Christchurch offices face potential sale

Bournemouth Echo: SOLD OFF: Plans for the Civic Offices look likely SOLD OFF: Plans for the Civic Offices look likely

CHRISTCHURCH’S Civic Offices could be sold off under fledgling money-saving plans being drawn up by council chiefs.

Plans to locate staff from both councils in one place are still in the early stages, but it is understood officers from both councils have been briefed about the potential changes.

In an internal staff email seen by the Daily Echo, joint chief executive of Christchurch and East Dorset councils, David McIntosh tells staff: “It would make sense on both economic grounds and in terms of efficiency to have the majority of staff in one location.”

The email, headed “Future Council Office Accommodation”, goes on to suggest three options, which include, staff located at the Civic Offices in Christchurch, Furzehill, or some other office building in the area.

Officers have been calculating the options while leaders of both councils and portfolio holders have also been informed.

Both council headquarters buildings cost £400,000 a year to maintain.

Space calculations estimate that with some home and remote working, all staff could be accommodated at either Christchurch or East Dorset.

And while discussions are still in their early days, members’ minimum requirement is a customer access point and civic facilities in each of the two areas.

In his email, Mr McIntosh said: “Clearly there is a lot more work to be done if this is to come to fruition. We are very much at the concept stage, exploring the possibilities.”

He added: “I would stress two things to you. This will only go ahead if both councils agree and secondly if it does happen, it will be some time away.”

A statement from David McIntosh confirmed the plans were being looked at and reiterated that there was a lot more work to be done if this is to come to fruition.

Cllr Colin Bungey, Independent ward member for Jumpers said: “I’m totally opposed to any such move.

“But unless the Conservative members put their foot down and say enough is enough, my fear is that within two or three years there will be no Christchurch council.

“I, along with a couple of other members expressed fears at the time that this was more than a mere partnership but were assured it wasn’t a merger. Were we lied to?”

Cllr Fred Neale, Independent councillor for Jumpers said: “It is a shock. When the two councils first started talking about working together and saving costs, we never signed up for a total and complete merger.

“This is what we are getting or could be getting now.”

Former Christchurch Mayor, Michael Hodges added: “We’re likely to find that Christchurch gets shoved into Wimborne if this does indeed go ahead.

“It’s completely misguided and will have far-reaching effects.

“It’s also completely contrary to the information we have been given all the way along, and by the Chief Executive.”

Comments (10)

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3:46pm Fri 24 Aug 12

Square Old Codger says...

Great idea to merge - cut costs, cut staff and cut Councillors, indeed I would take it a lot further, it's a single conurbation now from Lytchett to New Milton - so why not a single unit - huge savings to be made. Cut too the number of Councillors - in these days of "Cabinets", who seem to ignore those Councillors not members of the "Cabinet" and do as they please, they don't seem to have any purpose now - so cull them. Do away with the proposed "Police Commissioners" too, the only people who want them are the Politicians,their job for the "boys" scheme, the vote will be derisory, for who wants the "dead hands of politicians " round the neck of the Police. The money would be far better spent on police on the beat!
Great idea to merge - cut costs, cut staff and cut Councillors, indeed I would take it a lot further, it's a single conurbation now from Lytchett to New Milton - so why not a single unit - huge savings to be made. Cut too the number of Councillors - in these days of "Cabinets", who seem to ignore those Councillors not members of the "Cabinet" and do as they please, they don't seem to have any purpose now - so cull them. Do away with the proposed "Police Commissioners" too, the only people who want them are the Politicians,their job for the "boys" scheme, the vote will be derisory, for who wants the "dead hands of politicians " round the neck of the Police. The money would be far better spent on police on the beat! Square Old Codger

4:08pm Fri 24 Aug 12

sollie says...

East Dorset and Christchurch councils need to be commended for their forward thinking and cost saving agenda. My only hope is that Bournemouth and Poole are taking notes. Think of how much money would be saved there!

I disagree with Square Old Codger in having a super conurbation. That would be like a regional council and too remote from the "local" electorate.
East Dorset and Christchurch councils need to be commended for their forward thinking and cost saving agenda. My only hope is that Bournemouth and Poole are taking notes. Think of how much money would be saved there! I disagree with Square Old Codger in having a super conurbation. That would be like a regional council and too remote from the "local" electorate. sollie

4:09pm Fri 24 Aug 12

BBC Escapee says...

