Sunday, December 31, 2006

New Year's Resolutions

Well, the Festive Season is almost over and, thank goodness, so is the round of various parties and dinners.

Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not really a Scrooge, I thoroughly enjoy this time of year, not least the opportunity to socialise and catch up with friends who you haven’t seen through much of the year.

However, even more than before, this Season has had an expansive effect on my waisteline. Seeing those photos from the Christmas Day Swim has brought that fact in to stark relief for me. So, number one New Year’s resolution this year is to get back to the gym and start getting back in to some kind of shape.

My other New Year’s Resolutions, well

2. Be on time more often (Setting my watch ten minutes fast hasn’t worked as I know it’s ten minutes fast and therefore still think I have time to get places when I haven’t – I have to think of a new strategy).

3. Take Harry for more walks – he’s suffered a bit in that department through the Autumn.

4. Go to the cinema more often – I love it so why don’t I make the time to do it?

5. Write a post a day for this site, after all, if people are going to find out what I stand for then they need to see what I think on different issues.

Have a Happy New Year everyone.

Monday, December 25, 2006

Happy Christmas!

Merry Christmas Everyone, from Harry and of course me too.

Swimming this morning for charity

This morning I joined the Bournemouth Spartans for their Christmas Morning swim off Boscombe Beach in Bournemouth. In the photo above I'm joined by Cllr David Smith from Central Ward in Bournemouth and by the Mayor of Bournemouth, Cllr Bob Chapman.
We all joined the swimmers and in the process we raised over £1,000 for the Mayor of Bournemouth's Charity Appeal. It was actually very invigorating, if extremely cold! I'd do it again though, particularly if I can ensure we raise that kind of money for local charities each year.
Anyway, for those doubters amongst my sponsors I need to post evidence of actually having been in the water, so here it is:


Before you scroll down to the next photo I should warn you it shows me in a partially unclothed state. It's not pretty. I'm definitely starting that exercise regime in the New Year!

Monday, December 18, 2006

Save Dorset's Post Offices

In my new role as the Parliamentary Spokesman for Mid Dorset and North Poole I've set up a web site to campaign against proposed Sub Post Office closures in Dorset.

Be they in rural areas or those like our own sub post offices provide a vital service to the community.

This Government has progressively transferred services away from the local Post Offices thereby cutting their income and making them increasingly less viable financially.

To my mind the current Social Network contribution of £150million is a small price to pay for the service those remaining offices provide. When you consider that the government spent £1.1 billion on the services of consultants alone last year it puts this amount in to perspective.

At a time when the government is also cutting subsidies to our local authorities which in turn cause them to cut back their support for public transport, I would have thought that we should be investing in businesses which provide local access to a range of services.

Sub Post Offices provide services to both residents and businesses. If we are to retain vibrant and diverse rural and suburban areas then Sub post Offices must be part of that picture. The alternative is to force more and more people in to their cars in order to commute to obtain the services they need.

We'd be very grateful of your support for the petition, please sign it by logging on here and following the on screen instructions.

163 Harewood Avenue - another planning appeal

The developers hoping to demolish the house at 163 Harewood Avenue and replace it with six flats have now lodged an appeal against the Council's refusal of planning permission in October.

It would appear that they are hoping that the holiday period will limit the activity of opponents to the application in making sure objections are recieved by the Planning Inspectorate.

We will be delivering letters in the next couple of days as always explaining how you can object and providing a template for you to use if you wish.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Troika Public Enquiry

I gave my evidence to the public enquiry on Friday morning. I made the point strongly that insufficient regard had been taken of the effect on our area of the construction of the office facilities. I took along photographs of the parking problems in Cheriton Avenue as an example of the problems we face. I hope the Planning Inspector will take time to visit the local roads to see the problems we have with workers’ parking.

Our MP, Tobias Ellwood, will be giving his evidence on Tuesday morning, along with one of our other ward councillors, Adrian Fudge. Adrian has changed his position entirely I’m afraid to say, having initially spoken against the office development at the Planning Board hearing he has now decided to back the development.

We can expect a result to the enquiry some time in January I understand.

Mobile Phone Mast roll out plans

I've recieved an update to the roll out plans for telephone masts from Bournemouth Planning. The full details are as follows:

Note: I have extracted from the roll out plans the operators proposals for 2006/07. Where an address is stated I have checked this against the grid reference given. Where there is a discrepancy I have noted this in the end column. Where the operator has not provided an address I understand it means that they wish to locate somewhere in that cell but have not yet identified a site. In these cases I have given the road/location of the grid reference provided by the operator in the end column. Finally I have added the Ward to assist Members although it maybe that the area of search by the operator will cross ward boundaries so it is worth considering proposals in adjacent Wards.

Bob Johnson
Planning & Transport
21 November 2006

Mobile Phone Operator: 3

Steetworks on Wentworth Avenue (BH6 3SQ) 413452 91747 BE/WS Grid ref shows Stourwood Ave/Southbourne Grove
Guildhill (Seafield) Water Tower (BH6 3HR) 415617 91553 ES Grid ref shows Braemar Ave/Harbour Road
site not identified 408832 91004 CE Grid ref shows for area between aviary & bandstand, Lower Gardens
site not identified 412321 94429 TM Grid ref for Throop Road
site not identified 408032 90901 WC Grid ref for highway junction Durley Road & Hahnemann Road
site not identified 407082 96428 KN Grid ref for Wicket Road

Mobile Phone Operator: O2

AFC Bournemouth (BH7 7AF) – 2 references 411782 92955 LI Grid ref shows King’s Pk (other side of Bishops Close from football ground)
Exeter Road roundabout (BH2 5BY) 408608 90892 WC/CE Priory Road side of roundabout
Tower Court (BH2 5HJ) 408216 90751 WC Grid ref shows Bayview Mews (next door to Tower Ct)
Streetlamp swop, Dean Park (specific site not provided) CE
6 Dean Park Crescent (BH1 1HL) 408933 91514 CE
BT Exchange, Winton (BH9 1JL) 408716 93597 WE
Warnford Road (BH6 5PF) 413490 92852 LI
Motobitz, Boscombe (BH7 6AF) 411726 92007 BW
Vodafone Co-Loc Rooftop (BH5 1AG) 411195 91510 BW Grid ref shows Owls Road

Mobile Phone Operator: T Mobile

Knoll Manor, St Valerie Road (BH2 6PL) 408580 92132 CE
Iddesleigh Road (BH8 8UW) 409289 92759 TB Iddesleigh Road at junction with Charminster Rd
Bournemouth Central Business Park (BH1 3SJ) 410199 91971 EC In front of Unit 9 (mast nearby already noted on OS)
Lansdowne House, Christchurch Road (BH1 JW) 409754 91377 CE
Somerfield Store, Wimborne Road, Kinson (BH10 7BB) 407158 96631 KN
Clowes Ave. Pumping Station (BH6 4EP) 415620 91319 ES
Castle Lane, Outside St Edmunds (BH8 9UA) 411231 94655 SP
Suzuki, 324-326 Charminster Road (BH8 9RT) 409792 93511 QP
BT Exchange, Wycliffe Road (BH9 1LA) 408711 93626 WE
Homedene Court, Poole Road (BH2 6AF) 407836 91252 WC
St James Court, Owls Road (BH5 1AJ) 411144 91446 BW
Wonderholme Parade, Kinson Road (BH10 4DQ) 406741 94765 WW
846/848 Wimborne Road (BH9 2DS) 408804 94746 MO
St Pauls Road (BH8 8AJ) 409491 91949 CE On highway (nr. Existing O2 mast?)
Seabourne Road (BH7 6DL) 412489 92393 BE On highway corner Seabourne/Christchurch Rds
Redhill Fire Station, Redhill Avenue (BH9 2SW) 408249 94741 WW
Streetlight, Wimborne Road (Dean Pk area) (BH2 6NB) 408985 92456 CE
Cnr Wimborne/Lansdowne Rds (south side)
site not identified 407054 91051 WC Grid ref is for Grosvenor Road
site not identified 408216 93471 TB Grid ref is for rear garden of Talbot Road
site not identified 412809 91680 BE Grid ref is for Montague Road
site not identified 413389 93171 LI Grid ref is for Christchurch Road
site not identified 410482 95404 TM Grid ref is for Harbeck Road
site not identified 407770 95489 RN Grid ref is for Hillview Road
site not identified 409640 95549 TM Grid ref is for Tincleton Gardens
site not identified 407900 92889 TB Grid ref is for Dunkeld Road
site not identified 408360 91059 WC Grid ref is for highway Upper Terrace Road o/s no 8
site not identified 413410 92339 WS Grid ref is for lane between Stamford Rd & Beaufort Rd
site not identified 411610 93189 LI Grid ref is for Gainsborough Road
site not identified 412120 91689 BE Grid ref is for Penrith Road
site not identified 414890 91999 ES Grid ref is for Brightlands Avenue

Mobile Phone Operator: Vodafone

287 Kinson Road (BH10 5HE) 407073 95565 KS
Palm Ct Hotel, 38 Christchurch Road (BH1 3PD) 410000 91450 EC

Mobile Phone Operator: Orange

Bournemouth ATE, Bath Road (BH1 2NR) 409320 91260 CE
Avenue Shopping Centre, Commercial Road (BH2 5RH) 408350 91200 CE

You'll note that there are only a few sites in Littledown and Iford. The Warnford Road mast planned by O2 is already the subject of a planning appeal. The planned mast on one of the floodlights at AFC Bournemouth is also well known.

