Important News

Page Contents, in Order:

  • Leisure facilities re-opening
  • Closure of public events
  • Making a face mask at home
  • Grass cutting
  • Waste Centres (Bournemouth, Christchurch, Poole)
  • Christchurch & Boscombe Markets re-opening
  • Vote of Confidence – The Meeting
  • Vote of Confidence – The Result
  • Vote of Confidence – Link to video and more details
  • Christchurch Leisure Centre re-opens

Car parks in leisure locations and toilets reopened from 8am on Wednesday 13 May, for local people to enjoy the beaches, parks, and open spaces. The full list, including Bournemouth and Poole, can be read here.


Leisure Facilities Opened

Golf courses, mini-golf, tennis courts, athletic tracks, skate parks, outdoor bowls facilities and ball courts also reopened, providing members of the public continue to maintain social distancing.


No Public Events until the end of August

Christchurch area shown in bold

Major events and festivals including Bournemouth Air Festival that were due to go ahead this summer have been cancelled due to the continued impact of the coronavirus outbreak. Outdoor events on council public open space are not permitted until the end of August 2020. This includes the cancellation of:

  • Bournemouth Air Festival
  • Summer Fireworks and summer events programme on Poole Quay
  • BSO Concerts in Meyrick Park 
  • Christchurch Food Festival
  • Highcliffe Food and Arts Festival

How to Make a Face Mask

The Government has produced an excellent guide to the production of a face mask, using cloth or an old t-shirt. Click the t-shirt to read the full instructions.

Click to read the full instructions. Opens in a new window

Grass Cutting

This is from BCP Council:

Selected large open spaces were already being cut so that we could exercise safely, as were areas along highways that could obstruct sight lines at junctions and roundabouts. It is now safe to extend these works (observing social distancing rules) to include:

  • one mown width along the outside of all highway footpaths
  • one mown width along path edges in parks and gardens
  • common informal paths to be mown
  • strimming around seating and bins

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Waste Centres

These re-opened on 11 May

... for residents who are unable to safely store additional waste at home and who have no alternative disposal options available.

For more about Christchurch, see the Oddments updates for 13 & 19 May

As expected, the queues at the recycling centres have been lengthy. The picture  on the left shows the queue at Poole on the opening day, Monday 11 May. Click to go to the Bournemouth Echo report, or choose the BCP Facebook page here.

This is what the Council wrote about the situation: 

‘If you’re thinking of visiting our tips today, please look at this picture & decide if you really need to visit. This queue is at our Nuffield tip in Poole & reaches the toy superstore. If you do decide to come, expect long wait times & please treat our staff with respect, TY.’


The following safety measures must be adhered to:

  1. controlled queuing with traffic restrictions in place
  2. number of cars on site reduced by 50% to maintain social distancing
  3. visitors to each site must bring proof of residency to access the facilities (which can be displayed through a closed car window if necessary)
  4. Access for vans is still through the van permit schemes
  5. only 1 person will be able to get out of the car and unload the waste, so residents must not bring bulky items that require 2 people to carry them (Blue Badge holders can bring someone to assist them)
  6. staff on site will not be able to help unload your vehicle or dispose of your waste
  7. payment for chargeable waste will be with card only (preferably contactless)
  8. if queuing traffic becomes hazardous and dangerous, the HRC may have to close early to eliminate the problem or if we are instructed
  9. Please do not bring textiles and clothes to be recycled. Our textile collection banks are not currently available.

Commercial waste is still closed, regular customers will be contacted.

Our sites at Nuffield and Millhams have extended opening hours. All 3 HRCs in Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole will be open from 9am to 6pm every day with the re-use shop at Wilverley Road, Christchurch and the New To You shop at Nuffield, Poole remaining closed.

Please only visit if absolutely essential.

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Christchurch Market

Reopen from 1 June

This was received on Friday, 29 May. Significant information is clearly marked.

IMPORTANT

This is for food only, with increased spacing
and restricted number of stalls.


From BCP Council:

Following the latest government guidance on the partial lifting of lockdown restrictions, some of BCP Council’s outdoor markets are able to reopen from Monday 1 June

The markets, which will focus on the sale of food only at this stage, can reopen with a number of safety measures in place. Customers are advised to follow social distancing advice as they make their way around the market and each pitch will be smaller in size and four metres apart which will allow for approximately 30% of the usual stalls. Stall operators will also adopt the recommended PPE guidelines in order to comply with safety procedures.

Cllr Lewis Allison, Cabinet Member for Tourism, Leisure and Communities, commented:

“The approval to reopen outdoor markets is a welcome step forward in our slow return to a new normality. Our outdoor markets form a vital part of our communities and many residents are keen to see them open so they can once again support local traders.

“It’s vitally important that everyone takes responsibility for social distancing, to ensure the markets can continue to run safely.”

Operations will be reviewed on a weekly basis to ensure they are continuing safely.

The reopening of the Poole market is still under consideration due to the challenges around social distancing at this site.

