TMSTH Area Forum Meeting 25th October 2012
  • Item 1
  • Sedcat BAT Bus (South East Dorset Community Accessible Transport)
  • Item 2
  • Localisation of Council Tax Support (Changes to Council Tax Support in 2013)
  • Liz Wilkinson - Executive Director - Finance, Bournemouth Borough Council
  • Item 3
  • Gypsy and Traveller Site Consultation
  • The latest news and updates - Cllr John Beesley - Leader of the Council
  • Item 4
  • Shorts
  • Troika Park and Ride / Lorry Park and Grade Separated Junction
  • Bishop of Winchester Academy Development
  • Traffic Calming Shillingstone Drive and Muscliffe Lane
  • Police 101 number
  • Police and Crime Commissioner Elections
  • Strouden Park Community Centre
  • Former URC Church and Manse
  • Noise Action Plans
  • Parking restrictions Castle Lane West service road either side of Bradpole Road
  • Item 5
  • Residents Question Time
  • Item 6
  • Any Other Business
  • Item 7
  • Proposed Date of Next Forum Meeting
  • 28th February 2013
Click on the A icon to view the agenda as printed by Premier 32.

Item 1 - Sedcat BAT Bus (South East Dorset Community Accessible Transport)

Deputy community transport Manager, Alison Morrison, was unable to attend Forum, but an informative DVD was played. However, Forum member Bob Taylor, who is a Sedcat driver, added further information:-

  • It is a Membership scheme (£6) per annum
  • Morning shopping trips cost £5 return and afternoon outings £5. Full day outings £8
  • Buses go to Sovereign Centre, Boscombe, ASDA St Pauls Road, Castlepoint and Tesco, Riverside Avenue.
  • Various outings operate every Wednesday afternoon and alternative Saturdays, including such venues as the New Forest and garden centres, etc.
  • If anyone has any questions, please telephone Alison Morrison: 01202 534027
    email: - website:

Item 2 - Localisation of Council Tax Support (Changes to Council Tax Support in 2013)

• Liz Wilkinson - Executive Director - Finance, Bournemouth Borough Council

Chris Dale, Revenues and Benefits Client Manager, stood in for Liz Wilkinson who was unwell and sent her apologies. He was accompanied by Robin Ingleton, Head of Strategic Finance.

(Power Point presentation in numbered boxes)

1. Localisation of Council Tax Support

Throop, Muscliff, Strouden, Townsend and Holdenhurst Area Forum.

25th October 2012

2. What happens at the moment?

  • Council tax benefit - national scheme
  • Administered by billing authorities
  • 100% funded
  • No financial risk to Council

At the moment, for every £1 paid out in benefits by the Council, we get £1 back from the government. The council collects a proportion of council tax on behalf of fire and police authorities.

3. Public Policy Change

  • Welfare Reform Bill - provision to abolish council tax benefit
  • Part of wider welfare reforms
  • Intention to encourage people back into work
  • Localism Agenda

However, the total benefits bill is being cut and since the 2012 Localism Bill, every Council must comply, coming into force April 2013. The Government wants people to work rather than rely on benefits and this will be a local scheme rather than national. This is Central Government initiative and not a local council decision - we have to implement it.

4. What is changing?

  • Local Scheme from 1 April 2013
  • Designed and administered by billing authorities
  • Approximately 90% funded at outset (grant)
  • £2.2m loss of funding for Bournemouth
  • Financial risk
  • Fire and Police finances affected

The stumbling block is that for every £1 paid out, the Government will only pay 90% of the present spend. The gross loss of funding will be £2.2 million - a huge chunk of our total budget of approximately £16 million. It will also affect the Fire Service and the Police. The council can vary the discounts and exemptions allowed on second homes and empty properties.

5. Dorset Response

  • Joint Dorset working group
  • Principles
  • A single scheme across Dorset
  • A scheme that is simple to manage and easy for customers to understand
  • Understand the impacts on vulnerable groups and non-protected groups
  • Consult and communicate in a co-ordinated manner
  • Lobby central Government and the CLG for guidance and support
  • Ensure that Equalities considerations are taken into account
  • Modelling a range of options that explore the effects of absorbing none, some or all of the proposed reduction.
  • Dorset Police and Dorset Fire and Rescue Service included in the discussions.

