Monday, December 31, 2007

Polly Toynbee

Polly Toynbee was on Start the Week on Radio 4 this morning.  Andrew Marr was asking his guests to make predictions about the year ahead.  

Ms Toynbee made the prediction that we would become wealthier, healthier and safer next year, as we have done in each of the past ten years.  

She also predicted that we would also not feel any of these things and as a result moan more than we had in the previous year.

Surely that's the point.  It's not whether we are, according to statistics, wealthier, healthier or safe, the salient point is whether we feel that way or not.

National GDP may have risen and the economy may continue to grow, that doesn't mean that I am feeling any wealthier at the end of this year than I did at the end of last.  I also know that my taxes have increased, as has my mortgage, as has the cost of running my car.  

I also know that the turnover of my business has decreased, that I am facing greater costs as an employer due to increased legislation, taxation and regulation.

We may be living longer yet that doesn't mean I am feeling any healthier or that my family is any better off health wise.  I know that my family might be healthy, but also that access to NHS services has not improved and that my mother is still facing a month long wait for an appointment at her local pain relief clinic.

Crime statistics may show that the level of crime is decreasing nationally, however my experience this year has been to have my car broken in to twice, two more times than in any of the previous five years.  I hear daily from people that they feel there is no point reporting minor crime because the police are unable to respond quickly and seem unable to offer any prospect that the culprits will be caught.  

Isn't it about time that commentators like Ms Toynbee stopped talking about the national statistics and started viewing the everyday experiences of real people?  Then she might understand why people are likely to complain more in the coming year. 

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Councillor West and chairmanship of the Environment Scrutiny Panel

Councillor Roger West is attempting to present the vote of confidence in him as an issue of bullying, attempting to stop his commenting on the state of Southbourne beach.

It isn't anything of the sort.

The deputy chairman of the panel, Cllr Mark Anderson has issued this statement.  I think it explains clearly and concisely the concerns the panel have:

My main concerns and after talking to the rest of the Conservative councillors on the Scrutiny Panel, theirs as well, is that Cllr West is using the Panel for his own political agenda and this became very obvious during the meeting.

He is not pursuing the agreed agenda of the panel and you must realise that most of the members are new Cllr’s and were relying on Cllr West as the chairman, amongst others to guide them. I am concerned that Cllr West has been using the chairmanship of this panel to add legitimacy to his own agenda.

Typically the report on Urban flooding, this is very important to all of the people of Bournemouth particularly in the light of the recent summer floods and we need to be discussing whether the towns drains can cope with the strain that development is putting on them and what we as a council should be doing. What we shouldn't be doing is concentrating on specific issues in Cllr West’s own ward!

This and his decision to ride roughshod over me and the rest of the panel when he decided to question the wrong Cabinet member, despite being told, on the Coastal defence work was the final straw.

To continue on with the coastal defence work, Cllr West was absolutely insistent that his question be answered by the wrong cabinet member, Quite why he tried to do this I’m not sure, he knows as well as I do and as I tried to point out before he overrode my objections, this was Coastal defence not beach replenishment, beach replenishment was merely a beneficially side effect, and as such it is in the remit of environment not Leisure and Tourism and certainly not Resources and I don’t understand how he could expect to get a suitable answer. I can only assume it was because it fitted his own personal agenda, not even a Liberal agenda as they were the administration that actually did the work!

Additionally the story he gave to both the Echo and Meridian bares no resemblance to the discussion and questioning that took place in the panel’s meeting.

I have always felt that it was useful for the people of the town to have an opposition Cllr chairing the scrutiny panel and in fact I was the person who approached Cllr West and actually asked him to chair the scrutiny panel, I was also the person who proposed him as chairman.

The Conservative groups number one policy is improving our Environment and ALL the other Cllr’s on the panel are committed to doing the best for Bournemouth and its environment, I’m not Sure that Cllr West is! I for example have been involved in environmental issues since the late 1980’s.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Land adjacent AFC Bournemouth and 51 Thistlebarrow Road Planning Appeal

A short note to thank everyone who has responded with letters opposing the planning appeal made by the developers wanting to demolish 51 Thistlebarrow Road to gain access to build housing on the land adjacent to AFC Bournemouth.

We copied and sent off over 80 letters this afternoon and I know many more have been sent directly.

It's unlikely that we will hear a result this side of Christmas, but we will of course keep you up to date with any news.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Planning application updates

AFC Bournemouth Planning Application

AFC Bournemouth have now lodged their appeal against the rejection of planning permission for their planned development to the side of the stadium. Those of you who objected originally will have received letters informing you of the Appeal. We'll be preparing letters of objection for distribution as previously and will deliver these hopefully over the weekend. I'll also ensure that they are e-mailed to everyone once they are ready.

Planning Application – 163 Harewood Avenue

Once piece of news we heard during the quite time in August and early September was that the planning application for demolition of 163 Harewood Avenue and replacement of the building with flats was finally withdrawn. The property has now been sold and we're hopeful that no further applications will be forthcoming.

Planning Application – 1 Littledown Avenue and 1 Thistlebarrow Road

We have heard this week of a new application however, this is to demolish the properties at 1 Littledown Avenue and 1 Thistlbarrow Road and build a block of 14 flats on the site with underground car parking. The situation of the site, the proposed demolition of the two properties and the size of the development are in our opinion unacceptable. The proposal is out of keeping with the other properties in the area and we will be opposing the application. As usual, we will be delivering letters explaining how residents can object and assisting those who wish to object. As usual, I'll e-mail copies of the letters to you once they are ready later this week.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Civic honour for former Bournemouth councillor

Last week I was one of the few Conservative Councillors who voted in favour of ex councillor Adrian Fudge being made an Alderman of the town. For me the situation is very simple. While I may have disagreed fundamentally with Adrian over his policies and more particularly over those issues effecting the ward for which we were both councillors, Littledown and Iford, I could not fault his commitment to the role of councillor either in terms of time or energy. I believe it’s necessary to divide the personal from the political and that is why I voted the way I did and will do so again if the matter comes before the Council.

While I was disappointed that a majority of my colleagues did not see the situation in the same way, I was more disappointed by the fact that opposition members chose to boycott the subsequent Council meeting after the vote had been taken. We are all elected to represent the residents of our wards. They expect us to carry out the role to which they elected us and for which we are paid. What more fundamental duty is there than to attend a meeting of the full Council? The vote was, after all, democratic. I may not have liked the result any more than my Lib Dem and Independent colleagues, however by choosing to leave the chamber they left their electorates disenfranchised and failed fundamentally in their duty to the people who elected them.

There are far more important issues facing the town than whether an ex councillor is made an Alderman. We politicians are left in a poor light by the affair and I would urge my colleagues of all parties to draw a line under it and move on to concentrate on the important issues they were elected to address.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Proposed Yellow Lines – Ovington Avenue

We received confirmation on Friday that our suggestion that further consultation about the installation of yellow lines in Ovington Avenue be undertaken has been accepted by the Council. The proposal was splitting opinion in the road and now a proper consultation will be carried out by the Council prior to any further proposal for yellow lines is put forward.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Telephone mast update

Old Bridge Road Telephone Mast

I'm very pleased to report that the appeal against the Council's rejection of planning permission for the mobile phone mast on the corner of Old Bridge Road, opposite the Iford Bridge pub. Thanks to everyone who wrote to object.

Castle Lane East Telephone Mast

I'm also pleased to report that finally operators trying to site the mast on Castle Lane East outside Tescos have made an application to site it behind the store, where we suggested they should site it all along!

Monday, September 17, 2007

Travellers in King's Park

The clear up has now been completed, including the area of copse which they used as a toilet! Jane has lead on this one and is pushing for a meeting between the Council and Police to understand fully how the incursion happened and more importantly why the police instructed the opening of the park to additional travellers and how we can ensure this doesn’t happen again. We’ll keep you updated on how this progresses, but suffice it to say we’re all angry about the situation, Jane in particular as it was she who was driven at by the travellers in the park when there with her baby son.

