Monday, July 31, 2006

Royal Bournemouth Hospital Expansion Proposals

I wanted to pass on the outcome of the planning applications made by Royal Bournemouth Hospital to the Planning Board this evening.

The first application, which was for the provision of new renal and cancer care units, alongside additional office accommodation and staff accommodation and a multi storey car park on the existing hospital site was passed by the planning board by a margin of 10:0. I spoke in favour of the proposal, but requested that a further study of traffic flows and consequent alterations to the Deansleigh Road junction and Castle Lane East between here and the Cooper Dean Roundabout be conducted. This wasn’t agreed.

My request that the hospital be required to undertake a local parking impact survey and contribute to the cost of any further parking measures needed as a result of the development was agreed by the Board.

The second application was for the provision of the same accommodation but on the Wessex Fields site, to the north east of the hospital site, where Troika want to build their office development. This application was opposed by the council officers, who still prefer to see the office development built (regardless of its impact upon our neighbourhood).

I spoke in favour of the application, asking though that consideration be given to a new entrance and exit for the hospital site on the Wessex Way to relieve congestion Castle Lane East. I feel that granting permission for health facilities on the site will set a precedent which prohibits commercial development and ring fences the area for health care facilities, be it those that are considered now or others in the future.

The Board agreed with the officers to refuse the application, but by only a majority of 5:4 with one abstention. This application is now likely to be debated at the council meeting on September 12th.

More travellers in King's Park

Most of you I’m sure will be aware that travellers arrived in the park again over the weekend. Parks officers were warning earlier this morning that they believed it could take up to three weeks to dislodge them.

I’m pleased to say that having spoken to the legal department of the council and the parks officers themselves we have established that the eviction notice that was put in place when travellers arrived at the end of last month does, as I thought, stay in effect for three months.

Parks Officers and the Police are therefore visiting the travellers this afternoon to inform them that there is a Court Order in place and that Bailiffs are being called to remove them in the next couple of days. We are therefore hopeful that they should be gone well before the weekend.

Proposed Site for Corhampton Rd Area Dog Bin

This is the site proposed on the corner of Hambledon Road and Christchurch Road for the new dog bin.

This weekend's Update e-mail

Here's the text of the Update E-mail sent to everyone this weekend:

A short update on a couple of matters for you this week

Special Planning Board – Hospital Plans for Wessex Fields and Riverside Avenue

A reminder that there will be a meeting of the Planning Board to consider Royal Bournemouth Hospital’s plans for expansion on to the Wessex Fields site in Riverside Avenue this coming Monday at 6pm in the Council Chamber at the Town Hall.

I am attaching a copy of the agenda for the meeting in both word and pdf format for you.

You can view the planning applications on this link:

I’ll be attending the meeting and speaking in favour of the applications as the best use of the land. I do have concerns though over the additional traffic and believe that any expansion of the hospital must of course provide sufficient parking for the extra staff and visitors envisaged.

Dog Bin – Corhampton Road area

Most people thought the corner of Hambledon Road and Christchurch Rd to be the best site for the dog bin. To confirm where exactly it is going to go I attach a picture of the site (see above). It will be installed next to the street sign and should be installed in the next week or so.

Planning Applications – Call in to Planning Board by members of the public

I’m pleased to say that we overturned a proposal from the Planning Department this week that only councillors could call a planning application to be considered by the Planning Board and only then when a planning officer had confirmed that there were legitimate planning grounds to do so.

This would, for example, have resulted in the Southwick Road Mast application not being called in to the Planning Board, as the officers believed that there were no planning grounds for it to be refused!

I was supported by my colleagues in the council in objecting to this and ensuring that residents can still call an application in to the Planning Board whenever there are more than 10 letters of objection.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Do you qualify for assistance with school uniforms?

Bournemouth parents have been urged to seek assistance from the Council with the cost of purchasing new school uniforms.

Bournemouth’s Conservative Councillors put forward a motion calling for the Council to publicise the existence of the ‘Necessitous Clothing Grant Fund’ at last night’s council meeting. The motion was passed unanimously.

Conservative Group Leader, Councillor Stephen MacLoughlin (Central Ward) who proposed the motion asking that all secondary schools make parents/guardians of Year 7 children starting in September aware of the Fund, said:

“Buying new school uniforms can be a very expensive business. It comes at a time of year which is already expensive, with the cost for parents of additional child care or entertainment during the school holidays. We want to make sure that they are aware that assistance may be available from the Council for them”.