Bournemouth is working with other councils in Dorset, including revenue and benefits. People do move around the county and it is intended to keep as near to the current scheme as possible across the Group. Certain people are "vulnerable" and must be protected. There is a public consultation exercise and we are in discussion with Dorset Fire Service and the Police.

6. Timeline

Localisation of Council Tax Support Slide 6 - TMSTH Area Forum Bournemouth

We have consulted with the Fire and Police. The Public consultation goes on until 5th Nov 2012, so please look at the information supplied or consult the website and have your say. The results will then be analysed and a report made in November / December 2012. Councillors will vote on proposals in January 2013, for implementation from 1st April, so there is not much time.

7. Scheme Options

All options had to protect pensioners.

Other vulnerable groups could be defined.

Complete range considered including:

  • Fund the shortfall
  • Recover all cost from customer
  • Reducing support for all customers, except pensioners
  • Reducing support for those in higher banded properties

Means test more aggressively

All pensioners over 61 and other vulnerable groups who could not earn more money to pay will not be adversely affected, but people of working age will not receive as much support. There are pressures to keep Council Tax down, so increasing this by 2 to 3% or cutting from other services is not an option. To recover all cost would mean cutting benefit to customers between 30 to 40% depending on approach taken. Need is calculated by calculating Income against the Living Allowance, but everyone of working age will have to pay something. A range of different options have been considered.

8. Scheme Principles

  • The cost of the changes should not be paid from savings from other Council services, or by increasing Council Tax
  • The new scheme should be as similar to the current scheme as possible
  • Everyone of working age should pay something towards their Council Tax except the most vulnerable people
  • The most vulnerable people should be protected from the changes
  • There should no longer be Council Tax Support to a householder who has a second adult on a low income living with them (Second Adult Rebate).

There should be a limit on the lowest amount given, with those entitled to less than 50p a week not receiving any support.

Everyone of working age will have to pay something towards their council Tax. It will be means tested using the Government's Living Allowance level. Pensioners, severely disabled (receiving Disabled Living Allowance) or those with a disabled child, carers, war widows or widowers, war disabled, etc., will be protected and there will be a discretionary hardship fund for those falling through the safety net.

9. Preferred Option

  • Preferred Scheme reduces maximum support to 80% of liability whilst protecting pensioners and vulnerable groups
  • Reduction in liability preferred
  • Poorest will be affected less
  • Less of an overall reduction needed
  • Less costly to Council than same cut in entitlement
  • Considered best option for whole Dorset solution

But significant cost to BBC in making good at 80%

The preferred option is to limit the maximum support to 80%

10. Other changes: Discounts and Exemptions

  • Power to change from 1 April 2013
  • Second Homes and Long Term Empty Properties
  • Mitigating effect of additional income if used

Some Council Tax changes could cover part of the cost, e.g. second home tax or a premium on empty properties.

11. Overall Financial Impact of Changes

Localisation of Council Tax Support Slide 11 - TMSTH Area Forum Bournemouth

Of the scheme options, A is staying where we are at a cost of £2.2million and is unsustainable, B and C are financially unjustifiable and D is now out for consultation, but it will still leave a hole of £775 thousand for the Council to find, which is quite good compared to £2.2 million. It treats all All non-protected claimants will receive the same level of cut in benefit therefore everyone is treated equally.

12. Impact on Customers

  • Pensioners fully protected
  • Vulnerable groups protected
  • Working age affected
  • For BBC 7,731 unprotected, 10,985 protected
  • Hardship fund will be considered

Unable to do individual customer calculations at this stage

Pensioners (those who have reached pension credit age, currently 61) entitled to Council Tax Benefit under the existing rules will continue to be assessed in the same way, but this will change each year until the State Pension Age is equalised for men and women. A discretionary hardship fund will be available for those in danger of falling through the safety net. At this point, we are unable to do individual calculations for people as there is not the computer software and all benefits will change in April.

