MINUTES OF THE FIFTIETH ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING OF THE BRANKSOME PARK, CANFORD CLIFFS AND DISTRICT RESIDENTS’ ASSOCIATION,
HELD AT 10.30am ON SATURDAY, 2ND MAY 2009
IN ALL SAINTS CHURCH HALL
Mr Terry Stewart President
Mr John Sprackling Chairman
Mr John Defty Hon Treasurer
Mr Keith Alcroft Planning Officer
Mr John Gunton Magazine Editor
Mr Stan Alfert Data Protection Officer
GUESTS: Robert Syms MP
Cllr Mrs Carole Deas
Cllr Mrs May Haines
Cllr Neil Sorton
And approx 70 Members/Wardens of the Association
The Chairman thanked everyone for coming along. In particular he welcomed the guests mentioned above. JS advised that the Guest Speaker, Stephen Thorne, Poole’s newly appointed Head of Planning and Regeneration would join the meeting at approximately 11am after the official business had been dealt with.
Apologies were received from Terry Smith (Secretary), Reg & Cecilia Grimston & Roland Cunnell.
3. AGM 2008 MINUTES: Accuracy & Matters Arising
The Chairman reminded members that the Minutes of the AGM held on 3rd May 2008 had been included in the Autumn 2008 magazine. The Chairman said that he had not been contacted about their accuracy and asked for a show of hands to approve the Minutes as no queries had arisen. This was given and the Minutes were approved.
4. CHAIRMAN’S REPORT
The Chairman proposed to limit his report to the up-dating of items included in the Spring magazine as follows:
Poole’s Local Development Framework
The period of legal challenge in relation to Poole’s Core Strategy ended yesterday (01/05/09)
Site Specific Allocations policy – A local Planning Consultants firm, Matrix, have been engaged by the Council to prepare Character Area assessments for the Borough and a meeting with Council officers and Matrix took place yesterday (01/05/09). Alongside this work, policies within the current Poole Local Plan are being reviewed. 69 sites for redevelopment have been selected and discussions are due to take place with developers. The Council are still looking at a potential transit site for travellers – space for 8 pitches are required in addition to the site for settled travellers at Mannings Heath.
Sir Michael Pitt’s independent review of planning matters in Poole
JS referred to response by Cllr Mrs Stribley, Chairman of the Planning Committee, to a letter from Roy Godfrey, Chairman of Broadstone Residents’ Assn letter which appeared in the letter’s section of Thursday’s Daily Echo.
The gist of the letter was that…
- · Senior officers have already put in place mechanisms to minimise the possibility of any unlawful activity.
- · As part of our ongoing communications strategy, the Council will be having regular meetings with Residents’ Associations.
- · While, at his request, no changes were made during Sir Michael’s investigation, after the Annual Council on 12th May, no permanent member of the Planning Committee will also be a member of Cabinet, thereby clearly demonstrating the separation of the roles of policy from development and delivery.
- · The matters covered by Recommenation 7 have been resolved within the ruling Conservative group.
- · The newly appointed Head of Planning and Regeneration will be conducting a full and comprehensive review of the development control process to make any possible improvements in efficiency and service delivery.
- · While the majority of Sir Michael’s recommendations have been or are being implemented, councillors are unlikely to implement them all, but for very good reason. For example, at the present time we do not feel it appropriate to seek increased remuneration for Planning Committee members.
- · Matters covered under recommendation 7 Have been resolved.
In answer to a query from the floor, JS agreed it would appear that Cllr Stribley would no longer be able to stay in her current role. These posts are announced on the night and there is no prior notice. JS advised he would be attending the meeting on 12 May.
Chairman’s note: Agenda for next Thursday’s Planning Committee which shows the number of Committee Members reduced from the current eight to seven with Cllr Mrs Stribley (Chairman), Cllr Mrs Walton (Vice-Chairman) and Cllrs Allen, Mrs Butt, Mrs Long, Wilkins and Wilson
Cllr Carole Deas asked if she could comment on Cllr Stribley’s letter in last week’s Echo and JS asked that this be included under AOB at the end of the meeting.
Planning Enforcement, Tree Preservation Orders/Tree replacements
150 Canford Cliffs Road – The Planning Enforcement Officer wrote to the owner’s solicitors, Morgan Hall in Ilford last Wednesday inquiring about progress on boarding and securing the property as more rubbish and detritus has been dumped on the site. The officer is now considering a formal notice to secure compliance with his earlier request.
Lindsay Road to Station Road Prime Transport Corridor The long awaited public work of art at the junction of Penn Hill Avenue and North Lodge Road is due to be installed at the end of this month.
An Assn member, William Mutlow has been doing his best to raise the profile of the difficulty being experienced by the elderly residents living in the Abbeyfield House at the junction of Spur Hill Ave and Penn Hill Ave in crossing Penn Hill Ave at this point. Mr Mutlow raised this matter again at last Wednesday’s Canford Cliffs & Penn Hill Area Committee meeting and Cllr Mrs Stribley said that the Council were looking at the possibility of installing a pedestrian refuge at this point.
