TMSTH Area Forum Meeting - 25th October 2018

Item 1: A talk by Michael Rowland, Bournemouth Borough Council Parks Department, on proposals for a Visitors Centre at Hicks Farm, Throop, and regarding the Stour Valley Way;

Item 2: A talk by Councillor John Beesley, Leader of Bournemouth Borough Council, on the proposed amalgamation of Bournemouth, Poole and Christchurch Councils;

Item 3: Updates include the Bournemouth Local Plan Review; proposals by Wessex Water for works at Berry Hill; the A338 proposals, and public transport issues;

Item 4: Opportunities to talk with your Local Councillors, and ‘Townsend Together’ news.

Click on the A icon to view a PDF of the agenda.

Chair: Ray O’Luby

Minutes: Conor Niall O’Luby

1. Hick’s Farm development:

Michael Rowland (Bournemouth Parks Dept.): 10 years ago we looked at Heritage bid for Hengistbury Head (HH). At same time we wanted to improve the Stour Valley Way to make it accessible for all. In 2013 we produced the Stour Valley Master Plan (Bmth section). We have a number of heathlands that we need to protect by reducing the number of people visiting them by providing other green spaces e.g. HH to Kinson corridor e.g. Tuckton, Iford, Sheepwash. There are also plans for Millhams Mead.

What can we do with Hick’s Farm? We want to improve access for visitors and for wildlife.

Also mentions King Fisher’s barn. We want to convince Heritage Lottery fund to fund Hicks Farm.

Mark Holloway (Bournemouth Park’s Dept.): we were asked by councillors to look at HF. Looking at farm diversification, we employed a heritage consultant firm to look into farm history. Looked at 5 other community working farms to see how they manage. We want to keep things low key and sustainable.

We explored farm cafes, local produce, farm shops, with mainly organic produce, enough to keep some of the buildings going. Other ideas explore craft and heritage, schools involvement and the landscape. Key habitats at HF inc. woodlands and wetlands, meadows etc.

HP could be a excellent example of centre showing traditional techniques. Honey, apples, hedgerow crops.

Kingfishers, otters and veteran oaks can be seen in the area of the farm. Cattle are grazed. Value of access to countryside in terms of health and well-being. We want to encourage volunteering. It’s a part of our culture, volunteers get a lot out of it, get out and socialise. We also have dementia walks. Great when people can also eat the food they’ve grown.

Michael: Throughout August at Kingfisher Barn, we did a survey with residents to find out what people liked and didn’t like, what their concerns were, in order to approach the Heritage Lottery Fund. We want to increase access to nature, increase health and well-being, sustainability, school children connected to nature, providing opportunities for small businesses e.g. agri-tech

Anyone here not know about Hicks Farm? He explains where it is (c100 hectares).

Early consultation results, people asked to score different ideas. Talks about improving habitats (many people happy); dealing with congestion issues.

Lists other scores (see slideshow later).

Some people were worried that there would be a very big scheme e.g. like Farmer Palmers. But this is not the case.

Questioners want to ask questions before MR finished. Decided that they’ll be at end.

Next stage will be to provide a report back to HLF. There is nothing firm at this stage. If the HLF are keen to further explore the plans, they will provide a development plan fund which will lead to much deeper consultation. Possible planning application 2020; if successful, leading to a delivery phase.

If the council put in £1m and HLF £1m it still be a small development. There will a lot more consultation.

Wider scale, Stour Valley nature park, connecting landscapes. To do things in joined up way. Working with other landowners and agencies e.g. National Trust, Environment Agency etc. Making sure it doesn’t end up with lots of bits happening. Early stage, talking to councils, etc. HH to Kingston Lacey.

HF is a programme in its own right but also fits into Stour Valley nature park.


Q. How many people filled in survey?

A. 576 responses

Q. Named people signing survey?

A. yes.

Q. 5 years ago we were told about revamping conservation area, Throop Conservation Area update. Major Wessex water issue coming up. Will councillors bring forward the CA update?