Bus petition

Michael has done a great job collecting signatures for the petition against the removal of the number 2 bus from Littledown Avenue, Harewood Avenue and Petersfield Road and asking the council to pursue replacement services with alternative operators. He’s going to present the petition this coming weekend so if you haven’t signed up but would like to then do please let him know direct:

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Parking Orders

New parking orders have been issued for the area. They are essentially a tidying up exercise, extending yellow lines in a few limited locations either at individual residents’ requests, our requests on behalf of residents or to even up parking restrictions where they were not quite properly implemented earlier this year. The list of roads with changes is as follows:

Clingan Road
Holdenhurst Avenue/St Saviours Close
Iford Lane
Newlands Road
Ovington Avenue
Petersfield Road
Southwick Road

The one that stands out is Ovington Avenue, where there are some substantial additional lines and we’ll be putting a consultation leaflet around about this.

Monday, July 30, 2007

AFC Bournemouth Housing Application

You may know by now that the application to build housing next to AFC Bournemouth has been refused by planners. Part on the ground on which the housing was to be built is landfill and there are concerns over the environmental safety of building in this location. We’re waiting to see whether the club decide to appeal and will keep you up to date.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Garden Waste Bins

We have now had confirmation that dedicated green waste bins will be introduced at the latest by next April. The new scheme will be rolled out first to those people who have been registered for the current green waste bag scheme. I know there are a number of people who have not registered for this scheme, preferring to wait for the bins. If you would like a bin then I urge you to sign up for the bags, because it will be those households registered for bags who get their bins first. The alternative may be a wait of some months before the wider roll out of the scheme.

You can order your garden waste bags by calling 451199.

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Bus Route Changes

We’ve been contacted by a large number of people unhappy with the withdrawal of bus services, particularly from Littledown Avenue and Petersfield Road. Michael is working on a petition to show public opposition to the changes.

If I am honest as a consequence of a meeting our cabinet member for transport and planning, Bob Lawton, had with Transdev last week it looks very unlikely that we can get Yellow Buses to change their mind on the withdrawal of the service. We are working though to see if we can persuade one of the other bus companies to introduce a replacement service.

Friday, July 27, 2007

Zebra Crossing – Christchurch Road by the Iford Bridge Pub

Michael has been working with the Highways Department to push ahead with the upgrading of this crossing. They have now agreed to carry out this work and again this should be completed sometime in the autumn. We’re pushing for a new crossing as well by the end of the new Iford bridge where the Stour Way crosses the main road.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Road Improvements to Iford Lane

We hope to provide a wider pavement and some traffic calming around the railway bridge in Iford Lane - the plan is that this work should be carried out before the end of the financial year. Your comments would be appreciated in order that we can feed them back to the Highways Department of the Council.

As you may remember this was one of our pledges from the election and we’re pleased that the works are going to proceed in the near future, it’s important though that the proposals are approved by everyone.

Sunday, July 08, 2007


I’ve been asked to update you on the Casino issue. The short answer is that we are still negotiating with the Trevor Osborne Group who are the developers with whom the Council signed the contract on election day. I honestly don’t know at what stage the negotiations stand, but I do know those involved in the negotiations are hopeful that a differently designed development with more acceptable content is achievable.

Saturday, July 07, 2007


I have been asked to give you an update on the beach clean up. This has begun, and in the next week or so the specific equipment that was ordered to deal with removing the stones should arrive which will speed up the process considerably. The target is to have all the beaches cleared of the shingle by the beginning of the school holidays.

The design of the mural to be painted on the Land Train Garage has been approved and again this will be painted, hopefully disguising it a little, by the beginning of the school holidays.

Friday, July 06, 2007

Bournemouth Post Offices

You may have seen the publicity over the last couple of days about the relocation of the main post office in the town centre. We’ve been working to persuade the Post Office to think about their plans to relocate the facility to the first floor of WH Smith.

I’ve been leading the councillor team working to persuade the Post Office that this is a completely inappropriate location because of the difficulty (indeed, impossibility) of access for disabled and elderly people and for those with push chairs or prams.

The Post Office have not listened to our concerns and indeed curtailed the consultation period. We are therefore running a petition to show public opposition to the scheme. It’s available to sign In the Square today and tomorrow between 10 and 4. I was there all day yesterday and we raised over 800 signatures during that period, despite the rain.

If you are unable to make it to The Square this weekend but would still like to sign up then do please let me know and I will get a petition form over to you.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Green Waste Bags - update!

I’m very sorry, no sooner had I emailed you to tell you that you could ring and request the additional bags are dropped off than waste and recycling decided they didn’t have the manpower to do that. Therefore you need to collect the additional bags, either during the week from Milhams or Southcote Road or alternatively you can collect them on Sunday from the King’s Park drop site.

As usual with the waste items for the Council you will need to take along proof that you are a Bournemouth Resident by way of a council tax bill.

As an aside, we are looking at these arrangements which are not user friendly and to us (the new administration) are overly bureaucratic. It requires some negotiation with Poole Borough and Dorset County however and therefore change may take a little while I’m afraid.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Councillor responsibilities

To be honest another of the reasons I’ve not been able to provide you with an update (or update the blog) is because of the amount of enquiries and requests for assistance coming my way. Jane, Michael and I have therefore decided to split our work load on an issue related basis. We realise that this list of issues is not exhaustive but it should, we hope, give you an idea of who to contact in case you need some help:


Environment/Waste/Social Services/Housing


And, a reminder that our ward surgeries start this Saturday and will continue on the last Saturday of the month from 10 until 12 at the Littledown Centre.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007


We held a meeting with the Highways Department and the new cabinet member for transportation issues last week to discuss the various traffic problems in our ward, the outcome of this meeting was as follows:

Holdenhurst Road: Instructions were given to begin works to improve the Richmond Park Road junction (by the fire station) to improve traffic flow along the length of the road between Ashley Road and this point. These works will probably take around 6 – 9 months to complete.

Instructions were also given to review the bus lane and begin negotiations with the bus companies to make it part time only.

King’s Park Slip Road: Instructions were given to commence the construction of the slip road. The works may take up to two years because of some considerable work that will be required to the Wessex Way, but at last the scheme is officially under way!

Castle Lane East: Instructions were given to begin the works to improve the Riverside Avenue/Tescos and Holdenhurst Avenue junctions. Again, these may take a year or so to complete. They will include the widening of the junction to make three lanes crossing the junction heading towards Iford. Two lanes will filter to one going straight ahead while there will be a dedicated right hand turn lane for Holdenhurst Avenue.

These road improvements will mean the loss of a couple of the trees on the corner of Riverside Avenue and Castle Lane East, we feel though that this is a price work paying for a much safer junction in this location.

Right turns exiting Holdenhurst Avenue will be prohibited and a new feeder lane will be created to exit the road on to Castle Lane East heading towards Cooper Dean.

Instructions were also given to review the bus lane here too and begin negotiations with the bus companies to make it part time only.

Iford Lane: Instructions have finally been given to widen the pavement running under the railway bridge, making the lane single carriageway only under the bridge, and giving priority to traffic travelling South along the road.

Green Waste Bags

Based upon everyone’s concerns about the availability of the Green Waste Bags, we’ve been able to immediately increase this year’s allocation by 8 bags to 33 per household. To register to take part, with bags delivered to and collected from your home, call 451199. Or collect the biodegradable bags from the Council’s Depot at Southcote Road between 0800hrs and 1700hrs.

Additional bags are now going to be made available above the allocation of 33 at a cost of £1 per bag. I’m sorry we are going to have to charge for these, but budgetary constraints require that we have to do so.

