Comments

Feel free to comment here on the issues surrounding the proposed merger. Please could you try to observe the following conditions:

  • Only polite comments
  • Only comments about the proposals for the merger

 

77 thoughts on “Comments

  1. The only reason B/mouth wants XChurch and Poole is to take contol of the money making areas Stampit and the beachfront and Sandbanks and Poole Harbour, B/mouth should concentrating on their eyesore called Boscombe they should be sorting that mess out first before trying to take control of areas that have lots £ signs. A third of the population of XChurch are of pension age and increasing by 2030 it will be nearer 50%, XChurch ambulance service is being reduced again when it should be increased, there seems to be no one asking what about the health care in our areas, “Will there be less councillors” is said to be one of the main Q & A’s there will be less of a lot more than councillors there will be 100’s put out of work but there will be one big increase in council tax to pay for the redundancies and the cost of every thing changing, they say there will be a saving of £108 million inthe first six years it will cost more than that to sort out all the changes needed and if you think the government will put any money into to help you are in cloud cuckoo land. One last thing I am Christchurch born and bred 6th generation and I am putting my real name to this so let us see some real names please or are you telling the name you are using is your real name.

    • These are interesting observations, thank you for sharing them. If the figure about 50% of Xch residents being pension age by 2030 is correct then my goodness, there is your case for supporting change right there. Aside from the slightly off-topic comments about health and ambulance services, which aren’t funded or provided by local government as far as I know, the gap in funding for social care in Dorset is millions and millions of pounds NOW – let alone in over a decade’s time. I would prefer the future of those vital services are protected through reorganisation that saves money meaning more available for frontline services like adult social care, than I would to keep Xch council.

      As you say, I am sure that there will be fewer staff needed. Isn’t that where a large chunk of the savings comes from? If you look at the staff needed for all the councils now, there are bound to be fewer required for less councils. Costing less in wages. If you read the financial assessment, you will see that the cost of any redundancies is covered in the transition costs. There is also a national limit on council tax so we can rest assured that our councils cannot force massive hikes on us.

      I hope that Xch council don’t agree to waste our money on a referendum. I am sure that they will, though, and I fear very much that the voting turnout will be dominated by those who, putting it frankly, are unlikely to be around to suffer the consequences if change does not go ahead.

  2. A proposed referendum? What an outrageous waste of money. This is not being agreed in my name, that is for sure. The consultation’s been done, the answer is clear – people back change. Stop protecting your ivory tower and your councillor double allowances – one from Christchurch and one from Dorset County – and get on with the merger.

  3. Just wondering – why no link to the website http://www.futuredorset.co.uk in the links section?
    Or to the documents in the documents section https://futuredorset.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/Local-Govt-Review-210X210-Brochure-24pp-Brochure-Web.pdf and https://futuredorset.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/0952_Council-Leaders-Statement_4pp-A4-Statement.pdf?
    Or the very uplifting video that I have found here on You Tube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCqPETe0hMRuFHiinj4ix_rQ

    I imagine it is because those running this site find it all far too persuasive and therefore contrary to their agenda?

    • Thank you Michael. I run this site and have published many links (a huge number of them yours) about the virtues of a unitary, despite being personally utterly against it. I’ve tried to be fair and publish them if I’m given them, but I’m hardly going to start searching for them, am I? I AM in favour of ‘Keeping Christchurch Special’ and personally pay monthly to host this site – I could have refused to publish any criticism at all, but that to me isn’t democracy. On the whole I have given a fair representation of all comments and links as I have been given them. The only ones which have ever been deleted are those which were abusive or offensive. Incidentally, the only reason yours don’t appear immediately is that those with links have to be approved, I see the request when I check my email. I’ve approved your comment, so that should be fine – about to add notification on the front page. My own links are usually from the Echo, as we do not want to be flooded with them. No point in changing it now, but if I did it again I think I WOULD have two sections – links for and against – but I wouldn’t search for those against! Best wishes!

  4. This is what the website says about the urban council that Christchurch would get its services from:
    •A 21st century City by the Sea
    •Growth in digital and knowledge based economies
    •Nationally significant arts and culture
    •Housing that supports growth and meets local needs
    •Improved transport with London and the south east
    •Modern public service delivery
    •Investment in skills and cutting-edge research and development.

