This page has the fewest hits of any recent pages on ThisIsChristchurch, and it takes a long time to go through the videos, so I will now just post the links to each session.
There was no Q&A session today, it will be back as usual on 2 September.
22 July: Q&A Session
Cllr Slade began by reporting the shocking news of the sudden death of Councillor Pete Parrish (Canford Heath) and passed her sympathies to his family and ward colleagues. This is what she said in the Bournemouth Echo:
At the time of writing we do not know the details or cause of death and we would ask that the privacy of his family is respected at this time.
Although Pete had only been a councillor since May 2019, he had been a valued member of the community for much longer, getting involved in many local activities and events. We are feeling somewhat shocked at this incredibly sad news and I have sent my personal condolences to his wife Tan and family.
Although BCP las lost two Councillors recently, because of COVID legislation the by-elections cannot yet take place.
Note that this is yet another attempt at reporting. The content is summarised, without timings, and the subject of each bullet point is in bold, to make it easer to scan through.
Councillor Slade’s Responses to Questions:
- Custom House – pedestrians and cyclists. Drivers are moving lightweight barriers and driving through. This is not OK and will be dealt with, between 10am and 10pm it is a traffic-free area.
- Fabulous weather, the beaches are busy but manageable. Branksome Chine full by 7.30 this morning!
- Masks in shops – can’t give advice, there is no Council exemption card. Other dace coverings are acceptable – religious, bandanas, scarves, things which cover mouth and nose. It is more for others’ protection than our own. Good results in the area, only six new cases in five days: 1.5 cases per 100,000, the average English rate is 3.6 cases! No care home outbreaks. Shop workers should not be put in a position to ask you to leave, or worse be involved in an altercation. Deaf people and lip-reading. No council control of masks, new designs and ideas to help the deaf are being developed.
- Caller said that R-rate was 1.5. she was not aware of this – on Monday the official figure was below 1. There is no plan to instigate the LOMP (Local Outbreak Management Plan), if ever it is needed it will be used.
- Beach huts – no fire regulation, such as fire extinguishers, etc? You are allowed a camping stove – one item – in each beach hut. No fire-risk items such as paint allowed. There are thousands of beach huts and fires happen very rarely. Beach huts should not be unattended when a stove is on. The Council can’t remove all risk, much is personal responsibility.
- Toilets much cleaner than before, well done team! They are being upgraded.
- Town Centre Vision, loss of big stores a huge issue. They need a re-think so they are not just about shopping: housing, entertainment, recreation, play, work. Next project is Christchurch.
- Council House building. The need is accepted, but people keep objecting to them. Sometimes there is no choice but to re-house, for example those coming out of hospital.
- Boxing gyms re-opening is up to trustees, it depends on the facility, they have to meet guidelines. Paddling pools will not yet re-open, they are free and there is less control. There is also water spray, etc. They are also aimed at small children, which is more difficult.
- Poole warden almost knocked over by family group cycling up street. If it is a shared space, like Poole, they can’t stop cycling. There will be a blue sign with cycle and pedestrian to mark a shared space. A pavement without a sign is not a shared space.
- Council is not anti-car. Many don’t have a car, Millions have been spent on cars, now some money is being spent on bikes and alternatives. Motorists must be aware of speed limits and travel more slowly.
- If you have a hedge overhanging a path, cut it back.
- Christchurch police station is not being used for more shops. More houses are needed, and plans have gone through. Flats also have to be built in town centres, it is not feasible to get enough houses in limited space. Some may also want to downsize.
- Reminder about Report-It online to deal with issues like drains, trees, etc. If that still doesn’t work, contact your Ward Councillor.
- Most day centres are not re-opening yet. These people are the most vulnerable and the facilities may not be fit for purpose, though some are open for emergencies.
- Income pays for services – £900m! They are not ‘making money.’ Income/Expenditure – Sources of income: Council Tax; Business rates – some of which goes back to Government;Fees & charges. Charges may be for a day centre place, parking, beach hut, selling things. Land train, deckchair, etc. fines for library books late, additional services, green bin, extra bin, damage; Rents.
