In last month’s update I referred to two events that have the potential to impact upon the work of the Neighbourhood Forum at some time in the future. The executive met at the end of January to discuss the implications of both the Council’s vote to support the creation of a super council through the merger of Poole, Bournemouth and Christchurch councils, and the confirmation that car parking prices will be increased by 150%.
Whilst the final decision on the formation of a super-council will be made by the Secretary of State, later this year, members of the Forum believed it important that we begin to plan ahead. The likelihood is that there will be no local decision making or accountability and little benefit for Broadstone. The Localism Act of 2011 enables Neighbourhood Forums to convert into Parish Councils if so desired. No decision has been made yet regarding Broadstone Neighbourhood Forum, nor will it be, until we have more information and certainty about the future. Should the time come when a decision needs to be made, we will ensure that it will be in response to the wishes of Broadstone residents, following a period of consultation. In the meantime, it might be interesting to start a discussion, so do come along to our Annual General Meeting on the 30th March at St. John’s Church Hall starting at 7.30pm when we will devote some time to the question: why convert to a Parish Council?
With the hike in car parking charges coming into force on March 1st there are likely to be a number of impacts, some of which could well affect important elements of the Neighbourhood Plan, which is now nearing completion. We could see a 25% fall in the use of the two car parks as people look for a free parking place. This could result in greater demand for the Toast Rack, far more congestion in the Broadway, and overall, a decline in the quality of the immediate environment. In addition, businesses have expressed serious concerns over the possible impact of a reduced footfall. How should the Neighbourhood Forum and the emerging Plan respond to these possible events? The Annual General Meeting will provide an opportunity to explore possible answers, and in doing so, may help us start the master planning process.
The changes to the Neighbourhood Plan that we are having to make following last year’s Regulation 14 consultation are taking a little longer than anticipated but the work is nearly finished. By the time of the Annual General Meeting on Thursday 30th March we hope that not only will the final draft of the plan be on display but also that the Regulation 15 consultation, can be launched. This would be managed by the council and would lay the foundations for inspection and the future referendum.
I hope to see you at our Annual General Meeting on Thursday 30th March at 7.30pm at St. John’s Church Hall, Macaulay Road.
Chair, Broadstone Neighbourhood Forum