No surprise really, it was obvious from the start that the master plan was a complete merger!

"Both council headquarters buildings cost £400,000 a year to maintain" - This must be the inclusive cost of operating the building, surely not just maintenance!
No surprise really, it was obvious from the start that the master plan was a complete merger! "Both council headquarters buildings cost £400,000 a year to maintain" - This must be the inclusive cost of operating the building, surely not just maintenance! BBC Escapee

4:31pm Fri 24 Aug 12

Burtongreenandpleasantland says...

In a society which is considered by World standards to be a model of democracy, how many public votes were in favour of a merger with East Dorset ? Answer - not 1. There has never been a public vote on merging with East Dorset. Nor have residents been asked whether they'd prefer to merge with Bournemouth, North Dorset or Lymington/New Forest.

How many former Christchurch Council officers are on the Executive Committee ? Just 1. Former leader of the Council Alan Griffiths was right when he said it wasn't a merger - its a complete take-over without single vote being cast.
Crazy though it appears to everyone else, why did Councillors chose East Dorset ? Because ED was the only Council to offer to retain the same number of Councillors, whereas a merger with Bournemouth, arguably the most obvious Council to merge with, would have resulted in fewer Councillors ie some would have lost their job.
In a society which is considered by World standards to be a model of democracy, how many public votes were in favour of a merger with East Dorset ? Answer - not 1. There has never been a public vote on merging with East Dorset. Nor have residents been asked whether they'd prefer to merge with Bournemouth, North Dorset or Lymington/New Forest. How many former Christchurch Council officers are on the Executive Committee ? Just 1. Former leader of the Council Alan Griffiths was right when he said it wasn't a merger - its a complete take-over without single vote being cast. Crazy though it appears to everyone else, why did Councillors chose East Dorset ? Because ED was the only Council to offer to retain the same number of Councillors, whereas a merger with Bournemouth, arguably the most obvious Council to merge with, would have resulted in fewer Councillors ie some would have lost their job. Burtongreenandpleasantland

5:24pm Fri 24 Aug 12

Burtongreenandpleasantland says...

On the one hand East Dorset Council are proposing to build thousands of new homes on green belt land in Burton etc, on the premise that we need more affordable homes, yet on the other hand Chief Executive Mr McIntosh is proposing luxury apartments for the Civic Offices site!

Have any Christchurch Councillors visited the town recently - the traffic is at a complete stand-still. CHRISTCHURCH IS FULL.

The latest census showed that 55% of the increase in population is due to immigration. I have absolutely nothing against people in Poland, Slovenia, Lithuania, Romania and the other 23 EU Countries, plus soon-to-be Serbia, Macedonia, Montenegro and Turkey, but just because you don't fancy living in their own Country IS NOT a reason to build on our green-belt land.
On the one hand East Dorset Council are proposing to build thousands of new homes on green belt land in Burton etc, on the premise that we need more affordable homes, yet on the other hand Chief Executive Mr McIntosh is proposing luxury apartments for the Civic Offices site! Have any Christchurch Councillors visited the town recently - the traffic is at a complete stand-still. CHRISTCHURCH IS FULL. The latest census showed that 55% of the increase in population is due to immigration. I have absolutely nothing against people in Poland, Slovenia, Lithuania, Romania and the other 23 EU Countries, plus soon-to-be Serbia, Macedonia, Montenegro and Turkey, but just because you don't fancy living in their own Country IS NOT a reason to build on our green-belt land. Burtongreenandpleasantland

5:40pm Fri 24 Aug 12

Victor_Meldrew_ Jnr says...

Not too long ago, we had the local elections in the Borough, and during this time I challenged the current Leader of the Council that if the Conservatives were elected to power, they would sell the sovereignty of Christchurch to East Dorset, and Christchurch in turn would become a parish of East Dorset. The current Leader told me quite categorically that I was talking rubbish, and that Christchurch would never be handed over to East Dorset while the Conservative's were in control of Christchurch.
Remember they also said in 2010 that while the Conservatives where in power, Christchurch would always have a weekly bin collection.

Within a period of two to three years, Christchurch will no longer be a Borough, it will become a Parish Council, as Wimborne did some years ago, when they sold out to East Dorset.

When Christchurch becomes a Parish, the residents will then have to pay Parish Council Tax, on top of the normal local authority charges, which will hike up the Council Tax.

