Issue 45                                               March 2017
Welcome to the Online SAMRA Newsletter, with information about what is going on in the area.  

The frequency of these mailings depends upon what is happening, hopefully of interest to SAMRA members.

Dear colleagues,

I do apologise for the lateness of this missive; it has been difficult to determine the best time to send it with so much going on.

Local Government restructuring:

Last week I attended an Extraordinary meeting of CBC full council to discuss the question of a referendum to determine the wishes of Christchurch residents regarding future local government; i.e. whether to be incorporated into a new council including Bournemouth and Poole (option 2b) or not. There was much energetic debate, largely around the recent consultation carried out by ORS which was seen to be flawed. Its wording was not approved by CBC and it was seen to be misleading, especially around the tetchy topic of parity in council tax. It cited that 20 years would be necessary for those in Poole to be paying the same as we pay in Christchurch, a situation that your committee found very unsatisfactory.

Even so, only a tiny percentage of Dorset residents responded to the consultation but a significantly higher percentage in Christchurch showing, I believe, just how much we care about our local government. The majority of Christchurch residents did not vote for option 2b but nevertheless a submission has been made to Secretary of State for Local Government (SoS) by six Dorset councils to support option 2b. You will know that Christchurch was not one of the six. Hence the referendum, to discover how Christchurch residents really feel with a view to making another submission to SoS.

Several eloquent speeches were made, largely around the cost of carrying out such a poll, and the ultimate vote was close; 13-9 in favour of the referendum. The form this will take is likely to be purely postal (which is cheaper). This will be happening within the next month so do look out for the paperwork and make sure you cast your vote on this most serious of matters, how and by whom we are ruled at local level for the future.

Many at the meeting were clearly in favour of not accepting Option 2b; i.e. of keeping some sort of autonomy for Christchurch. To provide a balanced view on the future of Dorset we provide this link; The video is worth a watch.

Local councils part 2:

On 4th May we will all get the chance to vote for our representative councillors at Dorset County Council (DCC). This is in the usual 4-year cycle. Our current councillors Mrs Lesley Dedman (Mudeford) and Peter Hall (Stanpit) have, I believe, done a decent job of being available to us and representing our views, even if Dorchester sometimes seems a long way away (and not just geographically). I am ever mindful that a full 75% of the council tax we all pay actually goes to DCC, to cover such things as roads, including signposts, pothole repair, no parking and other lines, street lighting etc etc. In addition, schools provision and social care come from DCC so it is actually by far the largest spender of our local taxes. As I write now I do not have a full list of candidates for the DCC elections but please keep an eye out and make sure you vote - again!

Avon Beach Cafe (aka The Noisy Lobster):

We await the appeal decision from Bristol to determine whether a first floor extension will be allowed.  Remember this was advised for rejection by CBC council officers, voted for rejection by CBC Planning committee and is now in appeal.  We wonder if CBC will withhold Landlord's consent, as surely they should with so much official opposition.

Avon Beach Concrete blocks:

As the blocks are there purely to protect privately owned beach huts, we wonder why we (through CBC) had to pay for their installation.  In any case, they will not be required through the summer so we have asked that they be removed until such time as the full planning process allows the raising of the prom level. The removal should be at no further expense to CBC.


This once-lovely care home has fallen into decrepitude in the time it has been left derelict, despite a planning application for 10 flats being approved last December. Those of you who came to the last SAMRA general meeting will have heard PCSO Stan Mackrell's concern about its state and the people who are making their way into this dangerous building.  We ask why we (through our local police) should pay to effectively keep this private building safe? Apparently now the approved planning application is not financially viable so another has been submitted; occupying a slightly larger footprint, especially towards the east.

Alliance of Christchurch Residents' Associations (ACRA):

As reported previously, we were saddened to learn that ACRA's long-term secretary and chairman was standing down for health reasons.  As a result at the recent AGM it was decided to reinstate the rotating chair system; each member RA doing it for one year.  The first is Sue Bungey of Christchurch Citizens' Association.  Similarly, the secretarial duties will be rotated to ensure that no one individual feels over-burdened by the extra work. As this body represents most of Christchurch we see it as a very important forum and welcome its continuation.

Roeshot Hill Development (message from Derek):

As this development is one of the biggest in the area we are very concerned about services for the community such as health, education, roads and transport. We were therefore greatly dismayed to read in a letter from a Dr Tomkins, Chair of Christchurch Locality Dorset Clinical Commissioning Group, the following comments which are taken from his letter to FAO: George Whalley, Principal Planning Officer, Christchurch and East Dorset Councils dated 23-11-15; an extract follows:


"Our recommendation is not to provide an additional health facility as part of this development as this would not be cost-efficient to run, and almost impossible to staff."

This seems at odds with a letter from the Royal Bournemouth Hospital dated 30-01-17 written to the CCG at Dorchester which highlights the need for services; an extract follows:

" It is clear however, that further work does need to be done to ensure that there are adequate step-up, step-down and rehabilitation facilities including inpatient beds for residents living in the Bournemouth and Christchurch conurbation."

SAMRA are greatly concerned for the future care of the 50,000 residents of the Borough of Christchurch especially now with the additional 875 houses planned for the Roeshot Hill development, which will equate to an additional 2,000 to 3,000 residents that do not seem to have been accounted for in the GP reorganisation plans. Highcliffe Surgery doesn’t seem to be in the plans which is also very stretched and Dr Tomkins's surgery on the Christchurch Hospital site doesn't seem to be included in the reorganisation of GP Surgeries either.

An e-mail has been sent to the main CCG offices in Dorchester asking for clarification and to confirm that this is the official position of the Dorset CCG and, if so, is it the current position bearing in mind that the letter from Dr Tomkins was dated 23-11-15.

Mudeford Quay planning app. 8/17/0341/FUL for

"Removal of existing timber slipway shed and replaced with new larger timber shed to provide activities/water sports facilities, and quay information point". Details are at: comments by date is 18/04/2017. SAMRA committee will be discussing this at our next meeting on 5th April so if you have any comments you would like included, please do come along to the open part of the meeting at 7pm, Stanpit Village Hall upstairs room.  As always, I advise that I can write a letter representing SAMRA (assuming we can reach an agreed position) but that still counts as only one letter; any from yourselves or even both in one household count as one each.  Therefore you need to record your views for yourselves as well.

SAMRA committee:

And finally ... sadly I have to report that our secretary has resigned from the post citing other activities. We thank him for his time and need to work out how to proceed forwards.  Obviously the best way would be for another willing and able person to step forward to occupy the post and we would urge that you consider if you can help in this way.  In the meantime I shall slightly rearrange my position to be the taker of minutes - I find it almost impossible to write and chair a meeting at the same time, so our vice-chair Derek Chaffey will chair the meeting(s).


The small matter of an editor for these missives and our Newspages is still outstanding; I am coping at the moment but am very close to overload so any help available would be most appreciated.  Please contact me at or on 01425 278335 if you can offer to help.

For comments on any of the above please do not hesitate to contact the committee; we always strive to represent our members but we do need to hear your views.  The e-mail address may still be dodgy so if you don’t get a response from there, try my personal e-mail address, as shown in the preceding paragraph.

Best wishes, Debbie

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