I AM extremely disappointed that BCP Council has failed to secure the level of Transforming Cities funding anticipated when we first made the bid to Government.

Working with Cllr Mike Greene and our local MPs, the former Bournemouth Council began the process over two years ago and later expanded the scope of the bid to include Christchurch and Poole.

We put together a compelling proposal for funding, and in response the government made a budget announcement last autumn to increase the final list from 10 to 12 across the country to include BCP for the next phase of the £1.3billion fund. It was very clear that a highly ambitious approach was required by the government for the relief of traffic congestion, the transformation of public transport and other key transport and economic benefits which we were working up with Whitehall officials earlier this year.

To now learn that the bid has been scaled back by BCP Council to less than half with just two relatively mundane proposals for Poole bus station and to upgrade one of the road routes into Poole, demonstrates that BCP is really unambitious about transformation. It is now clear that the administration simply had no idea about how to bid successfully for government funding and have allowed themselves to be fobbed off by officials in Whitehall, without asking for support from local MPs.

This outcome is a completely wasted opportunity with what could have been the funding chance in a generation for the whole area. Instead, the funds will have gone to places which have demonstrated ambition and significant economic outputs from the public money allocated. Sadly I somehow doubt that BCP Council will now even be considered if and when phase two funding is made available, simply because that is how these things work.

With our reputation with government now being on the line anyway, with the self-imposed demise of the Wessex Fields scheme, BCP Council has taken two significant steps backwards in the space of just a week.

Bournemouth was a very ambitious council and had a proven track record in attracting significant government funding. The result of this bid demonstrates a serious failure to bring benefits to the whole area, and to Bournemouth and Christchurch in particular.

CLLR JOHN BEESLEY, Westbourne and West Cliff ward, BCP Council