Agenda item

Public Issues

To receive any public questions, statements or petitions submitted in accordance with the Constitution. Further information on the requirements for submitting these is available to view at the following link:-

The deadline for the submission of public questions is 4 clear working days before the meeting.

The deadline for the submission of a statement is midday the working day before the meeting.

The deadline for the submission of a petition is 10 working days before the meeting.


The Cabinet was advised that 20 Public statements had been received for this meeting. There were no public questions or petitions. The Democratic Services Officer advised that one question and two statements had been received but did not meet the requirements within the Council’s procedure rules for public items. The statements were dealt with as follows:


1.       Statement from Mr Bob Lister (Chairman, Poole Beach Huts Association) read out by Mr Alan Cook


Beach Hut Pricing:

We are disappointed that due process has not been followed, Councillors outside of the Administration, have been side lined and not been given the opportunity to question these policies or proposals.


In Poole 42% increase over 5 years for Beach Hut Tenants is totally unacceptable, the lack of service & facilities has deteriorated, Tenants asked to fund general Seafront costs.


Sadly, 8K circa will vote to replace this Tory Administration.  The PFH mistakenly wrote, that taxpayers should not subsidise Beach Huts, yet in Poole £3.2m pa is received only £400K is ringfenced, balance to BCP for Services!


2.       Statement from Mr Alan Cook (Chairman, Friar’s Cliff Beach Hut Association)


This proposal before Cabinet is a clear attempt to subsidise all the Seafront Operations and bolster the MTFP by penalising Beach Hut Tenants to the tune of an additional £10M over the next five years.


The tenants already pay rents of £7M a year which contributes £5M to subsidise the Seafront.


The Council sidelined our alternative proposal to uplift the rents by an inflationary 10% which would have given us a year to work on a sensitive and practical harmonisation plan.


Cabinet should not endorse this proposal, it penalises local residents and will cause political damage to this administration.



3.       Statement from Ms Debbie Dowsett. Vice-Chair Bournemouth Beach Huts Association - read out by Mr Alan Cook


Bournemouth Beach Hut Association strongly urges rejection of the proposal before cabinet.


To say we have been consulted and our views considered is a total misrepresentation. Councillors have failed to respond to our emails. Our costed alternative for 2023/24 and suggestion of a year to find a fairer alternative has been ignored. Promised updates and reports have not been provided so how is that consultation?


We believe this is a blatant attempt to get the proposal agreed without scrutiny. Beach hut users are expected to fund unrelated expenditure as they are deemed to be affluent.


4.       Statement from Mr Darren Pidwell, Chairman Mudeford Sandbank Beach Hut Association, read out by Mr Steve Barratt


Despite the fact that we presented an equitable alternative which would have still delivered the MTFP objectives and allowed both Officers and the various BHA’s to build a detailed harmonisation plan over the course of the next 12 months, this is a cynical attempt to raid the pockets of hut licence holders with the vague promise of improved facilities, details of which have not been established or presented to us. The plan as presented is flawed in its argument, our input has been ignored, and as a result, we object in the strongest possible terms to the plan as presented.


Statements in relation to Agenda Item 8 - Whitecliff Rd/ Keyhole Bridge Further Review


All following statements were read out by the Democratic Services Officer:


5.       Statement from Mr Mark Huband, on behalf of Network Rail


I understand that the Council is considering relaxing the width restriction on the above structure. This is likely to increase the chances of bridges strikes at this location with an impact on train performance. The Council should be working with Network Rail in accordance with the protocol on bridge strike management to take measures to reduce bridge strikes. The relaxing of the width restriction does not appear to be within the spirit of the protocol.  I request that the width restriction is not relaxed or at the very least until the full implication on bridge strikes is considered and discussed.



6.       Statement from Mr Mark Sanders, Local Resident


I hope this decision is about people, parks and peace rather than politics.


I regularly walk between sandbanks Road and Poole through Poole Park. The steam of cars and vans assuming ’right of way’ have spoilt this walk since keyhole bridge was re-opened.


As a car owner I get their utility to visit parks but NOT to just use them as an alternative through route - that’s simply selfish.



7.       Statement from Mr Bob Salter, Local Resident


Keeping Keyhole Bridge open to motorised vehicles does not align with the commitment of aiming to get 50% journeys within BCP on foot/scooter/bike/public transport by 2030, which was agreed to by 55:5 in the full council meeting on 5th December 2022. This is partly because when the bridge is flooded, it is a lengthy 1.6km diversion for those on foot/scooter/bike/wheelchair. Option C to close the bridge could allow the footpath to be raised to overcome flooding issues, so that the bridge remains accessible as a walking/cycling/scooting route at all times.



8.       Statement from Keyhole Safety Group


There is a 6ft width restriction on Keyhole Bridge.  During surveys carried out by Keyhole Bridge Group 100% of motor vehicles using the bridge were in contravention of this order.  The Council cannot claim there is an economic case for drivers to use this route when it requires drivers to contravene a traffic order.  As this economic case was the only justification for the decision to reopen the bridge it follows that the decision cannot stand.


We also refer Cabinet members to correspondence submitted by Network Rail and our legal representative objecting to any amendment to the width restriction order.



9.       Statement from Ms Sue Smith, Local Resident


The consultations on the Keyhole Bridge ETRO identified a category of people whose reason for travelling to the area is to park (free) in Whitecliff Road. The second stage report shows that this is the biggest group asking for the bridge to stay open to traffic and also the biggest group objecting to it being closed or to running a further trial.  It would be short-sighted to make policy decisions based on the convenience of this group and where they choose to park, particularly as the parking would still be available to them with the bridge closed to traffic.



