CONCERN has been expressed over the wisdom of reducing the availability of car parking spaces by local governments, especially for those who rely upon attracting visitors and where any public transport facilities are irrelevant / unhelpful.

In addition to the Southbourne issues, it is understood that the wooded car parking area / wildlife haven (neglected over many years) at Beach Road is being threatened by reduction, without approval of any change of use.

The wisdom of any such ‘fire sale’ to another car-park operator (whilst publicly unexpected increases in recurring financial allowances (to Councillors) might have been delayed) appears to be questionable.

The imminent six-week consultation on the draft local plan for the BCP Council area, will no doubt cover issues associated with the above : namely :-

1 : plans for car-parking,

2 : transport facilities,

3 : future uses of any redundant car parks,

4 : need for more ‘second homes’ in previous car park areas,

5 : need for ‘the right dwellings in the right places’.

In serving the public, all councils should comply with public policies.

The most important public policy is considered to be compliance with the seven Nolan Principles (Selflessness, Integrity, Objectivity, Accountability, Openness, Honesty and Leadership).

In such circumstances it cannot be acceptable for any council to sell assets that may be needed/should be protected /could be sold at a substantially enhanced price level if a change of use was duly authorized.

The need for common sense (reflected in the Nolan Principles) is obviously more important in a year when A) central government is being refreshed and B) when a proposed draft Local Plan (intended to influence planning in the BCP area for more than a decade !) is about to be issued for due consultations.

It is trusted that your readers will make their views known about the significant aspects of the proposed BCP Council draft Local Plan, including those about local car parking. Our views will be expressed. All stated views are subject to review by an Independent Planning Inspector, probably appointed by a refreshed government.

Gerald Rigler

Chairman Poole & Purbeck Group of Dorset CPRE