Canford Cliffs Village – The proposal to plant trees in Haven Road is being progressed by Keith Alcroft, our Planning Officer
Fossilised tree discovered at Branksome Chine – Plans to mount this on a plinth at Branksome Chine are well advanced.
Poole Quay – the Assn has for some years taken a close interest in the properties on the Quay (two of which are on Borough-owned land), which were formerly owned by Orb Estates or its subsidiaries.
Quay Thistle Hotel site – Plans for the development of this site with more than 150 homes, a four-star hotel, plus shops and restaurants, were recently put on casino online display in Poole’s Dolphin Centre. A planning application is expected in May.
The 150-bed hotel on the east end of the site, including a conference centre and restaurant and lounge at quay level, would be the first phase of the project – with the demolition of the Quay Thistle and the residential development only going ahead when the economic climate improves.
Swan Inn site – An application for the Swan Inn (Change of Use from Retail (Class A1) to Museum/visitor attraction (Class D1) was approved on 03/04/09 but an article in Thursday’s Daily Echo reports that Viv Endecott, who runs the Blyton-themed Ginger Pop Shop at Corfe Castle, had planned to transform the property into the Enid Blyton Story Centre but this will not materialise after failing to reach an agreement with the holders of the intellectual property rights to Blyton’s work. Ms Endecott is now looking at other alternative themes for the museum.
As reported in the Spring 2009 magazine, as long ago as 13/11/07, Dr Smith the high-profile boss of the company behind the ‘Quayside’ (former Dolphin Quays) development was ordered to pay nearly £41 million by way of confiscation and given 12 months to pay
With Robert Sym’s help, JS’s enquiries have recently revealed that Dr Smith has not fully satisfied the Order and so enforcement receivers have been appointed to identify and liquidate his assets in order to satisfy the Order. This action “involves a considerable amount of time and court related applications and is still going on”
Portacabins at Whitecliff Recreation Ground – the services to the Portacabins are being disconnected and some internal preparation work started last Wednesday. Other work in preparation to remove the Portacabins from the site is being undertaken shortly.
The Portcabins are all being put to use within the Council and this will be in the public domain shortly.
Luscombe Valley Judicial Review – some members may be unaware that a group of nearby residents took the Council to the High Court for a Judicial Review to challenge the Planning Approval of the application to build 6 blocks of flats next to the Luscombe Valley Nature Reserve.
The Assn took Solicitor’s advice about whether the Assn should become involved in this matter and the advice the Assn received was that the Assn could do so provided that the Assn was simply a ‘pure funder’. On this basis, the Assn made a total donation of £4,000. I attended the Court Hearing and, on my arrival home on Day 1, I sent an e-mail to the Luscombe Valley Residents’ Group pointing out that an incorrect statement had been made in Court by the Council’s Barrister but, I committed an indiscretion by copying this in to the Barrister himself. It was clearly not my intention to intervene in the proceedings but simply to point out an error in the statement made in Court.
JS said that it was planned meet next week with members of the Group to discuss this.
David Riley wished to raise a point and it was agreed that this could be covered under AOB at the end of the meeting.
Vice Chairman – the Chairman advised that the Association is still looking for a Vice Chairman and JS thanked the President, Terry Stewart, for covering this role and for his support during the year
5. TREASURER’S REPORT AND APPOINTMENT OF AUDITOR
John Defty advised there was nothing further to add to the Income and Expenditure Account included in the Spring 2009 magazine. He advised that his telephone number and email address are noted in the magazine and he was available to answer any queries in relation to the Accounts.
6. APPOINTMENT OF AUDITOR:
Peter Schofield had audited the Accounts and has agreed to continue for a further year. JS asked for approval by the meeting and this was given by a show of hands..
7. ELECTION OF CHAIRMAN
Terry Stewart advised that John Sprackling had acted as Chairman for a number of years, holding monthly meetings and working hard on the Association’s behalf and he proposed that John Sprackling continue in his role. This proposal was carried by a show of hands. (and applause!)
8. ELECTION OF EXECUTIVE
JS advised that the members of the current executive committee were willing to stand again but that from April 2010 they will be looking for a Minutes Secretary. A show of hands carried the motion that the current Executive continue for a further year.
President Terry Stewart
Chairman John Sprackling
Vice Chairman Vacant
Treasurer John Defty
Membership Secretary Michael Bond
Planning Officer Keith Alcroft
Secretary Terry Smith
Data Protection Officer Stan Alfert
Magazine Editor John Gunton
Magazine Advertising Bob Young
Minute Secretary Val Short
7. PRESENTATION BY STEPHEN THORNE, RD, ADC, BTP, MRTPI – HEAD OF PLANNING AND REGENERATION (FORMERLY HEAD OF DEVELOPMENT SERVICES, SALISBURY DISTRICT COUNCIL).
