It is a fact that you are paying around £160 more in basic council tax for a Band D property, than residents in Poole, and around £130 more than residents in Bournemouth, for exactly the same services, so in effect we are subsidising them for the same services.
This situation will go on for seven years until the levels are caught up by Bournemouth and Poole.
The new BCP council could have chosen to make Council Tax across the whole area the same from Day 1, but for councillors from Bournemouth and Poole this would not be politically acceptable with elections coming up on 2 May, so Christchurch is stuck with this grossly unfair situation.
At the Shadow Authority meeting in February, Christchurch Independents put forward a proposal that Council Tax should be equal for everyone. It was voted down by Bournemouth and Poole Councillors. There are 10 Christchurch Independent candidates standing for election on 2 May who continue to oppose this unfairness and have jointly sent a letter to Communities Secretary of State, James Brockenshire MP, urging him to rethink this grossly unfair situation.
Your ten Christchurch Independent candidates wrote to the Communities Secretary James Brockenshire MP urging him to rethink this deeply unfair situation and this is the reply on his behalf from the Minister for Local Government Rishi Sunak MP of 6 March 2019.
One of the biggest problems in Christchurch is the congestion.
This has been made much worse since June by the ongoing works at Blackwater and on the A338. West Christchurch in particular has had to endure endless roadworks since 2017 but in actual fact all parts of the borough have been affected by the knock-on effect of the work which is being overseen by Bournemouth. They are still planning for further complete closures of the A338, introducing contra-flows, average speed cameras and speed restrictions. This is down to Bournemouth wanting to have a slip road into Wessex Fields business park for further development as well as an alternative access/egress point to Royal Bournemouth Hospital. The ‘knock-on’, more traffic in Castle Lane in addition to Castle Lane East.
We have all had many emails and calls from residents, frustrated at being stuck in queues.
There is no end in sight at present but here is a schedule of recent works and what is coming up:
An important announcement was reported in the Bournemouth Echo on the 23 March; a leading-edge medical science park could be part of the Wessex Fields site. Council planners are drawing up proposals working with the Royal Bournemouth Hospital and the Dorset Clinical Commissioning Group. Dr Phil Richardson, Chief System Integration Officer of Our Dorset ICS said ‘By bringing together medtech, biotech, life science and digital partners together with the NHS, local authorities and the university we will be able to be at the forefront on innovation that delivers improved health and wellbeing for our communities’. The vision and plans for Wessex Fields will only become clear when a Planning Application is submitted.
Planning is one of the biggest areas of concern with the creation of the new BCP council.
There will only be one planning board for the whole conurbation rather than one in each town as at present and there are already serious concerns that Bournemouth will try to push as much development as possible into the open spaces in and around Christchurch, especially our precious green belt. We are asking for more representative planning board arrangement for Christchurch.
Christchurch will only have 10 Councillors out of 76, so it is important that a strong Independent voice has input to where these houses are built. This is another reason for having Independent Councillors who support Christchurch and its residents.
We are also wary of the approach that Bournemouth takes in its town centre, building flats on as many of its car parks as it can. This is clearly something we will need to resist.
The same will apply for licensing with just one board across the whole area. Another reason for a local committee to be set up.
Licensing, covers such items as taxi fares. The Independents have kept fares lower than Bournemouth and Poole’s in recent times. We believe that due to the lack of buses in Christchurch, (unlike Bournemouth and Poole who advertise they have 15 buses an hour), taxis are more important for many people to get around at a manageable cost, particularly from more rural parts of our Borough.
We believe Christchurch decisions should be made by Christchurch Independent Councillors supporting the residents wishes, not those from other areas who may not have any consideration of Christchurch residents, only their ‘party whips’. It will be essential that we have strong voices to represent us on these committees.
Christchurch has been well served by the Dorset Waste Partnership (DWP), which will continue our collections for just one year after the new BCP council is formed.
From April 2020 our bin collections will be merged into the Bournemouth service. Christchurch have no choice in this as the BCP Council has only agreed to pay DWP for one year. We know that trying to merge collections in one year will be very challenging and have asked for a longer period. The new BCP Council believe that they can operate the service cheaper than using DWP. Christchurch Independents we will do our utmost to make sure the service is up to the same excellent standard we are used to.
The Council’s 10-year ‘Beaches and Hinterlands Management Plan’ expired in 2018.
