Friday, June 30, 2006

Wessex Fields: Troika lodge their appeal

STOP PRESS: I've heard this evening that the developers proposing to build offices and a park and ride scheme on Wessex Fields have lodged their appeal with the Planning Inspectorate.

More details to come tomorrow once I have more information.

Thursday, June 29, 2006

Littledown Avenue closing for 5 days

I've just recieved notification that Littledown Avenue will be closed tomorrow (Friday 30th June) for at least five days. The reason for the closure is emergency utility works.

Not the best weekend to close the road admittedly, particularly with the Elton John Concert at AFC Bournemouth on Saturday. Best to avoid the area altogether this weekend if you don't have concert tickets, I would think.

What do you do when your electors don't agree with you?

If you're a Lib Dem, you just change the rules!

You may remember that I asked you, and those people on my e-mail news list, whether you wanted me to sign off on the £900 donation for a noticeboard for the King's Park Skate Park.

This was proposed last month by my Lib Dem ward colleagues.

The vote, of almost 400 people, was fairly clear cut. 98% against and 2% for.

I therefore informed the Council that I was unable to sign off on the grant application.

Three days later I recieved this from the Finance Department of the Council:

The revised procedure for the Local Improvement Fund was agreed by Cabinet last night. Part of this revised guidance is that only two ward members agreement is needed for a scheme to take place. Therefore under the revised guidance the Notice Board for Kings Park Skate Park can go ahead.

Therefore, of course, the grant is being made. Forget the alternative ideas you put forward:

Bicycle stands by the shops in Christchurch Road
A new path linking the top of Petersfield Road with the rest of the path network in the park
Traffic calming signs in Iford Lane
Improved planting in the flower beds and hanging baskets around the area

The wishes of our residents are, as so often before, being ignored by the local Lib Dems in favour of their pet scheme, the Skate Park. Providing a notice board which, elsewhere in Bournemouth, is being paid for by the Parks Department.

This seems to me a fairly typical, cynical response from the Lib Dems. Why bother trying persuade people to your point of view when you can just change the rules to suit yourself!

Very disappointing, very undemocratic, very cowardly.

Saturday, June 17, 2006

Planning Appeals - Ropley Rd & Harewood Avenue

Good news today from the Planning Inspector with regard to both of the planning appeals lodged by the developers for 163 Harewood Avenue and 2 Ropley Road. Both have been refused by the inspector, upholding the decision made by Bournemouth’s Planning Department.

Many of you will be aware that a fresh Appeal has been lodged with the Planning Inspectorate this week by the developer of 2 Ropley Road over the Planning Department’s refusal of the latest application for 5 flats on the site. I’ll be organising letters and information sheets as before to circulate to everyone in the locality informing everyone as to how to object to this appeal as well.

I’ve recieved copies of the decision notices from the Planning Inspector. I have to admit to not having read these in detail as yet, but will do so over the weekend. If the decision notice has any detail that might influence further applications and developments I’ll detail this over the weekend.

Monday, June 12, 2006

Travelers in Iford and King's Park

Many of you will no doubt have noticed that travelers are back in the area.

Encampments have been set up on the Iford Meadows, by the rugby club and in King's Park.

Those at Iford arrived on Friday and those in King's Park arrived on Saturday. The Council are fully aware of both encampments. An order has been already obtained requiring the travelers to move on for those at Iford Meadows. This will be served on them either tomorrow (Tuesday) or on Wednesday.

A hearing is arranged for an application for an order for the Council to take possession of the land at King's Park for Wednesday. This means that the order will be served on Thursday or Friday. In both cases the travelers will be given 3 days to move on.

The order will prohibit any travelers staying on the sites, including those who may subsequently arrive for a period of three months.

Sunday, June 11, 2006

Iford Mobile Telephone Mast

O2 have applied for planning permission for the erection of a 3G mast alongside the railway line at the back of houses on the south side of Southwick Road in Iford.

I've delivered letters to everyone within sight of the proposed site, in both Southwick Road and Warnford Road. These give details of the proposal, information about how to object and a pro forma objection letter for people to use rather than write their own if they wish.

There are better locations for this mast within a short distance. I'm not convinced that O2 have looked at more appropriate options. It's current proposed position places it directly at end of the gardens of a number of houses inhabited by young families.

If you have not received one of the letters detailing how to object but would like one then please let me know and I can e-mail or deliver it to you.

Saturday, June 10, 2006

Parking Fines - Do Bournemouth Council Care?

No, frankly they don't.