Council officers have been asked to bring forward a scheme for Green Bins to be introduced on a roll out basis across the town from April next year. Jane, Michael and I will be doing all we can to ensure that Littledown and Iford is in the first wave for these bins.

Friday, May 18, 2007

Troika Development Decision

The decision of the Planning Inspector and the Public Enquiry for the Troika Development has been released today, a day earlier than we were originally told.

I’m sorry to say, from my point of view, that the Inspector backed the development and granted planning permission for both the office development at Wessex Fields and also the park and ride and new junction off the Wessex Way. This is obviously very disappointing and I would like to pay tribute to everyone who has helped in the campaign to oppose the construction of such a large office development in this location and the development of the park and ride facility on green belt land.

There are some mitigating factors in the decision in that he has decreased the square footage of the offices that can be built and increased the amount of parking that must be placed on site. However there remains a substantial gap between the amount of parking provision and the projected number of workers for the space provided.

Michael, Jane and I will now be working to ensure that there is minimum disruption to our area while the construction of the development takes place and thereafter through even more workers’ parking in our residential streets.

Thank you to everyone who has joined in the campaign over the past couple of years, either by attending the public meetings, the Public Enquiry or through writing letters in objection to the scheme and the appeal. Without your activity it is certain to my mind that we would now have a larger development with even less car parking.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Nationwide Building Society Branch – Christchurch Road

You may have seen that there has been some publicity in the Echo about the proposed closure of the Nationwide Building Society Branch in Christchurch Road. It’s in the same parade of shops as Forest Cycles and opposite the lighting shop. This is the last financial institution in the shopping area of Boscombe East and is used widely by both the local businesses and many older residents. It also houses the only cash point in this part of the area.

Nationwide wasn’t to relocate the business of the branch to their office in Southbourne Grove. That’s a considerable distance for both the local business owners and older people to travel. Without the cash point the nearest places to obtain cash will be at either the Tesco Metro at the top of Pokesdown Hill or at Tesco on Castle Lane East.

Some local campaigners have been undertaking a very effective campaign to oppose the closure. The chief executive of Nationwide Building Society will be visiting the branch to take stock of local feeling tomorrow (Wednesday 9th May). Local people are being asked to gather at the branch at 11am to protest against the closure. If you are able to come along for 15 minutes to add to the numbers and have your say over the closure then please do. Michael, Jane and I will be there to add our support.

Friday, May 04, 2007

The election results are in

As promised, here are the results for Littledown and Iford from yesterday’s election:

Ansell, Roger (Labour) 246

Fudge, Adrian (LibDem) 645

Griffiths, Michael (Conservative) 1556

Ketchley, Fran (LibDem) 623

King, Nicholas (Conservative) 1845

Montrose, Jane (Conservative) 1648

Reeves, Colin (BNP) 223

Saunders, Rob (LibDem) 493

Sharman, Debbie (Labour) 209

Williams, Anthony (Independent) 358

Elected Members:

Nicholas King (Conservative)
Jane Montrose (Conservative)
Michael Griffiths (Conservative)

As you can imagine, Jane, Michael and I are absolutely delighted at the result, thank you to everyone who voted for us. We are all humbled by the trust shown in us by the residents of the area.

We now have an enormous job ahead of us to fulfil our election pledges. We’re determined to work as a team to represent everyone in the ward and to ensure that the many issues outstanding in our area are dealt with as a matter of urgency by the Council.

I should thank and pay tribute to our predecessors, Adrian Fudge and Fran Ketchley, for their work as councillors for the area over the past four years and their commitment to the town. Similarly, to my direct predecessor, Simon Foster, for the two and a half years he served the area.

In terms of the town’s results, the seats on the council are now:

Conservative: 41

Lib Dem: 7

Labour: 3

Independent: 3

Our first commitment is to do all we can to reverse the final decision the Liberal Democrat Council made, that of granting approval for the construction of the Casino next to the Pavilion. Locally we will be doing everything possible to help residents opposing the Old Bridge Road telephone mast and the access to the AFC Bournemouth housing development through Thistlebarrow Road.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Town Centre Car Park Sales

I think my opposition to the sale of town centre car parks is well known, the plans for residential developments on the various sites decreases the number of parking spaces in the town centre considerably and further threatens the viability of town centre businesses.

My colleague Cllr David Smith from Central Ward has obtained the following update on the progress of the sales which I thought might be of interest:

  • Terrace Mount - planning application submitted. Revisions to the legal documentation to be finalised.
  • Lansdowne Road/Madeira Road (corner of) - conditional contracts exchanged, planning application awaited. Boundary issue with the Police HQ still causing problems and Counsel's advice has been sought. This is expected 20th April.
  • Priory Road - marketing concluded, preferred bidder identified, and solicitors instructed.
  • Madeira Road East & West - consultation has been completed on a draft planning brief. Cabinet will be asked to approve a revised brief at the end of April.
  • Leyton Mount - consultation has been completed on a draft planning brief. Modifications introduced to respond to proposals to remove on-street car parking from Christchurch Road mean that some public car parking is to be retained on the Leyton Mount site to accommodate this displaced demand. Cabinet will be asked to approve a revised brief at the end of April.
  • Glen Fern - consultation has been completed. Cabinet will be asked to approve a revised brief at the end of April.
  • Durley Road - a draft planning brief has been produced and public consultation undertaken. This identified concern about the impact of the loss of parking from Durley Road on local hotels and a revised brief has been produced, which will be subject to further public consultation in due course.
  • West Hill - a draft planning brief has been produced and public consultation undertaken. A revised brief has been produced as a result of comments received, which will be subject to further public consultation in due course.
  • Central - a draft planning brief has been completed and Cabinet will be asked to approve public consultation in the summer.
  • Berry Court - a draft planning brief has been completed and Cabinet will be asked to approve public consultation in the summer.
  • Richmond Hill - a draft planning brief is being prepared and proposals will emerge in due course.
  • 10 St Stephens Road - a draft planning brief is being prepared and proposals will emerge in due course.

UKIP and the BNP

The BNP web site has this comment at the begining of an article about the number of UKIP candidates standing in this year's local elections:

"British National Party activists and members in all parts of Britain are generally on good terms with local members and activists of the UKIP – having so much politically in common."

That says it all really. It certainly confirms the suspiscion I've long held that UKIP are just the more acceptable alternative for those who would otherwise be more at home in the BNP.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

New dog bins

I’ve had requests for new dog waste bins in Littledown Park and on the are of Green Space by the Old Iford Bridge in Old Bridge Road. I’ve passed these requests on to the Cleansing and Waste Teams for them to investigate suitable sites.

Speeding on Chaseside

I’ve been informed by some residents of cars speeding as they enter and exit J P Morgan along Chaseside. We’ve reported this to the local police who have asked the traffic section to keep an eye on the situation.

2 Ropley Road

A planning application has been made to build a house in the garden of 2 Ropley Road. If you remember, this is where there was originally a plan to demolish the property and build 7 and then 6 flats on the site. Both applications were turned down by the council and then at appeal, not least because of the superb support from local residents in opposing the applications.

The property is now divided in to two flats, and from what I understand from people round about the conversion has been done very well. The plot upon which the house is planned is rather cramped and it will be interesting to see whether the Council do grant permission.

Speaking to a few local people there is no real feeling of opposition to the proposal, unless of course you feel otherwise in which case please let me know so that I can help you make your views known.

While mentioning 2 Ropley Road, I have had some complaints about the state of the site and have reported it to the Planning Department’s enforcement team. They have issued an untidy site notice for the plot and it should therefore be cleared within 28 days.

Green Waste Collections

I’ve been contacted by a number of people confused as to why the green waste bags were not taken last week. I’ve checked with the council, apparently the garden waste collections will be in the opposite week to our recycling collection. Therefore the bags will be collected tomorrow IF you’ve registered to have them collected. If the bags were delivered to you over the last couple of weeks that means you are registered.

