The Combined Unitary Authority Statements of Poole’s Demise Are Grossly Overstated

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Whilst it appears almost inevitable that the the combined unitary authority of Poole, Bournemouth and Christchurch will be created it is of concern that even some Councillors appear to portray this as the end of Poole as a town.

Poole has over 1,000 years of history, its heritage is rich and diverse with deep routed traditions and ceremonies. Indeed the Poole flag dates back even before the College of Heraldry was even set up and when the Newfoundland fishing trade was in full swing Poole had more ships than Bournemouth had population. As such Poole has a huge amount of history to explore and to celebrate as well as a depth of identity which should not be underestimated – even by our own Councillors.

It is important for all that the identities of Poole, Bournemouth and Christchurch are maintained. Each is different, each has their own local challenges but each has proud people who want to promote and protect their local environment. The notion of the establishment of the equivalent of Parish Councils has been raised by many, including Dame Annette Brooke in the recent Echo article on the subject. By delegating Parish council responsibilities locally the Authorities can better engage with the people of their area and can enhance the localist culture which the present Government has previously encouraged. The responsibilities do not specifically overlap with the duties of the combined authority which have been core to the efficiencies which have justified the merger. General areas of expenditure on recreation, litter, footpaths and war memorials etc are not core to the justification of the change and should, it is considered, be decided within Parish or similar local councils. The Society for Poole firmly considers this to be the way forward.

The notion however that Poole or indeed Christchurch, will be overwhelmed by Bournemouth underestimates the passion of towns themselves. There will be issues to overcome, but it is more important than ever that the local organisations work together to ensure that the towns retain their own identifies and character. Change will happen, but to say that Poole will be “swallowed” is to underestimate the resolve of the residents of Poole to retain and even enhance the identify of Poole as a unique town, no matter who runs the Authority or where it sits.

Mike Pearce

Chairman Society for Poole

Notes

The Society for Poole was founded as The Society of Poole Men in 1924 and since then has been saving, supporting and promoting Poole: its history, culture and people. The Society for Poole, open to all with a passion for Poole, has been responsible initially saving Scaplen’s Court, supporting events such as Beating of the Bounds, and raising money for local charities and other organisations throughout Poole.

Contact Mike Pearce at mike.pearce09@gmail.com.

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