The two other locations being considered do cause me some concern. It looks as though T Mobile want to place masts in the areas around Christchurch Road and Gainsborough Road. Both are residential areas, particularly Gainsborough Road, I can't think of anywhere that would be suitable in either locality. I'll keep an eye on any planning applications and let residents know as soon as there is any movement on any application.

Friday, December 08, 2006

Troika Public Enquiry

I'm just off to give my evidence to the Toika Development Public Enquiry.

Most other community groups and councillors will be giving their evidence next Tuesday. Unfortunately I am going to be working away from Bournemouth then, so have been allowed to attend this morning.

It was great to see so many people there yesterday registerring to have their opinions heard. Representatives from the local community forums, action groups, Conservative and Labour parties and local councillors all put their names on the list.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Town Centre Car Park Sales

One of my colleagues, Councillor Dave Smith from Central Ward has obtained this list giving the current position with regard to the sale of car parks in the town centre:

The following is a list of town centre car parks where development briefs have been produced or are currently being pursued:

Terrace Mount - conditional contracts exchanged, planning application awaited.

Lansdowne Road/Madeira Road (corner of) - conditional contracts exchanged, planning application awaited but a boundary issue with the Police HQ is causing a problem.

Priory Road - marketing commenced.

Madeira Road East & West - consultation has been completed on a draft planning brief and Cabinet will be asked to approve a revised brief in December or January.

Leyton Mount - consultation has been completed on a draft planning brief and Cabinet will be asked to approve a revised brief in December or January.

Glen Fern - consultation has been completed on a draft planning brief and Cabinet will be asked to approve a revised brief in December or January.

Durley Road - a draft planning brief has been produced and Cabinet will be asked to approve public consultation on this document at its December meeting.

West Hill - a draft planning brief has been produced and Cabinet will be asked to approve public consultation on this document at its December meeting.

Central - a draft planning brief is being prepared and Cabinet will be asked to approve public consultation in the new year.

Berry Court - a draft planning brief is being prepared and Cabinet will be asked to approve public consultation in the new year.

Richmond Hill - a draft planning brief is being prepared and Cabinet will be asked to approve public consultation in the new year.

10 St Stephens Road - a draft planning brief is being prepared and Cabinet will be asked to approve public consultation in the new year.

It begs the question: If all of these car parks are up for sale where on earth are people going to park when they come to the town centre? It seems that this administration's head long rush for cash could well result in the death of our town centre. Shameful!

Monday, December 04, 2006

Green Waste Collections

Comments about green waste collections form the largest part of my mail bag at the moment. Many people in Littledown and Iford are truly struggling with the issue of disposal of their garden waste.

When setting up the recycling scheme it seems the council completely ignored the need for green waste collection and as a consequence the system we see now is, to my mind, an after thought.

There is some good news in that we have obtained agreement from the Council that the collection schemes at Kings Park and Slades Farm will now continue through until the end of the financial year (late March). It had originally been due to finish on DEcember 22nd. At the moment there is no news of their continuance beyond that point because no budget has been approved for them as yet.

As you are probably aware, I’m a Conservative councillor and therefore not of the ruling party on the Council at the moment. We have criticised the lack of green waste collection facilities from the start of the scheme and have now placed a commitment to introduce green waste collection in a similar manner to that practised in Poole, as soon as possible if we win control of the council in May. I’m afraid that in practical terms that probably means nothing happening until the autumn at the earliest.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Mid Dorset and North Poole

Yesterday the Conservative Association in the Mid Dorset and North Poole constituency chose their candidate to fight the seat at the next general election.

The selection process was rigorous including interviews, speeches, tests in practical campaigning and questioning by a public meeting.

Mid Dorset and North Poole chose me. I'm honoured and delighted to have been chosen as the parliamentary candidate for the constituency.

Proposed development - 22 Exton Road

A planning application has been made to demolish the property divided in to two maisonettes at 22 Exton Road (on the corner with Ashford Road) and replace it with seven flats.

I understand that the residents local to the site are unhappy with the proposal and therefore we'll be distributing letters this week to help people object to the application.

There are no other developments of this type in the locality and, in common with similar recent application, it would appear to be totally out of keeping with the neighbourhood.

Friday, November 24, 2006

Street Trading in Bournemouth

There was a special meeting of Bournemouth Borough Council last night to discuss a proposal to promote an Act of Parliament which will place control of street trading anywhere in the borough with the council.

I've been campaigning for some time for some control to be placed on the pedlars in Bournemouth Square who sell goods from the moveable barrows. Normally these are cheap clothing accessories, mobile phone accessories or fake sunglasses and the like. The Council are unable to police them at the moment because they are able to obtain a licence from the police, for something like £1.25, which places them as a pedlar in the eyes of the law. This means that as long as they keep moving their barrow every hour or so, even if that movement is only a few feet, they can go essentially wherever they like in the town centre.

The consequence is that on busy Saturdays in the Summer and around Christmas you can end up with anything up to a dozen of them cluttering Bournemouth Square.

I'm very pleased to say that the motion to pursue the Act of Parliament was approved unanimously. This means that hopefully the Act should be given Royal Assent by the Summer of 2007, allowing the council to police this issue from July or August onwards.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Super Nannies?

The Government is apparently going to announce this morning that they are going to set up a network of 'Super Nannies' to assist parents with unruly children in the 70 most deprived areas of the country.

No, they're not going to be clones of the wonderful Jo Frost (see photo). Rather, child psychologists to whom parents and children will be 'referred'.

I can't think of anything more patronising than this idea. I heard an interview this morning with a spokesman from the NCH (National Childrens Homes) who said quite rightly that you can not force parenting skills on people.

A few months ago I spent the afternoon with two of my Labour council colleagues, Ted Taylor and Beryl Baxter, touring their ward, Kinson North. An area more different to Littledown and Iford you could not find in Bournemouth.

They took me to a number of fantastic community initiatives, not least amongst which was the Sure Start centre in West Howe. There, in a centre run in part by the community, parents are encouraged to engage with their children and, slowly, are introduced to parenting skills if needed. They aren't referred there, rather go along because they know it to be a useful source of help when they are having problems and because the rest of the community is so visibly supportive of it.

Surely the Government's investment should be in more of this kind of centre rather than employing psychologists to whom parents are forced to go.

Super Nannies? Just another symptom of our Nanny State.

Monday, November 20, 2006

Dorset - the government's forgotten county?

Did you know that Dorset receives less money from Central Government per head than any other shire county? That doesn't effect us in Bournemouth, or indeed in Poole, because we are separate unitary authorities.

However, the amounts that the two unitary boroughs receieve from Central Government are equally at the bottom of the heap when it comes to that league table. The issue has been raised by Cllr Brian Leverett, leader of Poole Council and his deputy, Cllr Ann Stribley. The issue is covered in a very good Echo article, available here.

We've long known that the South West and Dorset in particular gets a rough deal from Central Government. Under Labour distribution of national finances to local government has smacked of the worst kind of American pork barrell politics. The majority of the money has been sent to the Labour heartlands of the Midlands and the North.

And yet, the government seems to expect that we here in Dorset should be accommodating a disproportionate number of new homes. The reason? 'Because that's where people want to live and where the opportunities for employment are'.