Thursday, April 05, 2007

24 Swanmore Road Planning Application

A planning application has been made to build a bungalow in the garden to the rear of 24 Swanmore Road. A similar application for the same site was refused over a year ago.

The site is quite small and to my mind it’s not really appropriate. What is more worrying is that the plans make specific reference to the roadway in to the proposed bungalow giving access to further land for development. I know that the developers have not bought any other land, but they clearly think that they might be able to in the future. If this is the case then the access is completely unsuitable for access to additional properties, indeed it’s not ideal at all for this particular proposal.

I’ve been asked by local people to oppose the development and distribute our normal letters, which I am happy to do.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

King's Park On Slip

If you live in Old Littledown, New Littledown or at the upper end of Harewood Avenue you will have received a request for feedback from us about the proposed on slip at King’s Park Drive. I think this is essential if we are going to properly handle the congestion problems at the top end of Littledown Avenue and along Holdenhurst Road.

Apparently the highways department are not recommending that the slip road goes ahead. They are saying they don’t think there is enough room for it and they think that it will create more traffic on Ashley Road and through King’s Park.

To me that’s simply unacceptable. They were able to recommend it two years ago, so why not now? As to more traffic through Ashley Road and King’s Park, there’s a simple answer to that: make the Holdenhurst Road bus lane part time so that it both lanes can be used at peak periods, thus allowing freer flow of traffic along Holdenhurst Road negating the need for people to turn right at the lights at the end of Ashley Road.

The Highways Department are proposing some improvements to the Ashley Road and Richmond Park Road junctions. Their consideration is apparently that this is the best that can be done to improve traffic along that route. I really think they should be thinking again!

AFC Bournemouth Planning Application

Groan! Sorry to tell you that there appears to be another hold up with this, apparently there were still some outstanding issues which stopped the Planning Department from registering the application. It is now expected in the next couple of weeks.

Green Waste Collections - A further Update

The Council have started delivering the green waste bags for the this year’s collections. A sting in the tail (as far as I am concerned) has come at the last minute, which is that they are only delivering 25 per household. Once you have used these up that’s it I’m afraid, they will not deliver any more to you and you’ll have to go back to placing your green waste in the small bin or disposing of it in whichever way you can.

Having been doing some canvassing this week I have seen at least three houses with between three and five bags waiting for collection, at that rate then those properties will be back to square one by the beginning of May. I think my opinion of the green waste scheme is well known by now, we need green bins, that’s the end of it.

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Winter Gardens

Thanks to everyone who took the time to come back to me about the Winter Gardens last week. While there is some debate about the desirability and need of having a replacement arts centre, the feeling that we should not be proceeding without a firmer business case was almost unanimous. I’ll make sure this case is therefore put forward at the coming meetings on the subject.

Whilst on the subject, some of my colleagues have put together the following fact sheet, which I hope you might find illuminating:

QWhy are the Lib Dems insisting on building a new concert hall to replace the old
Winter Gardens?
A You may remember that prior to the last elections here in Bournemouth the Lib Dems promised to ‘save the Winter Gardens for the people of Bournemouth’ as a result of a petition signed by over 27,000 local people.

Q What happened after the Lib Dems won the election ?
A After stringing residents along since 2003, the Lib Dems finally demolished the Winter Gardens last year (much to the dismay of those same 27,000 people) saying it wasn’t worth repairing. (something the Conservatives had been saying all along).

Q So why build a new hall?
A The Lib Dems now argue that a new arts centre is needed to keep people out of pubs and clubs in the town centre. The reality is that they wish to save face after breaking their promise to save the old building. They are also planning to put luxury flats and student housing on the site, even though they haven’t consulted local residents properly.

Q Well, is a new arts centre needed ?
A The Conservatives believe not. The town is awash with venues all trying to attract audiences. In the BIC we have the Tregonwell, Purbeck and Solent Halls. The Pavilion has the main theatre and also numerous other venues capable of hosting smaller community projects. There are community centres all over the Borough such as the De Salle Theatre at St Peter’s School. Just outside Bournemouth we have the Lighthouse Arts Centre in Poole, the Regent Centre in Christchurch, the Barrington Theatre at Ferndown and the Mayflower Theatre at Southampton. They’re all fighting to attract audiences and remain viable.

Q How much will a new concert hall cost?
A Well, the land alone is probably worth 10 million pounds, or perhaps much more by now. Latest estimates show building costs to be well over 20 million pounds. Already the Lib Dems have spent about 2 million pounds ( the exact figure is being kept secret!) on consultants, architects, feasibility studies, accountants and other such ‘experts’. Remember, not a brick has been laid yet!

Q What would the Conservatives do ?

A We believe the Pavilion should be developed as a new Community Arts Centre. It is a Grade 2 Listed Building, it has ample room and needs millions spending on it to bring it up to decent standards and current health and safety regulations. Whatever happens elsewhere this money HAS to be spent on the Pavilion. We would raise the money by selling the Winter Gardens site for redevelopment ( probably £12 million pounds or more ) and reinvesting all of that money into the Pavilion.

Q What will the Lib Dems do with the Pavilion if they win the elections in May and go ahead with the Winter Gardens project?
A Well, they will still have to find over 10 million pounds to refurbish the Pavilion as this work HAS to go ahead whatever else happens. They will also have to find the 20 odd million pounds (of your money) for the new arts centre on the Winter Gardens site.

These are massive amounts of money and the current figures just do not stack up. The ’business case’ for the Winter Gardens leaves so many unanswered questions that it is obvious that the risks are enormous. At present the Lib Dems are selling off anything that doesn’t move. All the town centre car parks are currently up for sale ( imagine the charges when NCP get hold of them). The old Registry Office has already been sold for £800,000 and is now a Strip Club ( so much for the Lib Dems bringing culture back to the town centre!). Council assets all over the borough are being sold as the Lib Dems desperately try to raise money for this hopelessly unrealistic pet project. It’s a foolish adventure with long-term costs for the council tax payers of Bournemouth. The Conservatives want no part in it.

Conservative Policy…..

Your Conservative team pledge that if you support us on 3rd May, and we are elected to represent you, we will do everything possible to stop this hugely expensive Winter Gardens adventure. We will work to bring sensible and affordable projects to the whole of Bournemouth which will not involve selling off all of the town’s family silver.

The money saved will be used (amongst other things ) to bring much needed cctv cameras to the most vulnerable parts of Bournemouth to help curb anti-social behaviour, graffiti and all the other threats blighting our society.

Planning Application - 1080 Christchurch Road

An application has been made to build a house on land at 1080 Christchurch Road, I have as yet not seen the plans.

If anyone is concerned at this in fill development can you please let me know.

AFC Bournemouth Planning Application

As you know, we have been tracking the progress of the planning application for housing, an hotel and a sports facility at Dean Court. It would appear that the application has been made this week and the orange notices will be going up any day now.

My personal feeling is that in general I’m not opposed to the development, BUT, I am very concerned about the proposed access arrangements, particularly to the housing development. The proposal for access to the housing is through Thistlebarrow Road where a house would need to be demolished and very well established trees removed.

This would create even more traffic in what is a residential street and the whole development will create an even greater amount of traffic along Holdenhurst Road and Littledown Avenue unless the on slip is constructed. I’m therefore opposed to the development as it currently stands and we will be distributing our normal letters and flyers to help people object if they wish.

To my mind further development of the site makes the construction of the on slip on to the Wessex Way all the more important. The developers should be asked to contribute to the construction of the on slip and to also pay towards the upgrading of the Dean Court car park so that it can be used for a workers’ park and ride service.

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Bournemouth in Bloom 2007

Loraine Willson does a fantastic job organising Bournemouth in Bloom each year. This year’s competition is just starting. Below is the entry form for anyone who would like to enter.

Walking around the ward (admittedly normally delivering leaflets) we have some super gardeners, it would be good to see more entries from Littledown and Iford this year.