Cllr Weinhonig: Suggests Cllr Beesley to answer

Cllr Beesley: I will come in later

MR: Heritage and Conservation manager says the update won’t happen in the immediate future. A At this point we’ve only started, we’ll have a two year development plan phase.

HLF won’t fund anything that doesn’t truly involve local people.

Q. Yellow sign on telegraph pole of trivial alteration to dwelling house, everybody knows about this, but when I go around the local area nobody knows about the scheme.

MR: you came to the barn in August and

Cllr Clarke: we put out a leaflet out to all households in Throop.

Q. You didn’t put them in ours

MR: we feel that we got a representative opinion. I was here some years ago and asked about whether we were going to do something about HF. We are now.

Q. Restrictions on planning applications in conservation area, you want to put in a huge development.

A. not looking at removing hedgerows, we want to increase them but we might remove a small section. We will take the advice that we’re given.

Q. I’ve lived opposite HF for 17 years. It’s been falling down, councillors never respond to my letters. Why couldn’t we just got out and clean them. The cost is going to be immense. Lottery money is public money. I understand the council has considered an offer of a £1m from an investor. Is this true?

MR. I haven’t had an offer. We want to improve hicks farm for local people. The majority of local people who responded want us to improve it. If HLF offers money we will use ring fenced money for green space access (money comes from developers). Natural England is asking us to improve access to reduce pressure on heathlands.

We had to do things properly so it takes time to address issues e.g. lights

Q. We have no choice but to accept this plan it seems but it may be contrary to policies in the Local Plan. When we want to make changes in CA, we often can’t.

MR. We will follow all planning procedures properly

Q. Deprived areas in north Bournemouth. What about providing the residents of this area with amenities rather than supporting this vanity project?

MR. It’s not a vanity project. Many people visit HH from outside local area, HF It won’t be on same scale.

Q. I’m a teacher and think the children are our next generation, these need access to countryside. I support it

Q. Kingfisher barn car park was doubled in size. The HF plans now include two car parks, a councillor at an earlier forum said there weren’t going be car parks. Now apparently there are. I’m doing simple math, 0.25-1m people a year coming to HF.

MR. We don’t have a plan for car park, though we did look at potential car park off Taylor Drive.

Ray: what about bus service restoration?

MR: I don’t have control over that. There are good cycle routes, from HH. We’re not about bringing more coaches down.

Angela Pooley: I’m secretary of Bmth cycle forum, currently is a safe route. Benefits to children, I was involved in Dorset health and wellbeing, crucial for volunteers, important as long as it is sustainable.

Q. Caroline, I live on Taylor drive. Thank you for coming, it’s hard. We’re lots of things, doctors working at Tescos, but we’re not idiots. Your nirvana creating moment will destroy the things we value. You say there’s nothing concrete, but we feel it’s a stitch up. We want more consultation.

MR: we went and looked at other local community farm project, these are the sorts of things we’re looking. I’m sorry you’re in a panic, but the plans are purely for discussion. We have not made any decisions.

Q. You say that everybody wants this.

Q. Certain elements, cafe, shop, welfare centre, animal interaction. You’ve got Alice in Wonderland, kingfisher, berry hill farm. Shack at Muscliff, C Late. Caravaning. We already have these things, why are the councillors trying to create a council subsidised service which will compete with other local businesses.

MR. We are trying to get people out in countryside, the majority of people want us to do something with Hicks Farm. We work with local businesses

Peter Holloway (in audience): I think community led services run alongside commercial sector. Have to rub along side by side. Nice to have free things. It’s important to help people have access to countryside. There are credible organisations involved e.g. Natural England, HLF. I run a small project Parks Foundation for people.

Q. I find it objectionable that we’re accused of being unwelcoming to people esp. people with special needs. Why can’t you do it down near at Cherry tree, it would be fine there. You think it’s fine to subject us to extra development, cars buses etc.

