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.