(2f) July 2018

28 June 2018

It’s A Horse’s Life!

Those who walk there may have seen the horses in the field near Waitrose’s car park. With the traffic roaring by on the A35, you might think that the horses would keep as far away as possible. It is a big field after all.

However, for a few days the weather has been hot, and they have discovered a shady area. It could have been made for them. One is even lying down to relax.

The header picture puts it in context. Mobile – image available here.

Horses near Waitrose, Christchurch, on a hot day

More About the Weather

That morning I had also been surprised to see the ever-cheerful BBC presenter, Carol Kirkwood, on Avon Beach to give us the weather. So after a hurried breakfast it was down there to photograph her in action. She was smiling and joking all the time, even when ‘serious’ preparation was being undertaken.

Carol Kirkwood in Christchurch, 28 June 2018
A bit of fun between forecasts.
Click for a large picture

As I walked down I spoke to a couple who were watching.

“She’s cheerful even when not on TV.”
“Yes,” they replied, “she’s lovely.”

She did have to practise, though, but she did stumble over one local word. See the short video at the bottom. To be fair, it’s a tricky word unless you know it!

Carol Kirkwood in Christchurch, 28 June 2018
Serious practice, yet still with a smile.
Click for a large picture

Finally, a report in today’s Bournemouth Echo, which includes a gallery with some much better pictures than mine.

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29 June 2018

The Cliff Top Shelter

£60,000 has been allocated for improvements to the shelter. Highcliffe residents, businesses and visitors are being consulted. It is part of the Dorset Coastal Connections portfolio, and is intended to improve the visitor experience.

Highcliffe Cliff Top Shelter
7.30am, 29 June

Natalie Poulter, the portfolio co-ordinator, said, “We know the shelter is well-used year round, and enjoyed by visitors and locals alike, but over the years it has suffered from the exposed conditions it endures, and is now in need of a bit of TLC. We’d like to take a fresh and creative look at the shelter with the community, and make sure we are planning improvements that will benefit local residents as well as the visitors who also make use of the site.”

One idea is to improve signposting towards the Highcliffe businesses and its recreational opportunities.

The shelter itself will be improved, or replaced, though this decision will not be taken until the community feedback has been considered.

If you have any ideas, please comment below. All suggestions will be passed on.

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2 July 2018

News About Shoe Zone – to be a Coffee Shop?

Shoe Zone - outside
Shoe Zone – Corner of the High Street and Milhams Street

UPDATE, 9 July: Baggies’ coffee shop concerns. (Echo article)

This shop closed over a year ago, and Coffee #1 has applied for permission to open there. It already has branches in Southbourne, Winton, Poole and Ringwood. If the Council grants permission it would provide ten jobs – four full-time and six part-time – and would be open from 7am to 7pm Monday to Saturday and from 8:30am to 6pm on Sundays.

Click to go to Coffee #1 website

This is a Grade 2 listed building situated within the Christchurch Central Conservation Area. However no physical alterations, either internal nor external, are proposed.

This is what planning consultants Boyer said on behalf of Coffee #1: ‘The company prides itself on the excellence of its coffee and the high quality and careful design of the stores. This approach has been acknowledged by the many awards won over recent years including the 2016 Café Life Regional Chain of the Year award and the Sammies Chain Sandwich Retailer of the Year Award 2017.

The necessary full advert and listed building consent applications regarding shop front alterations, advertisements and internal alterations will be submitted if the current proposal is approved. The proposal would improve the vitality and viability of the town centre by utilising a currently vacant unit, re-introduce an element (approximately 40%) of retail use into the primary frontage and create activity and vibrancy in this part of the High Street.’

Shoe Zone – inside
Click for larger picture


Update, 16 July (Scroll up for the background)

Today I went to Baggies for a coffee. Intending to get a few photographs. The downstairs was quite full, so here are three photographs taken upstairs. I am in favour of Coffee #1 opening across the road in the old Shoe Zone – it must be better than a closed establishment – but am quite sure that Baggies will continue to thrive. The manager was very helpful, too, though I did not, of course, tell him about this article, or that I was going to take a few sneaky pictures!

Baggies of Christchurch
Baggies, early on Monday morning. It was almost full downstairs.
Click for a larger version
Baggies of Christchurch
Very quiet – for the moment – upstairs.
Click for a larger version
Baggies of Christchurch
I had a latte. It came with a bun, for £2.75. It was delicious, but I should have stirred it AFTER the photograph! Click for a larger version

On the previous Thursday, July 12, in the Christchurch Times, the following article appeared:’

‘A café owner in Christchurch has urged the council to avoid letting another coffee shop open in the town centre.

‘Mike Ismail, director and owner of Baggies Coffee House, has launched a petition calling for the refusal of plans to open Coffee #One at the former Shoe Zone store on High Street.

‘The shop has been vacant for over a year, but Mr Ismail claims the town is already inundated with too many food outlets.

‘In a letter objecting to the plans, which have been submitted to Christchurch Borough Council’s planning department, Mr Ismail identifies 28 food outlets currently in the town centre, without including Waitrose and M&S.

‘The business owner, who has run the High Street café for six years, says over time customer attitudes have changed and the variety of shops to attract visitors has diminished.

‘The businessman has set up a petition, which has been signed by almost 100 people earlier this week.

“To have this many food businesses in the town of this size is a crazy situation,” Mr Ismail said.