    Personally, I like the sound of it. There is more info here:
    https://futuredorset.co.uk/

  5. I have thoroughly perused the website, the document sent to the Minister and the statement document from the council leaders. What an interesting and convincing read. I hope those with closed minds might open them enough to give those piece of information the attention they deserve. its at http://www.futuredorset.co.uk

  6. Personally I do not see a problem with “Christpoolemouth” all those above calling it “Greater Bournemouth” seem to have accepted defeat which is good. Honestly if Christchurch and its Priory managed to survive Henry VIII then it can survive this proposed merger, the last thing the silent majority of Christchurch residents wish for is to team up with the tractor lovers of Dorchester who quiet frankly do not give a care about us. Christchurch and Poole are more than strong enough to deter any possible pushy tactics from our friends in Bournemouth, not that here will be any.

    Once the merger has happened then it will be for the good of Christchurch, we will have a greater say in our own economy and keep revenues earned here in the town and not given to some way out cottage miles from any were down in deepest Dorset. All we then need to hope for is they hurry up with the boundary changes so we can be rid of our useless MP (yes I am a Conservative voter) At the end of this process

    Christchurch will still be Christchurch
    Bournemouth will still be Bournemouth
    Poole will still be Poole

  7. The Grand Old Duke of York
    He had ten thousand men
    He marched them up to the top of the hill
    The he marched them down again

  8. I am very interested to read the latest information on the http://www.reshapingyourcouncils.uk website.

    I note that the statistically valid survey shows, without exception, support across all of Dorset, including Christchurch, for two councils instead of nine, with the geographical make-up receiving the most support being a new council for Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole, and another one for the rest of Dorset. I see somewhere this is described as “spin”. I don’t see how a stated methodology that is scientifically proven to deliver a representative sample can be considered as “spin”. Perhaps it’s shorthand for “I don’t like the results”.

    I also note on the open survey – which is entirely self-selecting – that there is a group from Christchurch who oppose change. No doubt the same people who are more concerned with where civic events take place or members robes are stored than care about ensuring an equitable and sensible structure of local government that means funds are available to reinvest in the services that have been cut for years. Dare I say, people who have fallen for the “spin” (in its actual sense) by the small group of councillors who, lets be honest, won’t last five minutes in a modern, future-looking council and are intent on preserving their power base and their councillor allowances. I’m sorry to be so but but I really do think it’s time to be honest about these things.

    • You are spot on Sir. This self preservation society must accept that their days are numbered. I say good riddance too. Christchurch has been badly governed for at least four decades.

  9. Christchurch has survived for centuries as an independent borough; this is our history people are meddling with – ‘it ain’t broke so don’t fix it’.

    • Our history has already been meddled with. Look no further than the exercise which rebranded the town as Christchurch “Dorset”.

  10. I thought people looking here would like the full information about the consultation results, taken from http://www.reshapingyourcouncils.uk. Here it is in full. The bit at the end about the statistical validity of the results is interesting.

    Thousands of residents from across Dorset have taken part in a wide-ranging consultation on proposals for the future of local government in the county.

    A household survey was undertaken, based on a representative sample of the Dorset population. Questionnaires were sent to 20,000 addresses selected at random from all addresses in each of Dorset’s local authority areas. 4,258 residents responded. The response numbers by each council area are as follows:

    Council Area Number
    Poole 781
    Bournemouth 670
    East Dorset 554
    West Dorset 508
    Christchurch 459
    Purbeck 453
    North Dorset 439
    Weymouth and Portland 391
    Unknown 3
    Total: 4,258

    The household survey responses will be statistically weighted to take account of the size of the population in each local authority area and different response rates for different types of households. This ensures that the household survey results are statistically reliable and representative of the whole population in each area.

    The open consultation questionnaire gave all Dorset residents and other stakeholders the chance to have their say; and a total of 12,536 responses were received.

    Council Area Number
    Poole 2,625
    Bournemouth 2,048
    East Dorset 1,433
    West Dorset 1,414
    Christchurch 1,409
    Weymouth and Portland 694
    Purbeck 656
    North Dorset 632
    Outside of Dorset 61
    Unknown/not stated 1,564
    Total 12,536

    Sixteen facilitated workshops were also undertaken throughout the consultation period, with residents, town and parish councils, businesses and the voluntary sector. In addition, further separate responses and written representations were received from hundreds of stakeholders including businesses, voluntary sector groups, public sector partners, MPs, service user groups, town and parish councils, residents’ groups and other organisations.

    Andrew Flockhart, Chief Executive of Poole Borough Council, said on behalf of all councils:

    “I am delighted that so many thousands of residents took the time to read the detailed information provided, consider their response and tell us what they think about the proposals to replace Dorset’s nine existing councils with two new unitary authorities.”

