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ON THIS PAGE THE FCRA COMMITTEE HOPES TO LIST UP-TO-DATE INFORMATION ON ALL PLANNING APPLICATIONS AND OTHER PROPOSALS FOR DEVELOPMENT THAT ARE A CAUSE OF CONCERN TO IT. THE PAGE ALSO CONTAINS CONSIDERABLE INPUT BY ACRA (The Alliance of Christchurch Residents Associations).
Local Government re-organization.  Back in 2015 the Conservative Party (George Osborne) made a policy to cut all Central Government grant aid to local authorities by 2020, seeking instead to make local authorities more financially self-sufficient  They only see this working if the many and various local authorities that exist at present amalgamate into bigger ones, such as has happened to Wiltshire and The Isle of Wight.  
The story so far...(August 2017 update, but see below)  Click here for Dave Barnes' Report  to CBC Scrutiny Committee held on 8 December 2015. Research into the various options moved apace. Click here for a time-table report, which with some slippage in timings has happened and the matter is in the hands of the Minister, but the entire matter has been put on hold by the 2017 General Election. Following the less-than-best result for Mrs May, all policies appear to be under fresh scrutiny.  Our MP, Christopher Chope, and most of the CBC councillors are continuing to hold out against Christchurch merging with Bournemouth/Poole, the latest initiative is to put CBC back into Hampshire as it was pre 1974.  The whole issue is not high on Central Government's list of priorities.....  Meanwhile, if you remain interested in the history of the matter, read on...
August 2016 saw positive movement. The independent Financial Review body set up to carry out the necessary research issued a report, as a result of which, the whole issue was put out for public consultation. Click here for details.  
There are four proposals being discussed for the authorities in which Friars Cliff falls: (1) No change to the existing structure.  (This may have been considered by the Financial Review to show how financially costly this would be) (2) Amalgamation of Christchurch, Bournemouth, Poole and East Dorset into one unitary authority, the rest of Dorset forming the other - county functions to be split between the two authorities, (3) As (2), but placing East Dorset into the second authority, (4) As (2) but placing Christchurch as well as East Dorset in the second authority, leaving Bournemouth and Poole (only) to merge together.  A fifth possibility, the amalgamation of all 9 authorities presently in Dorset into one big authjority, has been dismissed outright as not being acceptable to Central Government.  Public Consultation ran until 25th October 2016.
The outcome has been received with mixed feelings.
Of the very small number of questionnaires returned, overwhelming support was for Option 3 above, ie Christchurch (only) joining Bournemouth and Poole.  However, a groundswell of Christchurch citizens, back by our MP, Christopher Chope, have argued for no change (Option 1 above) - primarily because Christchurch is the only Council of the nine in Dorset whose finances are in the black. Why should our money go to pay off Bournemouth and Poole's massive debts? This argument has found favour with the majority of Christchurch Councillors who, at the meeting of the full Council held on 31st January 2017 voted by 11 to 8 for the 'no change' option. Of the nine councils in Dorset, two others (Purbeck and East Dorset) have also voted for no change. Ray Nottage, the former Leader of CBC, was always in favour of Option 3 and this has partially lead to his downfall. So there remains hope for the 'no change' option. However the Minister may yet say that the democratic choice (by 6 to 3) is in favour of Option 3.
The big fear remains that, if Option 3 proceeds, the large debts held by Bournemouth, Poole and Dorset County will lead to a massive increase in Council Tax, even though the Financial Review sees this being harmonised over a 20-year period.... Another major fear is that if Christchurch merges with Bournemouth, we will become a second rate town, (over?)ruled by our bigger neighbour, but there may be little you or I can now do about it.
Our 'democratic choice' will only come with the elections of new councillors, originally planned for 2019, but who now knows?

Dorset Combined Authority.  This is a different aspect of local government re-organization. Click here for details. Although a public consultation exercise has been taking place (it closed on Friday, 17th June 2016), it seems likely to go ahead.

PLANNING APPLICATIONS

Note: If you click on a planning link, you should go to the correct page on the council website, but you may have to accept a disclaimer before you reach the details.

The 'Noisy Lobster' Cafe. 
Whereas the FCRA committee are pleased with the success of this venture, particularly the attractions and facilities for trippers and locals in equal measure, also the extent of employment for young adults, the cafe owners keep coming up with proposals for developments that could have adverse effects on the local community, eg increased levels of noise, traffic, etc. especially at a late hour.  The first planning application for a first-floor extension on top of the cafe building to provide a facility room (click 8/15/0568 for details) was refused by CBC Planning Committee on 7th January 2016. However a new application, 8/16/0622, was lodged in the summer. Click Plans, Pictures, Objection for details. The September 2016 Committee meeting refused the application.  In March 2017 - the cafe owners appealed but this was rejected by the inspector as being "overly intrusive"
! 

Meanwhile, in the spring of 2017 the cafe owners joined up with the Council to build a storm wall of concrete blocks along Avon Beach. Because this was done under 'storm protection' measures, no planning or other consultation was deemed necessary. CBC has agreed, subject to financial contribution from the cafe owners AND SUBJECT TO PLANNING CONSENT (not yet applied for, but to which we can make representation in due course), that come the autumn works will be carried out to raise the walk-way, including that part that the beach huts stand on, to the same level as is now at either end.  Hard copies of the proposals were distributed at the Quarterly Meeting on 3rd March 2017. Details here, by kind consent of Steve Woolard, CBC's Coastal Engineer. THEY ARE NOT TO BE COPIED, but further details can now be found displayed on notice boards at various locations along the beach.