- There is a very small Revenue Support Grant, this used to be much bigger but is now down to £2-3m, likely to be zero next year. If this money is lost, it has to be found from higher Council Tax (on which there is a limit) or services cut. Hampshire – seven libraries closing, restricted times for those, 300 redundancies at Hampshire CC. We want to maintain services, libraries, toilets, etc. The Council is not ‘making money,’ it is providing a service which it is reasonable to charge for. There things they can’t – or won’t – charge for. Some things won’t be seen for most people – for example, child care, special needs, dementia care. These are expensive and child may be in care for five years, at perhaps £100K per year.
- Street lights, etc, are fundamental, but the main aim is to protect the vulnerable.
- Poole toilets – Council ones are open (Poole Quay and others named). Some Dolphin ones are closed because of vandalism. They are privately owned and can’t be forced to re-open. Bus station toilets are not the Council’s, might resolve if and when there is a new bus station. Dolphins Centre toilets are lovely, highly recommended.
- Cafes (Subway, etc) don’t have to let you use their toilets unless you are a customer or they are in the community scheme.
- They ARE not rejecting congestion charging, but it will not be popular and they want to avoid it unless the congestion continues. Alternative transport – buses, cycle lanes, etc – is being improved, remote working encouraged.
- Keep left signs on Hengistbury Head would be tricky, no solid surface or lamp posts. Going to look at it, however.
- Facebook has changed rules. If hundreds of comments are coming in, she cannot go back to answer them all, they think she is spamming, so to reply to all may take some time, but they are not being ignored.
- Next week it will be at 1pm, and should remain at that time. Many want to see Boris Johnson perform (!) at PMQs, and other Council business may clash. Probably will cease in August. It will carry on as it is popular, but may be fortnightly or with other people.
15 July – Cllr Slade’s Q&A: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UHmeJ86foHI
I am still trying to find the best way of reporting, but it is tricky as so much is covered in these sessions. The topics are below, without individual timings or extensive detail, but they are in order. It was not possible to put them into columns, you would be scrolling down for ever!
Up to 12 minutes: Sessions to continue? // Renewable energy in use // Fuel poverty – LEAP (Local Energy Advice Parnership) // Beryl Bikes, including Christchurch // Clamping of cars – hopefully soon in place // Leave Only Footprints’ competition – good response, judging in next 2 days // Together We Can community hub, now operating 9-5 Mon-Fri, out of hours helpline can be called // Second round of discretionary payments for business opens Friday. Check BCP webaite – news sign up, businesses // Contacting Council: Use official channel to get to right department, or Cllrs Audit trail on Facebook difficult // Councillors don’t have work phones, be reasonable, they are at home and may not answer immediately. Email is better. // Report-it function is underused. Go to website, choose area and you can then report. // COVID figures – BCP do get updates twice-weekly. Currently only 5 cases in BCP area // Wessex Fields, Magna Road plans
12-25 Minutes: Tips returning to normal // Co-wheels – Car sharing scheme // Recycling – Centre in Poole takes recyclable items from black bags // Report abandoned vehicles // Park and ride. Very little land avaiable, not likely // Libraries ro reopen – Kinson, Broadstone, Castlepoint, Canford Heath, Boscombe // Parking review – complicated. Looking at residents’ discounts // CCTv -Police responsible, not Council. Report drugs, etc., via 101. MUST, MUST report every time on 101, or they won’s know about it // BCP’s aim is to improve on previous Council. Street sweeping is an example, there was none before // Tesco – social distancing, one-way system, they made the decision to stop one-way. Nothing to do with Council // Government expects measures to widen pavements, etc – 300K given for improving pavements, it has to be done within 4 weeks.
25 Minutes – End: Face masks – up to shops to enforce, it is the law that they can be enforced // Cyclists. Shouldn’t be on pavement, report to police. Trailways are shared // Weddings – Limit is 30 people,no indoor events with more. Official outdoor events (run by business, public body, political organisation or charity are OK) // Poole Stadium, plan is to develop housing, no stadium // Blue badge parking bays reviewed, in terms of numbers of spaces used. Badge can be revoked if misused // Masks – Council is not involved in how shops police mask use // Cycle routes. If they are not used the cycle routes will be returned after the 18 month period. If they are they will be permanent. £79M given for sustainable transport. Last year we were 4th most congested place in the country, and air pollution among the worst // Parking – Is £4.20 for two hours’ parking reasonable? Depends where it is, budget has to be balanced // Masks – They do not need to be free. Make one if you wish // COVID – Local Outbreak Management Plan for care homes, schools, etc. Action cards say who takes reponsibilty // COVID – Population of around £400,000, Roughly one person a day gets it. Pleasing. Wash hands, distance, masks indoors, get a test if any symptoms. Live by those rules, they are not difficult // Dog signs too small? Many compliments actually given about the new signs. Think about others – no loud music, looking at quiet/alcohol-free zones // Email updates – Remember to register, there are lots for different issues
Timings are at the beginning of each. These will go to a new page shortly.
