To receive any public questions, statements or petitions submitted in accordance with the Constitution, which is available to view at the following link:
The deadline for the submission of a public question is 4 clear working days before the meeting.
The deadline for the submission of a public 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 Chair advised that a number of public issues had been submitted.
A – Public Questions
Public Question from Kate Salmon (read out by the Deputy Head of Democratic Services)
Could the portfolio holder with responsibility for children’s play areas please explain why it has taken almost a year to replace the brand-new piece of play equipment at Moordown Recreation Ground, that was vandalized a matter of weeks after it was installed in early 2021? Was the new equipment not properly insured?
Reply from Councillor Mark Anderson, Portfolio Holder for Environment and Place
Public Question from Don Nutt
I was very interested to hear Cllr Dunlop mention at a previous Council meeting that she would be launching a Poole Christmas Maritime Festival this year.
I'm wondering if Cllr Dunlop would tell us a little more about what it is envisaged will take place, please?
Reply provided by Councillor Mohan Iyengar, Portfolio Holder for Tourism and Active Health
Thank you, Mr Chairman, and many thanks to Mr Nutt for his question.
The BCP Events Team have been working on concepts for a Poole Christmas event to give Poole its own distinct Christmas offering over a 6-week Christmas period.
The Poole Christmas Maritime Light Festival will plan to use the maritime history of Poole and bring it to life in a themed Christmas lighting event.
Lighting up the gateways into Poole and creating a trail to unveil the hidden gems that lie in the streets providing the link from the Quay and Old Town through to the Dolphin Shopping Centre and Lighthouse, using eye-catching installations and immersive attractions.
As the trail reaches the quay, Poole’s unique asset will come to life in the harbour, lit to showcase the boats on the water creating business opportunities both on the ground and at sea, and bringing a festive feel to the harbour and central gateway to Poole.
We will be working with businesses to help light up the town and showcase their goods through shop windows linked to the maritime theme. There will be Christmas trees on Poole Quay and in the High Street to compliment the Dolphin Shopping Centre scheme.
Working with partners, support form Poole Bid and through sponsorship opportunities we plan to develop and deliver a unique, Christmas event to celebrate Poole’s heritage and maritime history and create a memorable Christmas festival for the people of Poole.
Public Question from Philip Gatrell on the following (read out by the Chief Executive)
NECESSARY CORRECTIONS TO THE COUNCIL’S CONSTITUTION
regarding Sections 5 (S5) & 5A (S5A) of the Local Government and Housing Act 1989 & Local Authorities (Standing Orders) (England) (Amendment) Regulations 2015 (2015 Regulations) revising the preceding 2001 Regulations
Monitoring Officers (MOs) must maintain updated Constitutions per 11.3a) page 2.23.
NotwithstandingMO disinclinationregarding thesecond item*,will theLeader ensureno delay in the following corrections concerning fundamental local authority law:
11.3b) page 2.23 -
- Revise narrative by explaining that MOs must always report to Full Council in the noted circumstances& Cabinet’sseparate reportadditionally applieswhen BCPC’sS5A “executive arrangements” operate.
- * Insert narrative explaining MOs’ S5/S5A obligatory reporting of actual contraventions of law.
5.1/5.2 pages 4.62/4.63 -
- Incorporate 2015 Regulationsregarding FullCouncil’soverridingauthority under amended disciplinary procedures for dismissing MO, Section 151 Officer & CEO.
Reply from Councillor Drew Mellor, Leader of the Council
I would like to thank Mr Gatrell for his question.
The purpose of the Constitution is to set out for councillors, officers and the public how the Council operates, how decisions are made and the procedures which are to be followed by the Council.
The Constitution cannot over-rule any legislative provision. It is neither necessary nor practicable to reproduce all relevant legislative provisions within the Constitution. The Government publishes Acts of Parliament and Regulations online which are readily available. To reproduce all relevant regulations within the Constitution would make the Constitution extremely complex and unwieldy.
The paragraphs to which you refer in the Constitution relating to reporting requirements under Sections 5 and 5A of the Local Government and Housing Act 2985 are considered to be an accurate interpretation of the relevant regulations. I do not consider these to be incorrect and therefore do not require correction.