David McIntosh has no concerns for Christchurch, and cares not about our history and our heritage.

It is alleged that there are quite a few Conservative Councillors who are totally against this proposal, however when it comes to the vote, irrespective of what they or their constituents feel, they will be forced to vote for the change.

When this happens, remember this comment. I hate to say that last year I told you so, but I did.
Not too long ago, we had the local elections in the Borough, and during this time I challenged the current Leader of the Council that if the Conservatives were elected to power, they would sell the sovereignty of Christchurch to East Dorset, and Christchurch in turn would become a parish of East Dorset. The current Leader told me quite categorically that I was talking rubbish, and that Christchurch would never be handed over to East Dorset while the Conservative's were in control of Christchurch. Remember they also said in 2010 that while the Conservatives where in power, Christchurch would always have a weekly bin collection. Within a period of two to three years, Christchurch will no longer be a Borough, it will become a Parish Council, as Wimborne did some years ago, when they sold out to East Dorset. When Christchurch becomes a Parish, the residents will then have to pay Parish Council Tax, on top of the normal local authority charges, which will hike up the Council Tax. David McIntosh has no concerns for Christchurch, and cares not about our history and our heritage. It is alleged that there are quite a few Conservative Councillors who are totally against this proposal, however when it comes to the vote, irrespective of what they or their constituents feel, they will be forced to vote for the change. When this happens, remember this comment. I hate to say that last year I told you so, but I did. Victor_Meldrew_ Jnr

11:06am Sat 25 Aug 12

doomdodger says...

Where on earth does all this doom and dispondency come from. Christchurch is a great place, the Council is doing a great job in a great community.Has this Victor ever done anything that benefits Christchurch or is he just another failed moaner intent on causing trouble. Get a life Victor your comments becoming a parish have no substance are a complete joke.
Where on earth does all this doom and dispondency come from. Christchurch is a great place, the Council is doing a great job in a great community.Has this Victor ever done anything that benefits Christchurch or is he just another failed moaner intent on causing trouble. Get a life Victor your comments becoming a parish have no substance are a complete joke. doomdodger

1:02pm Sat 25 Aug 12

Victor_Meldrew_ Jnr says...

Mr doomdodger, thank you for your comments in response to my comments. You make a comment asking if I have ever done anything that benefits Christchurch. The short answer is yes sir, I have. I am involved in the community of Christchurch 7 days a week, and I have achieved quite a few things that have benefitted the community.

You also suggest that I get a life, well Mr doomdodger, I do have a life.
I sit on twelve panels and committees around Christchurch, some of which I am Chairman, some I am Vice Chairman. My community work involves working with Councillors, Police, Health Services etc.

Now as for you comment about my comments being a joke, does this mean that a number of Councillors who sit on CBC, and are worried about the very same thing, are a joke.

Your wording and phrasing sound like you are a senior member of the council?
Mr doomdodger, thank you for your comments in response to my comments. You make a comment asking if I have ever done anything that benefits Christchurch. The short answer is yes sir, I have. I am involved in the community of Christchurch 7 days a week, and I have achieved quite a few things that have benefitted the community. You also suggest that I get a life, well Mr doomdodger, I do have a life. I sit on twelve panels and committees around Christchurch, some of which I am Chairman, some I am Vice Chairman. My community work involves working with Councillors, Police, Health Services etc. Now as for you comment about my comments being a joke, does this mean that a number of Councillors who sit on CBC, and are worried about the very same thing, are a joke. Your wording and phrasing sound like you are a senior member of the council? Victor_Meldrew_ Jnr

6:39pm Mon 27 Aug 12

Julie G says...

Next thing we will be reading is that the "former" Civic Offices is being turned into a hotel.....you work it out!
Next thing we will be reading is that the "former" Civic Offices is being turned into a hotel.....you work it out! Julie G

7:38am Wed 29 Aug 12

doomdodger says...

Sorry Victor I have not got time to deal with your ranting. But do now know who you are. So come clean, you are the appointed spokeman for the two independant Councillors. Your interest is not to see the Borough prosper but to attack Officers and members doing an excellent job at CBC.
Sorry Victor I have not got time to deal with your ranting. But do now know who you are. So come clean, you are the appointed spokeman for the two independant Councillors. Your interest is not to see the Borough prosper but to attack Officers and members doing an excellent job at CBC. doomdodger

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