20.40: Thanks for the Christchurch brand new street sweeper. You know there’s a lot criticism of BCP, but I think we have to accept that in some areas, the previous councils didn’t all do a great job of everything. And my goal is to make sure that where something is not done well in one area that we lift it up to be as good as it is elsewhere. Street sweeping is a perfect example. And some of the other measures in Christchurch for a range of reasons, weren’t as good as they could have been. I think that it’s very easy to have a go at BCP Council, but we are a year old and when Christchurch came in, it came in without any road sweepers, without a policy around how they dig the weeds out of their verges and things. And so it hadn’t been done. Those things were being done in Bournemouth and Poole, and what we’ve done is we’ve reallocated some of our Bournemouth and Poole resource to make sure that it’s lifted across the board. We’re going to have to make difficult decisions in the coming months and years about where that average sits. There are dozens, if not hundreds of policies that still have to be resolved. And I would urge you to just take a little bit of time to say in our first year, – we’ve lost three and a half months to COVID, the first couple of months we were setting ourselves up. We haven’t had much time to change an awful lot of policy. So the goal is to make sure that everything is harmonised within two to three years. We’re only a third of the way into that.
23.15: Was there a public question about the closure of the Lower High Street? We’re going to go back through here. The way that these emergency measures are being dealt with is that the government said to councils, we expect you to put in place measures to allow people to get out of their cars and to get on their bikes and to walk. And we also expect you to make it safer for people to socially distance. So we expect you to widen pavements, close roads, get rid of rat runs to encourage people to spend as much time outside as they can, particularly as people come back from shielding, and they’re really, really nervous that actually if you make it so that they don’t have to be squished on to a little tiny pavement or feeling that everyone’s in their cars, you’ve got more chance of people feeling comfortable. So a bit of money was given to councils. We had to bid for some money. We received about £300,000, which was brilliant. But the rules were you have to actually get these measures in within four weeks. You can’t go through the usual months and months of consultation. What we want you to do, said the government, is you send out a seven day notice. During that seven days, people got time to prepare for it, comment on it and to make sure that when it goes in, it goes in for a maximum of 18 months, but to be reviewed after six months. During the period of time that it is in the system, people continually consult. We then have the opportunity to look at changes within that time, and if there are any changes, to be made we may we have to give seven days notice for that change. So there was a consultation period; no, it wasn’t a standard consultation period. The great thing about these projects is that they’re going to allow those businesses, when the government sorts itself out with allowing people to trade on the pavement, open restaurants up to trade on the pavement and things to actually expand out on to the street so people who walk in the road and businesses can trade on the pavement. Ultimately, is the Lower High Street that should have cars down it? My personal view is no. And I think it has the potential to be an incredibly exciting and brilliant destination for shopping and restaurants. And ultimately, I suspect it will attract new businesses to that area because of the potential. But it is something which is temporary and cannot be made permanent without going through a full consultation.
32.00: Spending on cycle routes: how are we going to ensure they are used, when everyone goes back to work? This money has been given to us, as I said before, for short term measures that have to come in very quickly and run for up to 18 months. If they’re not used they’ll be returned. If they are used then we’ll make them permanent, but we’ll make them permanent through a proper process. We’ve also got the Transforming Cities Fund, which is £79 millions, has been given to us to improve sustainable transport. So that’s around walking, cycling, buses and electric sharepoints (?), things like that. All of those things will encourage more and more people to not choose a private car. And as all of that work comes together, what we should end up with is a network so that people can get from A to B without having to worry about going into a busy road. And unless we actually push forward with making as many things happen as we can over the next year or so, we will never move forward, and we’ll still be having this conversation in ten years’ time when we’re utterly gridlocked. Last year, we were the fourth most congested place in the country. That’s not anything to be proud of. Our air pollution in particulates was some of the worst: nitrous oxide we were fine, but particulates we were really high. And that’s not just about transport: I t’s about things like solid fuel, it’s about industrial use. But actually, we’ve got a responsibility to our own community and to the next generation and to the environment to improve that. And that’s part of what we do.