10.     Statement from Ms Lucie Allen, Chair BH Active Travel


Let’s not dwell on Government’s Gear Change policy, nor the consultation results - as based on these alone, the decision to close Keyhole would be obvious.

Instead, I’d like you to imagine yourself under the bridge. Now imagine yourself pushing a relative in a wheelchair. Now, pushing a buggy whilst holding the hand of a three-year-old. Now you’re a parent, cycling with a six-year-old to the swings. Now you’re a pensioner, out for your daily walk to your local park.

Now imagine a blind bend, no pavement, and cars approaching from both directions and being told, to ‘Share the Space’….


11.     Statement from Mr Simon Carter, Local Resident


I’ve seen that there is a 6ft width restriction on the Keyhole bridge so don’t see how the Council can claim this is an essential route. 

Given the current size of cars, 6ft means that there are minimal cars that should be using it, not even a Smart car! Surely this means It can’t possibly be called an essential route.



12.     Statement from Mr David Colpman, Local Resident


In 2021 a resident survey was carried out to help in the development of BCP Council’s Green Infrastructure Strategy.  When asked ‘What Would You Change’ the most frequently mentioned change was to do something about the volume of traffic in Poole Park.  Closing Keyhole Bridge to traffic would achieve this. The need to reduce traffic in Poole Park has been raised by residents many times over the years.  It’s time for the Council to do something about it.



13.     Statement from Ms Kate Salter, Local Resident


The Poole Park Life project aimed to make it harder to drive through the park. The evaluation report reveals the failure of it to reduce and calm traffic, identifying continued dissatisfaction about traffic in the park, and states that this issue still needs to be addressed. Traffic in the parks inevitably produces air pollution, which is now clearly linked with serious health impacts. The people of Poole should at least be able to breathe clean air at the parks. Closing the bridge to traffic could achieve the public desire for traffic reduction, whilst also reducing air pollution inside the park.



14.     Statement from Mandy Burt, Local Resident


Both the original and new consultation for keyhole bridge clearly indicate that a majority of the public are in favour of option c - shutting the bridge to motorised vehicles. On 15th December 2021 in a 'Call in' of the decision regarding Tatnam road closure, this conservative cabinet set a precedent by justifying reopening that road saying that they needed to listen to the public consultation, which indicated a majority against the road closure.  In alignment with this, keyhole bridge should be closed to motorised vehicles.'



15.     Statement from Ms Clare Hadley, Local Resident


It is vitally important for our health & the future of the planet to provide safe cycling & walking infrastructure to enable increased take-up of sustainable travel & reduce traffic congestion & pollution. Keyhole bridge must be an important part of this initiative. It is no longer fit for purpose as a route for cars, especially if the legal width requirement is obeyed. Poole Park would also benefit hugely by reducing the traffic flow through it. It seems ridiculous to allow that level of traffic through a park where small children enjoy the space to run around.


16.     Statement from Mr Paul Bradley, Local Resident


Keyhole Bridge is intrinsically linked to Poole Park. The bridge is the key enabler for traffic to avoid the Civic Centre Island (to Sandbanks Road). This leads to speeding through the park, and dangerous overtaking (personal experience). Park user surveys (not council) have demonstrated that at peak hours, less than 15% of vehicles use the park to go to Tremlow Avenue or stay in the park. The rest go through Keyhole Bridge. BCP need to declare what their objective is, safety of people (at Keyhole and Poole Park) or traffic economics. To say traffic economics over safety is morally bankrupt.



17.     Statement from Mr Derek Heritage, Local Resident


Cars now are much bigger and I feel that an accident could occur at any moment.

You have a unique opportunity to make a stand not only for safety but also for the air quality and general ambiance of the park.

Thank you for considering this appeal for a better safer park for our children.



18.     Statement from Ms Phillipa Clark, Local resident


White Paper ‘Gear Change‘ instructs prioritising active travel over motorists for everyone’s health.


Keyhole should be motor free so users of both parks can enjoy tranquil views, sounds and fresh air in safety.


Failure to impose width restrictions encourages unlawful use which endangers others and increasing that restriction is ludicrous.


Cars can easily divert to other routes; pedestrians (including schoolchildren) cannot. 

Without cars the floor level could be raised to avoid flooding.


Photos/videos of vehicles blocking the entire width, or brushing past pedestrians should be enough: keeping it open brings more shame on this nationally derided debacle.






19.     Statement from Mr Ransome

I am a wheelchair user and not a car driver I often try and wheel through here unaided, but because I cannot use the path to the side, it does annoy the cars as am not very fast,  to keep this open to cars would keep it as a no go area for me



20.     Statement from Mrs Susan Stockwell, Local Resident

"Common sense" dictates that the earth is flat, aeroplanes will never fly, and allowing vehicles through Keyhole Bridge reduces traffic on parallel routes. This approach to fulfilling BCP's legal duty to manage traffic flow has resulted in world leading congestion and accident rates in Bournemouth. Please allow your council officers to apply their professional qualifications in operation research/analytics/queuing theory instead of bowing to ill informed "common sense" of a few residents, based on ignorance, prejudice and fear. Protect Keyhole Bridge and Poole Park from through traffic to reduce the traffic on roads around the park.