THE LOCAL ECONOMY
“It’s the economy, stupid” is not the newest phrase in the political lexicon, having been around since Bill Clinton’s successful Presidential campaign in 1992. Yet today it survives perhaps with greater resonance in view of the recent recession and the move to unite our conurbation springs largely from the firm belief that a unified authority will give us a stronger voice, a better image at home and abroad and a stronger grip on the levers of our economy. The discussion paper on this subject released with this newsletter is offered as a basis for wider debate.
OUTMODED BOUNDARIES – NOW MOVE ON!
Seeker News(Feb./Mar. 2013) published an item about City Deals and a united conurbation in which Malcolm Scott-Walby, chairman of Buy Dorset said as follows.
“The historic boundaries created by tribes pre-Roman and in later times by how far you could walk or perhaps ride a bike or horse to work are completely outmoded.
“Each town on its own is pretty lonely and insignificant. It is the combination of the towns, the countryside and the coast which is rich and has the greatest potential if only it can work together.
“My wish is that we move on from shopping and tourism and that we seek to attract more professionals and high value industries (in the widest sense) to the area in order to provide good employment opportunities to our youth.”
A SUPPORTER ASKS: WHAT ABOUT THE RAILWAYS?
I’m perturbed that there is no mention of rail in the Transport Discussion Paper other than a brief mention of a mono-rail connection to Bournemouth Airport.
In the early 1960s rail links in Dorset were decimated by Dr. Beeching with the resulting closure of Bournemouth West. The present third rail electric system on our local line is over 80 years old and it is grossly inefficient by modern standards.
Recently it was decided to extend the 25KV overhead electric system from Reading to Southampton (mainly for freight purposes) and it would now be extremely beneficial for the United Conurbation to campaign for this 25KV system to be extended to Weymouth and also for the link from Bournemouth West to Bristol to be
re-instated and electrified (25KV), so far as possible along its original route, thereby complementing improvements to the road structure directly to the north (primarily
WAKE UP, IT’S THE 21ST CENTURY!DAVID TRENCHARD PUTS QUILL TO PARCHMENT
(Daily Echo letters 8.10.13)
On October 5th you published a letter from David Fox concerning the problems that Christchurch Council has at maintaining some services whilst being such a small unit. As he says, the combination with East Dorset has been a successful step to save money but I agree with him that this is a smokescreen hiding the real issues.
“There is far more that could be done to streamline services, cut senior management staff, save building costs and improve services if we were to bring the four councils together as one strategic council for the conurbation facing Poole Bay and combine the rural authorities to serve the rest of Dorset.
“Please can someone tell the local councillors that this is the 21st Century. Today we have emails, electronic accounting, instant mass communication and the need for transparent accountability for our local authorities.
“The current structure was founded in the days of the Horse and Carriage, two postal deliveries each day and the Town Crier. Now is time for a radical change.”
DOUGLAS EYRE SOUNDS A WARNING
(Daily Echo letters 10.10.13)
“Some of the back office amalgamation taking place [between local councils] seems to suggest that partnership working is a preferred route to avoid real unity It must be time for our local councils to put their individual empires aside, look to the better future for our area and realise how best this can be achieved.”
POOLE CHIEF SEES PAIN AHEAD – SO WHAT WILL COME AFTER HIM?
John McBride, Poole’s retiring chief executive told the Daily Echo (26.9.13) that Poole must save a further £23m over the next four years on top of £38m already cut.
The report said that a cross-party working group will explore all options for his replacement, including “looking at sharing a chief executive with another authority.”
A DATE FOR YOUR DIARY: MONDAY 18th NOVEMBER at 7.30 p.m.
This is advance notice of our AGM. Turn up and have your say!