Stephen was supported by Cllr Lynda Price (Talbot and Branksome Woods) at the meeting. “I’m very pleased Council accepted our motion,” says Lynda. “Now is the right time to remind anyone who may be eligible for a grant before they buy uniforms for Year 7 (start of secondary school). I’m pleased to see that the Council will be doing this. Raising awareness of the scheme will enable families to budget accordingly.”

More information about the Necessitous Clothing Grant Fund can be obtained from Andy Hallowell at Bournemouth Council, tel 01202 456344 or from Claire Smith, the Cabinet member responsible for Children’s Services via the Town Hall.

Planning Board Changes Defeated!

Local people will still be able to call planning applications before Bournemouth’s Planning Board thanks Bournemouth’s Conservative Councillors.

Proposed changes to the way in which planning applications are considered by the Planning Board were successfully amended at a meeting of Bournemouth Borough Council last night.

I moved the motion to make sure the changed procedures still allowed residents to call planning decisions in front of the Planning Board by way of writing letters of objection.

People must feel that they have the ability to present their case. Where residents attend and witness the debate at Planning Board, the likelihood of their understanding a decision that goes against them and the reasons behind it are greatly increased.

To restrict access to the process disenfranchises our residents further from a process they already often feel is remote. It’s unfair, undemocratic and unnecessary.

The motion was seconded by Phil Stanley Watts (Boscombe W) who was concerned about peoples’ perception of the process: “The residents of my ward often feel powerless to object to planning applications they don’t like. To exclude them further would increase their suspiscion of the planning process”, he said.

Mark Anderson, Co-Chairman of the Queen’s Park and Charminster Forum was delighted that the proposed changes had been amended: “This stops people in our area being disenfranchised. I very much welcome the fact that the Council has seen sense over this issue.”

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

New Planning Proposals Stifle Democracy

Local people could be deprived of their right to object to planning applications at meetings of Bournemouth Council’s Planning Board under plans being considered by the Council this evening.

Bournemouth's Conservative Councillors are opposing this change and calling for the right of residents to oppose planning applications to remain in place.

Up to now, letters of objection from five or more residents have been enough to ensure that a planning application is heard by the Planning Board. When this has happened, members of the public have been able to attend and speak at the meeting and also witness the debate which determines the application.

Proposed alterations to the powers to decide planning applications exclude this right altogether. The only course open to residents would be to persuade a ward councillor to ‘call in’ the decision to the Planning Board and then ensure that the councillor was at the meeting to speak up for them.

I will be moving an amendment to the proposed changes this evening which will ensure that an application is heard by the Planning Board where there are 10 or more letters of objection. I'm being supported by Cllr Philip Stanley Watts (Boscombe West).

I gave this statement to confirm our position: “It’s simply undemocratic to deny residents the opportunity to ask for the Planning Board to consider a planning application in open meeting. The Planning Board and Planning Department do excellent work under difficult circumstances, not least where their hands are so often tied by central government and the SW Regional Assembly. Many of the proposed changes are sensible and will assist the council in providing a more efficient planning process. However, local people must be able to participate in the process, and our motion will allow this to continue.”

Mark Anderson, Co-Chairman of the Queen’s Park and Charminster Forum expressed his dismay when informed of the proposal: “Planning applications are one of the most frequent issues brought to the Forum by our residents. If they do not have the ability to submit objections to the Planning Board, they will feel even more excluded from a process from which they already feel disenfranchised.”

“I fully support the proposal being put forward by Councillors King and Stanley-Watts. I feel sure residents of our area - which is already blighted by over-development - will feel the same way”.

Let's hope we can persuade enough Labour and Lib Dem Councillors to support the ammendment this evening.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Pensioners Penalised by the Council!

The Government have given Bournemouth Council new funding to use for the extension of the concessionary travel scheme to everybody aged 60 and over provided it is used after 9.30am.

However the existing scheme introduced by Conservative Councillors allows the over 80's to travel at any time and this important concession is being removed by the Council. It's being kept for the blind and is being extended to those who are partially sighted.

This anomaly has been pointed out to Town Hall bosses as being unfair, unnecessary and mean-spirited, but they will not reverse it.

The Conservatives are acutely aware of the importance of this early morning freedom for elderly residents, many of whom rely entirely on public transport to get around Bournemouth and Poole. Conservative Cllr John Beesley attended meetings to put the case for pensioners and brought the matter to the attention of the Cabinet and Council but the Lib Dems were adamant that this valued concession would be taken away. Cllr Beesley said, 'It is very disappointing that the Lib Dem Council will not listen and change their minds. This existing concession was provided for in the Council's budget and they will give only the flimsiest excuses as to why they will not keep it, despite the budget being underspent. It only affects the over 80's and the cost is tiny - it really is mean-spirited to take early morning travel away from these elderly pensioners.'