With regards to the reference in paragraphs 5.1 and 5.2 relating to the Dismissal of certain statutory officers, the 2015 Regulations to which Mr Gatrell refers, introduced amendments to the 2001 Regulations. The 2001 Regulations are still the primary Regulations, however, to avoid any ambiguity I shall ask that the words “As Amended” are added to these references.
Mr Gatrell’s attention is drawn to the provisions in Part 3 of the Constitution, Section 8 on page 3-17 which provides the detailed arrangements in place for disciplinary matters relating to the Statutory Officers in accordance with the 2001 Regulations as amended.
Public Question from Alex McKinstry
Can the Council explain why the severe weather emergency protocol for homeless people wasn't activated on 20 and 21 February, when wind speeds reached 69 miles per hour locally; or on 1 and 2 April, when temperatures dropped to minus 3 degrees Centigrade across the conurbation. In answering, it would be interesting to hear a little more about who actually implements the protocol, and whether councillors - spurred on, perhaps, by members of the public - have any power to intervene in the process; especially if the decision to activate rests in, say, one or two council officers.
Reply from Councillor Karen Rampton, Portfolio Holder for People and Homes
The decision to trigger SWEP – a non statutory service - is based on an agreed protocol which is reviewed regularly including a formal annual review. This has been particularly important over the last two years as communal solutions were not possible or safe due to the Covid-19 pandemic and the resultant need to ensure single room options when activating. Triggering SWEP is a joint decision between senior managers at both BCP Council and St Mungo’s, and a degree of flexibility can be applied.
In terms of SWEP being triggered, this primarily occurs when there are 3 or more nights forecast as having minimum temperatures of zero degrees or less. For clarity and as things stand under the protocol, we use the official MET forecast when assessing this. The MET website can be navigated to get forecasts for specific local areas all across BCP, as there can be slight differences of one or 2 degrees across the wider area. For example, an area slightly further inland such as Kinson may be a degree or 2 colder than Poole Seafront etc.
Another automatic trigger for SWEP is where there is a specified Amber or Red weather warning due to a storm or similar, and again this is based on MET information and forecasts.
The protocol, like any other, is always subject to review, and particularly as circumstances change. The last two years, as indicated, have been significantly affected by the pandemic and so the protocol has had to adjust, particularly in terms of the manner of accommodation provision. This will continue to undergo further evaluation including the formal annual review which we undertake as a matter of course with members of the Homelessness Partnership.
We have recently held a debrief session with St Mungo’s arranged following the most recent triggering of SWEP and will continue to review this process on an ongoing basis. We are also considering arranging a briefing session for wider partners and stakeholders regarding SWEP to further explain processes and rational. With SWEP being an emergency protocol, it should ideally not be the means by which accommodation is provided for those who require it and are rough sleeping; this process should be more proactive and minimise any time out. There is therefore regular review of those rough sleeping and why, and where there is not a straightforward solution to their situation other solutions are sought on a multi-disciplinary basis.
We also continue to consider emerging best practise from across the country and also work with partners across BCP to seek to continually improve how SWEP operates.
Public Question from John Pendrill (read out by the Chief Executive)
BCP Council must listen to its residents and voters on the complaints about the performance of the planning committee.
Some members voting to approve development have actually stated that they do not know the area, or have not visited the proposed location. Such members vote without adequate knowledge. Is the council comfortable with such a lack of due diligence?
The council needs to take steps to ensure the chairman is impartial, and not be strongly advocating developments against the wishes of Christchurch residents and councillors. The lack of a neutral stance is evidenced on the recorded meetings.
Reply from Councillor David Kelsey, Chair of the Planning Committee
BCP Council do listen to feedback about all its committees including Planning and will continue to do so. To reassure Mr Pendrill, members of Planning Committee undertake training on planning issues and ensure they are familiar with sites and areas before taking part. The Planning Committee always apply the planning policies to make their decisions using the relevant planning judgements that are applicable in any given part of BCP. All members of Planning Committee are entirely impartial when making decisions albeit at the same time recognising that it is not always possible for all parties involved in the planning process to reach an agreement. What does happen in every case is that the public’s views are taken on board when any planning decision is made.
Public Question from Nancy Curtis
We are, as a Nation, saddened and horrified at the unprovoked aggression against Ukraine which has caused such devastation and created an escalating humanitarian crisis, with millions displaced or affected.
In light of this, can the Leader confirm the actions BCP Council is taking to express solidarity for the people of Ukraine, their families and friends including those local to BCP.