Our infrastructure is already creaking under the strain of the influx of people. The concerns about gridlock around Castle Lane West at Christmas here are a great example of that.

A fair local government grant from Central Government would give Dorset's local authorities the chance to provide infrastructure appropriate to cope with the population growth. Yet the Labour Government appear to send money to areas where population is falling and where houses are being demolished because no one wants to live in them.

Dorset's local authorities need a fair grant settlement, and we need it now.

Labour appear to have forgotten that Dorset's on the map. I wonder if politics and where the majority of their seats are has anything to do with that?

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Under age means under age. Doesn't it?

I don't normally comment on national issues on this blog, I try and keep it local as you probably know, however I just noticed this story on the BBC website, which made me do a double take.

Chief Constable Terry Grange of Dyfed - Powys police has suggested that sex between young men aged 16 - 20 and young girls under 16 may not necessarily be paedophelia, rather it's a 'grey area'.

How on earth can a Chief Constable be suggesting that sex between an older boy/man and a girl who is under age is any way acceptable?

If a young person is under age, then they are under age. Suggestion that a young man as old as 20 may not necessarily be doing something wrong by having sex with a girl under 16 seems to be opening a can of worms to me.
To my mind young people become sexually active way to early anyway. Talk like this only suggests that it may be OK for this kind of thing to happen. I can't see any circumstance where it is. I hope Chief Constable Grange withdraws his comments post haste.

Ward Improvement Funds - Who's used what

Talking about the ward development fund, I thought that I should do a bit of digging to see who has actually used their money.

Each ward in Bournemouth has had £5,000 per annum for the past three years to spend. Therefore these figures show how much is left out of that £15,000. The note in brackets denotes which party the ward's councillors, who sign off on the grants, come from.

Boscombe East (LD:2 C:1) - £15,000
Boscombe West (LD:2 C:1) - £11,500
Central (C:3) - £13,320
East Southbourne & Tuckton (C:3) - £ 5,000
Eastcliff & Springbourne (C:2 Ind:1) - £ 3,117
Kinson North (LD:3) - £12,400
Kinson South (Lab:3) - £13,078
Littledown & Iford (LD:2 C:1) - £13,066
Moordown (LD:3) - £12,285
Queen's Park (LD:3) - £11,276
Redhill & Northbourne (LD:3) - £ 4,100
Strouden Park (LD:3) - £11,689
Talbot & Branksome Woods (C:3) - £11,400
Throop & Muscliff (Ind:2 C:1) - £ 4,608
Wallisdown & Winton West (LD:3) - £14,000
West Southbourne (LD:3) - £ 7,576
Westbourne & Westcliff (C:3) - £11,082
Winton East (LD:3) - £ 4,000

Looking at the detail of some of the grants that have been made is also interesting, for example £8,000 of the £11,000 spent in Winton East has gone to the Winton Carnival. Whereas, the grants for Redhill & Northbourne have gone to 13 different causes and those for Throop & Muscliff have gone to 9.

If you live in any of the wards with substantial amounts outstanding, I would urge you to contact your ward councillors to ask whether it is already allocated and perhaps provide them with ideas for how the money can be spent.

It's a shame

Littledown Centre in need of funds

You may have read in previous posts that the Littledown Centre is in need of additional funds due to their exceeding their budget for the year by £550,000.

At the Area Forum meeting on Thursday evening, my ward colleagues Councillors Fudge and Ketchley put forward a request for funding of new picnic facilities by the childrens play area at the site. The cost of this is likely to be £4,000 - £5,000. As we have around £12,000 left in the fund this would be a substantial amount from it.
My immediate reaction was that while it is a good cause, it's another of those expenditure items that benefits people from across different wards rather than just those of us in Littledown and Iford. The ward fund is specifically to improve our facilities, if other wards want to chip in along with us, then that's fine, but to bear the cost entirely ourselves seems to me a little unfair.
I'd appreciate your comments on this one before making a decision as to whether to support the application for funds.

Littledown and Iford Forum

Thanks to everyone who came along to the Forum meeting on Thursday night.

Some interesting points were discussed, and a few new issues were raised. I'll try and address some of these in the next few posts.

Speakers from the Council gave updates on the recycling scheme and social services changes.

There were questions on Troika and parking (of course), but also a good discussion about what projects should be put forward for grants from the ward improvement fund. Unfortunately, it would appear that there are going to be more projects than grants.

More about this issue later.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Troika Development - Letter from Cllr Adrian Fudge

Some of you may have recieved a letter from one of my ward colleagues, Cllr Adrian Fudge, about the Troika development.

I've been asked by a number of people to clarify its contents, as it's largely about me, and I'm happy to do so.

In it there is a comment about my letter saying the Troika development was rejected on officers’ advice. This statement isn’t correct.

What Cllr Fudge is referring to is the proposed pro forma letter which we put out allowing people to object. In the letter it said: “I concur with the Planning Officer’s opinion, in his decision notice, that the proposed development is of an unacceptable scale and will have a detrimental effect upon the surrounding area.”

Essentially it is quoting from a letter which comes from the Chief Planning Officer each time a planning application is rejected and refers to the two reasons the planning board gave for refusal of the application. The Head of Planning asked me if I would change the term ‘Planning Officer’s opinion’ to ‘The Council’s opinion’ in case there was any confusion over the fact that the officers had recommended acceptance. I was happy to do this and the second half of the 2,000 letters we put out about the issue carried the amended version.

Otherwise my position remains the same, I believe that the expansion of the hospital alone on to the site would be the best use of it. Access arrangements would have to be improved, but in general it is the best use.

The alternative that Troika put forward and that Cllrs Fudge and Ketchley back is for 3,500 workers and 900 parking spaces. To me that simply doesn’t stack up, it would cause chaos locally.

The interesting points come in their sudden conversion to residents parking permits, which is something the Liberals have been quite opposed to up until now. The other issue is that the original plans did not offer the maximum number of parking spaces for the office development,

Fran Ketchley voted for that scheme and Adrian Fudge now supports it. They do seem to have gathered that this is going to be an issue. However, that maximum would still only suggest parking for around 1,100 out of 3,500 as far as I understand it.

I hope this clarifies any concerns people have about the letter.

More bin problems

I'm afraid I spent yesterday back on the media treadmill about bins.

This time it's as a result of the new system for checking that residents are putting the correct items in their recycling bins.

What will now be happening is that the refuse collectors will be opening and checking the contents of your 'big' recycling bin. If they note any items in the bin that are not recyclable then they won't be emptying it. Instead a sticker will be placed on it telling you that there are items in it that are not recyclable and telling you to ring a council number.

The idea is that you then call this number to be told what it was that shouldn't have been in the bin, offered 'help' with your recycling and then to arrange for someone to come back to empty the bin once you have removed the offending item. If you haven't I assume they still won't take the bin away.

I understand why there has to be a system to check that the right items are placed in the recycling bins. If there is too much 'contamination' in the bins when they arrive at the recycling plant then the loads are rejected and the council has to pay for the whole load to be sent to landfill.

However, again the introduction of the scheme seems to me to have some substantial flaws:
  • Yet again we are introducing a sensible policy using draconian language which is already causing concern to many of our older residents

  • What happens if the item that shouldn't be in the bin wasn't put there by you? The refuse collector can't tell and residents can't protect their bins from passers by putting items in them.

  • Given the problems with the telephone system set up to support the introduction of the recycling scheme, I certainly hope we are going to avoid the same delays and confusion that happened then.

  • Much of the problem lies with foreign students who simply don't understand and frankly don't care about what rubbish goes where. The likelihood of them calling the line, or if they do understanding the problem and what they have to do, is fairly remote I would think. What then happens with the waste that's not being collected?

  • In commmon with the selective collection of green waste bags, we are now going to have waste vehicles driving around making individual collections. That doesn't seem very green to me.

  • And when the council is already £3.65 million overspent for the year it all doesn't sound very cost effective.
Surely a better system would be to simply have a the waste people remove the offending article, put it in the little bin and take the waste. The refuse collector could then place a note through the door of the house it came from informing the residents they had made a mistake and asking them not to repeat it. If they did, after a number of weeks, then this system of not taking the waste could perhaps be used.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Troika Development - Fresh plans due?

Troika are about to bring forward fresh plans for the Wessex Fields site in Riverside Avenue. It’s likely that this will include more healthcare facilities as a result of their deal with the hospital and apparently some increased car parking facilities. I hope to find out more this coming week and will keep you up to date with developments.