13. Risks

  • As future demand unpredictable; cost of new scheme could escalate.
  • Inability to fund net scheme cost through council tax increases.
  • Future government grants towards scheme cost likely to reduce.
  • Benefit migration to area.
  • Claimants hardship.
  • Effect on collection rate and tax base
  • Legal challenge

Default scheme imposed

One risk is that it cannot be funded through the Council Tax increases and we do not know that the Government Grant level will be in future years. If our scheme is more advantageous than the rest of the country, there is a danger of "benefit migration." Collection could be difficult and more costly if more people are eligible for smaller amounts.

14. Consultation

Who is being Consulted?

  • Police, Fire, Others, Claimants

When will it happen?

  • Police and Fire: 10 August 2012 to 5 September 2012
  • Claimants and Others: 10 September 2012 to 5 November 2012

How will it happen?

  • Preceptor letter
  • Letter to all affected claimants
  • On line at home, library, customer service centre
  • questionnaire posted or collected at library or customer service centre

What happens then?

  • Consultation analysis/outcomes November/December
  • To inform final decision by Council January 2013

The Fire Service and Police have already been consulted. The consultation is open to all Council Tax payers, throughout the whole of Dorset. Anyone affected will be specifically contacted.

All Dorset Authorities are consulting at the same time - Also look at Poole Borough Council and Dorset 4 You websites

15. Help and Advice

Any Questions?

FAQ sheets and Consultation Forms were handed out. Consultation questionnaire is available on or in the libraries or customer contact centre. Any questions, please contact Chris Dale or any of his colleagues and the Customer Contact Centre is in St. Stephens Road, tel: 01202 451984.


Will there be any incentive for Bournemouth Borough council to make sure the people getting benefit should be the right ones?


Yes - we will use the same comparison, i.e. Income/Living Allowance, but perhaps not to the same maximum level they are getting now.


If you are working with other local authorities, why not take it further and have a central base and central collection point for all local authorities? Wouldn't there be savings if all the administration was county wide?


Each authority will have its own demands. We would have a very centralised system which would lose the local connection of Council Tax. The economy of scale may not happen.


The Government has said there will be no change for pensioners and the vulnerable, but cannot tell you how much there will be in 2013 until the results of the consultation are known.


There is no contradiction if you are a pensioner over 61 years of age. We cannot give individual calculations to working age customers as it may have to change after consultation and the Living Allowance will change.

Item 3 - Gypsy and Traveller Site Consultation

• The latest news and updates - Cllr John Beesley - Leader of the Council

Cllr Beesley stated he had not attended Forum for 3 or 4 years and he was delighted to attend on this occasion.

The question of Gypsy and Traveller sites has troubled every Member of Council since it came up, not helped by the current or last Governments. Bournemouth has done the best it can under the current legislation and we had to wait until the new Local Plan - Core Strategy - had gone through its stages. We could not rule out anything in case the Inspector may have ruled the core Strategy "unsound" and we would have had to have gone back. It was a great worry.

He stated that all Councillors, regardless of party, support protection of the Green Belt from development. We have been intent on the protection of the Green Belt unless the Government forces us into a position we cannot fight - the Secretary of State is Eric Pickles.

If there was an available Transit Site, they could be directed to it if they come into Bournemouth and relieve the problem of illegal encampments. Westbourne and West Cliff have suffered more illegal encampments than any other Ward in Bournemouth. They are expensive to deal with, but no-one wants a Transit Site. The councils united across Dorset to find sites, but having found no suitable sites in Bournemouth, they (Bakers) came up with 4 possible others. It was imperative not to trip ourselves up, so it was not until last week Cllr Beesley could make an announcement about these sites and for sound Planning reasons, could rule out the four sites. Representations made by respondents suggested other possible locations, but Bakers have not come up with any in Bournemouth and are unlikely to find any others on sound Planning reasons. Cllr Beesley apologised for the delay, but if anything had been said any earlier, we could have had to start completely again. There are 54 Councillors and there is cross-party unity to make sure we stick to this position.