    He continued, “Opinion Research Services (ORS) will now analyse the data, present the findings and produce a full and detailed report, which will be available online at http://www.reshapingyourcouncils.uk on 5 December, along with the detailed Case for Change that is being prepared by PriceWaterhouseCoopers.”

    The ORS report will include overall results for the whole of Dorset, compare findings from the household survey and open consultation questionnaire, feature breakdowns of results from each council area and present the feedback received from stakeholders via all the different consultation activities.

    PriceWaterhouseCoopers’ case for change will assess each option for its ability to meet the government’s ‘statutory tests’ of:
    ◦improving value for money and efficiency
    ◦delivering significant cost savings, and show that the cost of change can be recovered over a fixed period
    ◦improving services for local residents
    ◦providing stronger and more accountable leadership
    ◦being sustainable in the medium–long term.

    Notes about the household survey

    Where a population is large, as in the case of Dorset (around 750,000 residents), it is impractical to obtain the views of all residents. In these circumstances it is normal to carry out a survey to estimate what the result would be if the views of the entire population had been asked.

    Where a survey is based on a sample that has been selected at random and there is a chance that anyone in the population could be chosen to take part, survey estimates can be certified as statistically accurate to within a specific tolerance.

    For example, we can be 95% confident that views based on responses from a random sample of 384 residents would reflect the views of the entire population to within ±5 percentage points. On this basis, 19 times in 20 the survey estimate will be no more than 5 percentage points away from the result had the question been asked of everyone in the population.

    The household survey used a stratified random sampling approach and all addresses in each local authority area had an equal chance of selection. The sample was designed to provide sufficient responses for analysis of views in each of the local authority areas.

    The overall sample of 4,258 responses will provide survey estimates that will be accurate to around ±2 percentage points for the entire Dorset population. The survey estimates are sufficiently accurate to identify with statistical confidence the option with most support in each local authority area. The accuracy of each estimate depends on the split in opinion for each question, the number of responses received and the extent of statistical weighting needed to compensate for different response rates for different types of households.

    The specific accuracy of survey estimates for key questions will be reported in the ORS report of findings.

  11. What next? “We, the ordinary people-the proletariat!” I haven’t laughed so much in ages! Be honest now, far from being some grassroots led cross party movement, the Keep Christchurch “Special” campaign is in fact orchestrated by a bunch of well heeled, retired, non native Conservative party activists attempting waging internecine warfare against their leadership.

  12. It is becoming clearer that the separation from Hampshire was a grave mistake for Christchurch. The real association should be its inclusion within NFDC and free from Dorset’s problems.

  13. The only way I see Christchurch surviving is becoming part of a one council conurbation joining forces with Bournemouth and Poole, I use the words ‘joining forces’ as unlike a certainty local MP I have read the document in detail and it clearly shows and recognises Christchurch’s concerns of remaining the historical borough that it is, the same goes for Poole and I know from my daily work Bournemouth recognise this.
    As many have pointed out Christchurch, and indeed Bournemouth are towns of Hampshire, not Dorset, we should not even be in this situation. 40 years on from the 70’s we now have to fix what was then a bad job and joining in with our neighbours is the only way forward.
    Roads and transport are the two biggest headaches in our town, we need and have to work daily with Bournemouth and Poole on transport, even our road repairs have to be worked in conjunction with them, school holidays and these name just 3 examples of why this is the only way forward.
    I will share a little story with you, just over a year ago I was writing a story for our magazine when a certain person in County Hall Dorchester said to me “who cares about Christchurch (with regard to the A338) most of us here wish it was still in Hampshire then it would not be a concern of ours”. Okay in fairness they may have been saying it in jest and so I did not print it but that one comment made my mind up, fingers crossed we will join up with Bournemouth and Poole and help retain Christchurch’s great historical name.

    • You cannot change what happened 40 years ago. Whether it was right or wrong, we are now in Dorset. Christchurch has much to offer Bournemouth in many ways, yet having given this some deep thought, I cannot for the life of me think what Bournemouth can offer Christchurch. Christchurch Council has a Leader who looks down on the people of Christchurch, and allegedly, the Leader of Bournemouth Council does not appear to be any better. Bournemouth will rip us off just like they rip off their own residents. Whilst Bournemouth may look quite nice along the seafront, some of the areas surrounding the town are not very pleasant.
      Keep Christchurch where it is now. We have already been sold off to East Dorset, we were give, at the time, that this would be a venture where work departments could be shared, yet it’s anything but that.

