10.35. Chairman opened meeting and gave fire evacuation procedure.
Apologies: Mrs Perkins and John Dymott.
Matters Arising from last meeting – none.
We welcomed Councillor Nicola Greene as representative of the BBC to update on the future of the merger of Bournemouth, Poole and Christchurch which will form the New Council from next April 2019. Christchurch Council is seeking a Judicial Review. We will learn of progress by the end of July.
In April this year representatives from all three Councils met to formulate the new Shadow Body which will then be The Shadow Council. In early June a meeting of representatives was held where the Chairperson was elected and the setting up of committees took place, also the Shadow Executive of 16 members who will take decisions forward. Anything of significance will have to go back to the Shadow Authority. Later in Autumn a Chief Executive will be chosen for the future Council. The Budget for 2019 will be determined in February.
The Boundary Commission has published proposals for the new Authority. Saving costs is the priority. The Boundaries Commission has worked hard on reducing 125 members down to 76. The Commission has done what they see best to ensure equal representation for each Ward. Significant
changes will be made to some Ward areas. The proposed boundary for The Bournemouth Wallisdown Winton West Ward will remain as it is now. The Boundary Commission’s website is available to consult on the proposed changes. Residents who are not familiar with the internet or Town Planning can visit their Libraries.
A resident highlighted the work load and with only two Councillors would we be under represented? Cllr Greene explained that bearing in mind some councillors have other jobs they will have to work that much harder to look after their residents in that Ward!
All three Councils coming together will be creating something new and serving 400,000 residents, having said that, Bournemouth and Poole are already working closely together. Cllr Philips commented that new committees coming together will be working for the greater good of the residents regardless of party politics. Some teething problems are to be expected.
Cllr Greene expressed that it will be a challenging experience to provide the services we all care about. Adults and Children’s Services takes up 80% of what the Council raises. Having said that there is an ambitious programme to develop an economy that works for residents.
A resident raised the issue of prime location car parks being sold off for flats, Cllr Greene explained that all town centre car parking used was going to be replaced elsewhere. The council is not trying to kill off town trade as at the present moment the footfall has increased.
A resident raised the spending monies from Bournemouth Council assets. These can only be spent once. So where will the funding come for future expenditure if used on short term expenses?
Cllr Greene informed us that any Council assets being sold off could only be used to invest in something that will remain in the council’s ownership. Such as the 100 properties the Council has purchased to help accommodate people whilst they are waiting for permanent housing. This will not only be an asset for the future but will also save the cost of temporary accommodation in the private sector.
A resident asked about Council Tax increases knowing that the Government support will cease in 2020. Cllr Greene explained that the level of increases in Council taxes will be controlled by the Government. The intentions are to harmonise the Council Tax between the three councils within the next 7 years.
In respect of forums in the future. It was highlighted by Cllr Phillips that a lot has been achieved in our Ward through our Area Forum Meetings and more should be done to promote the quarterly Residents Public Meetings.
A resident was shocked to see that new saplings planted in Talbot Rise, near the allotments appeared to have been mown down. Cllr Hedges said that he would follow this up.