AFC Bournemouth's Planning Applications

I’ve been waiting to see when the application for planning at AFC Bournemouth would appear in the planning lists. When it still didn’t appear at the beginning of this week, I thought I should start doing some digging as it had been over a month since it was first reported.

No one in the planning department could tell me what was happening so I went to the club direct. It appears that there have been some issues raised by the Environmental Impact Assessment which have caused delays in the plans being brought forward. I couldn’t find out exactly what there were, but would suspect it is more to do with the area to the rear of Bishops Close where the fitness facility will be built rather than the hotel or housing sites.

I was asked why I was interested and I explained that I was in touch with concerned residents in Thistlebarrow Road. They were quite clear that they had consulted fully with the owners of the houses either side of the one to be demolished and I explained that it wouldn’t just be those residents who were effected by the development.

The club appear very keen to mollify any opposition. I suggested therefore that they should be holding a public meeting to let local people discuss their plans and put forward their own opinions prior to finalising their plans. I intend bringing the issue up at the Littledown and Iford Forum meeting on Thursday.

Littledown and Iford Forum

A reminder that the Forum will be meeting this Thursday, November 16th at 7.30pm at St Saviours’ Church Hall on the corner of Colemore Road and Holdenhurst Avenue. Please come along if you can.

Rememberance Sunday

I attended the Rememberance Sunday service at Bournemouth's Cenotaph in the Central Gardens this morning. It was a moving and poignant event, recognising the enormous and often ultimate sacrifice given by our servicemen and women for their country.

It was heartwarming to see so many people there, the park itself was full as were the railings overlooking the gardens along Bourne Avenue and Avenue Road.
All the more disappointing then that on my reckoning only 35 of 54 councillors were in attendance. I'm sorry to say that I was the only representative from Littledown and Iford. I don't know where our Lib Dem colleagues were, I hope they were simply paying their respects elsewhere.
It was just heartening to see Margaret Rose, one of my predecessors as Conservative councillor for our ward on the dais with me however. Margaret continues to do much for our community and I was proud that there was at least someone else from Littledown and Iford there to pay our respects.

Friday, November 10, 2006

Money worries

Last night I attended a meeting of the Supporting our Economy Scrutiny and Review Panel.

The final item on the agenda, after reports on training parks staff to be more responsive, an update on the Winter Gardens and a review of the new Seafront Strategy came a report on an overspend in the Leisure Department, with particular reference to Leisure Centres.

Essentially the issue is that there is a projected overspend in the budget for our leisure centres of something like £550,000. Put in the context of a current overspend of some £3.6million across the whole council this may not seem too bad.

The report before the committee asked us either to recommend to Cabinet that the additional amounts be found from savings elsewhere or to reject the request for additional funding, thereby forcing cuts to the level of the overspend on the leisure centres.

My ward colleague, Cllr Fudge, who is the Liberal 'chancellor' of Bournemouth attended and told us in a highly politicised speech that he couldn't find savings elsewhere and if we were to recommend to the Cabinet that we accept the increased funding request we would need to tell him where the cuts would otherwise come.

There were a couple of points that a number of us, both Liberal Democrat and Conservative, didn't understand. The officer presenting the report could only tell us that the shortfall is because of increased utility costs (approx £150,000) and less income than anticipated (£400,000). Beyond that there was no further indication of exactly where the problem lies.

Similarly, no thought appears to have been given, yet, to where the cuts might be made if the increased funding is not available, nor what might be done to rejuvenate their income stream.

It wasn't this that astounded me, but that the request for additional funding was also being carried forward in to future years as there was no sign of matters improving.

The pressure was very much from Cllr Fudge that we should reject the additional funding bid and force the cuts on the centres.

That may well be what we should be doing, particularly given the magnitude of the funding crisis now facing the Council. I'm glad to say, however, that both Conservatives and Liberal Democrat members of the committee voted to ignore this pressure and insist upon the issue being revisited in a separate meeting at which we should be able to consider the funding request and the proposals for additional income generation and potential cuts if funding isn't allowed.

If I ran my businesses like this we would have gone bust years ago. How is it possible that the budgets set at the begining of this financial year have gone so awry? It seems to me they were never sustainable in the first place.

Cllr Fudge expressed himself happy at the end of the meeting, in that he could make great political capital from the fact that we (the Conservatives) had failed to make a decision. I fail to see how that can be when Cllr Angela Manton (LD - Strouden Park) proposed the motion to defer and I seconded it.

Much more importantly, I find it amazing that a problem of this magnitude can be treated with such flipancy and that the councillor in charge of our money can think that a Scrutiny Panel will agree to a decision of this kind without a thorough report on the causes and options in front of us.

Monday, November 06, 2006

Planning Application - 163 Harewood Avenue

I'm very pleased to report that the planning application that proposed the demolition of the house at 163 Harewood Avenue and its replacement with six flats has been refused by the Council's Planning Department.

As you may well know this is a large family house in an area where there are no flats at present.

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Parks Department bulb sale

I received this note from the parks department:

End of Season Plant and Bulb Sale
Kings Park Nursery
Saturday 4th November - opens 10.30 a.m.
Last opportunity to pick some bargains, its still not too late to plant, go on make your garden look a picture this spring!!
Directions; Entry to Kings Park from Christchurch Road in Pokesdown, 400 yards on the right

Warnford Road/Southwick Road Development

Strangely, at the same time as hearing about the telephone mast appeal, I received a call from Dave Wells who owns the land upon which the mast is due to be sited.

Some of you may be aware that he had previously applied for planning permission for a development of flats on this land. He is now considering making an application for a residential development on this piece of property and wanted to obtain my opinion of the local mood.

I told him that I had spoken to only a few people in the locality and therefore I would need to speak to many more before being able to give him a good indication. But what I could tell him was that there was huge opposition to the mast going on the site, and that if it were to be placed there it would make the sale of residential properties there more difficult were he to develop the site.

I also made the point that a development of flats alone would not be acceptable, nor did I think anything over two stories high should be placed on the site and finally there should be sufficient parking on site for the people living in the development, as the surrounding streets are already busy with parked cars.

He has agreed to attend a public meeting if we arrange one in the New Year to listen to the views of local people before making any application. I hope this is a constructive way forward and I’ll be delivering letters to let the residents of Southwick Road and the bottom end of Warnford Road know in the next few days.

Southwick Road Telephone Mast - appeal lodged

An appeal has been launched by the telephone operator against the refusal of planning permission for the proposed mobile phone mast on the land adjacent to the railway line at the back of houses in Southwick Road. I’ll be bringing around the normal letters to allow people to object in the next couple of days. This is going to be a difficult one for us to oppose and therefore obtaining as much public support as possible will be imperative.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Mmmm Chips in bins

Now I had said I wasn't going to say any more about micro chips in bins. No siree, nothing at all, my lips are sealed on the issue.


I was given this cartoon which made me laugh out loud.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Consultation on new town centre licensing policy

The Council has just begun a consultation exercise on its new Cumulative Impact Policy. This is a proposal put forward by the police to control the increase in licensed premises in the Town Centre.

In laymans terms this would introduce a prohibition on any new liquor licenses being granted within a defined area of the town centre, unless there are unique circumstances.

This is a map of the area of the town centre proposed. Essentially it runs from the eastern inner ring road across to the top of Poole Hill beyond the Triangle.

This is a map of the area proposed:

I clearly have a prejudicial interest in commenting on this document because I am the owner of three licensed premises in the town, two of which are within the boundary of the new area. I'm therefore afraid I can't offer an opinion on its introduction.

If you would like to comment you can do so here.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Casino Plans go on show

Should Bournemouth be granted a license for a casino by the governement, then it's likely that plans will come forward from the Trevor Osbourne Group who wish to build it on land next to the Pavilion.

The inital plans have gone on show this week.

I'm sorry to say I'm not impressed. I have my doubts about the concept of the casino anyway, although I see its benefit in drawing people to the town. It's for that reason that I voted in favour of the application being made in principal.

I'm not sure at all that the right place for it is in the location now being considered, which is next to the Pavilion and opposite the Royal Bath hotel. I'm even more sure that the design being proposed isn't acceptible. This part of town is already blighted by the IMAX building, the last thing we need is another carbuncle on Bath Hill.

There is some beautiful architecture in Westover Road and on Bath Hill, if there must be a building placed in this spot why can in not echo this, or at least compliment it? I hope we are asking the architects to go back to the drawing board if this ever comes before the council.