As for illegal encampments, Cllr Beesley, along with Cllr David Smith and Tobias Ellwood MP have had meetings with the Minister (Bob Neill MP) and with the Assistant Chief Constable as to what in Law can be done. It was concluded that the Home Office needs to go back and look at the legislation. Within the current legislation, we cannot use Transit Sites in another area, so we will still have to go through the Court, but this is better than putting a Transit Site in a bad place. He hopes residents' concerns are being met.

The Chairman commented, the news was greatly appreciated.

Cllr Whittaker thanked Cllr Beesley for making the decision he has made and stated that John has always been a great supporter of the Green Belt. The Baker report does not actually say remove the 4 sites, otherwise we're going to look at new sites and retain the existing ones, but Cllr Beesley said we could not do another year and took the decision he has made. Let Bakers look wherever they want to look, we are very grateful to Cllr Beesley. Cllr Ron had some hand-outs of part of the report for Members to take away.

Cllr Ron was also thanked for his contributions.


Have all 4 sites been rejected and can we be sure the problem will not arise again? Has it gone away?


Cllr Beesley stated he had to be careful to get the wording right, to avoid challenges in the future. Of the sites, for sound planning reasons none of these are appropriate to be taken forward to later stages of the Development Plan Document process. They will not be subject to further consultation and will not reappear. Other sites have been suggested but in Bournemouth it is very unlikely that suitable alternative sites will be forthcoming. Cllr Beesley believes it is unlikely such a suitable site would be forthcoming, but we cannot rule anything out as this could be challenged.

Cllr Anne Rey: Going back a few years, there was a committee chaired by Cllr Anne Filer and the Gypsy Liaison Officer was there. We should take the Travellers with us and ask them what they want. Each County should have a site rather than towns. We must find somewhere in Dorset where they would rather be.

Cllr John Beesley: At this time, a site outside the Bournemouth Borough Council boundary is of no use to us. The Home Office must change the legislation. If it was Dorset wide, we could move them on, but we cannot do that at the moment. We need flexibility and changes by the Home Office of Police powers - we need the 2 things side by side. Bournemouth at the invitation of the Prime Minister has asked John Beesley to write a letter and express why it is not working and how it could be changed. The Government is minded to do something about it.

Chairman: According to the Press, any other places have stopped illegal encampments using present legislation.

Cllr Beesley: Action against illegal encampments has been robust. The legislation stated what Local Authorities can do, i.e. go to court and obtain a Court Order. We always get them. Mitigation measures in the car parks and open spaces are expensive and supported by the administration. We will enforce on every single occasion. Illegal encampments will not be accepted.


Is the net cost less by taking preventative measures?


There is a cost to preventative measures and the legal action, but we just had to make the expenditure.

Item 4 - Shorts

• Troika Park and Ride / Lorry Park and Grade Separated Junction

In the June Forum, we reported that the Park and Ride Scheme proposed in the Green Belt at Riverside, with its massive elevated junction practically on top of Townsend and the Cooper Dean Junction was up for renewal. Forum objected to the scheme and also sent in a petition from Members.

For new Members, this scheme is linked to proposals for Office development behind the Hospital and surrounding the National Retired Nurses Home as the junction is wanted for access.

However, neither the Council's new Core Strategy nor the Local Transport Plan, foresee a need for Park and Ride until at least after 2026. We would therefore argue that access to the Office Development should go on the Office Planning application.

It simply defies logic to think that if renewed as it stands, the Green Belt will be tarmac'd over and the Council will be forced to take over something they don't need, can't afford to subsidise and can't use for anything else - not even an ordinary car park and it will damage the Town Centre by making parking more scarce and expensive, losing out to out-of-town shopping centres. What a ridiculous situation. We are going to end up with a white elephant - just like Poole.

