Saturday, September 30, 2006

RBH betray their supporters

If you've seen the front page of the Daily Echo today, then you'll know that they've lead with my comments about the news that Royal Bournemouth Hospital are withdrawing their plans for expansion on to Wessex Fields. Rather they are supporting the Troika application thrown out by the Planning Board in Feburary.

You can read the story in full here.

The Wessex Fields site at Riverside Avenue is where Troika want to build their offices and for which planning permission was granted for an extension of the hospital’s facilities earlier this month.

Royal Bournemouth Hospital withdrew their planning application for the extension of their facilities in a letter sent to the Council yesterday. In the letter they also expressed an intention to back the Troika application, having come to an agreement with them over their proposed development on the site.

This news will make it much harder for the Council to defend its position at the Public Enquiry in December, and makes an outcome where some form of office development (indeed even the original plan), would be built more likely.

It’s possible that a fresh, joint, application from Troika and the Hospital may come forward. If this is the case I will of course let you have the details straight away.

My opposition to the original Troika scheme remains consistent. Providing 3,500 jobs and only 900 parking spaces is madness. There has been insufficient note taken on the effect this additional traffic will have on Castle Lane and the surrounding roads, both in Littledown and also in Strouden Park.

Plant and Bulb Sale at King's Park

The Parks department are having another sale of surplus bulbs and plants. It’s on Saturday 7th October from 10.30 am at Kings Park Nursery. Items on sale will include Tulips, Daffodils, Hyacinths and many others plus pansies and other winter bedding perennials and an end of year shrub sale.

Further details are available from: 427851 -

Royal Bournemouth Hospital Open Day

Royal Bournemouth Hospital are holding a Patient and Public Open Day at the Hospital. It's to be held on Wednesday, 11th October.

The event is sponsored by the Village Hotel who will be on site offering fitness test and a prize draw for free passes to their Leisure Club.

New Planning Applications

There are three new planning applications in the offing:

1124 - 1126 Christchurch Road, is, I think, an alteration to an earlier application that was granted for a conversion of one shop and two flats to two shops and seven flats.

77 Durrington Road is an application to build a house in the back garden of the house on the corner of Durrington Road and Warnford Road

Outside Tescos – Castle Lane East – is another attempt to get planning for a mobile phone mast at the front of Tescos.

I’m going to be taking a look at the plans of each of these. My immediate response is that in the case of Christchurch Road I would be concerned that there is enough parking offered on site for the flats.

With Durrington Road there are concerns from the neighbours about this siting of this development already. Again, it’s a matter of parking and access that concerns me, although I’m sorry to say that a development of this kind may be difficult to oppose. If it does go ahead I will do all I can to ensure that it does not impinge upon the nieghbouring properties or cause additional parking or road safety hazards.

My position on the telephone mast outside Tesco remains the same, there are better places for it – the mast compound by the Cooper Dean Roundabout or in Riverside Avenue. If necessary I’ll call this application in to the Planning Board if there are not enough letters of objection.

AFC Bournemouth's Planning Applications

While the Echo concentrated upon the plans for a new hotel and leisure complex at the AFC Bournemouth site. I understand that there is a further application to build ten family houses at the rear (the eastern side) of the stadium. Access to this land is going to be via a property in Thistlebarrow Road which will be demolished.

The council have confirmed that there will be no need for an environmental assessment of the site.

I want to gather local residents views before the planning process starts in earnest. The development plans the construction of houses that will be in keeping in terms of size and style with those in Bishops Close and Thistlebarrow Road. There may be issues of access and parking however, which I’ll be looking in to.

My inclination is to support the expansion plans for the stadium complex itself, on the basis that the facilities will be needed by the club and provide a further source of income for them. My caveat would be that the King’s Park ‘on slip’ must be built before construction starts in order that we avoid further congestion of Littledown Avenue and Holdenhurst Road. I’d welcome local residents' views on this issue.