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

RBH Planning Application - Hearing Date

A short note to let you know that Bournemouth Borough Council's Planning Board will be hearing the applications made by Royal Bournemouth Hospital for planning permission on Wessex Fields on Monday 31st July at 6pm.

The meeting will be held in public, in the council chamber at the Town Hall in Bournemouth.

Some concern has been raised at this being the venue, given it's inability to hold very many people. The council have confirmed that this should be where the meeting is held however.

I'll be there to ensure that the views of Littledown and Iford residents are heard!

Monday, July 17, 2006

Southwick Road Telephone Mast - Refused

I’m very pleased to be able to report that that application for a telephone mast at the back of housing in Southwick Road was refused at this evening’s Planning Board Meeting.

The Headmistresses of both Stourfield Schools and a local resident, Mr Carey, gave well thought out and passionate presentations in opposition to the mast respectively. I was VERY disappointed by the comments of the planning officers at the meeting. Their photographic evidence was I have to say well chosen in making the site look as unattractive as possible. Each photo taken from the surrounding gardens was taken when there was a train passing by for example. They also claimed to have held ‘extensive consultations’ with people in the neighbouring properties. Some of you are on this list I know and may like to contradict me, but in speaking to the people living alongside the site I was unaware of them having any consultation from the planning department whatsoever!

It is of course likely that the application will now go to appeal. In the meantime I’ll be approaching O2 with a view to putting forward Iford playing fields or the far side of Beaufort Allotments as alternative sites. Both are within 500 meters of this site, which is the radius O2 say they need. Both are also further from local housing and the schools than this site.

I can confirm also that the refusal of the application for a mast on Castle Lane East by Tesco has been confirmed.

Saturday, July 15, 2006

Mobile Phone Mast - Castle Lane East by Tesco

I’m very pleased to report that the fresh proposal for a joint mobile phone mast and street light put forward by O2 outside Tesco on Castle Lane East has been refused in principal by the Planning Department and the Agenda Group of the Planning Board. This decision needs to be confirmed by the Planning Board at their meeting on Monday evening. However this should, I hope, be a formality.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Bournemouth Hospital Planning Application for Wessex Fields

While Troika are begining their planning appeal for the Wessex Fields and Riverside Avenue sites, the application by Royal Bournemouth Hospital for the Wessex Fields portion of the area has finally been brought forward to the Planning Board.

At the Planning Board meeting on Monday, the Board will be asked to agree arrangements to hold a special Planning Board.

The proposed date for the meeting is Monday 31 July 2006 at 6.00 pm in the Council Chamber at the Town Hall.

The meeting will consider the following planning applications –

Royal Bournemouth Hospital, Deansleigh Road, and Land to west of Riverside Avenue, South of A338 -
Planning Application 7/2004/5913/CP and CQ

Basically these are for the use of Wessex Fields as partial car parking and medical units for the hospital, or for its use as a multi storey car park while the current car parks are turned over for the construction of buildings for clinical use.

Southwick Road Telephone Mast - Planning Meeting

I was told last night that the application for the telephone mast is being fast tracked to be heard by the Planning Board this Monday, July 17th. The Planning Department are also recommending the application be approved by the Planning Board.

Neither of these points are good news I’m afraid. It would appear that it is trying to be pushed through with as little fuss and as quickly as possible.

It will be possible for residents to make a deputation against the application to the meeting should you wish to do so. The Board only allows 5 minutes per deputation, and each application is only allowed one deputation. If there are different groups of people wishing to speak then the time is divided equally between them. It’s therefore very important that we coordinate any deputation from people wishing to object. If you would like me to help organise a meeting to do this then I am very happy to do so.

After the deputations have been made by both the applicant and any objectors the ward councillors get to have their say, and we are not time limited, so it is possible for me to add to the deputations points later on and also answer any points raised by O2 in their deputation.

With the help of Charmaine Despres (who has been the leader of the campaign against the Fisherman’s Walk mast), we have e-mailed possible alternative sites to O2 this week. We are attempting to persuade them that there are better, alternative locations further from the school and local housing.

Turning to the issue of possible alternative sites, I’m very sorry that there has been some confusion surrounding some of the correspondence about alternative sites for the Southwick Road mobile phone mast which I should clarify.

