I READ with interest a recent press release from the Unity Alliance administration’s cabinet with a list of wishes and priorities for the New Year.

Whilst I welcome the sentiment behind these wishes, warm words and aspirations are very different from the urgent actions needed for Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole.

The Conservative councillors, who make up 47 per cent of the council, have wholeheartedly supported a number of the Lib Dem-led administration’s policies over the past year, especially around environmental and climate change issues. However, on so many other fronts, 2019 has seen our area starting to slide backwards in too many sectors.

Under the previous Conservative administrations, we left our local economy last year as one of the fastest growing in the country, with the fastest growing employment rate. In addition, throughout the area we had a number of regeneration projects oven-ready to continue the vital growth needed in both new housing and our business sectors. However, the new administration has either scrapped or paused almost every one of these schemes, effectively kicking them into the long grass.

So far they have presided over the building of a “road to nowhere” at Wessex Fields where a new access to the hospital and 2000 jobs were to be created, scrapped the Poole Town Centre regeneration scheme, undone all the work around the refurbishment of the BIC and surrounding area to “start again”, seen no progress on key sites such as the Winter Gardens and Cotlands Road and watered down by almost half our robust £150million bid to government to transform the area’s transportation and road network.

Furthermore, despite multiple consecutive years of falling rough sleeping rates in Bournemouth alone, we now learn that under the new administration’s policies rough sleeping has doubled since last year.

Rather than 2020 being the year of more warm words and empty promises, we need to see less about what the Unity Alliance want to scrap, and more about what they want to do. The Conservatives have a bold, ambitious plan for our area, particularly with our local economy.

Unless action is taken soon to reboot our local ambition, all of the work of the last ten years risks being seriously undermined.


Deputy leader, Conservative group, BCP council