      • We have just voted to leave the E.U. after 40 odd years haven’t we? Leaving Dorset will be a comparative piece of cake!

        • Judging by today’s High Court decision, we may not be leaving the EU now, or at least for a very long time.
          If the government lose the appeal, it may not happen at all. A referendum vote is not binding. A vote in parliament is binding.

          • Let it be recorded that the people of Christchurch never wanted to be part of Dorset in 1974 nor do they want to today.

  14. Reference Mr Wright’s figures concerning seats: these are allocated by the Local Government Boundary Commission, true. But they are allocated in proportion to population. Bournemouth has a population of c189k; Poole 149k; Christchurch only 48k.

    Regarding “Local Born”‘s comments, see my earlier response.

    I am open to be convinced of the virtues of a Greater Bourenmouth, buti still wait for convincing arguments.

    • The virtues are simple, the three boroughs have historic ties and a shared identity. What ties does this once proud Hampshire town have with places such as Blandford Forum, Bridport or Beamister? Then there is the fact that thanks to the rapid growth of all three towns over the past forty years what now exists is a single entity with shared problems, particularly a chronically inadequate public transport infrastructure which is best solved by working together. There are of course the benefits of economies of scale, fewer Councillors and the opportunity for a single Wessex powerhouse to punch its weight at last when applying for funding from Central Government.

      • See Christchurch and East Dorset Local Plan for the answer to your (incorrect) assumption regarding housing. Had you bothered to attend any of the public meetings you could gave expressed your views and received the answer there. Pity you didn’t.

        You can also see on this page that fewer Councillors does not necessarily mean savings. What is does mean is more on Councillors’ expenses as they will have to attend more meetings, it means less supervision of the Officers, it means that Councillors are less accessible to members of the public, it means more casework per Councillor…

        Poole, true, has history as a working port, but Poole is a Dorset town. And why should Poole, with all its history, be subsumed into Greater Bournemouth? And Bournemouth ‘s history – Bournemouth has history?

        Funding from Central Government- possibly. But how much, if any, will be spent in Christchurch?

        Transport infrastructure is resolvable by Councils working together in the Combined Authority, without sacrificing sovereignty.

        Shared identity: what , exactly, does Christchurch have in common with Bournemouth? What do we have in common with Boscombe, Kinson, Muscliffe, Ensbury? Not a lot.

        Yes, we may have to make changes. But the changes can be made more effectively, the gains maximised and the losses minimised, if we are with towns of our own size.

        I am afraid you still have not have not answered the question – what’s in it for Christchurch?

        • What does Somerford have in in common with Friars Cliff? A lot less than it has in common with Boscombe, Kinson, Muscliffe and Ensbury. Believe it or not the people on the other side of the Stour are our friends, our colleagues, even our kith and kin. I do not recognize this
          divide that you claim exists. I speak as someone who is a native of Christchurch who can trace his families roots in the town back to the early nineteenth century.

          • Local Born, I fail to see the significance of your last sentence. Tracing your roots back hundreds of years has no intrinsic value. I bet some criminals and – heaven forbid – even people you would disagree with can do the same. It is no guarantee of virtue, intelligence or common sense!

          • Absolute nonsense. Having roots in a place gives one a far greater perspective and depth of knowledge than any Johnny Come Lately could even begin to comprehend.

          • I’m glad you mentioned Somerford, an area I’m proud to represent. Under a merger with Bournemouth, as I am sure you’re aware, the arrangements for the harmonisation of Council Tax mean that Somerford will be subsidising Sandbanks, Canford Cliffs and Queens Park for the next twenty years. Somehow I don’t think this is what you had in mind.

            He who lives in other places has somewhere to compare with where he lives now. I have lived in Essex, Durham, Hampshire and Lancashire and can unhesitatingly say the nicest of these places is Christchurch – and I have experience which backs it up. It is because I have learnt to value what we have here in Christchurch that I am reluctant to see it swallowed up in what increasingly looks like a downmarket Blackpool.

            And you have still not answered the question: what can Christchurch hope to gain from agreeing to be taken over by Bournemouth? This is the point which you keep evading and to which I fear you do not have an answer.

  15. Just to remind everyone – there are public meetings tomorrow at Burton Community Centre at 7.30 and on Saturday at Priory Hall in Christchurch at 3.30. PLEASE come along, listen to the presentation and HAVE YOUR SAY.

    Mr Wright and “Local Born” will be very welcome to join the debate.

    dcj

      • By which I mean I think that says a lot about the demographic you expect to attend and are interested in speaking to. Good evening to you.