Can the Leader confirm that BCP Council will work with and support the extraordinary and inspiring efforts offered by our local communities who wish to provide help, support and comfort to those in need?
Reply from Councillor Karen Rampton, Portfolio Holder for People and Homes
BCP councillors and staff took steps very early on to demonstrate our support and solidarity for the people of Ukraine, with statements of support from the Leader and Deputy Leader of the Council and Councillor Bobbie Dove, the display of the Ukrainian flag at the Civic offices in Bournemouth and dedicated web pages with helpful information for guest and sponsor families as well as current Ukrainian residents of BCP. Our web pages are updated daily with the latest guidance both locally and from Central Government.
A corporate and multi-agency approach has been taken by the Council and we have mobilised a skilled coordinating team that are working tirelessly so that families and homes are safe for everyone and to make sure we provide a very warm welcome to our new arrivals.
People are arriving in the area through two routes. One is the Government’s ‘Family Visa scheme’ where they have family in the UK - the Council does not have any data or formal involvement in this. The second is the Government’s ‘Homes for Ukraine’ scheme where people do not have family connections but wish to come to the UK. For this scheme, the Council is coordinating efforts for BCP residents who are offering accommodation and have identified a Ukrainian family or individual that they would like to accommodate.
We are currently working with around 180 such households in BCP who are matched through the Homes for Ukraine scheme (and additional 1,440 homes have offered to sponsor but not yet been matched). We have now undertaken the majority of property checks needed and are working through all the required safeguarding checks. We have been administering emergency cash payments to households who have already arrived, of which there are approximately 25 so far.
We have developed a welcome pack in several languages for the host families and one for the guest families arriving in BCP, to help people settle. All supporting families and supporting agencies have these welcome packs which can be found on our webpages. We have welcome posters in several languages on display at the port, airport and train stations welcoming our guests on arrival to Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole.
Organisations such as Dorset Race Equality, International Care Network and The British Red Cross are working closely with the Council doing incredible work supporting efforts through their established community links in terms of donations, guidance and support. Our statutory partner agencies are also heavily involved in the effort to make sure our new arrivals get the immediate help they need, such as getting children into schools and registering with a GP.
We have been overwhelmed by the support of local residents who are willing to open their homes to guests. Once families have arrived in the area and their immediate needs are met, we will be further developing wrap-around support over the coming months to make sure that their longer-term needs are met and that they are linked into the multiple services they might need.
We look forward to more individuals and families arriving into our area over the coming weeks. I’d like to say thank you to all staff and partners who are going the extra mile to welcome our guests.
Public Question from Ian Lawrence
300 resident petitioners, Elkins statement, Councillor Kelsey, 80% of BCP surveyed, and I agree parking zoning needs revising urgently. It’s unpopular, divisive and unfair - typically Lowther Road has 3 zones for one housing stock.
WE REQUEST COUNCILLORS HOLD A VOTE TO REVERSE NO PARKING ZONING.
Represent residents’ wishes ahead of developers’ profits. Zoning greenlights Bournemouth's architectural heritage destruction, cramped future slums, minimal parking, gardens, no extra facilities. Demolishing needed family homes is counter BCP’s Cleaner, Greener & Safer & Local Plan. Better utilise empty shops & offices for all required housing, avoiding enormous carbon cost, needless levelling and rebuilding.
Reply from Councillor Philip Broadhead, Deputy Leader of the Council and Portfolio Holder for Development, Growth and Regeneration
The parking zones used in the BCP Parking Standards Supplementary Planning Document are derived from car ownership data adjusted to reflect accessibility to local services, typically a 400m walk distance. Car ownership consequently is higher in areas where residents are less able to travel by modes other than car, and correspondingly lower where access to local services is higher. Where boundaries exist the possibility will occur for two or more zones to intersect, such as in Lowther Road.
Now, later this year, we will have started work on the new Local Plan for the BCP region where we will have further opportunities to adjusting policies which we believe may help issues we are facing around our housing needs. This will include plans around how much parking to require in certain area, and what types of home should be built where. That’s the place where we can get the big policies sorted
I would remind Mr Lawrence that we are simply not providing enough affordable housing in the region, especially for our young people. The SPV was partly a reaction to that fact – many of the proposed developments in our urban areas were either not coming forward at all or were having the affordable housing element argued away through viability mitigation. That’s not good enough. Not forcing applicants to provide parking in these new developments, and bearing in mind that it is perfectly allowable for them to provide parking if they think the market requires it, is a pragmatic way of addressing this issue, alongside the reality that in most of these areas almost half of residents do not have a car anyway.
