A CRUNCH meeting that could effectively derail Borough of Poole’s plans for two contentious traveller camps takes place in eight days time.
The council’s planning committee is voting today on whether or not to back applications for two temporary stopping places at Creekmoor and Oakdale, but whatever is decided could find itself surplus to requirements if the full council then decides to accept the latest £400,000 offer made by property company Forelle Estates.
The Poole company, that made an initial offer of £200,000 for the Marshes End site in Creekmoor, has upped the ante, the Daily Echo revealed yesterday.
Forelle’s managing director Michael Price says this final offer is now twice the level of an independent open market valuation for the Creekmoor plot.
The company, that owns the buildings Forelle House and Phoenix House next to the Marshes End site, wants to build new offices on the land. However, they say this offer only remains on the table until March 31.
Mr Price, in a letter to Borough of Poole’s strategic director Andrew Flockhart, reiterated his previous fears of “the alarming statistics of the level of offices in Poole being lost to residential use and not being replaced by any new office development.”
According to Mr Price – who says the new building could create up to 200 jobs - there are currently a number of office enquiries for Poole which are “presently unsatisfied” and that the current undersupply of quality modern office accommodation could represent an “economic time-bomb” for Poole.
Meanwhile, in a joint statement, Creekmoor’s three Conservative ward councillors Leslie Burden, Judy Butt, inset, and John Rampton say the council should take the offer and plough the funds back into buying or leasing more suitable land for a stopping site.
Marshes End is the larger of the two sites that Poole’s full council backed earlier this year. Although, in principal, there is nothing to stop the borough searching for an alternative, private sources close to the council fear the temporary stopping places proposals could be effectively over if Marshes End is ruled against.
The Forelle’s offer is the subject of a special council meeting debate at 5pm, March 28, Poole Civic Centre.
Value of stopping places
THE planning meeting taking place this morning at Poole’s Lighthouse Theatre has been lodged by the council’s own environmental and consumer protection services.
Committee members will be debating and voting on plans for two temporary stopping sites for travellers and gypsies. These two separate proposals are for 12 pitches at Marshes End, Creekmoor, and four pitches at land north of the B&Q car park, Broadstone Way.
Officials have argued that by having designated temporary stopping places within the borough, they hope to avoid a repeat of last summer that saw a number of unauthorised encampments encroach on the town’s parks and open spaces.
Dorset Police say they would be able to move on unauthorised encampments more swiftly, and with the powers of vehicle seizure behind them, if the borough had designated temporary stopping sites to direct travellers to.
Borough of Poole deputy leader Cllr Mike White, pictured left, said: “Members of the planning committee will consider these applications and all the relevant planning issues before making a decision on whether the two temporary stopping places can go ahead.”