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Planning Letters

A reminder of the deadline dates for responses to the various appeals and applications that are ongoing at the moment:

Troika Development – 3 copies of your letter to be received by the Planning Inspectorate by 22nd September
75 Durrington Road – 3 copies of your letter to be received by the Planning Inspectorate by 29th September

163 Harewood Avenue – 1 letter or e-mail of objection to be received by Bournemouth Planning by 29th September

2 Ropley Road Planning Appeal

The Planning Appeal for building 5 flats at 2 Ropley Road, (which is the house on the corner of Ropley Road and Warnford Road), has been refused. This is excellent news in my opinion.

What is even better is that the Inspector’s comments make it clear that he believes the area itself does not suit flat developments which suggests that similar applications will not be looked upon favourably.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Royal Bournemouth Hospital Expansion

At last night's council meeting the subject of the planning application to allow Royal Bournemouth Hospital to expand on to Wessex Fields was discussed.

If you have been following this story you may remember that their application to build on the Wessex Fields site was rejected by the Planning Board last month in a very close vote; 5:4 with one abstention.

Because of the importance of the decision it was decided that the application should go before the whole council.

This land is the same plot upon which Troika wish to build their office development. The two applications are completely unrelated, although some of the people making deputations to the Council beforehand attempted to link them. The deputees opinions being that an expansion of the hospital was preferable to the office development.

The Council was unable, and did not, make a decision based upon this principal. I put forward a motion that approved the planning application on planning grounds that were suggested by the Head of Planning and Transport. Jim Courtney, Conservative Councillor for Throop and Muscliffe seconded the motion, which I'm pleased to say we won by a margin of 23:10 with 3 abstentions.

This now means that the hospital, if they wish (and if they can come to an agreement with the landowners, the Cooper Dean Estate), can expand on to this piece of land rather than attempting to develop their otherwise land locked site.

Saturday, September 09, 2006

163 Harewood Avenue - new planning application

You may remember that a planning application made late last year to demolish a family house at 163 Harewood Avenue in Old Littledown and replace it with a block of seven flats. This application was refused by the council.

The refusal of planning permission was upheld at appeal.

This week a new application has been made, this time to replace the house with a block of six flats. It's an inappropriate site for this kind of development in my opinion and therefore I will be opposing it. I'm already in touch with the neighbours to help them in the distribution of letters to tell people how to object if they so wish.

If you would like to help with the distribution of the letters, or would like a copy of them then please let me know.

Petition against over development

Jane, Claire and I will be calling on as many of you as possible through September to ask you to sign a petition Tobias Ellwood MP (pictured with our former MP David Atkinson) is organising. The petition, to the Borough Council and the Secretary of State for Local Government and the Regions asks that:

We the undersigned, concerned about the changing character of Bournemouth due to over-development and the lack of investment in infra-structure, formally ask the three above named organisations to:

1. reconsider the impact present planning policy is having on our town;
2. introduce legislation to protect back gardens from development;
3. place more emphasis on off-street parking facilities, and;
4. ensure Bournemouth’s remaining Greenbelt is not threatened.

I hope you might consider signing it, and at that same time let us know of any issues that need to be addressed in your area.

Signage for Holdenhurst Avenue on Castle Lane East

I have been asking for the reinstatement of the ‘right hand lane turns right’ sign in the central reservation as you approach the Sainsbury’s lights heading towards Iford. I received this answer from highways this week about the situation:

“There is not enough width now on the central reservation to replace the original lane designation sign for Holdenhurst Avenue on the approach to the Riverside Traffic Signals. The replacement for this sign is located on the left side of the eastbound carriageway on the footway/cycleway. To accommodate the widening of Castle Lane East, we had to narrow the central island in order to reduce the effect of the road widening on the houses to the south of CLE.”

So no chance of getting the sign reinstated I’m afraid. I’ve asked them to look at any practicable option, having the sign on the left is of no use in my opinion.