MR. The government wants us to build more homes, we’re under pressure. We’re not just targeting Throop we’ve added a bigger car park. We don’t want to destroy the area.

Q. People talk about cycling along Throop road, I cycled ten years, puts fear of god into me when I cycle with kids. Cheery tree is a better option, once you go over the bridge in Throop the paths are no good. Cherry Tree is better road wise, infrastructure.

MR. HF is an existing group of buildings that need improving. Cherry Tree is a big point of access, it’s a charity lease land from parks service. People volunteering there have mental health needs.

Ray: Either MR and Cllr B wind up.

Q. I’m one of the last farmers in Throop. You’re taking away some of my land to have a cemetery in Muscliffe Lane. People don’t know about this, my livelihood. Generations of my family have worked there and you’re taking away my land.

MR. We are looking at a natural burial site. Come along to Queens Park and will discuss this

Q. Is there a plan for when you plan to go ahead?

MR. We’re giving a report back to HLF on consultation and idea, after that we will put in a development fund phase grant, if successful this will go into another phase leading to application. Not a lot going to happen between now and January.

Cllr Beesley: Just to augment what MR said. We have this HF asset which is in disrepair, We’re trying to do something with it, the money from the Council will actually come from developers from heathland mitigation. We’re trying to get views of residents, I don’t want it to be a ‘council’ project, we want your input. If you’re prepared to put time in. We can’t leave it fall down.

People know that I’ve long wanted to prevent inappropriate development in green belt. I want to see most of the housing in town centre, not green belt, suburban area. What we need to do is not cast green belt in aspic, but see that it is not put in jeopardy.

Land holdings in the green belt, if we don’t have land supply to meet targets, when developers are turned down for housing in the green belt, they’ll go to appeal and probably win.

You can help shape the Hicks Farm. We’re in a fix about green belt. There are conservation areas across Bournemouth we want Conservation Area appraisals sooner rather than later, but we don’t have the resources. We need a management plan, the current management plan will be the one that planners look at as regards any decisions. I can’t promise a reappraisal any time soon.

Q. Hicks Farm area is enormous

Cllr Beesley: the listed building is more important than the CA restrictions. What went before in the media about the A338 was not about the new planning application. If you’re sceptical about how the council assesses its own applications, believe me there’s no reason to be.

Q. You mention tactics developers use, they let things deteriorate then put in a planning application for change of use. You are presenting us with a fait accompli.

Cllr B. As with any application it will need to be policy compliant. Think about all the pressures that Bmth faces, not a grand strategy. I’m driven by protecting green belt from inappropriate development. Ward councillors will hold us to account. I think we’ll need to work together.

Q. is this a Suitable Alternative Natural Greenspace (SANG) project to build on green belt?

MR. It’s not to allow development in green belt, it’s about providing space as an alternative to development elsewhere in town.

Talks about amalgamation (see slide show).

Ray: what about Strouden park ward, merged with Muscliffe?

Cllr Beesley: Depends on the Boundary commission. I’m happy to come back at any time, haven’t been invited for a while.

Cllr Clarke: Cllr Wilson and I talked to Yellow Buses about Throop. They can’t provide anything since they’re a commercial service.

Cllr Wilson: unproductive meeting. They said it wasn’t economically viable. I think they could have done more. They did suggest some kind of minibus routes and we’ll have to look further into it.

Q. The government wants us to use cars less, but how can we in Throop? There are 3 bus stops, one up at Throop turning point, school buses do go there. They tell us that serving these three stops are going to cause them to have to pay another driver. But it’s not. How am I going to get across to Yellow Buses or Wilts and Dorset Buses?

Cllr Wilson: we need to go back to them with a greater show of force maybe petition

Cllr Weinhonig: we’ve been running blooming marvellous, giving plaques to local gardeners.

Q. Rude to change subject!

Cllr Borthwick: there is a community taxi service.

Q. How many of you had a letter from local councillor?

Meeting comes to close