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BCP Council

(1) Meeting Tonight

Tonight, Tuesday, the Conservatives are tabling a vote of no confidence in the Leader, Cllr Vikki Slade. Since the death of Cllr Bungay, this seems to be a chance of a power grab, for the Conservatives to get a majority.

The meeting will take place after the regular Council Meeting, which starts at 7pm. Details are here, but notably there is a tribute to Cllr Bungay. Note that on those details of the meeting his name is spelled incorrectly!

Although I try not to express political preferences on this site, I think this is a pity. She has so far done well for the new Council and has regularly made herself available publicly. Many commenters on the Echo website also express their regret.

Here is the agenda. Much more is available using the link from the picture above. I do not know if the meeting will be broadcast live, but will update it if necessary.

Update, 5.15pm:

There is another article about this meeting. The comments are very interesting, and there could be a lot of bad feeling if it goes the wrong way. Shades of the bad old days?

Here are two paragraphs from the article:

‘A petition set up in support of Cllr Slade and the Unity Alliance has received more than 1,600 signatures.

‘Tonight’s full council meeting, which will be held virtually via Skype, is due to begin at 7pm. BCP Council will be streaming the meeting online and you can follow the meeting live on the Daily Echo website with updates from Local Democracy Reporter Josh Wright.’


(2) The Result

Yesterday, Tuesday 9 June, the Conservatives fought the vote of no confidence in the Leader, Cllr Vikki Slade. I watched the whole thing until the vote finished at around 10.45pm, and the comments below are my personal view.

To begin at the end: it was as close as it could be, 37 votes each way, with one abstention. Therefore the chairman had the casting vote, and it was rightly put against the motion, in the name of the sadly deceased Cllr Bungay, who would also certainly have voted against.

Justice was indeed served. The close result was expected, the Conservatives would not have tried if there was no chance of winning.

Winning – that seemed to be the overriding theme of the evening, especially from some Conservatives. I was most disturbed that Cllr Stribley (Conservative) became quite stroppy when she was unsure that a vote had been cast correctly. It reminded me of some of the machinations of old: win, whatever it takes!

I was also struck that some of the Councillors were very young. They spoke well, too, on policy and in praise of Cllr Slade. Similar praise had come from all, including the Conservatives. I am sure they meant it, too!

The correct result in the end!


(3) Video and Further Details

I use the term report quite loosely here, this section is just to give a flavour of the meeting. There is a link to the video and transcripts of the closing speeches of the two protagonists, Vikki Slade for the current Unity Alliance and Drew Mellor for the Conservatives.

The video is approaching four hours in length. It was very interesting, but significant if you have not got the time to watch it all, the closing speeches and voting takes place from 3hr 15 minutes. The transcriptions are, I hope, accurate; I wish I could have done them all, but life is too short! The two additional videos were chosen by me, one for each side.

Click to watch the video – or parts of it!
Cllr Vikki Slade, Leader of the Council

During the pandemic this Council has received widespread praise for the speed of its response and our engagement with the public. So it is really disappointing that this has gone from being a time when we are considering the needs of our public to self-indulgent political power play. It is really disappointing that so few councils who brought this motion forward have expressed their real concerns, and against the backdrop of toxic politics this Unity Council has become a beacon of collaboration and cooperation in local governance.

It is a Council that welcomes diversity of thought and whose members hold each other to account. We’ve adopted policies that put people first hoping to create brighter futures for children, kickstarting regeneration and prioritizing the protection of the environment. We have listened and acted on suggestions by members right across the chamber. We’ve listened to peers from other councils. We’ve listened to our residents, listened to the experts. We’ve deferred decisions where we’ve needed more time to consider the wider implications, and we’ve brought forward exciting plans to put our region firmly on the map. Transformation needs transformational leadership, and we’re delivering that right now. Everybody knows I did not support the creation of BCP Council, but I will now publicly say that I was wrong. I have nothing to fear from its creation. What I feared was a BCP Council running the way the previous Conservative-dominated predecessor councils were run. But through cooperation and consensus, we built a new approach, a new way. And although some members were elected for the first time last year, we should be listening to their fresh ideas and their lack of political baggage is hugely refreshing. Building a new council with trust with our residents is beginning to show. And I think it’s disingenuous to suggest that a cabinet of ten can include Conservative councillors without excluding a number of smaller parties. It’s plain wrong to state that we won’t work with the Conservatives when we’ve created working groups and roles and board places specifically to enable it. And it’s naive to promise not to bring a vote of no confidence in the wake of the death of a colleague, then go back on your word and then expect us to believe in the promises that you make.