As things stand at the moment, the Planning Officer Barry Carse has given us the following progress report:-

"From the Development Management perspective:-

The situation regarding the Park and Ride planning application is that we are currently awaiting the submission of updated environmental and traffic information, which we were told by the applicant would be with us so that the application could be determined in November (an extension of time has been agreed until then). The applicant has requested a meeting with Planning Officers on Friday to discuss the progress of the application. They also want to discuss the possibility that an alternative proposal for the Riverside Avenue employment site, although no formal request for pre-application advice has been received. This would be accessed from Riverside Avenue rather than a new intersection with the A338.

The difficulty with these 2 related sites seems to be that we would still like the Riverside Avenue site developed for major employment use, but no longer have a land allocation for the road junction (plus P&R) that would provide the kind of access required by the Transport Officers. We will need to bring the renewal application forward for determination in the near future against this background, and the decision will be taken within that framework."

A full copy of his statement from the Policy / Transport perspective is on the website and on the board. If there are any further developments before the February 28th Forum, we will post them immediately on the website.


Ms Shanky - National Retired Nurses Home - was troubled there had been no warning of the meeting mentioned above.


(Secretary) This is a normal Planning meeting between the developer and the Officers, it is not a public meeting.

Cllr Beesley: Opposition to the Troika scheme is well known. The Friday meeting is just a normal meeting between the Agents and Planning Officers. This application will follow the process of all applications, including taking into account the comments from all people. The decision will not be "delegated," it will go through the normal process. Effectively, the appeal Inspector overturned the Council's decision when in 2005/5 Councillors voted 10:1 against the proposals. Cllr Beesley doubts they will have changed their minds.

Chairman: Asked for a show of hands. "Is there anyone who does not want Forum to continue to object to this Application?" No hands were raised.

• Bishop of Winchester Academy Development

The Bishop of Winchester is undergoing extensive development. There were problems with parking, but since a dialogue with the School, there have been none. The School has been very helpful. If anyone has any problem, please let Bishop of Winchester School know about it. Cllr Trickett has organised surveillance. The standard of education at the School is high. The Principal has indicated that if we wish to have a presentation, he would be happy to attend Forum or put one on in the School.

• Traffic Calming Shillingstone Drive and Muscliffe Lane

The Consultation on this scheme closed last Friday and traffic calming will be put in place to the outer limits of a 20mph zone.

John Satchwell, Road Safety Officer, Bournemouth Borough Council attended Forum with the Traffic Calming plans, prior to the meeting.

Cllr Whittaker: Shillingstone Drive and Muscliffe Lane near the school have been an increasing problem for the last ten years and we now have funding for traffic calming. A number of people have expressed views for and against the scheme and particularly regarding speed humps. Traffic calming can now be brought all the way down Shillingstone and into Muscliffe Lane. There were concerns about the number of humps, with the majority of people being against more of them.

John Satchwell has brought forward a scheme not to install humps, but a gate effect by the park and painted circles by the junction of Sandringham Gardens, which can bring in a 20mph zone with the loss of only 3 car parking spaces. 2 sets of cushions will be removed in Shillingstone and a raised table will be put in for safe crossing to Tesco etc. Yellow buses and the ambulance service are ok with this and there will be a pedestrian crossing and gateway effect. This is a much better scheme and has gone a long way with consultation. The Local Police Safer Neighbourhood Team has been very helpful.


Re: top of Broadway Lane and Muscliffe Lane - will 20mph signs be painted on the road?



Cllr Whittaker: Cllr Anne Rey has money in her Ward Fund and will pay for the 20 signs. Re: tankers, there will soon be a planning application for a bridge to parley Lane to take tankers out of Throop Village, but it is anticipated that Hurn Parish Council will object, so when the application comes, please write in and support it.


Forum Member lives at 206 Muscliffe Lane and has a chicane outside his gateway. Cars come through here like Brands Hatch. There is a chicane here but cars don't slow down. The Member asked the Council for a mirror, but been refused.


Cllr Whittaker: This is already a 20mph zone.

Chairman: Forum Member was asked to take a note of the number plate's and let the Police know.

PC Dixon: This is the first complaint of that nature in this area. He will monitor it. Please if possible note the number plate.