Winter Gardens concerns

I haven't seen the new plans for the Winter Gardens yet, my chance comes next week on Tuesday. However a statement made on behalf of the Conservative Group on Bournemouth Borough Council by our group leader, Stephen MacLoughlin, today gives a good summary of my concerns:

'The one good thing that came out of the glitzy launch of the new Winter Gardens (Echo report 17th October) was the exciting range of events suggested by the Bournemouth Council's arts partners. With the town centre practically taken over by bars and clubs in recent years, we certainly need a greater range of cultural activity to appeal to a broader cross section of people.

The town could well get precisely that if the the aspirations of the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra, Dance South West, the Arts Institute at Bournemouth and Bournemouth University are made a reality. Of course, there is the risk that such 'high-brow' cultural events may not pay, which would almost certianly mean the public would be called on upon to subsidise them through their Council Tax. The Council would then have to take a view on how much it could afford in the years ahead.

However, the immediate questions for the Council Tax payers of Bournemouth are, 'Do we need a new building costing £15million? Are there existing facilities which, with some investment, could be used instead (e.g. the Pavilion complex)?'

The people of Bournemouth and the Council now need to take a long, hard look at the plans for the new Winter Gardens because any mistakes now could be very expensive in the future.'

Well said Stephen.

Time to go?

A friend has just sent me this, it's rather excellent....

Thanks Andy!

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Dorset Police Halloween Advice

As Halloween approaches Dorset Police have issued the following advice:

Dorset Police is issuing advice to all residents as Halloween approaches – highlighting the need for safety and common sense while still having fun.

This year Halloween falls on Tuesday, 31 October 2006, and Dorset Police is urging residents and visitors to the county to have an enjoyable Halloween, but to also be considerate and act sensibly.

Halloween is a time of year when people dress up and have fun. However, some people – especially those living on their own and the elderly – can find it quite a distressing time.
The message from Dorset Police is to please have an enjoyable evening but do respect other people’s wishes. If they do not want to open their doors or join in, then please move on and do not try to intimidate them in any way.

We recently ran a drawing competition in the local media for children aged between 5 and 16 to design our new ‘no trick or treaters’ poster. Chelsea Tiller, aged 11 from Bournemouth, won the competition with a fantastic design so if you don’t want to be disturbed on Halloween, then visit to download Chelsea’s poster.

A second design is also available, so if you’d like to use this version, then please visit There is also a poster available to download for general display in shops or locations that may be selling Halloween merchandise. then visit

Dorset Police is offering advice to trick or treaters, to parents and guardians and also to residents.

Advice to trick or treaters:

  • Make sure that a parent or guardian knows where you are – trick or treating should also have adult supervision.

  • It is recommended that you call only on friends, family or neighbours, and ideally this should be arranged in advance.

  • Respect the rights of others who do not want to accept trick or treaters.

  • Do not accept money and be grateful for ANY treats.

  • Dorset Police recommend that no tricks are played – these can be frightening and could even be a criminal offence.

  • Dorset Police will take action against unacceptable behaviour.

Advice to parents and guardians:

  • Please be aware where your children are at all times and what they are doing.

  • All trick or treating should be supervised.

  • Respect people’s right not to accept trick or treaters.

  • Do not call on addresses after 9 pm.

Advice to residents:

  • You have a right to say NO to trick or treaters.

  • Use a door chain when opening your door.

  • Never give money as a treat.

I can assure you I won't be out Trick or Treating so if you hear a knock at the door for once it's certain not to be Jane, Claire or I. Instead I'll be out celebrating my Dad's 79th brithday!

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Telephone Masts

Mast outside Tescos on Castle Lane

I’m very pleased to say that the revised application for this mast, which would have replaced a lamp post, has been turned down again. The operator, O2, has been asked to consider the compound by the Cooper Dean Roundabout where there are already a number of masts as an alternative site.

Mast on the corner of Castle Lane and Chaseside

This is a proposal for a mast on the north western corner of the junction of Castle Lane East and Chaseside, essentially just by the recycling point in the Littledown Centre. It would, in my opinion, have been too close to some of the houses in Hatfield Gardens and Chandlers Close. The pre-site consultation has just been concluded and I am very pleased to report that the operator has agreed to re-site the mast closer to the Cooper Dean roundabout, away from residential properties.

Mast on the corner of Old Bridge Road and Christchurch Road

This is the proposal for a mast on the piece of land opposite the Iford Bridge public house. I expressed my view to the planners that this was a completely inappropriate location, not least because it is so close to the Little Bridges Nursery School as well as residential properties. I’m very pleased to report that the operator has been told by the Planning Department that they concur with this opinion and that if an application is brought forward then it will not be looked upon favourably.

I should stress that this does not stop the operator making an application, but does make it very likely that it will be refused should it be made.


I spent some time in the planning department this week looking at and discussing the plans that are being put forward at the moment for various schemes, including mobile telephone masts:

163 Harewood Avenue

This is the application to demolish one of the houses on the corner of Gainsborough Road and Harewood Avenue and replace it with 6 flats. An earlier application for 7 flats on the site has been refused by both the council and the Planning Inspectorate at appeal.

I’m very pleased to say that the planning department are of a mind to refuse this application as well. They agree with me that a development of this type would be completely out of keeping with the surrounding area. I understand that the formal refusal has not been issued yet but will be sent out in the next few days.

They also commented that they had received ‘hundreds’ of letters of objection. So thanks to everyone who had written in to object to the scheme.

77 Durrington Road

This is an application to build a house in the back garden of the house on the corner of Durrington Road and Warnford Road. The frontage would have actually been on Warnford Road. The site is very small, local people had been concerned about this and the traffic implications of the scheme.

The Planning Department confirmed that they too were concerned about these issues and are of a mind to refuse the development largely on the basis that the size of the plot is too small to take development. The house would need to be built very close to the boundary of the plot and to the back wall of the existing property on the site. Again, refusal has not been issued as yet but is likely to be forthcoming in the next few days.

1124 – 1126 Christchurch Road

This is an application to replace the two shops and two flats above them that stand next to the garage parking area on the corner where Hambledon Road, Holdenhurst Avenue and Christchurch Road meet.

The plan is to replace the building with one shop unit and six flats. Largely the scheme appears to be in keeping with the other developments along this part of Christchurch Road. The only concern the planners, and I, have is the lack of any parking spaces. Unfortunately this is not a reason to refuse the application unless the highways department raise a concern. They are therefore awaiting a response from the highways people before making a decision on the application.

Lack of posts

Sorry for not posting for a couple of weeks.

I didn't actually make it to the Conservative Conference, even though it was here in Bournemouth. The evidence as to why is in the photo above.

Completely out of my natural habitat I was doing DIY for 5 days solid at St Mary's Church in Springbourne. There we had volunteers from the local community and the conference (including very many MPs and most of the shadow cabinet) helping transform the church in to a community centre for the neighbourhood in just five days.

The project was completed on time and left a superb legacy from the conference for the area. I was very proud to be part of it. Well done to everyone involved.


The results of a recent survey carried out across the whole of the Borough demonstrate that our residents continue to be very concerned about crime, especially violent crime, but also anti-social behavior and graffiti.

Graffiti affects all of us, and is a blight on our community. Criminal damage in the form of graffiti is a common type of anti-social behaviour, particularly where the graffiti is of an obscene, personal or racist nature. Victims of such behaviour are often left traumatised and unable to cope. Yet if the graffiti is not dealt with promptly, it inevitably encourages others to leave their own 'trademarks', causing greater distress for victims and increasing damage to the building and residential environment. This is commonly known as the 'broken window syndrome'.

I firmly believe that it is the Council's responsibility to take the lead and help our residents in this battle. Two of my colleagues, Peter Charon and Cllr David Smith have been lobbying hard on this matter at the Safer and Stronger Communities Forum for some time.

Some initiatives are being pursued but invariably these are connected to graffiti on public property, and do little to help anyone else, be it at their home or place of business.

Other Local Authorities have made the eradication of graffiti a top priority, so why can't we? Some Councils have introduced a 'zero tolerance' policy, and given residents a freefone telephone number, and a pledge to attend and remove offending graffiti within 24 hours, irrespective of where it is. A pipedream? No, it's no pipedream.

I am delighted that we have secured a promise that this will become a firm commitment that a new Conservative Administration will seek to implement just as soon as resources permit.

