A parish council chairman has publicly expressed his frustration over 'serious difficulties' working with BCP Council.

Cllr Bob Hutchings of Highcliffe and Walkford said the parish, which represents around 12,000 residents, had experienced problems with BCP on numerous fronts in the last three years.

He was speaking at the parish's annual assembly in Highcliffe on Wednesday.

There are only five parish councils in the conurbation - four of them cover the whole of Christchurch. The other is in Throop.

Cllr Hutchings said: "The inability of BCP Council to honour the promise of Christchurch Borough Council to transfer four play areas to the parish and their failure to carry out their own promise of transferring the Recreation Ground are arguably the greatest disappointments we have faced."

The council had spent two years drawing up its own neighbourhood plan but it had been met with "stern resistance" from officers at BCP.

However the plan should be ready for a local referendum in the parish in the next few months.

Cllr Hutchings said there had also been frustrations over plans to revitalise the high street and with the planning system, something felt across the borough.

"Together with all the parish councils in the BCP area, Highcliffe and Walkford continues to believe the present committee system of the planning authority is not fit for purpose and requires overhauling to allow better representation of the views of Christchurch area councillors."

He said one of the parish's notable achievements was the successful rebuilding of Wingfield Pavilion, the planting of seven Jubilee Trees and assistance given to nine voluntary bodies including Highcliffe Food and Arts Festival.

Cllr Hutchings concluded: "Far more progress could be made in several key areas if BCP Council could better understand and accept the role a parish council can play. Co-operation is everything."