Castle Lane East Road Markings

As you know, I have been lobbying for the lane markings on Castle Lane at the hospital/Castledean junction to be changed to make the flow of traffic across the junction move more easily. I’ve received this note from the highways engineers:

“The audit of the layout of Chaseside junction has been carried out but the final choice of the options available for changes to the lane markings has not been reached yet. These changes are not likely to be carried out until the autumn now but I will keep you informed as to what is to be done.”

I’ll therefore keep you up to date with developments

Conservative Councillor's Racist Comment

The Echo carried an article yesterday about the comments made by one of my colleagues from East Southbourne & Tuckton at the Cabinet meeting on Wednesday evening.

You can read the article HERE.

I've know Steve Clarke for some years now. I wasn't in the meeting when he made his comments, having left to attend a further meeting in the Town Hall. Steve is often outspoken and on occasion opinionated.

When I joined the Conservative Party in Bournemouth East I did meet some opposition because of my sexuality, most of it was subliminal, but some was overt. Steve and his wife Grace showed me kindness and solidarity throughout that period and encouraged many of their friends and colleagues to re-appraise their opinion of the gay community and of me.

Steve's comment was certainly unfortunate and frankly unthinking and pretty stupid. I know one thing for sure though, Steve Clarke doesn't have a prejudiced bone in his body. He's apologised unreservedly, I hope he'll do so again at the start of the Council meeting on Tuesday and that this will then be the end of this unfortunate episode.

Bins: Statement from the Chief Executive

I attended the Cabinet Meeting on Wednesday night, at which the Chief Executive read this statement:

"I would like, on behalf of the council staff, to apologise to any resident who has been concerned about any aspect of the new system and to any councillors who may have felt ill-informed when dealing with questions and queries from residents and the media."

She added: "In designing the information packs we omitted to give any explanation about the chip identification system. This was a mistake, but it was not intentional.

"With hindsight, it is clear that this additional information might have helped reassure those residents who had concerns and could have avoided misleading statements that have appeared recently in the press and wider media."

Her statement goes on to confirm that the council will not be pursuing nor seeking payment for chips that have been removed or destroyed.

The fact remains though that there has still been no apology from the decision makers, indeed the cabinet members continued to present various of their decisions as 'good news stories' even when they patently were not. More about some of this later.

The main point is that the Council Administration should admit responsibility and apologise for this fiasco. It's for this reason Bournemouth's Conservatives will be introducing this motion to the Council on Tuesday evening:

'This Council deplores the way the new waste collection service has been implemented, and resolves the following:

a) that the Leader of the Council apologises to residents for inadequate communications, particularly concerning the chips in the new bins;

b) that the Cabinet considers as a matter of urgency the introduction of an enhanced green waste collection service; and

c) that the review of the service be undertaken and be reported on in February 2007 (six months after the introduction of the new arrangements).'

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Daily Echo Article

This is the article which appeared front page in today's Bournemouth Daily Echo:


By Lynn Jackson

AS MANY as a third of Bournemouth residents could have removed the hidden computer chip from their new wheelie bins, a Bournemouth councillor has claimed.

And Cllr Nick King has warned that it could cost more than £600,000 to replace the electronic tags.

A survey by the Littledown and Iford councillor and Bournemouth East MP Tobias Ellwood has revealed that between a quarter and a third of householders who contacted them had disabled the chip.

"It's a disaster," he said. "In some roads it seems nearly every resident has removed or destroyed the chips."

Last week, Bournemouth council warned householders who took out the computer chips could face a £28 bill for a replacement bin.

The borough's recycling champion, Cllr John Hayter, said: "If we are unable to empty bins because the chip has been deliberately tampered with, it would then be necessary to replace the bin, which would normally be at the householders' expense."

Now, Cllr King believes the furore surrounding the chip and bin could cost hundreds of thousands of pounds.

He said: "I've seen differing estimates of the number of new bins, the lowest being 65,000.
"Based on a 25 per cent destruction rate and a cost of £28 to replace a bin, this means that the cost of the PR and administrative disaster this is turning out to be is already an additional £455,000.

"If you take the upper estimate of a third, then the cost could run to over £600,000."