We're lucky not to have too much graffiti here in Littledown and Iford, although I'm receiving complaints about it at the Skate Park. I was going to illustrate this story with a photo of it, but then I realised that none of the photos I had included a shot without something obscene written in it. I've therefore written to Parks and Neighbourhood Management to ask them to arrange for the offending writing to be cleaned off without delay.

Sunday, October 01, 2006

"and my thoughts are also with Nick King..he must be feeling crushed by these events...but he'll bounce back."

....these are the words of one of the supporters of the hospital's expansion scheme on to Wessex Fields, and by definition therefore an objector to the Troika Development.

I know this person reads this blog on occasion, for which I am grateful and slightly humbled.

I'm also very grateful for the good thoughts expressed in the comment.

I want to make it clear though that I am not in the least bit disheartened, rather I am energised to continue our fight. My opinion is, always was and will remain that the Planning Board made the correct decision in turning down Troika's application in February.

The application took no serious note of its potential for over intensification of development. The effect of additional traffic on Castle Lane, local roads and the Cooper Dean roundabout by the construction of an office development for 3,500 workers, which provides just 900 parking spaces was ignored.

Be sure that I will be attending and speaking at the Public Enquiry and I'll continue to do everything in my power to ensure that sensible, proportionate development takes place on Wessex Fields.

Conference Challenge to Bournemouth Conservatives

I'm not going to get to the conference much this year, here's the reason:

As a practical illustration of this year’s Party Conference David Cameron has tasked Bournemouth Conservatives to and run a local community project in Bournemouth.

The project identified is St Mary's Church in Springbourne, now a major community centre but lacking in basic facilities required to fulfil its potential. Despite being deconsecrated over 10 years ago, the church building has altered little due to a lack of funds. Thanks to the generosity of Conservative Party donors, local businesses and volunteers, the church building will undergo a significant face lift during the four days of the Conservative Party Conference.

Party Members and MPs (including David Cameron and other members of the Shadow Cabinet) will each be devoting a few hours over the four day Conference period to assist with a whole range of DIY tasks in order to convert the church into a working community centre. The project includes painting, decorating and carpeting a number of the function and arts rooms, installation of a kitchen and dining area and erection of a stage, complete with a curtain system in the main hall.

Each day the Party Conference will view a video update of progress. When complete, the building will be handed back to the Bourne Spring Trust, the charity who will manage the building for around thirty volunteer organisations and local groups who will use the facilities.

Anyone who knows me well will know that I am totally cack handed. I'm therefore in charge of volunteers - i.e. finding things for people to do and making sure everything gets done. I'll try and post updates here from the Church over the next few days.

Yesterday was very successful. Help came from local church groups, local conservatives and Alan Duncan MP and David Davies MP.

Saturday, September 30, 2006

RBH betray their supporters

If you've seen the front page of the Daily Echo today, then you'll know that they've lead with my comments about the news that Royal Bournemouth Hospital are withdrawing their plans for expansion on to Wessex Fields. Rather they are supporting the Troika application thrown out by the Planning Board in Feburary.

You can read the story in full here.

The Wessex Fields site at Riverside Avenue is where Troika want to build their offices and for which planning permission was granted for an extension of the hospital’s facilities earlier this month.

Royal Bournemouth Hospital withdrew their planning application for the extension of their facilities in a letter sent to the Council yesterday. In the letter they also expressed an intention to back the Troika application, having come to an agreement with them over their proposed development on the site.

This news will make it much harder for the Council to defend its position at the Public Enquiry in December, and makes an outcome where some form of office development (indeed even the original plan), would be built more likely.

It’s possible that a fresh, joint, application from Troika and the Hospital may come forward. If this is the case I will of course let you have the details straight away.

My opposition to the original Troika scheme remains consistent. Providing 3,500 jobs and only 900 parking spaces is madness. There has been insufficient note taken on the effect this additional traffic will have on Castle Lane and the surrounding roads, both in Littledown and also in Strouden Park.

Plant and Bulb Sale at King's Park

The Parks department are having another sale of surplus bulbs and plants. It’s on Saturday 7th October from 10.30 am at Kings Park Nursery. Items on sale will include Tulips, Daffodils, Hyacinths and many others plus pansies and other winter bedding perennials and an end of year shrub sale.

Further details are available from: 427851 -

Royal Bournemouth Hospital Open Day

Royal Bournemouth Hospital are holding a Patient and Public Open Day at the Hospital. It's to be held on Wednesday, 11th October.

The event is sponsored by the Village Hotel who will be on site offering fitness test and a prize draw for free passes to their Leisure Club.

New Planning Applications

There are three new planning applications in the offing:

1124 - 1126 Christchurch Road, is, I think, an alteration to an earlier application that was granted for a conversion of one shop and two flats to two shops and seven flats.

77 Durrington Road is an application to build a house in the back garden of the house on the corner of Durrington Road and Warnford Road

Outside Tescos – Castle Lane East – is another attempt to get planning for a mobile phone mast at the front of Tescos.

I’m going to be taking a look at the plans of each of these. My immediate response is that in the case of Christchurch Road I would be concerned that there is enough parking offered on site for the flats.

With Durrington Road there are concerns from the neighbours about this siting of this development already. Again, it’s a matter of parking and access that concerns me, although I’m sorry to say that a development of this kind may be difficult to oppose. If it does go ahead I will do all I can to ensure that it does not impinge upon the nieghbouring properties or cause additional parking or road safety hazards.

My position on the telephone mast outside Tesco remains the same, there are better places for it – the mast compound by the Cooper Dean Roundabout or in Riverside Avenue. If necessary I’ll call this application in to the Planning Board if there are not enough letters of objection.

AFC Bournemouth's Planning Applications

While the Echo concentrated upon the plans for a new hotel and leisure complex at the AFC Bournemouth site. I understand that there is a further application to build ten family houses at the rear (the eastern side) of the stadium. Access to this land is going to be via a property in Thistlebarrow Road which will be demolished.

The council have confirmed that there will be no need for an environmental assessment of the site.

I want to gather local residents views before the planning process starts in earnest. The development plans the construction of houses that will be in keeping in terms of size and style with those in Bishops Close and Thistlebarrow Road. There may be issues of access and parking however, which I’ll be looking in to.

My inclination is to support the expansion plans for the stadium complex itself, on the basis that the facilities will be needed by the club and provide a further source of income for them. My caveat would be that the King’s Park ‘on slip’ must be built before construction starts in order that we avoid further congestion of Littledown Avenue and Holdenhurst Road. I’d welcome local residents' views on this issue.

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Planning Letters

A reminder of the deadline dates for responses to the various appeals and applications that are ongoing at the moment:

Troika Development – 3 copies of your letter to be received by the Planning Inspectorate by 22nd September
75 Durrington Road – 3 copies of your letter to be received by the Planning Inspectorate by 29th September

163 Harewood Avenue – 1 letter or e-mail of objection to be received by Bournemouth Planning by 29th September

2 Ropley Road Planning Appeal

The Planning Appeal for building 5 flats at 2 Ropley Road, (which is the house on the corner of Ropley Road and Warnford Road), has been refused. This is excellent news in my opinion.

What is even better is that the Inspector’s comments make it clear that he believes the area itself does not suit flat developments which suggests that similar applications will not be looked upon favourably.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Royal Bournemouth Hospital Expansion

At last night's council meeting the subject of the planning application to allow Royal Bournemouth Hospital to expand on to Wessex Fields was discussed.

If you have been following this story you may remember that their application to build on the Wessex Fields site was rejected by the Planning Board last month in a very close vote; 5:4 with one abstention.

Because of the importance of the decision it was decided that the application should go before the whole council.

This land is the same plot upon which Troika wish to build their office development. The two applications are completely unrelated, although some of the people making deputations to the Council beforehand attempted to link them. The deputees opinions being that an expansion of the hospital was preferable to the office development.

The Council was unable, and did not, make a decision based upon this principal. I put forward a motion that approved the planning application on planning grounds that were suggested by the Head of Planning and Transport. Jim Courtney, Conservative Councillor for Throop and Muscliffe seconded the motion, which I'm pleased to say we won by a margin of 23:10 with 3 abstentions.

This now means that the hospital, if they wish (and if they can come to an agreement with the landowners, the Cooper Dean Estate), can expand on to this piece of land rather than attempting to develop their otherwise land locked site.