        • What do you mean, Michael? “7.30 on a Friday night? Please!” – I don’t understand. I can’t see a problem – what’s wrong with the ‘demographic’ as you put it? In any case, the two speakers are doing another meeting in Christchurch on Saturday afternoon. Are you just being unpleasant? I thought this blog was meant to be polite. In any case, I presume you’ll not be attending either meeting. Pity. Perhaps you could suggest a time and/or venue which would satisfy you and which you would like to attend?

        • It just goes to show just how out of touch our elderly representatives are with modern work, family and indeed social life.

          • That was my point exactly. This is just an exercise in brainwashing people with scaremongering designed to save a council for the sake of it. It makes me very sad that there is such dishonesty about that and even sadder that people can’t see it for what it is.

        • Yes, it was a good evening. Yes, there was a wide spread of age, from young (20s) to 60+.

          It shows that they at least have their priorities right.

    • THE WALL OF SILENCE FROM OUR ELECTED REPRESENTATIVES OVER THE GREENBELT DEVELOPMENT FROM HAWTHORN ROAD TO ROESHOT HILL IS DEAFENING. MUSTN’T UPSET MR. MEYRICK MUST WE?

      • I am sure Local Born will remember the loud protests from the Borough Council in 2006 when the Regional Spatial Strategy (enacted by the Labour Government) required the Council to ensure the provision of another 3,000+ homes in Christchurch by 2026. I am equally sure he will remember the Council’s resolution (which I inspired) that no new homes should be built before the necessary infrasturcture improvements – ignored by the Labour Government. i am positive that Local Born can produce the hearted protests he will have made to the Inspector over the inclusion of the Roeshot Hill site in the Local Plan in 2014.

        Finally, as someone born locally, I am sure Local Born will appreciate that a very large proportion of the new homes in Roeshot will be for local people, as being affordable hosing under the “Christchurch Homes for Christchurch People” policy – which, of course, some people would say would become “Christchurch Homes for Bournemouth and Poole People policy if the option he seems to prefer is adopted.

        • Can you define what a Christchurch person is in this context please? I understand that it is anyone who has lived in the borough for more than two years. Only a small percentage of these new homes will be “affordable”. The rest will be for sale on the open market and no doubt will be snapped up by Londoners and retired people from other parts of the country.

          • See Christchurch and East Dorset Local Plan for the answer to your (incorrect) assumption. Had you bothered to attend any of the public meetings you could gave expressed your views and received the answer there. Pity you didn’t.

  16. Yet again, I would urge local people to resist any attempt to split Christchurch from the conurbation by this narrow self interest group of incomers to our town. The future of Christchurch is best served as part of the Wessex powerhouse, not cast adrift in a backwater of disparate towns and villages that we share neither a common identity nor historic ties with.

    • I suspect Local Born may find many more people (even in percentage terms) born outside Wessex living in Bournemouth than he will in Christchurch. And to my certain knowledge many of the most vocal opponents of a takeover by Bournemouth are those who have lived in Christchurch all their lives.

      dcj

      • There is no takeover, it is the establishment of a unitary authority to govern a single entity . I urge local people not to be swayed by project fear and scaremongering by this narrow self interest group of incomers into our town.

        • There will be (in an authority of 80 Councillors) 10 from Christchurch, 31 from Poole and 39 from Bournemouth. That seems like a takeover. How would you define it?

          And you still haven’t dealt with the small problem, from your point of view, that the great majority of Christchurch-born people I have met do not want to be governed by Bournemouth at any price.

          I look forward to meeting you tomorrow or Saturday to hear you express and defend your views.

          dcj

          • According to my maths Poole and Christchurch combined will still be able to out vote Bournemouth. And if you believe that Christchurch born people hold any affection for the council then you are clearly deluded. In fact the opposite is true. The institution is despised because of the narrow self interested group of incomers that it is made up of.

          • This is a response to Local Born’s comment at 9.04.

            This assumes that the interests of Poole and Christchurch will always be the same, and that Poole will have no interest in voting with Bournemouth. In fact, Poole is even more heavily indebted than Bournemouth, Poole also needs housing land. And Poole, where the biggest concentration of industry is, will certainly want the major share of any Government funds going.

            This, of course, disregards the pragmatic certainty that the majority of councillors in the ruling group, whatever that may be, will come from what is now Bournemouth,.

            I do not dispute that some of the actions of this present Council have been unpopular and, in my opinion, misguided.. But it was an alliance of new residents, longstanding residents, and “natives” who defeated the Beach Hut scheme, which, attracting as it would more “incomers”, would, I am sure. meet with Local Born’s disapproval.