33.40: Do I think that £4.20 is reasonable to pay for two hours’ parking? Depends where it is. £1.50, £2 an hour is perfectly normal elsewhere in the country. Would you like a £50 increase in your Council Tax, £100 increase £200 increase? The council has to balance its budget. One of the ways of doing that is through fees and charges. So, choices: we could cut services, we could increase fees. You have the choice about whether you want to park in a car park or whether you want to cycle or get the bus or walk or park further out and walk in. If you choose to use a car park, and you know how much the car parking is, that is your choice. We need to make these choices available to everybody. Free parking is a nice idea, but it doesn’t actually make sense.
Q&A, 9 July 2020 Link to broadcast
Until 1.40 – Welcome and introduction; 1.40 Mini budget yesterday strange. Reminder to shop local, it’s important and more environmentally friendly, four libraries now open with reduced hours, all books automatically renewed until September, so no fines; 3.20 – Yellow buses, people not wearing masks. Raised with them and MoreBus, a lot of people have exemption cards and a lot of these exemptions are invisible. Council can’t force them, they are independent. Will raise it with them again; 4.10 – Soft Play café, don’t know when it will re-open, they are lobbying about other things too. This is also a tourist area; 5.00 – If a pedestrian crossing, traffic light and others is out of order, report it on the website, they can be reported there. If it continues, go to Ward Councillor; 6.20 – Council is going to be creating cycle lanes and reducing parking on high streets. Around £315,000 given to create short-term cycle lanes and pedestrian projects. These are emergency procedures, to be eligible they have to be brought in within four weeks and have to run for up to 18 months, reviewable after six months. There is a consultation for seven days before, which carried on during the six months when people can give opinions. The government have set this up, and it is linked to the funding. A longer period of consultation is for a permanent traffic regulation order. None of the temporary ones can become permanent unless they go through the whole process; 7.50 – There were 250 people who were homeless early in the pandemic. 76 have been moved into some form of improved housing. They have ALL had basic health checks, are registered with a GP, have had required medical treatment, dedicated support and a housing pathway plan. Only five have chosen to go back on the streets. There have been some good successes – one has signed for the armed forces, others are in employment, many are off drugs and alcohol, some have stopped offending, regular meals have improved health and wellbeing. Week-to week there are only around 15-20 who are rough-sleeping. They have refused accommodation for their own reasons, it is not the Council’s job to force them into accommodation. Don’t give money if you see them, there are other ways of support through various project, St Mungo’s, FaceWorks, homelessness reduction board which bring all support together. If you give cash and they are housed they already have three meals a day. The Council works at getting them off the streets, giving them meaningful experiences and a positive relationship with society. PSPO (Public Space Protection Order) consultation in Poole not just on homeless: aggressive begging, street drinking, anti-social behaviour. Ban on alcohol not helpful, overkill, many want a drink with a picnic or at beach huts. Want to be able to deal, remove alcohol from offenders. Target behaviours not people;
12.00 – Council can’t control when gyms can open, exercise does improve mental state. Get out and do what you can; 12.30 Hoburne Green, travellers’ human waste dealt with; 13.00 – (inaudible – waste charges?). Christchurch were with DWP so have a lower charge this year. Next year it will be harmonised. Size of Bournemouth bins will be different, but to harmonise them would cost £300,000. Cost is related to how often the bun is picked up, not the disposal if the rubbish. 14.00 – Short term beach huts cancelled, can’t rebook. There has to be a lay-down period between bookings. Hotels can ‘rest’ and swap rooms, beach huts can’t do that, they are booked specifically. Can’t book by day or week, there has to be a gap between. More communication to those who booked is coming out; 14.45 – Beryl bikes being abandoned. Beryl is a separate company, they must deal. They can be left anywhere. It is the second most successful bike share scheme in the country, after London. We should be proud. Close to opening in Christchurch