Pinebeach site, 53 Southcliffe Road, Friars Cliff.
Following closure of the Nursing Home at the end of 2015, a planning application was lodged with CBC for 'erection of 7 x 2 bed and 3 x 3 bed block of flats with associated parking following demolition of existing property'. This was 'deferred', but a new application was lodged. For further details, click on the application number 8/16/1842/FUL.  The new (2nd) application showed a similar sized development, but with a much more sympathetic external appearance, particularly the sloping roofs. Planning consent was duly granted. However, a new (3rd) application has been lodged, increasing the size of the proposed development. Again, for full details, click on the new application number 8/17/0184/FUL.  This application has been refused, one major reason being that it would be in breach of the Building Line in the street.  It is not presently known what will happen next, if anything...


Roeshot Hill Gravel Extraction (not to be confused with the Roeshot Hill allotments, whose land has been earmarked for housing development - see next item) - The Meyrick Estate (of Hinton Admiral) are planning to extract gravel from a large site north of the railway, to the west of the Pick-your-own farm up the A35.  This of itself does not cause concern, but yes the large number of lorries travelling to and from the site.     Description.  Map.  2013 Report.  Initial emails from and to ACRA.

Roeshot Hill Housing Development.  It is the long-term policy of Christchurch Borough Council to see housing development on some or all of the land between the by-pass and the railway.  Consultation exercises are in hand and Taylor Wimpey have been chosen as the developers.  They have now (January 2017) submitted a new application. Click 8/16/2932/OUT for details.
Three issues of concern are: first will the Roeshot Hill allotments be allowed to remain where they are (the new application appears to provide so), secondly a large area of housing should not be built without provision of necessary support facilities, eg shops, schooling, health care, (still missing from the new application), thirdly if Christchurch amalgamates with Bournemouth (as threatened above) will all the social housing go to Bournemouth residents?

MCA site (on cliff top at Steamer Point).  The MCA have vacated the site.  They submitted two Planning Applications (8/13/0443 and 8/14/0461) for residential development. The case against. The Council refused both, but in September 2015 the second application (for up to 26 units) was approved on appeal, but with stringent conditions, particularly regarding safeguards for the trees on site and the adjoining Nature Reserve. The consent was for outline consent only. No application for detailed consent has yet been submitted.  We understand that in November 2016 the MCA chose a Poole-based builder, who has worked in Sandbanks, as the probable developer, but he has presently withdrawn over problems regarding access, The access road, although owned by CBC, is not public highway, so there is no automatic right of way over it. CBC areminded to grant these rights if a price can be agreed. The FCRA Committee will keep a look-out for develpoments, including any detailed planning application.



HISTORICAL CASES


In March 2017 a planning application was been submitted to CBC to erect a permanant timber building on Mudeford Quay. Click 8/17/0341/FUL for details.  It was refused.

The Warden's House, Steamer Point Nature Reserve. Following the retirement of Peter Holloway as Country Warden, he has had to vacate the house, as it went with the job.  The building was formerly part of the MoD defence buildings on this site, the Information Centre being another. Planning consent was granted in 1984 for its use as a dwelling, but for occupation by a warden only.  None of the current wardens wish to use it, so the Council have decided to let it as a holiday home, but they needed to remove the 'warden only' restriction.  Planning application number 8/16/0380/CONDR.was approved on 26th May 2016. It thus allows the Council to use the property for 'holiday lets', which would be consecutive, not concurrent, ie there will be one letting at a time. The house has two bedrooms, able to sleep four people. It is unlikely to generate more road traffic than in the days of Peter's occupation. It has had several lettings already since November 2016 and seems to be a success. .

Town Centre Development. These CBC proposals were put to public consultation in October 2014 .
Your webmaster's comments.   ACRA/CBC Qs & As.  
A 24-page booklet has now been published. (Our thanks to West Christchurch RA for this copy. It is NOT available in the Library).  It seems that few, if any, of the concerns expressed by the public during the consultation exercise have been met.

It may be relevant that CBC agreed with DCC in January 2016 to carry out a feasability study into a new relief road for Christchurch.  Click here for details.  As at June 2016 there appears to be no further news.

Town Centre 'Cornfactor' Site. This is the site that lies between the High Street and Druitt Gardens, where there was much controversy over the removal of 4 trees that were the subject of a Preservation Order. Following the refusal of the High Court to grant a Judicial Review, this Report was presented to CBC's Scrutiny Committee in August 2014. Agenda with link to Minutes. Minutes of further meeting held in October.  September 2015 - the development is finished, the Gardens mostly restored, with the removed trees replaced by new ones, which are admittedly much younger, but your webmaster considers the end result to be quite pleasing. If you disagree, let him know!  The flats in the development are, apparantly only selling slowly.

Navitus Bay Wind Farm was planned to be built off the Needles & Christchurch.  This would have been a national government sanctioned project to be administered by the Crown in a similar way to the exploration & production licences awarded for North Sea oil & gas exploration and production. Click on the websites below for further details (and see also under ACRA below):
navitusbaywindpark.co.uk        challengenavitus.org.uk     the Planning Inspectorate
- PCBA website  Objections by PCBA  
11th September 2015.  Energy Minister Lord Bourne announced development consent has been refused for the proposed Navitus Bay offshore wind park.  Click Gov.UK for official details and Dorset Echo for comments

Waterford Lodge Hotel, Bure Lane As from January 2014 the hotel was demolished to make way for flats. At first it appeared that the flats would be called 'Pinebeach', which might have caused confusion with the well-established Nursing Home of the same name in Southcliffe Road, but their permanent name has reverted to Waterford Lodge.  Ironically, the Nursing Home closed just before Xmas 2015! - and now see above.


What's your opinion?
- Let the committee know



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