            There is a resident who regularly posts on the “Echo” who has somewhat similar views to Local Born, and one of his critics challenged this poster to offer himself for election. There are likely to be County Council elections next year: I do hope Local Born stands to let local people demonstrate just who has their residents at heart. Or would Local Born, as does the Echo poster, suggest a 25-year residence qualification?

            Finally, it would only take one Councillor in the new Authority from what is now Christchurch, tempted by the offer of a post such as, for example, Deputy Leader of the Greater Bournemouth Council, to tilt any unlikely balance which might be contrived between Poole and Christchurch Councillors.

            I do hope Local Born attends one of the meetings this weekend and identifies himself to me. He can also gain some impression of how popular his views are with residents.

            dcj

          • Where are you getting these figures from about councillors? I think your making them up because doesn’t the boundary commission decide that, just like parliamentary constituencies (which notably would get rid of Chris Chopes current seat – and with it hopefully him)

          • At least Poole still has some industry left! But hey, congratulations on stopping the beach huts going ahead. Now how about demonstrating your protector of the greenbelt credentials and publicly oppose the huge Roeshot development which is neither needed nor wanted.

  17. Is the green belt that Mr Jones refers to the same green belt that is about to have nearly one thousand new houses built on it? And a school? So much for being able to control development! What about the destruction of historic buildings such as the Cornfactor and parts of Christchurch Hospital to make way for yet more retirement homes? And don’t get me started on the sell off of the public housing stock. Christchurch is certainly in no position to lecture Bournemouth on good governance.

  18. Regarding LocalBorn’s comments, I can see what he/she means. However, virtually everywhere in the country has changed, often beyond recognition, over forty years, and a huge number of therm have had ‘inward migration’. Christchurch, while indeed being part of an ‘amorphous sprawl’ is actually a part of that sprawl with a very different character for the most part. I’m actually in favour of keeping Christchurch that little bit special. What is the best way of doing that is open to debate, hence the meetings, Facebook and this site.

    • I don’t agree that keeping the council has anything to do with protecting the heritage and character of Christchurch. They are two separate things. Do I live in Christchurch – yes, love it – of course, want to protect it’s special characteristics – absolutely. Do I care which council does that – not one jot! Things aren’t sustainable as they are.

      Christchurch COUNCIL might be ok financially, but the services to us as residents aren’t, because most of the budget goes to the county council and most of the services are provided by the county council. I don’t want to pay for two chief executives, two finance directors, two heads of HR etc etc. What a waste of money. I’d rather than money was spent on frontline services. So who is going to ‘run’ those? What I do believe is that I trust those 5 miles down the road (in Bournemouth) much more than 35 miles down the road (in Dorchester), to look after, serve, preserve and protect my town.

      Anyone who thinks otherwise has a vested interest as far as I am concerned.

      • Mr Wright. Having just read your comments, and I think our views differ in some ways. I would far sooner be controlled by an authority that cares about the future of our town, and I believe it does matter who our controlling body is. Yes, services are being cut in many directions because of the current governments unnecessary austerity cuts to normal everyday people. I doubt very much if handing over our town to Bournemouth will change any of that.
        You talk about paying two CEO’s. The CEO of the current Christchurch/East Dorset sell out doesn’t even live in the area. He lives a few hundred miles away, and I suggest he has no real interest in my town.
        Finally, you finish your article with a comment that anyone who thinks differently than you, has a vested interest.. Isn’t that very strange because I an hearing comments around town completely to the opposite of what you say.

  19. I word urge all local people to resist any attempt to separate Christchurch from the rest of a conurbation where most Christchurch people work and spend their leisure time. It would be disastrous if the town were to be carved off and lumped in with the remainder of Dorset, an area that it neither identifies with nor shares any historic connection. Anyone advocating going down this path deserves to have their motives closely examined.

  20. The distinct character that all three boroughs once possessed has largely been obliterated by over development and a huge wave of inward migration over the past four decades from other parts of the country. What we now have is one large amorphous sprawl with a population approaching half a million, a city in all but name. It makes absolutely no sense to have it governed by three separate authorities. While I wish the clock could be turned back forty odd years the reality is that Christchurch today is unrecognizable from the town that I grew up in.