Bournemouth in bloom


Welcome to the Bournemouth in Bloom Floral Competitions

Through your efforts and enthusiasm as a community, you help to make Bournemouth a more pleasant and beautiful town to live and work in. Many of us spend those endless hours nurturing our plants, tending our lawns and gardens, patios, hanging baskets as much for the personal pleasure we get in doing so.

For others it may be the joy and satisfaction to be gained from creating a habitat that encourages the wild birds and animals into your own back gardens. Nursing and Residential Homes, Warden assisted homes, Hospitals and other “community establishments” all appreciate the benefits to their residents and visitors through creating a more colourful and interesting environment.

We have an enormous variety of competition categories and we hope this year will see a record number of entries. (Children are more than welcome to enter any of the categories). Certificates and prizes will be presented at the Presentation ceremony at the Pavilion on Tuesday 16th October, 2007.

All competition entries must be visible from the road unless entering RSPB or Environmental where appointments will be made.

Judging will take place once all entries are in, the judges consider the colour theme, quality of design, variety of plants and standard of maintenance as well as first impressions.


1. Large Front Garden
2. Small Front Garden
3. Alford Achievement Award – for disable special needs
4. Private balconies (including ground floor)
5. Best Private Hanging Basket
6. Best Container Garden
7. Best Environmental Garden (front or back)
8. Best Sustainable Garden for Birds ( Judged and sponsored by the R.S.P.B)(front or back)
9. Best Flat/apartments Communal Grounds plus Special Award for smaller block tended by
10. Improved Horticultural Project

11. Language Schools
12. Best Overall Residential Home Park (Automatic Entry)
13. Best Garden within a Residential Home Park
14. Nursing/Residential Homes plus Special Award for smaller establishment
15. Warden Assisted Homes
16. Pubs and Inns
17. Restaurants
18. Small Retails Store
19. Large Retail Store (Automatic entry)
20. Improved Shop Frontage (Automatic entry)
21. Arcades/Covered Shopping Areas
22. Retail Parks (Automatic Entry)
23. Holiday Establishments via Association.

l 1. Places of worship
2. Medical Centres / Dentists / Hospitals / Alternative Medicine Centres (Automatic Entry)
3. Day Centres
4. Schools/Nurseries/colleges/youth club (Children's Projects). (Automatic Entry)
5. Outdoor Bowling Clubs Gardens
6. Most Improved Ward (Automatic entry)


COMPETITION CATEGORY …………………………………………………………………….……………………..

NAME ……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..

ADDRESS ……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….


POST CODE ……………………………………… TEL NO ……………………………………………………………..

Loraine Willson – Secretary, 27 Corhampton Road, Bournemouth, BH6 5NU

All entry forms are available from YOUR LOCAL LIBRARY, Council website or you can e-mail

Traffic Regulation Orders/Yellow Lines

I’ve been asked when we can expect answers on whether the plans for extending yellow lines in Cheriton Avenue, Durrington Place and Petersfield Road. I understand this should be early next month, with the work being completed later in April or May.

I’ll let you know as soon as I hear anything.

Telephone Mast – Corner of Christchurch Road and Old Bridge Road

I’m very pleased to be able to tall you that the application for the telephone mast on the corner of Old Bridge Road and Christchurch Road, on the piece of park land opposite the Iford Bridge pub has been turned down by the planning department.

I think that’s great news. If there are any more applications or if the operator appeals I will of course let you know and help with objection letters again.

Possible Development in Southwick Road

Having heard nothing I made some investigations this week about the likelihood of an application coming forward for a development on the industrial site between Southwick Road and the railway line.

It would appear again that this is not likely to come forward before the local elections.

The owner of the site, Dave Wells, reiterated his commitment to undertaking a public consultation before making a formal application to the Council.

AFC Bournemouth Development

The application for housing, an hotel and sports facility at Dean Court has as yet still not come forward. There remain issues surrounding the environmental survey of the site I understand.

It’s not likely that the application will now be coming forward this side of the local elections in the first week of May.

163 Harewood Avenue - Appeal Update

I’ve made enquiries about the result of the appeal on this site. The answer I received from the Council was: “The appellants have selected to have the appeal regarding 163 Harewood Avenue determined following an informal hearing so the appeal is held in the queue at Bristol waiting for a hearing date, all interested parties will be notified of the hearing date in due course.”

So it looks as though this will be going on for a little while yet I’m afraid.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Path between Hares Green and Chaseside

I was sent these photos by a concerned resident after some council contractors had 'completed' cutting back the bushes on the path between Hares Green and Chaseside in Castledean.

I've been in touch with the Council department responsible and have ensured they will be arranging for the contractors to return and finish the job satisfactorily.

Friday, February 23, 2007

Motorbikes in King's Park

I've received the following note from the Parks Department about their pursuance of people riding motorbikes in King's Park, which I thought I should pass on to you:

"I am writing in regards to the problem of motorbikes being ridden on Kings Park. Yesterday evening, thanks to a call from a member of the public, a blue mini-moto that was witnessed riding on the cricket ground was seized from its owner by the local Police.

I have also been informed today, that a red scramble bike has been seized from its owner at his address, this second success is down to a good working-relationship with the local Safer Neighbourhoods Team which has increased communications and information sharing between our two organisations. Community Parks and Countryside Officers witnessed the bike being ridden on the park at extreme speeds and acting on information from the public, traced its owner to a local address. Although the Police could not attend at the time, a report was sent and the Police acted swiftly to seize the bike from its owner some days later.

I am hopeful that these two events will act as a deterrent to this problem and motivate people in continuing to inform us of such problems."

It's good to see the Parks Department and the Police beginning to get tough with people riding their bikes in the Park.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Those caring Liberal Democrats......

The latest Liberal Democrat leaflet in Littledown and Iford has this story on its front page:

Apparently my ward colleagues are concerned about my commitment to the ward now that I have been selected to stand for parliament in Mid Dorset and North Poole.

It's nice of them to be concerned that I have three jobs already. Only three? They're missing a couple - Treasurer of the Mayor's Charity Appeal and caring for my elderly parents. Oh, and then there's running Rubyz restaurants as well as our 'town centre night club' (not forgetting trying to keep Dame Kitty's dress allowance under control).

Well, as the person who kindly sent me this article said: "Remember the old adage, 'If you want something done, give it to a busy person'."

I hope I've done a good job for the ward in the eighteen months since I was elected, and I hope that the residents haven't noticed any change in the level of my commitment and service since November 25th, the day I was selected to stand for parliament.

I have certainly done the best I can and I think we've achieved results where I've been asked to help.

Either way, the residents of Littledown and Iford get to decide on May 3rd. We'll see then whether they think I've done a good job or whether they think that having four other roles has impeded the service they recieve from me.

Monday, February 12, 2007

Traffic Regulation Orders – Petersfield Road, Durrington Place and Cheriton Avenue

Thanks to everyone who has been in touch to comment on these amendments. I’ve incorporated your comments in to my response. I understand that my fellow councillors, Adrian Fudge and Fran Ketchley have circulated letters informing people that the outcome may be different to the plans posted and that they want to feed comments back to the Highways Department.

I have made it clear in my submission that these proposals have come about as a result of campaigns that have involved considerable public consultation over the last year and have also emanated from local residents’ requests. I’m afraid Adrian and Fran didn’t bother to speak to me about the situation before circulating their letters. But there again, I’m afraid that’s neither surprising nor new. It does however mean that it is helpful if you can write in support of the proposals as they stand, emphasising that they are as a result of residents’ requests and that local consultation has taken place.

Telephone Mast - Riverside Avenue

An application has been made to place a telephone mast on Riverside Avenue, replacing a street light between the entrance to Tesco and the traffic lights on Castle Lane East. I’ve written opposing this site and suggesting that it should be placed to the rear of Tesco closer to the entrance to the golf driving range.

