AT THE meeting of BCP Council on Tuesday, councillors from the Christchurch Independent Group, supported by councillors from Poole, put forward a proposal that there should be three area planning boards, one for each of the three towns.

This proposal was rejected by the Conservative administration by the narrowest of margins, 38-36.

From the inception of the unitary council, the Christchurch Independents have been asking for three committees.

It was clear to us, living in our own area of such unique heritage and diverse architecture, green space and coastline, that one committee for such a wide area as Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole simply would not work.

We said it would be a blunt instrument, working within a too-large framework and unable to assimilate the differences in our three towns.

Now the unitary has been in place for nearly two years, time has proved that this is the case. Residents – even those who formerly embraced the unitary system – have told us that they now find having only one planning committee is not working for our area.

So Christchurch Independents will now be working to provide more evidence, to find best practice from other council areas, engaging our own consultants and consulting residents and all those involved in our planning system, to take this proposal forward.

We remain committed to providing three area committees, which will work more sensitively for each of the towns than the present overarching system.

We have the support of all nine Christchurch councillors, cross party, together with that of the town and parish councils, and together we will work towards a dedicated planning committee within BCP council for our Christchurch area.







Christchurch Independent Group