  21. Comment taken from Keep Christchurch Special on Facebook: Christchurch is an independent town of history, culture and natural beauty, we’ve got to fight for its democracy survival. Bournemouth wants our Priory for its City Cathedral and Christchurch to take on its share of debt, what is £10m pounds. We will lose our voices of control from 23 ward council members to about 8. Pay the highest cost of house prices and have a 4% council tax increase, the extra money going to deprived areas of Bournemouth & having even started with Poole.

    • But the COUNTY COUNCIL has a massive debt too, bigger than Bournemouth’s -as Christchurch residents we are paying for that right now, and most of our money is going to subsidise people living in the countryside as it goes direct to Dorset, Christchurch council only gets a tiny proportion. We do live in a conurbation already, we are part of it now. I would prefer my council tax is spent more locally instead of being syphoned off to Dorchester, which is what happens now and is the alternative.

      • For further details of the fuinancial position, which is not quite as straightforward as the supporters of Greater Bournemouth on here have claimed, please see my paper “Responses to ACRA Analysis” in the “Documents” Section.

        Regarding the character of Christchurch, it is our ability to control, to a large extent, development which is important, and which would be lost in a Greater Bournemouth, if “Local Born” and Mr Wright, look at the mess Bournemouth has made of its sea front and how Christchurch has preserved ours. Even attempts to build massive “Beach Huts” have been beaten off successfully. Bournemouth’s follies such as the IMAX, the Bank of Bournemouth and the Boscombe Reef have no parallel in Christchurch, nor in Dorset either.

        And it is just that Bournemouth would be “Just down the road” that I and many others distrust it. It is easy to see what Bournemouth will gain from taking over Christchurch: land, the Airport with its revenues, reserves and lots of green belt. What is there in Bournemouth for Christchurch? Until someone can point out real concrete advantages to Christchurch from a merger with Bournemouth, I remain unconvinced.

        dcj

        • I think herein lies the debate. Potato, potato. It’s the same thing. It’s the same place. To me.

          I like Bournemouth seafront. I much prefer it to Christchurch’s. I’m sorry but I find Christchurch seafront windswept and dull. Bournemouth’s in well kept and buzzing, with lots to keep me interested just from people watching. I appreciate that’s not for everyone but it is for me. I love Christchurch town centre – especially the more independent shops, bars and restaurants. But I love Bournemouth too. As a resident of one, I don’t refuse to visit or insist on some pointless rivalry with the other. I like the vibrancy and the energy of Bournemouth. I love the local feel of Christchurch.

          As a resident of one, I don’t refuse to visit or insist on some pointless rivalry with the other. If I can have both, great. Well, don’t we already have both – this IS where we live, after all, this conurbation.

          I would rather be served by a council that looks to earn from its assets, where appropriate, as the current Bournemouth Council does, than buries its head in the sand about the nature of public funding and the future. I would rather an innovative, entrepreneurial council than one which likes to stick with how it’s always been because that’s how it’s always been – that will just mean cuts to frontline services or hikes in charges, or both. That’s

          If your preference is for vastly more money than necessary being spent on admin, on councillors allowances and central functions like management, HR, etc. and drastic cuts to the frontline services you value most, then go for no change. If like me you’d prefer to see more of the available money spent on services, then it’s change for the better.

          • I am very interested in Mr Wright’s comment, mirroring as it does quite closely some sentiments expressed by the Leader of the Borough Council Cllr Nottage, who was one of the initiators of the drive for a unitary authority.

            It is interesting that he has twice commented on vested interests. During these consultations I have met probably hundreds of Christchurch residents who have said that they would prefer Christchurch to be independent, but it a merger is absolutely essential then they certainly do not want to “go into Bournemouth.” Do these ordinary residents have a vested interest? Certainly they do: they want to keep Christchurch special and they do not believe that a take over by Bournemouth would succeed in doing this. I think Mr Wright’s comments about his preference for Bournemouth sea front say much about his values.

            I think a good many people would perhaps disagree with the wisdom of Bournemouth Borough Council’s asset-related decisions: certainly the comments in the local paper would perhaps differ. their reserves have fallen sharply: whatever might be said about Dorset County Council, at least there are no comparable disasters to the IMAX, Boscombe Reef, the bank of Bournemouth ..,. I could go on.

            The point concerning Members’ Allowances is also interesting. At the moment there are 54 Councillors in Bournemouth, 42 in Poole, and 24 in Christchurch. Bournemouth Councillors receive an allowance of approximately £12.25k p.a., Poole’s rate is £9.5 k p.a., and Christchurch Councillors are paid £4k. This gives a total of £1,156,000 in Members’ Allowances across a prospective Greater Bournemouth. On the not unnatural assumption that after reorganisation there would be 80 Councillors who would be paid at the rate of the present Bournemouth Council, that would give a total of £1 million. So the savings would be £156,000: hardly earth-shattering in local government terms.