“Council do not understand how we are suffering. I work every single day by Christmas Day and New Year’s Day to keep my business running.”

‘Mr Ismail has put his own establishment up for sale and said there are currently seven businesses listed on the market online.

‘Residents in Christchurch agreed there were enough coffee shops. Bob Tucker, from Christchurch said: There are definitely too many. It is difficult because you are not getting the people coming to the town to shop.”

‘Mudeford resident Vera Murray said: “There should not be another one. If they reduce the rents and rates businesses will stand a chance.”

‘David Worrall, who is also from Mudeford, said: “I think there are too many but I like Coffee #1. It is one of my favourites. I like to support the independents if they are good.”

‘Julie Saunders, from Friars Cliff, said: “There are a lot of coffee shops but they are better than charity shops. It is a shame we cannot have more boutique style shops.”

‘A statement submitted by planning consultants Boyer on behalf of Coffee #1 says: ‘The proposal would improve the vitality and viability of the town centre by utilising a currently vacant unit, re-introduce an element (approximately 40%) of retail use into the primary frontage and create activity and vibrancy in this part of the High Street.’

17 July: More about it in The Echo

13 November: Permission for Coffee #1 to open has been denied. The minutes of the Council meeting are not yet published, so meanwhile here is the Echo report.

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7 July 2018

A Good Day for Children from Grenfell Tower

Highcliffe School invited pupils from Oxford Gardens Primary School, near to Grenfell Tower, and took them for an activity day in Moors Valley Country Park.

The picture below is from The Echo. It has been blurred – click on the picture to see the excellent high-resolution version, three more, and a good article.

Grenfell Tower in Dorset
Grenfell Tower at Highcliffe
Click the picture to go to the Echo article

Here are some comments on the NextDoor local blog. Special thanks to Ruth, from Mudeford, for the introductory comment and the picture below.


Really good to see children from the primary school next to Grenfell Tower yesterday on their friendship day with Highcliffe School enjoying an afternoon of fun and games on the beach. Christchurch life saving club provided life guards, equipment, trainers and helpers to ensure everyone enjoyed the fun.

Grenfell Tower in Dorset


  • How wonderful- well done indeed to Highcliffe School
  • That’s the sort of ‘Twinning’ that really makes sense. Well done Highcliffe School
  • At last we are doing something worthwhile … well done, a good cause. Keep it up.
  • Brilliant what a kind gesture
  • Yes it is wonderful and an example of a genuine hand of friendship from youngsters is an inspiration to us all.
  • How wonderful – well done indeed to Highcliffe School.
  • Yes, congratulations to Highcliffe School and well done for arranging good weather.

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Sir Christopher Chope – In the news again!

A couple of weeks ago Sit Christopher’s objection to the Upskirting Bill caused something of a scandal, though relatively little controversy. There is a balanced report in The Spectator. His response to the criticism on BBC News is in the video below, taken from my TV. First attempt – the sound is quite soft!

Sir Christopher, with scissors, opening Highcliffe Post Office, October 16 2017. Click for the report (opens in a new window).

Today it was reported in The Echo that he has also objected to a bill to ‘… allow the Commons chamber to be used in the autumn to host the Women MPs of the World conference, and was put forward by a cross-party group of MPs.’

Read the Echo article here. Comments are also possible about that article, though you have to register (a simple process).

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19 July 2018

Edgar and Scott has now sadly closed.

Edgar and Scott, Christchurch

Thank you

Edgar and Scott Christchurch
The notice.with well-dressed young man! Click for a slightly larger picture.

I opened Edgar and Scott in 2012 and have enjoyed every moment of my time in Christchurch. My family and I have got to know some of you very well and customers have become friends.

Due to the increasing costs and pressures of the High Street I have reluctantly decided to close the shop and move on to new projects. I am incredibly sorry that the shop will no longer be here for you.

I have been part of Christchurch High Street for 10 years in one form or another and have seen first-hand just how rewarding it can be to work in, but also how it is in serious need of new ideas, greater support and more investment.

My family and I want to thank you for all the kind support you have given us over the years. It has been a lot of fun and it was a genuine pleasure to serve you.

Best wishes

Tim and Family

Edgard and Scott, Christchurch
All is bare: The inside

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27 July 2018

Yesterday there was an article on the back page of the Christchurch Times, including one of their frequent informal surveys about local issues. In addition to the views below, Cllr Peter Hall said that the issue of empty shops is seen in many places around the country.

This week nine people were asked their opinion of the High Street. Here are a few of their opinions:

  • It is a countrywide problem really. Shopping online is easier, and the world is changing so fast.
  • I don’t think the problem is just here. I’m sure online shopping is part of the issue. I think we have too many coffee shops.
  • The town centre is dying. It is all coffee shops and we don’t need so many. The independents need help.
  • I was brought up here and visit a lot and there always seems to be a good footfall. Most people seem to spend a lot of money.
  • I have noticed some businesses have closed down. It is the same in New Milton and many other towns.
  • When it is busy you need a lot of coffee shops, but there isn’t the widest offering of shops.

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31 July 2018

Two rather sad photos. Not only have Edgar and Scott, and Cheese & Alfies, gone, but I was surprised on Monday to see that fonecustomize, next to the Post Office, is no longer there. It seemed to be quite busy when it was open.

Christchurch Post Office
Happier times. Both shops open. Taken 5 February.
Click for a larger version
Gone too! Taken 30 July.
Click for a larger version

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