Under the Government’s 2011 Localism Act Neighbourhood Forums benefit from a building tax charged by the Local Authority. This tax is referred to as the Community Infrastructure Levy and is designed to raise money in order to provide specific facilities a community may need as a result of the development. A Neighbourhood Forum receives 25% of the Community Infrastructure Levy raised within its boundaries, the rest goes to the Council. Poole Borough Council has recently updated its original scheme and this is likely to gain approval at the February Council meeting. While the changes will make very little difference to our financial position and ability to introduce new community schemes, the changes impact severely upon Poole Quays Forum. With a zero Community Infrastructure Levy across its Plan area Poole Quays Forum will have no income to fund its proposals.
Over the last few years a significant fund has accrued to the Council with approximately £2.8 million being distributed through a bidding system which neither of the two Neighbourhood Forums have been allowed to participate in. It is clear from the sums involved that this scheme disadvantages both Broadstone and Poole Quays Forums. The matter has been raised with the appropriate Council Committee and a recommendation to review the scheme is being proposed at Full Council in mid- February. If this is approved it will be for the new Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole Council to carry out the review. We await with interest.
Since our last Annual General Meeting and workshop, which established the basic principles that were to underpin our master-planning process, progress has been rather slow, but for goods reasons. Following the examiner’s report on the soundness of our Neighbourhood Plan we had to make a few minor changes before the statutory referendum could take place. We were delighted with the outcome and final adoption of the Plan by the Council in late summer. Since then we have been monitoring its implementation and can report that the Council’s planning officers are applying the policies effectively and some developers are asking for our comments on their proposals before they are being submitted to council. Most recently, the proposal for 9 flats, including an additional storey, above the Santander building has been refused planning permission because of its poor design and failure to comply with our design policy.
Now that the Plan has successfully been incorporated into the Council’s recently adopted Local Plan we can once again begin to look at developing our master plan for the centre of Broadstone. We propose to hold another workshop at our forthcoming Annual General Meeting (details below) which will give attendees an opportunity to discuss some initial proposals for addressing congestion and pedestrian/vehicle conflict in and around the Broadway. It is important to remember this is the first step, and as discussions continue the plan should evolve into a scheme that will improve the quality of the environment, address safety issues and make it an even better place to shop, hold events and relax.
Chair, Broadstone Neighbourhood Forum