Saturday, September 09, 2006

163 Harewood Avenue - new planning application

You may remember that a planning application made late last year to demolish a family house at 163 Harewood Avenue in Old Littledown and replace it with a block of seven flats. This application was refused by the council.

The refusal of planning permission was upheld at appeal.

This week a new application has been made, this time to replace the house with a block of six flats. It's an inappropriate site for this kind of development in my opinion and therefore I will be opposing it. I'm already in touch with the neighbours to help them in the distribution of letters to tell people how to object if they so wish.

If you would like to help with the distribution of the letters, or would like a copy of them then please let me know.

Petition against over development

Jane, Claire and I will be calling on as many of you as possible through September to ask you to sign a petition Tobias Ellwood MP (pictured with our former MP David Atkinson) is organising. The petition, to the Borough Council and the Secretary of State for Local Government and the Regions asks that:

We the undersigned, concerned about the changing character of Bournemouth due to over-development and the lack of investment in infra-structure, formally ask the three above named organisations to:

1. reconsider the impact present planning policy is having on our town;
2. introduce legislation to protect back gardens from development;
3. place more emphasis on off-street parking facilities, and;
4. ensure Bournemouth’s remaining Greenbelt is not threatened.

I hope you might consider signing it, and at that same time let us know of any issues that need to be addressed in your area.

Signage for Holdenhurst Avenue on Castle Lane East

I have been asking for the reinstatement of the ‘right hand lane turns right’ sign in the central reservation as you approach the Sainsbury’s lights heading towards Iford. I received this answer from highways this week about the situation:

“There is not enough width now on the central reservation to replace the original lane designation sign for Holdenhurst Avenue on the approach to the Riverside Traffic Signals. The replacement for this sign is located on the left side of the eastbound carriageway on the footway/cycleway. To accommodate the widening of Castle Lane East, we had to narrow the central island in order to reduce the effect of the road widening on the houses to the south of CLE.”

So no chance of getting the sign reinstated I’m afraid. I’ve asked them to look at any practicable option, having the sign on the left is of no use in my opinion.

Castle Lane East Road Markings

As you know, I have been lobbying for the lane markings on Castle Lane at the hospital/Castledean junction to be changed to make the flow of traffic across the junction move more easily. I’ve received this note from the highways engineers:

“The audit of the layout of Chaseside junction has been carried out but the final choice of the options available for changes to the lane markings has not been reached yet. These changes are not likely to be carried out until the autumn now but I will keep you informed as to what is to be done.”

I’ll therefore keep you up to date with developments

Conservative Councillor's Racist Comment

The Echo carried an article yesterday about the comments made by one of my colleagues from East Southbourne & Tuckton at the Cabinet meeting on Wednesday evening.

You can read the article HERE.

I've know Steve Clarke for some years now. I wasn't in the meeting when he made his comments, having left to attend a further meeting in the Town Hall. Steve is often outspoken and on occasion opinionated.

When I joined the Conservative Party in Bournemouth East I did meet some opposition because of my sexuality, most of it was subliminal, but some was overt. Steve and his wife Grace showed me kindness and solidarity throughout that period and encouraged many of their friends and colleagues to re-appraise their opinion of the gay community and of me.

Steve's comment was certainly unfortunate and frankly unthinking and pretty stupid. I know one thing for sure though, Steve Clarke doesn't have a prejudiced bone in his body. He's apologised unreservedly, I hope he'll do so again at the start of the Council meeting on Tuesday and that this will then be the end of this unfortunate episode.

Bins: Statement from the Chief Executive

I attended the Cabinet Meeting on Wednesday night, at which the Chief Executive read this statement:

"I would like, on behalf of the council staff, to apologise to any resident who has been concerned about any aspect of the new system and to any councillors who may have felt ill-informed when dealing with questions and queries from residents and the media."

She added: "In designing the information packs we omitted to give any explanation about the chip identification system. This was a mistake, but it was not intentional.

"With hindsight, it is clear that this additional information might have helped reassure those residents who had concerns and could have avoided misleading statements that have appeared recently in the press and wider media."

Her statement goes on to confirm that the council will not be pursuing nor seeking payment for chips that have been removed or destroyed.

The fact remains though that there has still been no apology from the decision makers, indeed the cabinet members continued to present various of their decisions as 'good news stories' even when they patently were not. More about some of this later.

The main point is that the Council Administration should admit responsibility and apologise for this fiasco. It's for this reason Bournemouth's Conservatives will be introducing this motion to the Council on Tuesday evening:

'This Council deplores the way the new waste collection service has been implemented, and resolves the following:

a) that the Leader of the Council apologises to residents for inadequate communications, particularly concerning the chips in the new bins;

b) that the Cabinet considers as a matter of urgency the introduction of an enhanced green waste collection service; and

c) that the review of the service be undertaken and be reported on in February 2007 (six months after the introduction of the new arrangements).'

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Daily Echo Article

This is the article which appeared front page in today's Bournemouth Daily Echo:


By Lynn Jackson

AS MANY as a third of Bournemouth residents could have removed the hidden computer chip from their new wheelie bins, a Bournemouth councillor has claimed.

And Cllr Nick King has warned that it could cost more than £600,000 to replace the electronic tags.

A survey by the Littledown and Iford councillor and Bournemouth East MP Tobias Ellwood has revealed that between a quarter and a third of householders who contacted them had disabled the chip.

"It's a disaster," he said. "In some roads it seems nearly every resident has removed or destroyed the chips."

Last week, Bournemouth council warned householders who took out the computer chips could face a £28 bill for a replacement bin.

The borough's recycling champion, Cllr John Hayter, said: "If we are unable to empty bins because the chip has been deliberately tampered with, it would then be necessary to replace the bin, which would normally be at the householders' expense."

Now, Cllr King believes the furore surrounding the chip and bin could cost hundreds of thousands of pounds.

He said: "I've seen differing estimates of the number of new bins, the lowest being 65,000.
"Based on a 25 per cent destruction rate and a cost of £28 to replace a bin, this means that the cost of the PR and administrative disaster this is turning out to be is already an additional £455,000.

"If you take the upper estimate of a third, then the cost could run to over £600,000."

And he condemned the council for not telling residents about the hidden tag. "A lot of money has been wasted for the sake of a couple of lines in council literature," he added.

Installing chips on the 70,000 new wheelie bins has cost the council, and ultimately local council tax payers, about £84,000 (£1.20 for each bin).

The borough's strategic manager street services Michael Moon said: "The cost to fit these once these bins have been delivered is much higher and logistically difficult to do."

Bournemouth council hailed the first day of its new kerbside re-cycling scheme a success with about 36 tonnes of recyclable materials (eight truckloads) collected.

A spokesman said: "There have been some problems with the wrong material in the bins and we realise that everyone needs to get used to the new system. We would like to thank everyone for their efforts."

But not everyone was happy with the new bin collection service. Les Hedden from Northbourne Avenue said: "Our literature told us to put out our new bin out today instead of Friday as normal.

"We did as the council asked to be informed that the literature was wrong and we should leave our bins on Friday.

"The council blamed the leaflet distribution company but they employed them - it's a joke."
Council spokesman Pete Field said last night: "We can tell if a bin has a chip in it if we scan the bin but if it hasn't, we can't prove who took it out.

"We merely won't be able to return the bin if it is lost and we find it. By taking the chip out, all people have done is removed their access to an improved service.

"We would ask that members of the public do not take apart or tamper with their bins and would remind householders that it is their responsibility to ensure that bins are in a fit state to be emptied."

(c) Daily Echo 2006

75 Durrington Road Planning Appeal

You may remember that at the end of last year a planning application to demolish 75 Durrington Road and replace it with a development of 6 flats was made.

This was, quite rightly in my opinion, refused by the Council. An appeal against this decision has now been lodged by the developer. We have delivered 250 pro forma letter packs to the area this afternoon to assist people in objecting.

If you, too, would like to object then do please let me know and I can let you have the detail of how to do so.

Monday, September 04, 2006

The cost of the chips in bins fiasco!

The Echo will be running a story tomorrow based upon some information I sent them.

Tobias Ellwood MP and I worked out the following information yesterday based upon our individual experiences of the chip in bins issue this last week.

