May 26 2019
BCP Council Leaders
A few days ago Cllr Slade announced the following Cabinet portfolios and members:
- Leader: Cllr Vikki Slade
- Finance: Cllr David Brown
- Children and Families: Cllr Sandra Moore
- Regeneration and Culture: Cllr Mark Howell
- Housing: Cllr Kieron Wilson
- Strategic Planning: Cllr Margaret Phipps
- Transport and Infrastructure: Cllr Andy Hadley
- Climate Change and Environment: Cllr Felicity Rice
- Adult Social Care and Health: Cllr Lesley Dedman
- Tourism, Leisure and Communities: Cllr Lewis Allison
May 19, 2019
Thanksgiving Service at The Priory
Hundreds of people attended the special service. After a processional hymn, there was a welcome and introduction, followed by prayers, readings and hymns.
In Rev Stewart’s sermon he referred to the creation of the BCP Council as one of a number of transition moments in life. Here is some of the sermon:
For Christchurch, and for Bournemouth and Poole, April 1 this year was one such transition moment, in this case, from one form of local government to another, after long discussions, heated debates, and many, many words.
That transition explains why this service is offered today, to help people in Christchurch mark this transition from the Ancient Borough to BCP, and to the new Town Council here, and the new Neighbourhood Council in Highcliffe and Walkford, alongside the existing Parish Councils in Burton and Hurn.
People in Christchurch should give thanks for the past and remember those who have made a difference in the town including all those Mayors whose name are on the council chamber walls, all the councillors, council officers and leaders, all the entrepreneurs and business people, farmers, doctors, teachers, social workers, shopkeepers, even some of the clergy.
After thanking all those who have served as councillors, he added: If you’ve just been elected as BCP councillors, or to the Town Council here or the other Parish and Neighbourhood Councils, on behalf of the community, I want to congratulate you. And for those of you who sought election but were not successful, I want to commiserate with you and thank you for your willingness to serve.
Christchurch has a past, for which we give thanks. Christchurch has a future, to which I hope we will all commit. But we can’t live in the past, nor may we live in the future. We can only live now, in what we call the present –the only place and time we can make a difference to the life of our communities.
Before the blessing he added, There will be arguments – indeed, I hope there will be arguments, because without the light generated by a healthy debate, we rarely see the way ahead.
The service ended with the National Anthem.
March 30, 2019
The End of a Very Long Era
On Thursday, 28 March, the last-ever Christchurch Borough Council Meeting took place. It was quite an emotional occasion. Here is the Echo’s report:
‘It was the end of history at Christchurch on Thursday night as the final council meeting was held before the council is abolished this weekend. The new Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole unitary authority comes into being on Monday and will be the 12 largest local authority in England.
‘Councillors lined up to pay tribute to the council, its staff and the community. At the beginning of proceedings there was a minute’s silence for the victims of the shootings in twin town, Christchurch, New Zealand.
‘A somewhat sombre mood permeated the evening as members reflected on the demise of the council and the end of 700 years of sovereignty.
The Mayor’s chaplain, the Rev Charles Stuart who said everyone should be “mindful of the borough’s past, grateful for the present and trustful for the future.”
The longest serving councillor Colin Bungey, his voice cracking with emotion said: “I have a great sense of pride and satisfaction in having served the residents for 36 years, but this is a very sad day. This ancient borough is one of the oldest in England and it about to be made redundant.We must make sure our history, our heritage and our regalia are preserved.”
Council leader, Cllr David Flagg, said he would look back on many memories and thanked the officers and staff, past and present, for their hard work and dedication. Cllr Sue Spittle said Christchurch would remain a beautiful and historic town, and Cllr Claire Bath added: “We all have the common cause of doing what is best for Christchurch to keep it the special place we all love.”
The council’s chief executive, David McIntosh, spoke with pride about the joint working of Christchurch and East Dorset for the past few years and the authority being at the forefront of initiatives such as Dorset Waste Partnership and the Stour Valley Partnership.
“Change does not come without consequences and this has not been the easiest time. The staff have done everything we have asked them to do and through their efforts we have been able to produce the very best in local government.”
The new Christchurch town council, which will have the limited powers of a parish, comes into being next week.
The last mayor, Cllr Lesley Dedman, closed the meeting with the words:
“We will adjourn – forever!”
25 March, 2019
The End is Nigh!
From April 1st Christchurch will become part of the Unitary Authority. So it is with some sadness that I read the following headline in last Thursday’s Christchurch Times:
Town prepares a goodbye to council after 700 years
So sadly, Thursday’s Full Council will be its last ever meeting. It was poignant to see the following cancelled meeting, when looking for the agenda:
Politics aside, the Echo’s article was quite depressing. The online version is here.
As you no doubt know, from April 1st Christchurch will become part of Bournemouth, Christchurch & Poole Council. The local elections for our Councillors will take place on Thursday, 2 May.
Letter to the Bournemouth Echo, 9 January
In the local referendum in December 2017, the people of Christchurch voted overwhelmingly against proposals to merge with Bournemouth and Poole. More than 17,000 residents (84 per cent of those who cast a ballot) opposed the idea. Despite this strong show of public opinion, the government gave the go-ahead.
As a result, the new Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole unitary authority comes into being in a few weeks. Many people are already very concerned that in everything from housing to planning and development, Bournemouth will dominate the new council and have little or no regard for or interest in what is best for Christchurch. Residents here will already be paying more in council tax than those in Bournemouth and Poole until 2025.
We must make sure this new council works for our borough and does not simply become a takeover. We have therefore come to the conclusion that the interests of Christchurch and its residents can only be served by the borough having a strong and unified independent voice – not a group of councillors answering to a Conservative whip imposed from Bournemouth.
Accordingly we will stand for election on May 2 as ‘Christchurch Independents.’ This will enable us, if elected, to be that strong, unified and independent voice, doing what we believe is right for our borough and to maintain its unique identity, at every turn and on every issue, not just for the 17,000 who voted against going into Bournemouth, but for every single resident.
We hope you will support us and help up us stand up for Christchurch.
Cllr Janet Abbott, Cllr Colin Bungey, Cllr Lesley Dedman, Cllr David Flagg, Cllr Nick Geary, Cllr Paul Hilliard, Cllr Fred Neale, Cllr Margaret Phipps, Simon McCormack
2 March, 2019
Clerk Confirmed for New Council
The new Town Clerk is Daniel Lucas, who is currently principal planning lawyer for the Christchurch and East Dorset councils. Mr Lucas said, in the Christchurch Times on the 28 February, “I am really looking forward to this new challenge. Christchurch is a wonderful town, steeped in history and heritage, and I am very proud to have been appointed to this position. I’m looking forward to supporting the ambitions of the new Town Council, which will produce a strong voice for Christchurch residents.”
The Town Council for Christchurch will launch on 1 April 2019, and the first elections will take place on May 2.