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Ringmaster Message

I've recieved this message from Corhampton Road Neighbourhood Watch.

"Please be aware there has been an incident of a man late 30's, medium to stocky build, wearing a baseball cap, local accent, offering gardening services, producing a card with the name Turner or Turner's on it, driving an open backed vehicle white/grey, he became very aggresive to the home owner. If you encounter this man or know of him, please ring either crimestoppers on 0800 555111 or Boscombe Police on 222222."

Do please take care when answering the door and of course always ask for some formal, photographic, identification.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Environment Scrutiny and Review Panel

I attended the Environment Scrutiny and Review Panel this evening at the Town Hall.

The meeting was due to be about recycling. The Chairman, Lib Dem Councillor Roger West opened the meeting by saying that he would not allow any debate on either the green waste recycling scheme or the introduction of recycling in Bournemouth.

The town's recycling scheme is a success compared with what went before undoubtedly. The problems encountered with green waste collection and recycling and the problems of communicating the new scheme to residents need to be reviewed and discussed.

Why won't the Lib Dems allow discussion? Probably because they won't like the answers to the questions we'll be posing. But if we don't hold this review how will we learn from the mistakes that have been made and ensure that we give people what they want?

I'll be pushing in Council for this item to be placed on the Scrutiny and Review Panel Agenda as a matter of urgency.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

The result of there still being no CCTV on Boscombe seafront

This photo about says it all. We need CCTV on the seafront urgently, and the Council are more concerned with selling sea front car parks to try and prop up their mismanagement of the town's finances!

It makes the person who sent me this picture, and me, despair.

Monday, February 05, 2007

Conservatives confirm opposition to ID cards

The Shadow Home Secretary, David Davis MP, has today written to the Cabinet Secretary, Sir Gus O'Donnell giving formal notice that an incoming Conservative Government would scrap the Government's ID card project.

David has also asked what provision, if any, has been made in the relevant contractual arrangements to protect the Government - and public funds - against the costs that would be incurred as a result of early cancellation of the scheme.

A similar letter has also been sent to the likely major contractors warning them of our intentions.

This is the text of the letter to Sir Gus...

"I am writing to you in relation to the Government's planned roll outof its national identity card scheme, commencing this year. You will be aware that there is a long standing convention that one Parliament may not bind a subsequent Parliament.

As you will also be aware, the Conservative Party has stated publicly that it is our intention to cancel the ID cards project immediately on our being elected to government. You are now formally on notice of our position and fully appraised of the contingent risks and associated liabilities arising from the national identity card scheme.

In light of these risks, I urge you to consider very carefully the government's position, in advance of the roll-out of the scheme later this year. As a matter of financial prudence, it is incumbent upon you to ensure thatpublic money is not wasted, and contractual obligations are not incurred, investing in a scheme with such a high risk of not being implemented. In particular, I would be interested to know what provision, if any has, been made in the relevant contractual arrangements to protect the Government - and public funds - against the costs that would be incurred as a result of earlycancellation of the scheme.

The Conservatives will be a launching campaign against Labour's ID Cards proposals tomorrow."

Hat Tip: Iain Dale

75 Durrington Road Planning Appeal Refused

You may remember that the planning application to demolish the family house at 75 Durrington Road and replace it with six flats was taken to appeal last September.

I'm very pleased to report that the Planning Department have just confirmed that the appeal has been refused by the Planning Inspectorate.

Sunday, February 04, 2007

I'm voting, are you?

Estonia's General Election is on March 4th. This advert is appearing to encourage people to vote. The people are the well known Estonians in different fields (yes, they do exist).

The message on the shirts means 'I will vote, and you?'.

Perhaps we should organise similar adverts for the next local or general elections. Who would you choose? For me: Johnny Wilkinson, Dame Judy Dench, Cliff Richard, Richard Branson and Lord Coe.

Useless fact and Eurovision Link: Ines (laulja - which means singer) sang the 2000 Estonian Eurovision entry 'Once in a Lifetime', it came fourth.

Saturday, February 03, 2007

Family Farms

Iain Dale has a great post about how the changes to UK Farming have effected he and his family here. I highly recommend it to you.

My family are remarkably similar, my mother's family were in farming in North Herfordshire on the Essex border and we subsequently moved to North Devon. The changes Iain talks about and, particularly in the Torridge area, Foot and Mouth, have changed farming and the countryside for ever, and not for the better.

BIC Wedding Fayre

I spent this afternoon helping man the Rubyz stall at the Wedding Exhibition at the BIC. In fact I didn't need to do that much really, Dame Kitty was a draw in her own right and I was lucky if I could get a word in edgeways!

I never knew that weddings were SUCH a huge business. It's the first time we have exhibited there, this is only the first day of two and we have already taken bookings for over 500 people, filling up what available space we had on Saturday evenings throughout April and May.

The range of services and products on offer is astounding. It's a real testament to the ingenuity and entrepreneurialism of people that they should develop businesses that cover such a diverse range of services.

Talking to other business owners there it was apparent though that everyone is suffering under the burden of extra regulation, both directly and indirectly applied by government.

I heard more than once that people were wondering whether it was worth continuing with their businesses and more often that they were no longer keen to employ people because of the regulation and additional cost concerned.

We must make moves quickly to begin to simplify legislation for businesses, take away some of their tax burden and make it easier and more flexible for them to employ people. Rescinding our introduction of the EU's Social Chapter would be a great start.

The place was packed and the organisation was clearly very professional. It's success is a huge credit to the BIC staff and Bournemouth Borough Council's events team.

This week news broke that the Conservative Party would not be coming to Bournemouth for our conference next year. I have to admit to having known this for a couple of weeks. What is heartening is that we will be returning, and more importantly for the staff of the Council and BIC, I know the party chairman has sent a message to them making it clear that the decision in no way reflects on their service, professionalism and the standard of the venue.

Friday, February 02, 2007

Southwick Road Telephone Mast - Appeal refused!

I have received the result of the Inspector’s report about the O2 mast at the back of the houses in Southwick Road.

I’m absolutely delighted to report that it has been turned down and the Inspector has basically told O2 to go and look again at a site on Iford Meadows.

I really thought we might lose this one and can’t tell you how pleased I am that it’s been turned down.

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Bournemouth Borough Council Post Offices Meeting

Straight off the plane this afternoon and down to the Town Hall to attend a meeting of the Developing Communities and Tackling Crime Scrutiny and Review Panel. The meeting was about the Post Office closure programme in Dorset and a number of councillors and members of the public attended.

I'm delighted to report that a motion deploring the closure programme was passed by the panel unanimously. They also called for Bournemouth Council to approach Poole and Christchurch to organise a joint approach to any proposed closures, starting with Bournemouth offering support to Poole over their opposition to the closure of the Post Office at Adastral Square, Canford Heath.

The motion now goes to Bournemouth's Cabinet for their approval and action.

Wednesday, January 31, 2007

No to ID Cards

Averil King (no relation), who is the chairperson of Mid Dorset and North Poole UKIP has a letter in tonight's Daily Echo making some very good points in opposition to the Government's plans for ID cards.

Good for Averil.

I'm opposed to the ID card scheme. It will be a huge intrusion in to our privacy and it wastes money which could be so better spent elsewhere (for example, helping the Home Office keep track of convicted offenders).

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

No casino for Bournemouth

So, the Super Casino is going to Manchester and the South Western casinos are going to be situated in Southampton, Bath and Torbay.

Am I disappointed? Truthfully, No.

I voted for the application for the casino to proceed largely because I was persuaded of the tourism and employment benefits of the wider development which may accompany it. I remained opposed to it being situated on the corner of Bath Road and Westover Road and being linked to the Pavilion and the news that it won't be going ahead is no real blow.

It would certainly have been a draw, but the social consequences for the town could have been severe and the scheme did not have public approval, despite some councillors and officials trying to spin the opinion soundings differently.