I asked a question of the Leader of the Council at Tuesday evening's Council meeting. I thought it was quite straight forward:

"Could you please provide Council with a list those roads where Traffic Regulation Orders restricting parking have been incorrectly applied, provide an estimate of the number of parking tickets incorrectly issued and give a total value for these tickets."

If you remember the issues was brought to light by a traffic warden who took the Council to an Employment Tribunal for unfair dismissal. He left his job after feeling 'bullied' by his managers because he refused to issue parking tickets to cars parked in areas where there were yellow lines, but where there was no Traffic Regulation Order (TRO) to give the lines legality.

The leader of the council didn't answer the question fully. Indeed he preferred to emphasise the point that if there were yellow lines in the street then people should know not to park there and therefore deserved to recieve a parking ticket whether it was legal or not.

Surely that misses the point entirely? If a ticket has been issued by a traffic warden for an area of road where there is no legal basis for prohibition of parking then that ticket has been issued unlawfully. Full stop. No argument.

I go back to my suplementary question from Tuesday night: "Shouldn't the Council be ashamed? And shouldn't we, as a Council, be apologising?"

Yes, in both cases they should!

The Daily Echo picked up on the story on Thursday, you can read the full article here.

Saturday, June 03, 2006

This week's update e-mail

This week's update e-mail has just gone out to everyone on the e-mail list, it's repeated here as usual:

Local Area Agreement – Walk the Ward

Firstly a huge thank you to everyone who took the time to answer the questions I posted last weekend, it was a great help and the council officers were very impressed that there had been such a good response from residents. I collated the responses in to a document that we used last night to discuss issues as we walked around.

Cycle Stands in Christchurch Road

One of the points raised last evening was the provision of stands for bicycles in Christchurch Road by the shops, the officers have agreed to put forward a proposal for these to be installed.

Telephone Masts

I’ve received notification of two more applications to be put forward by O2 for telephone masts in the ward.

The first is at the back of Southwick Road by the Railway Line, residents in the road have received a note from me telling them about the proposal and asking for their comments. I’m collating these today and will be responding to O2’s agents this weekend. No planning application has been made for this yet.

The second is a resurrection of the application for a mast by Tesco on Castle Lane. This time in a slightly different position, replacing one of the street lights that is there at the moment. Again, I’m opposed to this, there are locations that are as good further away from local houses and St Peter’s School. I have sent my response objecting to the site and will organise a write in campaign to the council should the application for planning come forward again.

Planning Appeals – 2 Ropley Road and 163 Harewood Avenue

I’ve been chasing the response from the Planning Inspectorate to the appeals for both of these sites. Apparently, we can expect a decision in the week commencing June 12th.

In the meantime enforcement action has been started to require the owners of 2 Ropley Road to tidy up the site.

Parking – General

You will no doubt have seen or heard about the problems with the validity of parking orders in the town this week. I have asked for a list of the roads where the regulations placing yellow lines have been incorrectly applied. I have been told that these are mainly in the town centre and are unlikely to cover our area, but knowing how these things are I would like to see the definitive list and have been told I should get this by Tuesday’s Council Meeting. If there are any problems with roads in our area I’ll let you know immediately.

Parking – Petersfield Road

I met with some of the residents from Petersfield Road this week to talk about their parking problems. We’ve agreed some action points which I will be sorting out this weekend. I prepared a briefing note about the current parking situation and yellow lines which I’ve attached to this message and which I hope might be of some help to you. It’s in Word format, so if you can’t open it please let me know and I’ll copy it across as an e-mail.

We have agreed to try a pilot of using notes from me to place on the windscreens of cars parked inconsiderately by local workers. If they persist then I’ll report the number plates to the local companies. We’ll see whether this elicits a more positive response from those people who insist upon parking right up against people’s drives.

Could you be a Recycling Champion?

Everyone in the council seems to be a ‘champion’ for something! This one is worthwhile though; Bournemouth's full kerbside recycling scheme will begin on September 4th. Reg Hutton, the Head of Cleansing and Waste at the Council, is looking for local people to be 'Recycling Champions'.

This will mean that you will receive information and education from the Reg's team. They will explain how the recycling system operates, in order that you can advise and encourage your neighbours about the new scheme.Please let me know if you would be interested in your name going forward for one of these positions.

Littledown and Iford Forum

Finally, a reminder that the first meeting of the revived Littledown and Iford Forum will be held this week. It’s on Thursday June 8th at 7.00pm at St Peter’s School in Holdenhurst Avenue (at the Castle Lane end). All three of your councillors as well as the Chief Executive of the Council and other officers will be attending to answer your questions. Do please try and come along.

Have a pleasant weekend

Best wishes