            But this disregards the tendency for allowances to increase after unitarisation. The Independent Remuneration Body would certainly feel that the greater responsibility for the remaining Councillors would require greater allowances, so even a modest increase would seriously diminish these savings.

            This was the pattern following the forced unitarisations of the 2006-09 period. And indeed, before that, the abolition of the Metropolitan County Councils, intended to save money, resulted more employees on higher salary scales. Indeed, both Mr (David) Miliband and Mr Eric Pickles, as Local Government Secretaries, acknowledged that the cost of Unitarisation was invariably higher and the savings invariably less than was forecast.

            Concerning services, perhaps I might quote from the document I made reference to in my last comment:-

            When considering the provision of this service, the effect on the tax base needs to be examined. To the working population of Bournemouth and Poole would be added another 23,000 workers; to the elderly and potentially dependent population would be added another 15,000. 31% of the population of Christchurch are over working age: this contrasts with 18% in Bournemouth and 21% in Poole …

            To this the potentially devastating effects of the Care Act must be added, Social Care professionals agree that the act has the potential to add enormously to the cost of providing social care. Christchurch residents must ask themselves whether this cost can best be born by a tax base of the population of the putative Greater Bournemouth, where the ration of pensioners to working population would be 1:2, or by a Shire Dorset where the ratio would be almost 1:3.

            And I would add that already the three “top tier” authorities are working in partnership on adult care (Tricuro), Revenues and Benefits (with the exception of Bournemouth) and Waste – though perhaps DWP is not quite the shining example of the type of organisation that the “Big is Beautiful” club would like.

            The real savings, of course, are in the Officer structure and Mr Wright is quite correct when he says that there is no need for two Chief Esecutives, etc. Yet this is possible under the “Pickles” model, where the officer structure of Councils is merged and becomes a service provider serving a number of democratically sovereign authorities. There is no reason why Poole and Bournemouth should not merge and provide this advantage to their residents: no reason at all why the model in Dorset, followed by Christchurch and East Dorset and the “NorthWestern Alliance” of North, West and Weymouth and Portland should not be developed.

            My final point is this. For a large number of services, the level of service is decided by the Borough Council in the intersts of Christchurch. For these services, Christchurch’s money is spent in Christchurch. Under a GBC, how could we guarantee that Christchurch’s money – the Borough’s reserves painfully built up under Alan Griffiths, Harold Cooper, David Fox and their predecessors – would not be spent on prestige projects in Bournemouth and none at all in Christchurch?

            I am afraid Mr Wright has not yet convinced me: I think for many residents of the Borough the threats in the last paragraph will be reminiscent of “Project Fear” before Brexit. I commend to Mr Wright’s attention the referendum result in Christchurch, with its high turnout: if Christchurch residents do not want to be governed from Brussels, still less will they want to be governed from Bournemouth.

            I said at the start of this process that it would take more than a financial saving of 2/6½d to convince me of the virtues of merger. I invite Mr Wright to seek to provide those reasons rather than seek to make insinuations about vested interests.

            dcj

          • Presumably, Mr Wright, you were in favour of the beach huts, and would be happy with multi-storey blocks of flats, like Bournemouth? It would certainly make the coastline ‘buzz’ more. I suspect that most residents would not agree that such a thing is desirable, as the furore over the beach hut fiasco showed. If they want ‘buzz’ it is a short bus ride to Bournemouth. I know there is some development, including Roeshot Hill. We do need more housing, as does everywhere, but at least we have an element of control over its nature. Just compare Bournemouth and, indeed, Poole with Christchurch to show what it could be like. I know where I’d rather live!

      • Oh Mr Wright, Council Tax being syphoned off by Dorchester. Are you saying our money will be much safer with Bournemouth? I think that is the last thing that most people will believe…

        • It’s a bit misleading to compare Christchurch councillor allowances with those in bournemouth and poole – they are unitary councils with greater responsibilities and the allowances reflect that; a more sensible comparison, I’d suggest, is to look at the allowance of a councillor who serves on Christchurch and also represents residents at Dorset County Council, thus receiving TWO allowances. How much do they add up to, as that really would be the comparable figure.

      • Mr Jones – Hinton, Pokesdown, Muscliffe, Hamworthy etc are much more local than Dorchester, Sherbourne, Weymouth and Bridport (etc) which is where a lot of council tax from the east of the county goes at the moment.

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