JS welcomed the Guest Speaker and Mr Thorne thanked the Association for inviting him to speak.
Chairman’s note: The text of Stephen Thorne’s talk runs to 5 pages and I’ve arranged for this to be edited down to a suitable size to include in the Minutes and this will be added to the Minutes in time for their inclusion in the Assn’s Autumn 2009 Magazine.
In answer to a question from the floor (Denis Riley), concerning his predecessor, TS advised that PW was a skilled operator and if applications were within the rule of law then they would be approved and the Inspectorate are only implementing the policies of government.
Cllr Deas stated she was much encouraged by Mr Thorne’s approach and would look forward to being able to meet him.
Ian Walker asked if Cllr Stribley had influenced the Council’s decision on engaging Mr Thorne. TS advised no, he had been interviewed by a panel of 8 people and cross examined by each one.
Denis Riley wanted JS to accept blame for his unwanted intervention in the Luscombe Valley meeting at a cost to the Association of £4,000. JS advised that he heard what Mr Riley had to say and that he had attended the meeting as a private person and not on behalf of the Association and as previously stated he would be attending a meeting to discuss this.
William Mutlow asked Mr Thorne what his stance was with regard to retrospective planning applications and enforcement in terms of building regulations and development. TS advised that a retrospective application has to be treated as a fresh application. They are not considered criminal offences and are within the law whereas listed building and tree preservation are in a different category. On enforcement, unfortunately it is not easy and has to be in the public interest and if there is nothing wrong with the project it would be wrong to waste public money where it turns out to be perfectly within the law.
Stan Alfert raised the point that people do not know about an application that may affect them until it is too late, i.e. the house next door might get a letter but there is no notice posted so that the people opposite would be unaware of any project that may affect them. He pointed out that in particular people in Lakeside Road were unaware of the development of flats.
ST advised these were in accordance with the 1992 regulations but agreed that we need to clarify where we notify those close to the development.
Kevin Goldstein Jackson noted that the applications only had a scale of 1:100 and it was not possible to determine heights of buildings in relation to the trees shown on plans and asked if anything could be done about this.
ST replied that distances from boundary to boundary and heights are given but was not sure about heights and would investigate this on his return to the office.
In answer to a query from Ben Hurley on enforcement, TS said this must be in the public interest but invited him to come in and see him personally or a member of the team. In answer to BH’s query about flooding, TS said that he has set up a meeting with his opposite number in the Environment Agency in order to achieve consistency.
JS then invited Mr Robert Syms, MP to say a few words.
Mr Syms thanked Mr Thorne for his impressive talk and welcomed his approach and where he saw the future of the Borough of Poole. He appreciated that there had been a problem with attracting the necessary expertise and that possibly with the current downturn there may be an opportunity to attract people from the private sector into the public sector. With regard to enforcement, he felt that the value of development, particularly in parts of Poole, would have to be recognised by Parliament and raise the fines accordingly. Currently developers go ahead happy to pay the meagre fines imposed.
8. ANY OTHER BUSINESS
JS advised that the cost of the Local Authority Notice Board planned for the outside of Canford Cliffs Library, had risen from £599 to £1050? And this would be discussed at the next monthly meeting.
JS wished to thank John Gunton for the magazine and special thanks to Oliver and Annie May for their contributions on display in the refreshment area of the church hall.
John Gunton advised that the Association had reserves of £32,000 and although it must be borne in mind that funds must be kept for legal costs, he felt that the Association could use say £5000 to go to projects within the area – such as tree planting and he asked if this met with general approval. There was agreement to this and JG said that any suggestions would be welcome – if possible to come along and discuss at the next monthly meeting.
Cllr Deas referred to Cllr Stribley’s recent letter in the press. It was reported she had been brought the council into disrepute by interrupting a Planning Committee meeting and had been suspended from the Conservative Group. CD had been trying to assist a resident who was badly treated and felt it her duty as a Councillor to interrupt the meeting. The Chairman had put a different spin on this and although suspended she is still a Councillor. At the hearing yesterday, they had no choice but to accept the truth and accepted there were extenuating circumstances. CD hopes that the truth will come out and that she was only acting in the interests of the residents.
Denis Riley wished to acknowledge all the work the Chairman did for the Association but wished to wished to state that the Chairman’s email following the hearing of the Luscombe Valley Group had cost the Association £4,000 in donation and in another £50,000 to the donors involved. Did the Chairman appreciate what he had done? JS advised DR that he accepted that he had sent the e-mail but that he had clearly not understood the implications. He will be meeting with the LVG as previously advised. He wished to state, however that he had attended the Court Hearing in a personal capacity and not on behalf of the Association and that the Association was not involved.
John Gunton wished to express his appreciation of the work the Chairman did for the Association.
There being no further questions, the Chairman closed the meeting at 12.00am and invited members to stay for refreshments.