And he condemned the council for not telling residents about the hidden tag. "A lot of money has been wasted for the sake of a couple of lines in council literature," he added.

Installing chips on the 70,000 new wheelie bins has cost the council, and ultimately local council tax payers, about £84,000 (£1.20 for each bin).

The borough's strategic manager street services Michael Moon said: "The cost to fit these once these bins have been delivered is much higher and logistically difficult to do."

Bournemouth council hailed the first day of its new kerbside re-cycling scheme a success with about 36 tonnes of recyclable materials (eight truckloads) collected.

A spokesman said: "There have been some problems with the wrong material in the bins and we realise that everyone needs to get used to the new system. We would like to thank everyone for their efforts."

But not everyone was happy with the new bin collection service. Les Hedden from Northbourne Avenue said: "Our literature told us to put out our new bin out today instead of Friday as normal.

"We did as the council asked to be informed that the literature was wrong and we should leave our bins on Friday.

"The council blamed the leaflet distribution company but they employed them - it's a joke."
Council spokesman Pete Field said last night: "We can tell if a bin has a chip in it if we scan the bin but if it hasn't, we can't prove who took it out.

"We merely won't be able to return the bin if it is lost and we find it. By taking the chip out, all people have done is removed their access to an improved service.

"We would ask that members of the public do not take apart or tamper with their bins and would remind householders that it is their responsibility to ensure that bins are in a fit state to be emptied."

(c) Daily Echo 2006

75 Durrington Road Planning Appeal

You may remember that at the end of last year a planning application to demolish 75 Durrington Road and replace it with a development of 6 flats was made.

This was, quite rightly in my opinion, refused by the Council. An appeal against this decision has now been lodged by the developer. We have delivered 250 pro forma letter packs to the area this afternoon to assist people in objecting.

If you, too, would like to object then do please let me know and I can let you have the detail of how to do so.

Monday, September 04, 2006

The cost of the chips in bins fiasco!

The Echo will be running a story tomorrow based upon some information I sent them.

Tobias Ellwood MP and I worked out the following information yesterday based upon our individual experiences of the chip in bins issue this last week.

We both came up with the same rough proportion of people we know to have destroyed or removed the chips from their bins. This was between a quarter and a third. I’ve seen differing estimates of the number of new bins, the lowest being 65,000. Based upon a 25% destruction rate and a cost, as quoted by the council, of £28 per chip, this means that the cost of the PR and administrative disaster this is turning out to be is already an additional £455,000! (65,000 x 25% = 16,250; @£28 = £455,000)

If you take the upper estimate of a third then the cost could run to over £600,000!

Additionally, we estimate that around 10 – 15% of households have not received their recycling instruction packs as the new system started today.

Disgraceful! A motion is being put to Council next week calling on the council to apologise and come clean with the true cost of this mess. We'll see if it is passed.

Recycling Information Distribution

How much more can possibly go wrong with the total disaster that's the roll out of the new recycling scheme. It started this morning and as of Sunday, the following roads had still not, to my knowledge, received packs:

Christchurch Road
Corhampton Road
Holdenhurst Avenue
Holmfield Avenue
Waltham Road
Harting Road
Harewood Avenue (part)

I understand that some may have been delivered to Christchurch Road today.

If you can confirm whether there have been deliveries elsewhere or if you are still waiting for a pack and your road is not on this list then please let me know as soon as you can.

I’m chasing delivery of the information packs to those roads remaining without them

Saturday, September 02, 2006

It's 'bin' quite a week!

Sorry about the dreadful joke

Sorry to for the lack of updates. Dealing with correspondence about the bins, town centre hawkers, town centre management, night time economy management and the tourism scrutiny review has stopped any updates on here or via the e-mail lists this week.

Normal service should be restored tomorrow with updates coming on:

The Troika Appeal
A planning appeal against refusal of flats in Durrington Road
Chips embedded in bins (I know, what more could I possibly add to the topic!)
Town centre hawkers
Charity collections throughout the town

Better get back to work now though, someone has to keep Dame Kitty under control!