It is now clear that the town centre development plan is up in the air. We should therefore be stopping and taking stock as to what now happens to each of the central sites in the light of this news. For me, this means not rushing in to the cultural centre plan until we can properly assess the effect this news has.

Monday, January 29, 2007

PCSO's - Comments please

My comments about the Government not funding the increase in Police Community Support Officers promised in their election manifesto has raised some interesting comment, I've recieved a number of e-mails and a couple of comments have been posted here.

These clearly come from people who know more than I do about the issue.

I fully realise that the greatest benefit of the PCSO's is their deterrent effect. The posters seem to be suggesting however that the money would be better spent in funding fewer, but fully trained, police officers. I'd be interested in your comments.

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Back garden developments....

Back in July the Council passed this motion:


c. Residential Development in Bournemouth

Councillor Garratt moved and Councillor Brandwood seconded:

‘That the Council recognises the deep concerns of many residents about the impact on the character of residential areas that redevelopment of house sites as flats may have. The Council further recognises the concerns arising from the loss of back gardens to housing development.

The Council also recognises the similarly deep concerns of many residents that the high cost of housing to buy and rent locally could mean that as their children grow up they will have to move away from Bournemouth in order to afford somewhere to live.

In order to address issues of the loss of character the Council resolves, as part of the preparation of its Local Development Framework, to consider the development of Character Assessment policies.

In order to address the issue of the loss of back gardens the Council resolves to:

1. support calls for garden land to be reclassified as green field land;
2. welcome the commitment of Bournemouth’s MPs towards securing this;
3. express its support for the specific provision within the Local Government and Planning (Parkland and Windfall Development) Bill sponsored by Lorely Burt MP, which would require the Secretary of State to issue guidance to local planning authorities to the effect that ‘the gardens of private houses should be regarded for development control purposes as green field sites.’

In order to address the need, in particular, of local people growing up in Bournemouth to be able to afford a place to live, the Council resolves to confirm that affordable housing both to buy and rent is one of its top priorities.’

The motion was carried, 34 in favour, 6 against, 3 abstentions.

Simply enough, no?

Then why is there an advert in the latest edition of the Council's magazine, delivered monthly to you all, for a company offering to buy up back gardens in order to develop them?

Why has the Council not vetoed advertisers who specifically advertise services to which we are opposed?

You may be aware that my own business advertises in BH Life, we have been told that there are waiting lists for advertisers in the magazine throughout the Spring as only a certain number of adverts are accepted. The excuse that accepting adverts keeps the cost down and they have to take adverts from whichever source they can therefore doesn't pass muster.

We should be practicing what we preach and ensuring that adverts of this type are not allowed in Council publications.

Saturday, January 27, 2007

Police Community Support Officers

The Government has reneged on its election manifesto pledge to create 24,000 Police Community Support Officers by 2008.

Their plan to roll out the national non emergency number has also been revoked.

I've come across a number of PCSO's in the last few weeks, they undertake an excellent job supporting the local police. People want more uniformed officers on the streets, not less. We were promised support from Bournemouth East PCSO's for Iford, I suspect that might now not be available.

Increasingly the attention of the police is centred on Poole and Bournemouth town centres, particularly at the weekend. PCSO's provide a vital service in retaining locally knowledgeable and responsive officers, we should be finding ways to fund more rather than less.

Parking Orders

My apologies for placing this on the blog rather than being able, at the moment, to e-mail everyone involved.

The new proposals for parking regulations have been published. They include two of the proposals for which we have been campaigning: a single yellow line, staggered between the eastern and western sides of the road in Cheriton Avenue and a single yellow line on the southern side of Petersfield Road from it's junction with Harewood Avenue to number 50a.

In both roads local people have been campaigning for some time for these works to be undertaken. I'm very pleased that the Highways Department have listned to local requests for the works to be carried out.

Plans for town centre car parks

The Daily Echo is reporting today that revised plans for flats and shops on the Terrace Mount car park are to be submitted by the developers Redrow. You can read the full story here.

A Council spokesman has responded to concerns over the loss of parking spaces by pointing out that the new Casino development next to the Pavilion and the Hotel School next to the BIC will provide sufficient spaces to cover the loss of public parking provision at Terrace Mount.

However, plans for both the Hotel School and Casino are yet to be fully approved and their planning applications and construction schedules are likely to lag well behind that of the residential scheme.

Where in the meantime will parking be provided? What assurances do we have that the developments proposing replacement parking will be approved or built as currently envisaged?

I'm yet to be convinced that there is a coherent policy for the retention of sufficient town centre parking provision. We should be stopping the car park sales until we can be sure that the current public parking provision can be maintained throughout the construction process.

Friday, January 26, 2007

Access on to Council land

You may have seen this article in yesterday's Echo. The Council have sent out 300 letters to residents who have gates that lead on to land owned by the Council and controlled by the Leisure Department. There are a further 300 letters to be sent out.

In the letters residents are being asked to pay £50 for an access agreement which will last for five years, thus ensuring that the Council does nothing on its side of the access to block it (like planting a shrub or erecting a fence.

I understand that most residents have refused to pay this amount as yet. The argument against there being a need to put such an agreement in place is that in the vast majority of cases the access has been in place for more than 20 years and therefore should be considered an established right of way.

The Council's initial response was that established rights did not apply in cases where access was on to a public right of way.

I've just received a note from the Council to say that they are having second thoughts and are checking out the situation with their legal department.

I understand that amongst those 300 people to whom letters have been sent are residents of Iford, Old Littledown and some homes in Littledown Avenue with gates on to King's Park. Amongst those not yet sent letters are those elsewhere with entrances on to King's Park.

If you've received a letter you should be receiving a second one explaining the situation and telling you that you need take no action until the Council contact you again.

I have to say that I despair though. Why did no one think that this would be an issue for residents before the letters were sent and why did no one check out the likely objections about established use and obtain a proper legal opinion before the letter were sent?

We're left with a situation where residents are upset, a second set of letters is having to be sent, money has been wasted and no one is happy. Most of all, let's see if someone takes political responsibility for this. I somehow doubt that they will.

The wonders of wi-fi

Oh dear, I fear my New Year's resolution looks like it has been broken, and we're not even out of January. I am afraid that as I post this message, it'll show up as being posted on the 26th January rather than the 25th, because it is just that now in the UK.

I have an excuse however. Oh yes, I always have an excuse as my friends will gladly tell you (well I am a politician).

The hotel's wi-fi (wireless internet service) has been down until now (9pm Eastern Time), so I am officially blogging on Thursday 25th, although it's only Thursday 25th as a result of my time zone.

The fact that I can bring my laptop, just plug it in and happily tap away updating my blog and web site, effortlessly, thousands of miles from home, is truly wondrous.

I was left pondering about this while I was waiting for the system to come back on earlier today. Our ability to access information, details and one another at pretty much any time must, I surmised, play a part in people's increasing desire to ensure that they retain their privacy in their own homes.

Ten years ago the Internet was in its infancy, mobile phones were only just becoming popular and phone signal coverage didn't extend far beyond our towns and cities, laptops were enormous and no one had ever heard of blackberries. Now, even whilst wandering around Fort Lauderdale I can receive texts, phone calls and e-mails from home on my Blackberry, I can respond to them all, I can access the Internet to change my flight arrangements and I can even post to this blog.

Whilst that makes home, my job (Rubyz) and my vocation (politics) completely accessible, it also makes me totally accessible to other people. Sometimes it's nice (and necessary) to get away from all of that. Increasingly that comes when you get home and shut the door on the world. I can fully understand therefore why people should wish to retain their privacy in their own home and why I return to the opinion that privacy is going to be a huge issue in the years to come.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

French Fries in Bins

Having arrived in Florida last night I had the rather bizarre experience of being called this morning by the UK Correspondent of the Miami Herald asking me about the chips in bins issue.

