__________There has been a lot of discussion about the old police station, near to the Fountain roundabout. It has been empty and boarded up for some time. On May 6 2018, The Echo online published an article about a proposed development. It consists of over a hundred new homes for a variety of affordable rent, shared ownership and sale on the open market. There would also be fifty retirement flats and some shops. This is obviously a major development on a prime site right in the centre of town. Two of the many comments in the Echo show different opinions about this:
- Nice to see some affordable homes being built by Aster, a local housing association, rather than the usual speculative developments.
- More houses will just mean more second homes for minted Londoners moving down and killing the local jobs economy for normal people. My brother lives in Christchurch, the 3 bed house next to his was snapped up by a Londoner who only uses it 2 weeks a year.
- Update, 22 May: More in The Echo about the Police Station
- Update, 15 May: New concern about this development. Echo article
CHRISTCHURCH TIMES, 14 JUNE: Concerns Over Station SchemeFrustrations boiled over at a residents’ meeting to discuss plans for the former police station site in Christchurch. More than 200 people packed into Christchurch Baptist Church to quiz representatives from the Aster Group about their proposals for the site. Officers from Christchurch Borough Council’s planning department were also on hand to field questions about the planning process and factors that are considered in determining an application. The Christchurch Citizens’ Association meeting saw concerned residents turn out in large numbers to vent their views on the initial plans for the town centre location. Aster Group’s vision for the site, which includes the former police station, Magistrates Court buildings, the Pit Site and Bargates car parks, and private gardens from properties on Barrack Road feature 106 new homes, retail units and 54 retirement flats. So Bungey, chair of Christchurch Citizens Association, said: “It was worthwhile having the meeting. However because of the level of passion and understandable concern people have it did develop into quite a volatile meeting. The questions were not all answered satisfactorily by Aster Group and that did not help the situation. The loss of the Pit Site is terrible and businesses in Bargates have real concerns. Traffic in this area of the town is going to be even worse.” Aster Group is still in the midst of a consultation process, which is set to continue before the formal planning application is submitted.
The Public MeetingHere is a summary of an article in the Christchurch Times on May 17: A range of concerns about plans to redevelop the former police station site in Christchurch town centre were expressed. including issues about access, car parking and the overall nature of the major housing and retail scheme was expressed by the community at a consultation on Tuesday. Aster group showed their initial plans (photographs below) to the public at the event in the Kings Arms pavilion. This site includes the former police station, the magistrates court buildings, Bargates and Pitside car parks, the former Goose and Timber pub and sections of private gardens. Aster is preparing an application to Christchurch Borough Council to build more than 100 homes with retail units and 50 retirement flats. Here are some comments from local residents:
- Stephanie King, (Burton): There are so many beautiful trees around that site and I’m worried they could go. I’m also very concerned about the traffic situation and about doctors, dentists and schools.
- Deborah Austin, (Stanpit): I think it is a good idea that site needs rejuvenating and it will provide much-needed housing.
- Aster hopes to submit a planning application later this year after taking on board the feedback from the consultation event. The housing association is already accepting interest in proposed homes.
Bournemouth Echo, 4 August: VandalismWindows on the first floor of the building on Barrack Road were smashed, while others were badly cracked. Additional fencing and warning notices have been put up around the site. Doors and windows on the ground floor of the building have been boarded up for months. The police station closed to the public in March 2015. Dorset Police operations left the site in August last year, with officers moving in with the fire service at the station on Fairmile Road. The Bargates site is earmarked for redevelopment, with housing developers Aster Group proposing to bulldoze all the buildings on the land, which includes the former Magistrates Court, to build a residential and retail scheme. A planning application has not yet been submitted to the council.
8 October: Proposals being consideredA little news about the progress of the development.
4 December: Initial plans submitted (ref 8/18/3263/FUL) In an article in today’s Echo, there are details of the initial proposal for the site. There are a lot of documents, so here is the link to the Council website so that you can look for yourself. Go to View Documents on that page. The summary is here: Erection of 131 residential dwellings, 39 units of age-restricted sheltered accommodation (C3), and 612 m2 of flexible commercial/community space (A1, A2, A3, A4, B1, D1 (Museum only) use classes), new road between Bargates and Barrack Road, new vehicular access from Barrack Road (to serve sheltered accommodation only), new private and semi-private gardens, public open space, hard and soft landscaping, surface vehicular parking and residential garages, following the demolition of the Police Station and Magistrates’ Court, nos. 23 and 41 Barrack Road, former Goose and Timber public house, and ancillary buildings and structures. Finally, an entirely random picture taken from one of the plans:
8 December – Article in the Bournemouth Echo This article is exciting – Aster Group say that, ‘Our vision is that ‘everyone has a home’ and at the heart of our organisation, we are focused on providing homes for those that need them, and at a price point they can afford.’ Sounds good – but is it full of promise, yet signifying nothing? Time will tell.
13 December – Science Centre Today in The Echo it is reported that Mission Ignition are proposing a science centre in the old police station. They say, ‘A key element of the centre would be the provision of much needed resource for community groups, such as U3A, Christchurch History Society and Café Scientifique.’ I have not been able to find more information about them, except that there is a Channel Four programme called Mission Ignition, which involves driving cars very quickly! That is nothing to do with this. Here is what Dr Peters said: ‘Having an informed conversation, with young and old, is vital to addressing problems faced by society and ensuring people have a choice of the full range of career options.’ I am not sure what it is called: it is either Mission Ignition or Mission re-Ignition, depending on which source you read! There is more information in The Echo about the plans, including some useful images. Finally, here is a link to the latest planning application, made at the end of November. Warning – there is a lot of it!