15.40 – What resources are available if made redundant. Job Centre Plus, Council Economic Development Team; 16.05 – If the posts in the session come too quickly they are revisited later, Cabinet members may also comment; 16.45 – Travellers in Poole. There are three or four on Baiter Park, likely to be there for a few more days. Cllr Slade reiterated what she said previously about the situation; 17.45 – Bourne Valley Youth Club is not being shut, not are any youth clubs; 18.00 – (Indistinct) Cinemas opening, no update on Dolphin Centre; 18.20 – Cycling banned along prom July and August, 10am-6pm. Pedestrians have priority. Perennial problem, looking at ways to make it safer; 18.50 – Bars selling alcohol for consumption off site, it can be taken into a public place; 19.15 – There are toilets in Ashley Cross, and they are looking at refurbishing the permanent ones (closed over three years ago by previous Council) because the Green is used much more by families and for events in summer; 20.00 – Very few people at Council still furloughed. Main ones are in leisure centres, for a few hours weekly, and school crossing patrollers and drivers for children with special needs, etc; 21.15 – Help for small traders. Angry that no additional Government plans for business. Lots of work already done by Council, meeting soon to see what is left of the grant fund. Money given does not cover all businesses, and they need to see what adds most value. Sole trader and self-employed should qualify for self-employed income support scheme. If it isn’t closed, apply if you haven’t already; 22.10 – Much regeneration of Poole. £25M bid placed for Future High Street Fund, still waiting to hear. Power station site to be purchased should be done in the next few weeks, Poole Stadium proposal to be regenerated. Town centre – Heart of Poole Scheme being rebooted;
23.15 – Why have some bus stops been closed and multiple services at the same stop? Council supports bus enormously, Transforming Cities fund is dedicated to cycling, bus and walking, £29M to do additional bus lanes to reduce journey times and increase patronage. Might need to talk to bus companies; 23.55 – Regret that Boots is making redundancies; 24.10 – No public events until end of August, then decision about next stage. Need to hear from Government. 24.45 – Why would anyone want to visit Poole? Cllr Slade – “I think it’s great. If you think people don’t want to visit Poole, there are loads of visitors. Poole museum is the most-visited free attraction in the whole of Dorset. Did you know that? Scaplen’s Court is an absolutely incredible place, definitely recommend it. We’ve got amazing boat trips on Poole Quay, we’ve got Brownsea Island, some brilliant pubs and restaurants, Da Vinci’s have just put that amazing outdoor seating area on Poole Quay. Over the next few years there is going to be so much money invested in Poole. We have The Lighthouse, which is the largest arts centre outside London, which does the most incredible things. It is the home of the BSO. Why wouldn’t you think Poole is brilliant?”; 25.38 – Yearly salary – Councillors receive an allowance, that information is on the website; 25.40 – Salaries for bin men are part of a national local government salary scheme. The unions are working with all councils to negotiate their pay rises; 25.55 – Most of the discretionary grants have been paid. Some applications were ineligible because they have had another grant, haven’t lost enough income. They are looking at a second round shortly, details unknown yet, but reflecting on what has happened so far; 26.50 – Apply online for a green bin if you need one; 26.55 – Pavements in BH10 and BH11 are terrible. They are part of a rolling programme. The have just had £4M for some major roads – that will do only six, so it is not possible to do everything quickly; 27.30 – No news of swimming pools re-opening. Sign petition on Swim England website. 27.50 – Cleaning communal areas of flats: Will raise issue of social flats, for others speak to landlord; 28.15 – Anti-social behaviour issues. There seem to be a lot of people with issues at the moment, mental health, addiction. They are not being housed in one area, if they have to be housed in an emergency then it has to be where it won’t cripple the Council to do so. They are working with police and local communities to improve it everywhere; 28.50 Bournemouth Learning Centre is to be converted into a special school. Too many children who need support are having to go out of area, spending up to two hours in a minibus or taxi because there isn’t. a local school. Not good for children or parents. It also costs a lot of money – £6.5M annually just to transport the children., then the schools have to be paid for. It is important to keep children near home, so they can socialise with others outside school hours, and to have a range of schools locally so that they can move out again if things change, or their local school. Around five local schools are having bases there, so that children can go there instead of to a special school. This is very important for those who might have difficult circumstances, additional social, medical, disability issues.
