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.