I’ve already agreed a working group to consider the merits of a committee system to open up Council more. We’ll leave members to decide if it’s right, ask committee to review, to give residents more say through community councils, and maintain an open door approach. You say you’re a minority council and don’t have the confidence, well, so would a conservative group of the same number. Having a working majority means we work harder and we make better policy. Consider the wider community and engage more constructively. I’m not afraid of that, nor are my colleagues in the alliance. A change of administration now will clearly lead to a change of policy priorities. Where is your commitment to connecting our communities, protecting the bottom or to our children’s future? I’ve heard nothing apart from money. The last thing we need is months of turmoil while a new administration finds its feat, creating chaos and instability when we need to reset, rebuild and reimagine. Please reject this vote of no confidence.

Cllr Rachel Maidment, supporting Cllr Slade

I became involved in politics a relatively short time ago because I felt disillusioned and unrepresented. The Unity Alliance, and Councillor Slade in particular, have for the first time made me feel I am represented. Bringing together a range of political views and ideas is a strength, not a weakness. Having this collaboration enables us to have broader representation than that of a single whipped party.

As a Unity Alliance, we do not have a weapon, we are free to vote with conscience at all times. But we found that there’s so much more that binds us together than separates us. I am proud to stand alongside my Unity Alliance colleagues and friends. Our diversity in the Alliance and Councillor Slade’s cabinet is a strength. Young people feel engaged and represented more than ever before. We are hearing the voices of those who will be impacted by these decisions for years to come. Ideas are new, they’re innovative, they’re fresh, they replace the old failed methods so clearly rejected by the electorate twelve months ago. And finally, Councillor Slade’s leadership have been nothing short of inspirational. She’s respected across the political spectrum and I have never known a more accessible leader. She leads clearly and with authority, however demonstrates support and empathy to all of us. She is always willing to offer guidance and advice, giving new members like me the confidence to grow and develop, and I couldn’t wish for a better example to learn from.


Councillor Drew Mellor, Conservative Leader

First of all, I’ll start by completely agreeing with Councillor Moore. You know, this is a time for unity and that’s exactly what we offered to sit down and discuss, actively offering to take politics out of this at a time of crisis when the minority alliance is too paralyzed, and three short of a majority. A minority alliance is not what we need at this time. 

The Conservatives were not rejected at the ballot box. We are the largest party, with nineteen more seats than the nearest group, more than double the next largest group. There are as many Conservatives as Alliance members, both with 36, and every Conservative member is currently excluded from the Alliance and from the Cabinet. The Alliance is in itself an opportunistic creation that wasn’t voted on by the electorate. There are many great things in the creation of it, and the politics it purports to represent. I genuinely believe that the Alliance is being able to move some of the politics of BCB forward and we can take it further from here. It shows that a diverse group of people with very different views can work together. And I commend that. It just doesn’t go far enough. It is not a Unity Alliance, but an anti-Conservative alliance, which is not good enough in this time of crisis when it means there is no way to be a minority administration.

Just to be really clear, I’m absolutely not advocating a Conservative takeover, but an alliance that doesn’t exclude any Councillors by their party.And it was raised by Labour, who they could work or who they could work with. But we’ve had it checked with Central Office and every member of this Council would be clear and welcome to work with us. No party would be excluded by us. We’ve got such an opportunity to take this forward. We can do it, we can become a true beacon of democracy where no party is excluded. We need that unity at this time of crisis. And I commend this motion.

Cllr Ann Stribley, Supporting Cllr Mellor

Thank you, Chairman. I hadn’t intended to speak, but having listened to the debate very carefully, I’m disappointed to have noticed that virtually every speaker from the administration was carefully reading a script and not actually listening to what colleagues were saying. No Councillor is elected to be a member of the opposition and therefore the opinions of no Councillor should be disregarded through the operation of the Council, and the fact is that Councillor Slade flatly refused to work with the Conservatives.

Councillor Miles referred to Poole Hospital losing its A&E and seemed to think that was a Conservative issue. If he knew anything about the NHS, he would know that is not so. I have been for nine years a Governor of Poole Hospital, and it was a proposal from the CCG, which initially was very reluctantly used or accepted by Poole Hospital, but in the best interest of the whole population of the area, it was finally acknowledged that the proposals were really the only way forward to maintain first class services for the whole of the population of the area.

The vote of no confidence has nothing to do with the death – of the very unfortunate death – of cancer, of Colin Bungay. It has to do with the two very real concerns of all of my group and of certain other members of the Council. And the final comment from Councillor Brooke saying this proposal is only to power grab and gain control for self interest, one could say that the opposition to that, the refusal to that from the Unity Alliance is also an initiative to retain power and maintain their self-interest


Happening Monday, 15 June

More ‘non-essential’ shops will be opening. In order to emphasise social distancing, there are now (Sunday) lots of signs around the town. Click here to see the complete information, and watch a short town tour below!


25 July – Two Riversmeet Reopens

It was reported in the Bournemouth Echo that the Leisure Centre is opening once more. Fitness classes are taking place, and the gym (with upgraded equipment) and swimming pool are also open.

The article reminds us that social distancing is still vital and that all sessions must be booked by telephone (01202-477987) or online (go here and scroll down the page).

Nothing to do with the article, but the only picture I have! The new skate park last year.