31.35 – If a barber, or any business, is not following social guidelines, report to Trading Standards; 31.30 – Safer neighbourhood public meetings not happening now because of social distancing. There are smaller meetings with Councillors, so contact Ward Councillor with issues; 32.40 – Beaches. As a tourist town we are meant to take thousands of people. The situation a couple of weeks ago was shocking. Many people just dumped their rubbish, not matter how many bins were provided – and there were lots – they would still have done it. Some nasty incidents, some violent. A major incident was called so that all authorities could work together, and it is now on standby. No plan for pre-paid parking, too much effect on local people, and we are can’t close the beaches and have to give seven days’ notice to close a road, which wouldn’t help anyway. Extra traffic warden, clamping, tow-away being examined. Fines can’t be increased, set by government, Conor Burns is working with the Council trying to get that changed. Can’t rope off 2m sections of beach, tractors maintain every day to maintain blue flag status, can’t spend hours each day knocking posts into the sand for fifteen miles! There are now more beach wardens, beach patrols, Kidzone opening early as there are children not at school, more security. If car parks are full, staff can be put there to redirect traffic. Looking at new strategy for next year, doing it live takes a lot of back-office work by people who are running it now; 36.00 – There are signs where barbecues are allowed. Will make it clearer on the website. 36.20 – Pleased that two sets of new council houses have been approved, in Kinson and Northbourne. Winter Garden scheme also approved to regenerate that part of town as well. All meeting are now screened on YouTube.
Finally, REMEMBER WARD COUNCILLORS, and CHECK if you can REPORT on the WEBSITE
Q&A, 2 July 2020 Link to broadcast
Birthday of NHS – clap at 5pm Sunday, light in window on Saturday night; 1.15 – Why not close roads and car parks last weekend? They were not closed because if they are closed capacity is reduced, causing more problems with fly-parking. Over 1500 tickets issued, staff were working early morning to late at night. Not allowed to close roads, seven days’ notice required under the legislation and good reason required; 3.00 – Working hard to get businesses running, it was good to see that some have had good trade, and sensible measures, limits on people, queuing, etc good. KEEP LEFT; 3,50 – Visit England have a scheme in place celled Good To Go, a kind of kite mark which businesses can put out/ Stay local, whop local, support your local traders; 4.15 – Meetings with local MPs and Council. Council can’t change legislation, they can only comply. There is a fortnightly meeting on Friday to which all local MPs are invited, plus the police and Crime Commissioner and NHS bosses. MPs are also written to weekly – they have lobbied about travellers, fines increase for illegal parking. There are also individual meetings, for example the Sandbanks ferry;
6.00 – Closing Bournemouth beach. They do not have the power to close them, they are public places. There are over 80 entrances, seven miles of coastline to Hengistbury Head, another seven to Highcliffe. Can’t close car parks, it would make fly-parking worse, even in the middle of roundabouts, blocking driveways, bus stops, etc. Trying to get fines increased, get powers to tow some away. Durdle Dor different, it is privately owned, but cars were dumped and people gad driven for three hours and were determined to go; 7.50- Playgrounds opening Saturday, a few will wait until Monday. Impossible to keep sanitising, there are 125. Take sanitiser with you, wash hands when back at home. Council doing signage, asking people to limit time, have one adult with them, and social distancing. If it is too busy go back later. One being decommissioned, another refurbished; 9.15 – Keep left signs are on zigzags, some may have been ripped up. They will be replaced; 9.35 – Hotels re-opening from Saturday, with safety measures such as reduced capacity, which will ease pressure. This summer expected to be busy because of restrictions about going abroad;
10.45 – There are some amazing staff, upset by the negativity. One traffic warden had to press his panic button because of abuse when he gave tickets to those blocking the road. Next time you see one give a thumbs up if you’re parked legally, but if not, expect a ticket! Cllr Slade was very annoyed that two Range Rovers were parked on the pavement near a bus stop in Parkstone; 12.15 – Beauty professionals. Some behaviour in Parliament disgusting with things which are said, including indoor play centres, just because they don’t believe it is important. Beauty professionals serve a huge proportion of the population and they have a right to work. They don’t make the rules, they just obey them. Tanning place was open without permission, so they threatened a prohibition notice; 13.20 – Tea rooms will be open Saturday, bearing in mind safety measures, charity shops can open, but they are often staffed by elderly volunteers who may not be keen; 14.20 – Three stabbings on beach, security guards and others there, police, additional powers given. Extra trains were laid on, next time they should be able to liaise with transport police better because of the major incident in standby mode;
