Judicial Review told them: you have no legal case; you were way out of time; and you weren’t acting in the public interest; CBC made a lot of noise but were finally made to see sense by their legal representatives and CBC Strategic Director Ian Milner.

They wisely decided not to spend yet more of our money appealing the unequivocal verdict. They have yet to apologise to taxpayers for the unnecessary expenditure they incurred.

That means Future Dorset will now be implemented and subject to the Secretary of State’s final approval, Christchurch Council Tax will be frozen for the next six years. CBC has of course been spending taxpayer’s money trying to ensure that taxpayers do not receive this benefit of Future Dorset. Some of you have asked if they can be made to repay the taxpayer – sadly, they can’t.

Throughout this long drawn out process nine CBC councillors have resolutely tried to defend the interests of the taxpayer: Claire Bath, Bernie Davis, Tavis Fox, Wendy Grace, Vicki Hallam, Ray Nottage, Lisle Smith, Sue Spittle and Trevor Watts. They deserve credit for that.

The remainder have relentlessly fought against Future Dorset and their leaders now represent Christchurch on the Shadow Executive of the new council. At the CBC Council Meeting of 4th September, they passed one of their Alice in Wonderland motions.

First, they reaffirmed their opposition to Future Dorset which they believe will be detrimental to residents. As ever, they have yet to provide evidence to explain how this extraordinary opinion was reached.

Then they decided that on the new council Shadow Executive they will try to shortcut a six-year harmonisation and instead get Council Tax for residents of Christchurch and Bournemouth reduced to match that of Poole from day one without harmonizing rateable values across the conurbation.

The new council is already projecting a funding shortfall of £13 million in 2019-20. If the CBC plan were to be implemented it would add £5.3 million to that shortfall making an £18.3 million deficit.

CBC appear to be struggling to identify any means of addressing that shortfall. Indeed, they seem to be working towards creating a poorer quality of life for the children and elderly in our communities.

For years the councils of Dorset have been cross-subsidising one another without so much as a murmur from CBC.

The population of Christchurch is just less than 12% of the population served by DCC but accounts for 15% of DCC Adult Care costs and 8% of the Children’s Services.

Suddenly it becomes an issue for CBC and they propose a completely unworkable solution that the Shadow Authority will simply ignore. Given an opportunity to correct the unfavourable image many people have of them, they have chosen instead to reinforce it.

We have it on good authority that Dorchester are washing their hands of Christchurch.

Apparently, they’re telling Bournemouth and Poole to decide what they want to do and then oblige the much smaller Christchurch to follow suit. That news comes at a time when DCC auditors say they have found the council approach less than positive in some areas stating that there’s a lack of clarity in relation to the DCC involvement which has led to some confusion.
CBC has consistently failed to grasp that apart from cost savings there are other benefits that will flow from the reorganisation. None of Christchurch, Bournemouth and Poole can on their own unlock the potential that will be contained within a single coastal authority of 385,000 people.

The enhanced ability to attract both public and private investment is but one example. They were persistently out of step with the business community, the Dorset Local Enterprise Partnership, and other key players.

The Dorset Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) has announced that is aiming to double the size of the county’s economy over the next 20 years. They estimate that would create 80,000 jobs.

With parochial objections from Christchurch put to bed, they want to create a vibrant and sustainable 21st-century “City by the Sea”. The LEP will pursue formal city status for Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole by creating a one-city approach that respects the importance of different areas within the city.

This includes investment in local transport links, strategic links with other areas, and improved broadband and mobile connectivity to support digital growth and technology uptake.

They intend to pursue an affordable housing deal for local workers. This will include seeking a £215 million affordable housing deal with Central Government. They also revealed that they will be working closely with the Solent LEP to improve the economics and infrastructure across the south coastal area.
Time to put on your thinking caps. Tell us any ideas you have for a name for the proposed new City plus any ideas you would like to propose for improvements that the new city council could make in our area. Just reply to this e-mail to give us your views
CBC have consistently failed to grasp that it is Central Government in the shape of the Treasury that is the driving force behind these changes in Local Government.
For example, the funding of Local Government by Central Government has reduced by over 35% since 2010

The Price-Waterhouse-Cooper financial report about Dorset concluded that there is a compelling case for local government reorganisation in the county.

Their analysis showed that the proposal to replace the current nine councils with two new unitary authorities has key strengths in the areas covered by the Government’s tests and produces two unitary authorities of a size preferred by Central Government.

We asked the Chairman of the new council’s Shadow Executive Councillor Ray Nottage, pictured above, who has been involved from the outset, for some reflections.

As the Judge was assessing whether CBC had been acting in the public interest, we learned more about the deep financial crisis at Northampton Councils.

This, coupled with the projection that there could be as many as ten or more English Councils in similar financial difficulty, gave us reason to reflect on the journey Dorset Councils had been on over the last five years. They have been forced to react to Central Government’s austerity measures and future funding arrangements for local authorities.

Decisions have been taken at CBC local level designed to re-organise service delivery. These produced amongst other things the administrative partnership with East Dorset, the restructure of revenue and benefits delivery and the creation of the Dorset Waste Partnership. All of this contributed to ‘holding the wolf from the door’.

Meeting regularly through that period, nine Dorset leaders grappled with understanding the financial risks resulting from the huge escalation of costs to the public purse of providing Children and Adult social care and other key services.