She is writing a piece about the strange contradiction in Britons' attitudes to surveillance in public places and our ambivalence to any intrusion in to our homes. She wanted to use the reaction in Bournemouth to the insertion of the chips in our new 'little' bins to illustrate this.

I explained my point of view, which is that we are happy that we are watched over whilst in public because we rest assured in the (largely mistaken) belief that it brings help or intervention closer to us if we run in to trouble. However, there persists a very strong sense of 'an Englishman's home being his castle' and to this extent any intrusion by the government across that imaginary moat we place around our dwellings is greatly resented and swiftly rebuffed.

I also explained that I felt that most Britons perceive their car to be an extension of this home.

This therefore explains our acceptance of the widest degree of CCTV surveillance anywhere in the world, (and our clamour for even more to be introduced); our strong ambivalence towards micro chips in waste bins and the proposal that cars should carry tracking devices to enable road pricing; and our suspicion about the introduction of ID Cards.

The reporter listened very carefully and then kindly asked whether I had read a book called 'Watching the English' by Kate Fox. I said truthfully that I hadn't. Apparently the views I expressed about our national characteristics are almost identical to those espoused by Ms Fox in her book.

I think there is an important message here, that being that interference by Government (at any level) in our lives is of increasing concern to Britons. I believe it is going to be a huge issue in the coming years, one which will begin to differentiate the parties as clearly as the economic and defence arguments of the 1970's and 80's.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Competition Commissioners and supermarket chains

The Competition Commission are carrying out a report in to UK Supermarkets. The initial report is about to be published, a full report is due out next year. The BBC have the full story here.

Publicity is concentrating on the supermarkets holding on to 'land banks'; land they have bought for possible development but that they have not begun building on as yet.

For me a much more important issue is the effect that supermarkets are having on local retail markets. The Commission is looking in to how large supermarkets can effect the economy of their surrounding area, with particular reference to grocery shopping and local shops and shopping centres.

I welcome their investigation, I've blogged before about my concern over the power of out of town stores to neutralise smaller businesses in their surrounding area and local town centres, thereby forming a monopoly.

Support for small town, suburban and village businesses is going to be vital if we are to truly retain and create sustainable and vibrant local communities.

Monday, January 22, 2007

Canford Heath Post Office First to go?

I've been contacted by a number of very concerned residents of Canford Heath this evening. It appears that the Post Office in Adastral Square has announced it will be closing at the end of next month.

I'm not sure if this is the first of the closures we anticipated as a result of the Government's restructuring announcement last month. I'm attempting to find out more detail at the moment and will keep you abreast of developments.

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Youth Crime

With my hat of Parliamentary Candidate I attended a Crime Reduction Parnership meeting in Mid Dorset last week It made me think about one of the common concerns raised there, that of youth crime.

I therefore have spent some time today looking out some information from the party and elsewhere about the issue. The figures are quite astounding. The shocking statistics were obtained by Conservatives under the Freedom of Information Act.

· Across the country, a third of all muggings last year were on 11-16 year olds. They are seen as easy targets by muggers seeking mobile phones and MP3 players. In turn, 11-16 year olds were responsible for 40 per cent of all robberies.

· The Government, despite claiming street crime is a top priority, does not properly monitor the level of youth muggings.

· There were a projected 113,000 robberies on 11 to 16-year-olds last year across England & Wales. This is equivalent to over 600 muggings a day for each of the 195 school days.

· In Dorset 23%, or 55 of 239 personal robberies reported were on 11 to 16 year olds.

These new statistics reveal a worrying area of crime that has gone unrecognised. This is likely to be the tip off the iceberg given how few crimes are actually reported.

Secondary school students and their parents will immediately recognise the picture of life these crime figures paint. Having mobiles and ipods routinely stolen, being marched to the cashpoint, seeing their friends mugged – this is the everyday life for too many of our teenagers. Too often these crimes are carried out by people of their own age.

Youth-on-youth crime could be a serious long-term problem and the Government are not properly monitoring it. I believe young people have a right to expect violent crime against them to be taken seriously by this Government.

For that reason I want to work with our local Crime Reduction Partnerships to identify both the victims and perpetrators of these crimes. We should be offering support to the victims and looking for Community involvement in the identification of those who carry out the attacks.

King's Park Litter Pick

On Sunday 4th February, 2007 between 12-2pm there will be a littler-pick in Kings Park. Anyone wishing to attend please meet at The Chapel, Gloucester Road where you will be given equipment from the Parks Department. (suitable clothing advised).

I'll be there - wearing suitable clothing of course!

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Green Waste Collections

I had a chance to talk directly with Roger Ball today, he's the Head of Technical Services for the Council. Essentially he looks after everything that is maintenance related, including waste and recycling.

I asked him when we could expect to see the Green Waste bag collections return. He has given me a date of April 7th. Essentially, the underlying message was that the Council have run out of money this year to continue the scheme. Once the new financial year begins then the budget will allow the recommencement of the scheme.

Roger and his team have done a great job with a scheme which, let's face it, is flawed. At least he has been able to confirm a fresh start date.

Now, if you could all ask your plants to stop growing or creating any waste until then we'll all be fine.

Friday, January 19, 2007

Jade Goody

So much has been written about Celebrity Big Brother this week that I hardly feel qualified to comment.

Suffice it to say that I have been on the receiving end of prejudice and discrimination. It isn't pleasant and for me Shilpa Shetty has behaved, from what I have seen, with decorum and dignity. Good for her.

As for Jade Goody, well, I think her comments on hearing she was to be evicted were the most incisive thing she has ever said. "I swear to God, I said it would start here and it would end here."

Let's hope it has, for all our sakes.

Planning Hearing for the Cultural Centre

The planning application for the Winter Gardens has now been submitted to the Local Planning Authority and a special Planning Board meeting has been programmed into the timetable to consider the application on Monday 12 March at 5.00 pm in the Council Chamber at the Town Hall.

This will be your chance to have your say about the site.

My sincere apologies for not replying yet, to everyone who has e-mailed me their comments. I hope to get back to you over the weekend.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Traffic England - what a good idea!

I've been alerted to this site by the Dorset Chamber of Commerce.
This Highways Agency site gives you real time traffic information for the major routes in the region. I know the BBC and AA sites also have this kind of map too, but you have to navigate your way through pages to get to them.
Amazing a government site that is easy to use and is of some use! Now, if you're like me and heading out to brave the A31, the M27 and the M3, or even going further afield, you can see exactly what's going on.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

McCarthy & Stone letters in Holdenhurst Avenue

I understand from some residents that McCarthy and Stone have written to some residents living at the Christchurch Road end of Holdenhurst Avenue asking whether they would consider selling their homes. It seems they are envisaging purchasing some properties with a view to creating a 'retirement development'.

Their letter states that some residents are already considering selling. If you have recieved one of these letters can I warn you that they always say that. They hope that by creating the impression that your neighbours are going to sell you will do so too.

McCarthy and Stone do build some very pleasant developments. I'm just not sure that Holdenhurst Avenue is going to be the right place for them, particularly when they could well be developments of flats.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Cats disappearing in Swanmore Close

This story is on the front page of today's Daily Echo. It's about a number of cats going missing in Swanmore Close and, heartbreakingly, how one little girl discovered her cat was one of two that had been found drowned in a garden pond.

The whole story is very distressing. What concerns me a little about it, however, is the headline and first paragraph, which blames 'sick yobs' for drowning the cat. When you read the full story it would appear that there is no evidence as to who has attacked and killed the cats.

If indeed there are some very sick people out there who are attacking the animals then the police should be taking much greater notice of the area. I've not had any reports of this happening though.

Can anyone shed any more light on the situation? I have had reports of an inordinate number of foxes in Meon Road and Swanmore Road recently. Clearly they aren't reponsible for the drowning of two cats, but the report may explain why it appears a further five are reported missing.