15.00 – Tourism. 31 out of 32 toilets open. Some were open all night. 28 separate instances of damage to toilets, plumbers out at 4.30m fixing them. There were 300,000 people per day on the beaches compared to 200,000 at the Air Festival, for example. 1500 parking tickets issues, 50 tons of waste, outreach workers out to protect young people from county lines, more security, wardens, etc, out. Major incident notice on the seafront extra police patrols. There is only so much a council can do when people are behaving so badly; 15.20 – Overgrown playgrounds are being done as quickly as possible; 16.40 – Trade waste. There are other options you can use. Main concern is free waste for residents; 1645 – Redundancies in local theatres. Arts Council announcement due next week. Government have delayed announcement on funding packages. If they don’t help we are in a lot of trouble; 17.25 – Question about speed cameras. That is the police, not the council;
17.40 – Waste bins on the beach. There are empty bins, but people leave waste, they won’t even attempt to go to the bins. If you’re on the beach you have got to go on the promenade to get back to your car, or whatever. Quote (angry): “The idea that you can just leave your stuff on the beach because the bin might not be big enough is not credible. People leaving 50 tons of crap on the beach, deciding to defaecate in a cardboard box and leave it on the sand has nothing to do with not having enough bins! We have provided more bins, our staff work through the night … by the time I got to the beach on Friday morning at quarter to six, the beach was already looking pristine apart from the idiots in the tents who were lying on the beach. The tractors were having to go round these drunken morons who decided to sleep on the sand. So I won’t take this business that we haven’t got enough bins. We put extra bins out where the bins were overflowing and where people had brought their rubbish to the bin we put extra bins out, we have got additional collections through the day. But you know what – you can take your rubbish home with you! We have a policy of leave only footprints …”; 1
9.10 – Poole. Programme of work to make it greener, power station site, redoing town centre. No firm news yet. 19.50 – Swimming pools. Hope they’re next – there is no reason why if you can go to a restaurant or pub, swimming pools shouldn’t open. Many hotels have swimming pools, too that would reduce pressure on beaches. Sign the petition from Swim England to get them reopened; 20.25 – Help with litter picks, there is a form. It all helps. 21.15 – Bonfires are allowed on allotments. Not very sociable, check with other holders; 21.50 – Birth registration open and weddings, many venues closed, strict rules, ceremony only , also civic partnerships, citizenship ceremonies; 22.40 – Parkingines are set by statute not by the Council: Some have devolved powers, such as London. Current level set years ago, lobbying taking place to get them increased, they are not much of a deterrent any more. Towing away requires a licence, and BCP’s is only for abandoned vehicles. Council couldn’t tow away all vehicles on double yellow lines anyway, not enough capacity. Police do have the power, and it is sometimes requested. Council is trying to get its own contract, needing tendering properly to avoid nepotism, etc; 25.15 – Customer service centres and libraries reopening. Need to have some staff available for local isolation, so not all opening now; 26.20 – Littering signs. Standard ones are not effective any more, so the design team is bringing out new ones (including barbecues, dogs on beaches, etc), and schools also designing ready for summer holidays;
27.15 – Cycle ban (including Beryl) is active, they cannot be used on the promenade between 10am-6pm until the end of August. If caught, police can fine you. This doesn’t apply between the piers; 27.50 – eScooters are not legal. Government have announced some trial areas, but scooters must be hired. BCP not part of trial; 29.20 – Registering to vote electronically. If there is an email it will be sent electronically; 30.50 – Nellie the Fish. Anti littering for plastic bottles and cans; 31.40 – Can’t have designated cycle lane on promenade because of beach huts and safety, general talk about cycle safety issues; 34.30 – Reminder of NHS birthday, light in window, clapping.
Local Councillors should deal with local issues. Get them working for you!
Q&A, 25 June 2020 Link to broadcast
These were the topics discussed, with rough timings on the video. Those marked with an asterisk have been transcribed, below. There might be one or two minor errors, but I’m not going though it again!
Public toilets – 2.15; Dogs, warden and beach – 3.00*; Barbecues – 3.45; High Streets – 4.20; Tennis membership – 5.45; Birth registration – 6.50; Public events – 7.15; Toilets, general, but particularly Ashley Cross – 9.00; Travellers – 12.50*; Grass cutting in cemeteries -17.40; Can parking charges be reduced -18.00; Hairdressers – 18.40; Need for four-bedroom house – 19.00; Holidaymakers to beaches, hotels, personal space – 19.50; Weddings – 22.15; Electric chargers – 22.45; Downsizing – 22.20; Cars parking on verges – 24.45; More about travellers – 25.12; More about grass in cemeteries – 25.40; Difficulty paying Council Tax – 26.36; Use Ward Councillors – 27.45; Blue badges – 28.30; Disposable barbecues – 29.10; Armed Forces Week – 30.10 *; More bins emptying, lifeguards – 30.35; Add pm front page – social distancing; Social distancing enforcement – 31.35; More about toilets – 32.20; Use quieter beaches – 33.00; Support local shops – 34.20;
Armed Forces Day (Saturday, 27 June): We have raised the armed forces flag for all three of our civic centres, and we’re very proud to be part of the Armed Forces Covenant Scheme. Some work is being done around homeless veterans. So if you are aware of people from our armed forces background that do not have the same access to services, please let us know. Our Armed Forces covenant Team will be able to work with that.