• Police 101 number

The Police 101 number is now in use.

• Police and Crime Commissioner Elections

Thursday, 15th November 2012

• Strouden Park Community Centre: Councillor "drop in" session

Thursday, 6th December 2012 - 10.30 am to 12.30 pm

• Former URC Church and Manse

Forum Chair has spoken to Claire Downing Regional Moderator, United Reform Church. There will be a planning application going in soon as the intention is to sell the Manse. A lot of work has been done in the last couple of weeks, but the Church is a listed property and therefore any protection has to go on the inside and so windows still get broken. The URC are doing something - we do not want another Throop Mill. Please keep the comments coming in.

Cllr Ron Whittaker: Being on the Planning Board, he cannot comment on any planning application. For 2 1/2 years the URC ignored all representation and approaches, although 3 churches were interested - the Coptic Church has tried to talk to them and has sent emails. Planning Officers have been helpful and Nigel Billet has sent emails. A Mr Dennis Whitney from Romsey has come down every month to try and keep the churchyard tidy, but has received no thanks. Nada Francis have bought a house next door to the church in Winton as the URC have not got back to them. Under the Localism Bill, the URC should be talking to the Coptic Church. A "pre-application fact finding consultation" has been suggested, but Mrs Downing says it is down to the agents. Ron is cross. He went into the graveyard, but all the shrubbery has been removed and it is left open. He, the former Minister, Ken Mantock and other helpers had gone in on one day and tidied up and there was real spirit in the Village.

• Noise Action Plans

Vice Chairman Ray O'Luby spoke to Ian Kalra - Transport Services Manager, regarding noise around the Cooper Dean roundabout. Castle Lane in the CastlePoint area is being monitored for its noise levels. Other areas, such as the Cooper Dean junction have been deemed secondary at present. He is also looking into the state of our road surfaces. Ray mentioned Queens Park Drive, adjacent Wessex Way slip road, as being in a particularly poor state, especially for cyclists. Ian Kalra will assess this.

• Parking restrictions Castle Lane West service road either side of Bradpole Road

Cllr John Trickett: The Safety Team reported several near misses across the central reservation and wanted to shut Bradpole Road off from Castle Lane, which would have needed everyone to use the service road. Instead, the junction was narrowed and the first stage of the safety plan improved visibility, with the double yellow lines now having bars, so that blue badge holders cannot use them. As people with mobility problems need to park, another disabled bay has been put in to the other area. For shop viability and particularly the Post Office and late night chemist (which is the only one in the whole of Castle Lane) the service road is important, but people park there all day. A waiting restriction of 30 minutes was proposed, but for the sake of the hairdressers, 2 hours was settled on. Signage has been put up. This was originally advertised a year ago, but delayed by objectors. It was finally approved in February. The signs have just been put up and an advert will go in the Echo, at which point it is enforceable and parking tickets will be issued. Blue Badge holders are reminded that double yellow lines with bars on them preclude them from parking there.

Item 5 - Residents Question Time

There were no questions from Forum Members.

Item 6 - Any Other Business

Cllr John Adams: was pleased to announce that from 1st December, Holdenhurst Village will become a "Parish Meeting" (it is not big enough to be a Parish Council). It will have more power and will have its own voice, particularly anything to do with Planning.

Secretary: made a plea for more committee members. Past campaigns and issues are displayed on the power point presentation at every meeting. Some of these would have had a huge detrimental effect on this area and have been successfully fought off, e.g. 1,500 new houses on the Green belt, the Castle Lane Relief Road, Gypsy and Traveller sites in the Green Belt, etc. Everyone attending Forum and taking an interest in it has a huge personal stake in this area and we all love this beautiful part of Bournemouth we live in. The task is not onerous. There are 3 Forum meetings a year and we meet 3 times in between those. It is extremely interesting. If it is happening in Bournemouth, the likelihood is it is happening in our area! Secretary hoped that at least three people would volunteer.

Item 7 - Proposed Date of Next Forum Meeting

• 28th February 2013