We both came up with the same rough proportion of people we know to have destroyed or removed the chips from their bins. This was between a quarter and a third. I’ve seen differing estimates of the number of new bins, the lowest being 65,000. Based upon a 25% destruction rate and a cost, as quoted by the council, of £28 per chip, this means that the cost of the PR and administrative disaster this is turning out to be is already an additional £455,000! (65,000 x 25% = 16,250; @£28 = £455,000)

If you take the upper estimate of a third then the cost could run to over £600,000!

Additionally, we estimate that around 10 – 15% of households have not received their recycling instruction packs as the new system started today.

Disgraceful! A motion is being put to Council next week calling on the council to apologise and come clean with the true cost of this mess. We'll see if it is passed.

Recycling Information Distribution

How much more can possibly go wrong with the total disaster that's the roll out of the new recycling scheme. It started this morning and as of Sunday, the following roads had still not, to my knowledge, received packs:

Christchurch Road
Corhampton Road
Holdenhurst Avenue
Holmfield Avenue
Waltham Road
Harting Road
Harewood Avenue (part)

I understand that some may have been delivered to Christchurch Road today.

If you can confirm whether there have been deliveries elsewhere or if you are still waiting for a pack and your road is not on this list then please let me know as soon as you can.

I’m chasing delivery of the information packs to those roads remaining without them

Saturday, September 02, 2006

It's 'bin' quite a week!

Sorry about the dreadful joke

Sorry to for the lack of updates. Dealing with correspondence about the bins, town centre hawkers, town centre management, night time economy management and the tourism scrutiny review has stopped any updates on here or via the e-mail lists this week.

Normal service should be restored tomorrow with updates coming on:

The Troika Appeal
A planning appeal against refusal of flats in Durrington Road
Chips embedded in bins (I know, what more could I possibly add to the topic!)
Town centre hawkers
Charity collections throughout the town

Better get back to work now though, someone has to keep Dame Kitty under control!

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Computer chips in bins - What's the truth?

The Bournemouth Echo is reporting that the Leader of the Council, Cllr Richard Smith, has said that there are no chips embedded in the new bins that have been delivered around Bournemouth since June 12th.

That's completely contrary to the dozens of residents of Littledown and Iford who have been in touch with me today to confirm that there are chips inserted under the rim of their new bins.

It's incredible that the Council leader doesn't know that the bins have chips embedded in them. Apparently the Echo have been attempting to get a response from the Council most of the day without success. It appears to me another situation where the current leadership of the Council are totally out of touch with the actions of their officers on the ground.

UPDATE: The Council have just released the following statement about chips in bins:

Chips in bin not yet active

In the past few days there have been many articles in local and national press about micro-chips in refuse bins. We would like to tell Bournemouth residents about the situation in our town.

The ‘micro-chip’ is a chip and each contains a unique number which will be allocated to a property. The new bins delivered have a chip already contained within the bin as these are fitted at the point of manufacture. In the future we could fit the technology to new refuse vehicles which will enable us to record the time of emptying and the weight of the bin. Should we decide to proceed with this technology; the micro-chips will help speed up data collection. We already collect data so that we are aware of exactly how much waste is being produced within Bournemouth, but this new technology would enable us to monitor such things as tonnages collected far more efficiently and see the trends quickly. It would not be there to monitor bins on an individual basis. The micro-chips would also enable stolen or misplaced bins to be easily identified and returned to the correct house. We would like to reassure residents that this ‘chip’ is nothing to worry about.

Cllr John Hayter, the Councils Recycling Champion stated “Taking advantage of new technology would help the council to deliver a high quality waste and recycling service for the residents of Bournemouth. By looking to the future and using all new technologies available we will be able to meet the challenge of increased diversion of waste from landfill.”

We would also ask that residents stop using the ‘Blue Bags’ as this scheme has now finished. Please place the recyclable material in Big Bin after your normal collection this week ready for your first collection of the new scheme in September.

Tracking chips inserted in bins

You may have seen reports over the weekend carried initally in the Mail on Sunday and subsequently by the BBC about computer chips being placed in bins to enable tracking of rubbish collections and levels.

It would appear that the new recycling bins distributed by Bournemouth Borough Council may include these chips. The use of this technology concerns the Conservative group on the council greatly and we will be pressing for assurances by the officers and Lib Dem Cabinet member responsible for the scheme that the technology will not be used without approval from the full council.

Saturday, August 26, 2006

Troika Development - Dates for Appeal

The date for responses to the Appeal by Troika Developments against the refusal of planning permission for their park and ride and office development scheme on Wessex Fields has been set. The publicity letter from the council is copied below.

You can see that there are two ways by which you can object, either in writing or on the web site of the Planning Inspectorate.

As usual, I will be circulating a letter explaining my point of view along with notes on how to write your own letter and an example letter to use should you wish to do so. It’s terribly important that local opposition is made plain by the largest response possible at this stage. I’d therefore urge you to object before the deadline of September 22nd.

My opposition remains based upon the fact that the development proposes offices for over 3,000 workers with parking for only 1,000, that the park and ride facility is proposed to be built on Green Belt land and that the combination of the two will increase local congestion even further in and area which is already considerably over developed.

Publicity letter:

"Your ref:
This matter is being dealt with by: Mrs Seddon
Direct line 01202 451193
Our ref: PT/CAS/S78/2006/6047 & S78/2006/6048

21 August 2006
TO :- The Owner / Occupier

Dear Sir/Madam,

APPELLANT: Troika Developments Ltd
APPEAL SITES: 1. Land adjacent Riverside Avenue, A338 and Holdenhurst Road 2. Riverside Avenue to the west and fronting and to the South of A338, Bournemouth.
REFS: APP/G1250/A/06/2020319/NWF & APP/G1250/A/06/2020325/NWF

In September 2004 the Council received two applications from the above named for planning permission for 1. “Construction of car and lorry parking areas and ancillary buildings, construction of grade separated junction with associated earthworks (Park & Ride Scheme)” at land adjacent Riverside Avenue, A338 and Holdenhurst Road and 2. Approval in principle for the erection of Class B1 offices, health care and nursing facility with associated vehicular access, car parking, external works, landscaping and service installations at land at Riverside Avenue to the west and fronting and to the south of A338. The Council refused the applications on 28 February 2006.

Appeals against these refusals have been lodged with the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government and will be determined by her following a Public Inquiry.

I am required by The Planning Inspectorate to inform you that if you have any opinions on the proposed developments which you wish the Inspector to take into account in preparing the report to the Secretary of State, you can either submit three sets of them in writing to: The Planning Inspectorate, Room 4/04 Kite Wing, Temple Quay House, 2 The Square, Temple Quay, Bristol, BS1 6PN quoting reference numbers APP/G1250/A/06/2020319/NWF & APP/G1250/A/06/2020325/NWF or submit your comments through the online appeals service You must ensure that any representations you wish to make regarding these appeals are received by them no later than 22 September 2006. I have also been instructed by The Planning Inspectorate to inform you that any communication received by them after this date will not normally be seen by their Case Inspector and will be returned to you. Please note that the Council can take no responsibility for forwarding representations to The Planning Inspectorate on your behalf by the date specified above. I must make it clear that any comments you may write cannot be treated as confidential but must be made available to the appellant and any other interested party. The Planning Inspectorate may publish details of your comments, on the internet (on the appeals area of the Planning Portal). Your comments may include your name, address, e-mail address or phone number. Please ensure that you only provide information, including personal information belonging to you that you are happy will be made available to others in this way. If you supply information belonging to a third party please, ensure you have their permission to do so. More detailed information about data protection and privacy matters is available on the Planning Portal. The Planning Inspectorate will not acknowledge your letter unless you specifically ask for them to do so.

Please note that any letter which you may have written to me at the time the planning applications that are the subject of these appeals were being considered by the Council (my ref. 7/2004/20006/A and 7/2004/16450/G) has already been forwarded to The Planning Inspectorate. Should you want to amend those earlier views in any way, please write or e-mail the Planning Inspectorate as per the details given in the third paragraph of this letter.

The documents relating to the appeals may be inspected at the address at the top of this letter during office hours on weekdays. However, in order to avoid a possibly wasted journey, it is advisable to check on the availability of these documents by telephoning the number given at the top of this letter before visiting this office. A booklet entitled “A guide to taking part in planning appeals” can be collected free of charge from department, or through “publications” on the Planning Inspectorate’s website

If you wish to be advised of the outcome of the appeals, you must specifically request a copy of the Secretary of State’s decision from the Planning Inspectorate in Bristol as per the details given in the third paragraph of this letter.

Yours faithfully,"