Dogs: Ann asks are the dog wardens on duty. You need to be more specific about a specific issue around dogs. We don’t really have dog wardens in the traditional sense, apart from a specific area, so you might want to send a message about a specific location. If you’re all talking about dogs or the beach, dogs are not allowed on the beach other than dog friendly areas. Our signage shows a red and green about where the dog-friendly beaches are. You can also look on the website to see where dogs are welcome on the beach.
Please do respect the fact that if it is a dog free beach, there should be no dogs there, not on leads, not at all, and our beach wardens will move people on if they’re able to. It’s not always feasible to make everybody on the beach wardens can’t be everywhere.
Travellers: This is a long section, but is included in full as it is such a regular issue, and is complex: Let me clarify the rules relating to travellers. Every year we suffer from unauthorised encampments of travellers who are moving through the area. It happens from about March until about August every year, and most seaside areas across the country are affected by this problem. We have two ways of dealing with this.
As a council, we are legally required to provide a transit site for those people who are travelling through to stop at. We do not have a transit site anywhere in Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole. Until and unless we take the decision to build a transit site which people travelling from the gypsy and traveller community can visit, when they then turn up on a park or a car park and they impact on the rest of us, we legally cannot move them because we do not have somewhere that we provided to move them to.
Now, that feels wrong, I understand that, I understand the frustration, and I personally stood in my local park and had a full-on row with people to try to move them on, I’ve faced the intimidation, most councillors have done their best to physically stop these encampments. The council has worked hard to make some areas what they call ‘target-hardened’ to make it more difficult. But those things then stop campervans being able to use our parks. And then we have local people say, ‘I drive a campervan, you’re stopping me from accessing the park.’ Some of the places that they break into are car parks and therefore that has an impact on us being able to use the car parks.
The situation we have here is that yesterday afternoon various people were reporting travellers arriving. I was very involved with lots of the senior officers from about five o’clock through to about midnight and in recognising there were several groups of travellers all arriving in different parts of town. The police did a great job: move them on, mover them on, move them on.
Unfortunately, what then happened is the group got ahead of the police and have collectively settled on Poole Park, have caused damage and are behaving in a very unpleasant way, and we had some really unpleasant reports. There has been an emergency meeting with the police today. The law states that the council has to carry out a needs assessment. That needs assessment is basically saying the children and vulnerable people who live apart, the traveller community, have a right to be assessed to make sure they are safe. We make sure there’s nobody there that’s a victim of modern slavery, that there are no children who are vulnerable or not being looked after properly and there is nobody who is ill. Once that needs assessment has taken place, which we are required to do and morally I support doing, we then start the process of a court order. That court order process will start and it will run its course. Most traveller incursions disappear before that court date because they know they’re going to get an eviction order, and they really don’t want the aggro.
Secondary to that if there is a major incident, the police are able to invoke something, I think called Section 61, which forces them to move immediately. There are thresholds that have to be met it’s for the police to decide whether we have a Section 60 situation which allows them to enforce movement.
Whilst those people are there, yes they’re breaking the rules, yes they’re using the playgrounds which are closed, yes, they are defaecating in public, which is unacceptable, yes, they have ruined our cricket ground. We recognise all of that. But actually, as a Council , we have limits on what we can legally do.
My request to all of you is lobby your MP, because the law needs to change on the so that councils have more protection and police have more powers. Without that, we’re going to face this all the time. The alternative is, as a council, we need to find a transit site. Somebody needs to be prepared to say, I don’t mind having 15 sets of caravans coming down to my location every year, a parking lot, three, four, five, 10 times. If you know of somewhere that is happy to do that rather than the rest of the community having to deal with this from time to time, please let us know, because we will gladly look at that. But bear in mind, the other local residents will probably have something to say about that. It was tried before. It failed.