Finally, I only partly agree that utilising empty shops and offices should be the answer for “all required housing”. Firstly, because we also need family homes, and not only apartments. Town centre locations are simply not suitable for that type of accommodation. And secondly, we need to foster the future of our town centres for new retail and commercial offerings, not throw them under the bus forever. Using offices blocks for housing works sometimes, but not all the time. And conversion from retail shop frontage to accommodation should, in my view, only be allowed if we are absolutely certain that that retail will not return – which is not what we’re seeing.
Many of our district centres are bustling, with fewer vacancies than in decades. And our core town centres, which undergoing rapid change, are now seeing new, improved offerings coming through. Furthermore, I understand that the government as part of their new measures in the Levelling Up and Regeneration Bill in the forthcoming Queen’s Speech are bringing forward new powers for local authorities to directly intervene in shops that have been empty for more than six months and undertake a compulsory retail auction of the unit. This will be yet another vital tool in
our arsenal to secure the new futures of our town centres whilst making sure that we are providing housing – and the right type of housing too.
B – Statements
Public Statement from Mark Elkins on parking zones
Talbot and Branksome Woods represented by the Council Leader and Deputy Council Leader is placed in SPD Zone D with one parking space per flat. In Eastcliff and Springbourne flats require no parking spaces.
Cabinet Councillor Mike Greene claims justification for the current policy because Eastcliff and Springbourne (with high density housing without abundant street parking) is near the Town Centre so can make better use of public transport. Yet the Council Leader's affluent low density housing ward with abundant street parking just as close has a completely different policy. This is totally unfair and potentially class warfare at work.
Public Statement from Steve Alves on planning decisions (read out by the Chief Executive)
There have been many recent examples of planning decisions, where the drive for development has resulted in Christchurch councillors and residents being ignored.
The majority Bournemouth and Poole councillors hold sway, often admitting they havenot visited proposed developments. How can this council be comfortable with such lack of due diligence?
The chairman of the committee has also strongly advocated developments where he should be acting impartially.
ACRA have penned a letter of complaint to Cllr Mellor and Graham Farrant, requesting an investigation, and we ask that the council listen to its residents (and voters) on this important matter.
Public Statement from Frederick Cowley on river water quality (read out by the Chief Executive)
It is my opinion that our rivers need better protection against pollution. The last Water Framework Directive report showed only 14% of rivers were rated “good” ecologically, and every river failed its chemical test. This indicates our rivers need better protection. I believe the solution to this is designating more rivers as bathing waters. Since 2015 the amount of bathing waters of “excellent” quality has increased by over 11%, showing how designation has improved water quality over time. I would urge this council to designate some of its rivers, so they may receive the same protection as other bathing waters.
Public Statement from Ian Lawrence on the Councils Complaints Procedure
TO COMPLAINT AFTER 5 MONTHS DESPITE 11.1.22 REMINDER
Dear Ian Lawrence
ONSTRAINTS ON EFFECTIVE SCRUTINY BY REGULATORY COMMITTEES with illustrative reference to:
Audit & Governance Committee (A & G)
Draft Statement of Accounts (Accounts) & Annual Governance Statement (AGS) 2020/21
Accounts & Audit Regulations 2015 (2015 Regulations)
Section 5 of Local Government & Housing Act 1989
Myrecent PublicIssues at A &G explainhow earlieralterations toagenda protocolscan obstruct Committees’timely fullawareness ofstatutory contraventions& procedural failures not remedied by Officers.
Summary examples, previously notified by me in detail to individual A&G Members -
- Continuingdeficiency infixed assetsaccounting recordscontravening 2015Regulations, asindicated by AGSIssue 5.Consequently predisposingmisstatements inbalance sheetfigures, lossof audittrail &requiring KPMG’sremediation. Alsoentailing nowoverdue “Section5” reporting.
- Monetary misstatement of Members’Allowances per Accounts.
- CEO’s employer’s pensioncontribution omitted2019/20 notidentified ‘Restated’on revision 2020/21.
Public Statement from Avril Coulton on the Waitrose Car Park in Christchurch
There were no petitions submitted for this meeting.