The waste land by the Beaufort Centre at the junction of Clingan Road and Carlyle Road was original offered as an alternative site. I supported this, until it was pointed out to me that it was closer to Stourfield School. I'm sorry that some of the correspondence in opposition to the mast has gone out suggesting this site as a proposed alternative.

There is NO proposal to place a mast at this location though. It was being offered as an alternative site for O2 to consider, that's all.

The alternative sites I’ll be talking to 02 about are at the back of the Beaufort allotments and ideally the Iford Meadows or the piece of waste ground called the Rookery. Both of these are further from the Stourfield School Campus and local housing.

Friday, July 07, 2006

Southwick Road Telephone Mast - a clarification

There is some confusion surround some of the correspondence about alternative sites for the Southwick Road mobile phone mast which I should clarify.

The waste land by the Beaufort Centre at the juction of Clingan Road and Carlyle Road was original offered as an alternative site. I supported this, until it was pointed out to me that it was closer to Stourfield School. I'm sorry that some of the correspondence in opposition to the mast has gone out suggesting this site as a proposed alternative.

There is NO proposal to place a mast at this location though. It was being offered as an alternative site for O2 to consider, that's all.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Dan vs Mary Hopkin - Fantastic

This made me giggle so much I had to put it on the web site.

Now, I love Mary Hopkin nearly as much as I love Clodagh Rodgers, I'm not sure that I adore her THIS much though!

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Elton John's Concert at AFC Bournemouth

I've had some correspondence from residents about Saturday's concert at AFC Bournemouth. Some were concerned by the amount of noise and traffic, others have had very positive things to say.

I want to feed the reaction of residents of Littledown and Iford back to both the football club and Bournemouth Borough Council Licensing, in order that lessons can be learnt for future events.

Events of this type are good for the town and are certainly good for the football club. However we live in the area closest to the ground and therefore I want to ensure that the disruption to our locality is kept to a minimum.

If you have any comments on the event can you please either leave them below or e-mail me at:

Sunday, July 02, 2006

Negative Campaigning

Iain Dale has started a debate on the issue of negative campaigning in elections, you can read the original post and it's thread of discussion here.

An interesting discussion, which takes me back to my own by election last year. Some of the Lib Dem literature was very personal and very negative about me. Some of the comments reportedly made on the doorstep by them were even more so, apparently.

Despite causing a couple of sleepless nights and a bit of upset, we decided to remain positive throughout.

We also continued to promote Harry as a metaphor for the concerns over loss of the greenbelt in the face of negative comments about his use.

I feel very strongly negative campaigning does nothing but turn the electorate off politicians and elections.

It tars us all with the same brush.

Constructive criticism is fine, criticism of policies, situations and events all allowable.

But why make personal comments?

No one puts themselves forward for election if they intend upon doing harm. The only difference between candidates of any political persuasion (with some obvious far right and far left exceptions) is the means by which they propose doing good.

No one should be knocked personally for doing that.

Dorset Conservative Future

Conservative Future, the wing of the party for those under 30, is undergoing a huge revival here in South East Dorset.

The new group, which covers the constituencies of Bournemouth East, Bournemouth West, Christchurch, Mid Dorset & North Poole and Poole has a new leader in Ian Newport, one of our council candidates for Westbourne and Westcliff and a new web site, which you can find here.

I'm afraid my days of being a Young Conservative are long gone, if you're under 30 and would like to get involved in then drop Ian a line through the web site.

Saturday, July 01, 2006

Troika Development: More Information on Appeal

This is the text of the e-mail sent from the Head of Planning and Transport at the Town Hall explaining the form of the Appeal made by Troika against the refusal of Planning Permission at Wessex Fields.

"We have received the first notification that Troika have submitted appeals on their refused applications. It also appears that they are seeking to have these dealt with under the written representations. The advantage of this approach for them is that the process should give a speedier decision. The advantage for the Council is that Troika are not able to claim costs in this type of appeal.
The local planning authority has to give the Planning Inspectorate a view as to whether it accepts the appellants proposal for dealing with the appeals. From a professional point of view I would say that the written representation approach was not developed to deal with appeals on developments of this nature and therefore we should seek a public inquiry. There a number of people who would want to ensure that they are able to make their case at an inquiry (and may seek to challenge the alternative). In addition I have had an informal view from the Inspectorate that they would expect this type of be dealt with by inquiry."

So it looks as though the format for considering the Appeal will be the first issue of contention. We would appear to be in for a long haul on this one!