I plan to use this opportunity to post my thoughts on the many exciting changes happening now and in the future at the Council and across our borough.
It’s a happy coincidence that I’m launching this blog soon after the news that Poole has been voted the happiest town in the South West and one of the top ten in the UK. With our beautiful scenery, fascinating history and heritage going back hundreds of years, low unemployment and lots of opportunities for work and leisure it’s a great place to live.
There’s been more good news in recent weeks about the redevelopment of the Dolphin Centre. This will see £26 million invested in revitalising the retail and leisure offer. The council has played a vital role in making this happen, investing in improvements to the multi-storey car park and much more. It’s great to see this investment going into our town centre – it’s a fantastic show of confidence in Poole. Many residents have already told me how excited they are at the prospect of a new cinema and the redevelopment of Falkland Square.
Earlier this month, the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government Sajid Javid announced he was minded to approve the Future Dorset plan for reducing Dorset’s nine Local Authorities to two Unitary Authorities. A final decision is early next year, following a period of time when representations can be made to the Secretary of State. All representations should be made by 8 January.
You can find more about the proposal on the Future Dorset website or by watching the video:
Creating these new authorities by 2019 is a big task. To oversee this work, a new joint committee of councillors from Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole has been established. I was appointed Chairman of the Joint Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole Committee. This committee, supported by officers of our Councils, will make the decisions necessary to move toward creating a new authority once the final decision is received. Some of this work will be done by smaller groups reporting back to the committee for decisions. To date a small group has met to begin discussing the important matter of Council Tax harmonisation across Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole.
In the weeks ahead, I will endeavour to update you on this important work and the many other issues that have an effect on our borough.
Finally, I had the pleasure of attending the recent Dorset Tourism Awards at the Lighthouse in Poole. There were many deserving winners across Dorset but I was particularly pleased Upton Country Park won two silver awards. Many congratulations to all concerned!
Thanks for reading.