A series of public engagement sessions and an Officer’s review in 2017 was followed by a report to the Council’s Community Committee which concluded that in view of the prospect of a Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole Council coming into existence a new strategy should be put on hold. Your Independent Councillors will fight for one to begin as soon as possible when the new Unitary Council takes over.
It will be now for the BCP Council to take forward a Coastal Strategy to include Christchurch.
From the public engagement sessions, we recognise the concerns and desire of the people of Christchurch to protect as well as enhance our beautiful coastline, the attractiveness of which is a vitally important asset for residents and visitors alike.
Christchurch, a fair deal?
The Bournemouth Christchurch and Poole capital programme for the next three years is £112 million to be spent on Council Assets and Infrastructure. Bournemouth get £52.2 million, Poole £50.5 million and poor old Christchurch £1.4 million. There is also £7.7 million on schemes inherited from Dorset County Council.
There is also £119 million going into the Housing Revenue Account to spend on Council Housing, of course Christchurch doesn't have any!!
Source: Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole Shadow Executive - 2019/20 Budget and Consolidated Medium- Term Financial Plan (12 February 2019)
I have had the privilege of serving the people of Christchurch as a Councillor for over 15 years and, in that time, I have been Mayor on two occasions. My Engineering business has been based in Christchurch for over 40 years. I have a passion for restoring motorcycles and vintage cars, that is, when I have a spare moment. Sailing with Christchurch Sailing Club gives me time to firstname.lastname@example.org
I am a retired commercial property Chartered Surveyor. I have a passion for achieving the best for folk; I played a leading part in seeing the Highcliffe Castle zig-zag path rebuilt as well as stopping the building of overnight beach ‘lodges’ on the Highcliffe cliffs in 2016. I have a particular interest in the needs of disabled and less able email@example.com
I have lived locally for over 40 years, I run my own small business in West Christchurch, and am actively involved in the community, having been a Hurn Parish Councillor since 1995, a Christchurch Councillor since 2011. and also, a Dorset County Councillor. I have a wealth of experience on many local issues, such as schools, adult services, waste collection and highways, however, my passion is the “great outdoors” and protecting the firstname.lastname@example.org
I have had the privilege of serving the residents of Jumpers Ward and the residents of Christchurch as a whole for 36 years as an Independent Councillor. Working on the principle that a Councillor is there to help, listen and represent its residents and not be dictated to by party politics. My daughters both grew up and went to school in Christchurch and I am involved with the youth of the Borough and am Chairman of the Christchurch Housing Society for the Elderly.email@example.com
I have lived with my family in Christchurch for 22 years, and in that time have owned and run my own business within the Town Centre, building strong ties with the Christchurch Community. I have a strong belief in protecting our Town with its shops and restaurants, and keeping a close eye on over development, causing a deprivation of a thriving town, whereby flats replace shops. I want to do my best at serving the Christchurch Town Centre as a voice for its firstname.lastname@example.org
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I have served the people of Christchurch as a Borough Councillor for 20 years together with serving the residents of Burton and Winkton on the Burton Parish Council for a similar number of years. I was elected as Mayor for two consecutive years something I regard as an Honour and Privilege. More recently elected as Leader of the Council by my fellow Councillors. I have lived in Burton for some 38 years after moving from Ringwood. I have a particular interest in the Local Authority Licensing Function.firstname.lastname@example.org
I have had the privilege to serve Christchurch community as an Independent Councillor for the past 12 years. Elected Mayor for 2015/2016. Currently I am the Heritage Champion for Christchurch Council and have served on various Committees and am Vice Chairman of Licensing, a past School Governor and past Leader at Town Cub Scouts. I have served as a Trustee on six local charities. I owned and ran my own Print, Graphics and Stationery Company in the Town for many years. My social time is spent with my family and enjoying time with my two email@example.com
I have been working both as a volunteer and councillor to make a difference in our area for twenty years. I believe strongly in conserving our beautiful and historic Borough. I have served on town, borough and county councils, and in this final year of our Borough Council was proud to be elected as Mayor. Until recently I had a care business in Friars Cliff, and found great pleasure in helping our elderly residents. I have a large family, four children and six grandchildren, and helping them and looking after my two dogs and a cat fill any spare firstname.lastname@example.org
I have lived in Christchurch all my life and is a trustee of the Somerford ARC community centre which runs a number of projects across the Ward. I have a background in the military and now currently run my own business. I went to Twynham school, was involved with scouting locally and spent some time on the Brexit campaign. I gained my university degree at Southampton Solent University in Property Development and I am well versed in planning email@example.com