Local Government Reorganisation

Following the decision from the Secretary of State, the Rt. Hon. Sajid Javid that he is ‘minded-to’ approve the Future Dorset submission to reorganise local government in Dorset into two unitary councils, Christchurch Borough Council recently carried out a local poll seeking the views of our residents.

Of those who voted, 84% voted against the proposal for Christchurch to become part of the council with Bournemouth and Poole councils and Christchurch Borough Council has now made its formal representation to the Secretary of State setting out its alternative proposal for local government reorganisation in Dorset.

At its meeting on 2 January councillors agreed by a majority of 13 for, none against and six abstentions, to write to the Secretary of State setting out its proposal that Bournemouth and Poole councils unite and become one single unitary council whilst the rest of Dorset remains as it is operating a two-tier system with the county council and district/ borough councils. The council believes that with increased partnership working and sharing of services, such as the Dorset Waste Partnership and the Stour Valley and Poole Partnership the estimated savings would be £29.9m.

The council is requesting additional time from the Secretary of State to work up a full business plan on this proposal which it believes would yield the same annual savings as the Future Dorset submission. A final decision on the Future Dorset submission is expected in the next couple of months and the full representation sent to the Secretary of State can be read online at www.dorsetforyou.com

Avon Beach Promenade

As part of the council’s ongoing programme of works to improve and renovate coastal defences, the lower section of the promenade will be raised by approximately 900mm and some of the promenade widened. The improvements will ensure better protection for the promenade and cliffs, along with the residential streets and properties above.

Following an open tender process, PT Contractors Ltd were awarded the contract in December 2017. They will commence work on Monday 22 January 2018 and construction is expected to last approximately eight weeks.

The owner of the promenade beach huts will temporarily remove them from site, whilst the works are carried out, and it is anticipated that they will be returned in time for the Easter bank holiday weekend.

Pine Beach redevelopment

Following the grant of planning permission for 10 flats in December 2016 a further application which sought to enlarge the approved building. The application was refused by Christchurch Council and an appeal was lodged with the Planning Inspectorate. The Inspector dismissed the appeal concluding that the refused application would result in material harm to the character and appearance of the area as it would stand out as harmfully discordant and detrimental, but would not be harmful to neighbour’s living conditions or highway safety. The 2016 planning permission for the redevelopment of the site remains extant.

MoD / MCA site at Steamer Point

The Maritime and Coastguard Agency is marketing the site for sale and redevelopment. No further planning applications have been received.

Coastal Strategy

A report will be going to Community Committee on 24th Jan which will recommend that we do not produce a strategy at this time pending the Secretary of State’s second minded to decision on future local government reorganisation in Christchurch. The paper proposes to address the operational issues and pass on the principles which have come out of the consultation for consideration once future local government structure is determined.

Highcliffe Castle Heritage lottery bid works

The Castle building remains closed to visitors whilst Greendale work in the central part of the building.

Over the last month more floors have been installed in the Penlease Wing along with drainage, asbestos removal, masonry repairs and lift shaft preparation work

The replacement and extension of the fire detection and alarm systems has commenced

The shop has been enlarged and at the end of March the existing shop will reopen for the summer with some areas screened off. The final shop-fitting to the whole shop will take place in spring 2019

New steel staircases have carefully been craned into the building through a 400mm wide window opening. When completed they will provide access to the 2nd and 3rd floors in the East Tower and the Activity Room above the Dining Room.

Greendale left the site and working areas clean and tidy so that the planned Christmas and New Years weddings took place

The grounds, car park and Tea Rooms remain open and parts of the castle building will again be re-opened to the public in Spring 2018.

Highcliffe Castle Zig-Zag path

A member-led Task and Finish Group is looking at ways to deliver an affordable reconstruction of the zig zag path and will be reporting its initial findings to the Full Council meeting on 20 February.

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