They analysed the financial pressure being put on the first tier Councils such as Dorset, Bournemouth and Poole: fiscal controls from Government; spiralling costs; reducing revenues; and the need to react positively to the digital revolution. These required bold and decisive management decisions.

The resulting decisions did and will continue to impact on officers and Council employees and it is significant that the partnership between Councillors and Officers always stayed strong and focused on the objective of maintaining service levels to the communities.

The model to reorganize Dorset Councils emanated from financial necessity and the need to restructure the decision-making process to enable easier and more comprehensive dialogue with central government.

The coming together of those nine leaders and their understanding of the key risks inherent in prioritizing those vulnerable sectors whilst delivering essential services to Dorset communities representing over 700,000 residents, was clearly a fundamental shift in local authority management.

Further it showed a determination to take far-reaching decisions having determined the potential dangers of not reacting to financial pressures and how those pressures would have impacted on service delivery.

Many of those original leaders are still in place and are charged with adhering to Parliamentary Law and the delivery of two brand new Councils. Those fortunate to be elected as Councillors in 2019 will do well to acknowledge that the spectre of a ‘Northampton style’ financial meltdown will not be repeated in Dorset.
Councillors at Northamptonshire County Council voted in favour of proposals to create a unitary authority at its full council meeting at the end of August. Some councillors highlighted their opposition to the plans saying that the government has pushed Northamptonshire CC towards a unitary structure. At least they can see the big picture!

Meanwhile, CBC decided to concentrate upon what really matters. Six councillors who played a leading role in the decision to spend our money on court action judged not to be in the public interest (Cllr Colin Bungey, Cllr Peter Hall, Cllr Trish Jamieson, Cllr David Jones, Cllr Denise Jones and Cllr Fred Neale) proposed further changes that would result in reduced efficacy within CBC and increased cost to the taxpayer.

They proposed changes to Council Committees such as the Planning Committee designed to reduce the influence of councillors who supported Future Dorset irrespective of their knowledge and experience. These proposals were accepted at Council and the changes will now be implemented. They will reduce efficiency and increase costs.

In the future, when a child or elderly person in our community is metaphorically drowning, will these councillors be available to explain how they spent the money that could have provided a lifeboat?

A Which? Survey ranked Bournemouth 6th of the small English regional airports. The airport scored 4 out of 5 stars for seating and 3 out of 5 for baggage reclaim, food, passport control and queues. They had an overall satisfaction score of 71%.

The real underlying problem remains access, which is poor. They have no rail link. The B3073 is inadequate and no amount of tinkering will alter that. It would be good to hear what the management are planning to do about that.

Over £20 million of investment is helping fund a series of highway improvements along the A338 and B3073 aimed at facilitating better access into and around Bournemouth Airport as well as unlocking employment land at Aviation Business Park and at Wessex Fields.

The watered down Hurn Roundabout scheme which will allegedly make life easier for horse riders is behind schedule. Work is now expected to be finished in October – which clashes with the scheme to increase lane capacity on the A338 from Blackwater Junction to the Cooper Dean that has just started.

Supply issues meant that work at the roundabout commenced later than planned.

A spokesperson said: "Although the construction work involved in this project seems minimal it has been extremely complex due to the high number of utilities in the area which have to be moved away from the new alignment of the roundabout.

We appreciate that it is incredibly frustrating for residents and drivers that the scheme will continue longer than expected, and we will continue to assess our traffic management as work progresses to minimise disruption wherever possible.”

The A338 works will see the southbound slip lane from the B3073 being extended as a third lane under the fly over. The extra lane will continue for approximately 700 meters to give additional space for traffic to safely merge back into 2 lanes.

To enable these works to be undertaken the southbound carriageway will be reduced to just one lane from just north of the Blackwater Junction towards the Cooper Dean Roundabout. There will be a temporary 40mph speed limit in place during the works. The northbound carriageway lane widths will be reduced slightly but 2 lanes will remain. The scheme will also include improvements to the northbound slip road.

So far it has caused chaos. For more information click here 

There's been a lot of media coverage concerning plastics lately. Dorset does rather well.

About 60% of Dorset's plastic collected at the kerbside is recycled. What can’t be recycled is turned into fuel to generate electricity here in the UK. Our plastics are not stockpiled or sent to landfill.

So please remember to keep putting your plastic tubs, trays, pots and bottles in your recycling bin.

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
If you want to read the newsletter as a Word document, click here

You are receiving this e-mail because you have previously asked to be included as a newsletter subscriber and gave us your e-mail address for that purpose

The personal information we hold for you is your e-mail address plus your name and address which is held on a Mailchimp data base.  The data base is password protected and is maintained by our General Secretary. 

You can opt out of the e-newsletter system at any time by using the link provided at the foot of every newsletter.

We hold your information purely for keeping you in touch with local events and news and not for marketing or any other purpose whatsoever.

We will not pass your information on to any other person or organization.

We will retain your personal information until you either request us in writing to remove it or you use the opt-out link previously mentioned

Follow on Twitter
Friend on Facebook
Follow on Instagram
Our mailing address is:
Your Residents Association
7 Hurn Road
Christchurch, England BH23 2RJ
United Kingdom

Add us to your address book

Email Marketing Powered by MailChimp