Community Governance Review January 2018

A community governance review is a process which invites the public and other interested parties to comment on, and submit suggestions about the most suitable way of representing local communities. You can read the Consultation paper here.

Several of the Christchurch Citizen’s Association committee and other Residents Associations attended the above meeting on Wednesday 31 Jan 2018.

The meeting was to give information on the prospect of forming a Town/Parish Council, both of which are the same but you are either in a town or rural.

Hurn and Burton/Winkton have had their own Parish Councils for years as has Salisbury which is a city.

This is another important decision Christchurch has to make; if the Secretary of State says Christchurch must go in with Bournemouth & Poole (B&P) then the B&P Council will not allow Christchurch to form a Parish Council.

The initiative for this Governance Review is from Christchurch Council to see if we want to form a Parish Council before the re-organisation of the principal local authority structure within Dorset starts.

Christchurch Borough Council may not exist after April 2019 depending on whether we are told Christchurch has to go in with B&P, this decision will be possibly made by the end of February.

If you would like to follow the explanatory slides, the website is – www.dorsetforyou.gov.uk/426208

Societies, Dorset Association of Parish and Town Councils, (DAPTC), Councillors and Resident Associations have been contacted by CBC, to see if we want to make an application to become a Parish/Town Council, if we don’t apply by 23 February then we lose our chance forever and Bournemouth and Poole will not allow us to form a Parish Council.  At this time CBC have said it is too expensive and too late to send out house to house information and so have sent the information to the Committees of the above.

What we would say is that there will be for’s and against’s becoming a Parish but it does mean we would have a small voice if B&P start desecrating our Borough.  This will come at a cost to the Council Tax payer, again not a lot but it would rise.

If we do go in with B&P, Christchurch Council will disappear with effect from May 2019 and so would the voice of Christchurch. We would have a voice if we had a Parish Council albeit a small one, as we would be advised by the new Unitary of any planning applications, road changes/works, housing and anything else that would affect the Borough of Christchurch as was.

Please take a look at the following National Association of Local Councils website http://www.nalc.gov.uk/  this is very useful as it contains just the kind of info you want to know.

I foresee the main questions, and the most difficult to answer, based around what do you get for your money. A tough question as it’s not at all clear at this stage.

If we were looking at a Christchurch Town Council we’d need to draw up a list of possible assets and services that a Parish Council would take on responsibility to run, maybe being led by the participants on Monday night?

We will be mentioning this at the meeting on Monday 5th February, perhaps you could read through the above and see how you feel, we will try and answer any questions.