Outlining various achievements in the past year, the Chairman also referred to serious difficulties experienced by the Parish Council as it sought to work with BCP Council on numerous fronts.
Principle amongst the parish achievements was the successful completion of the rebuilding of Wingfield Pavilion. Serious vandalism since is both deplorable and costly.
Other notable achievements include the planting of 7 Jubilee Trees and assistance given to 9 voluntary bodies including Highcliffe Food & Arts Festival.
Work has continued to prepare the Neighbourhood Plan although it has met with stern resistance from officers at BCP Council. It is hoped this plan will be ready for a referendum in the parish within the next few months.
Revitalising the High Street has been a key aim of the Parish Council since 2019 and after much discussion and consultation it has been confirmed by BCP Council that a ‘design review’ will be completed in the coming weeks.
Together with all the parish councils in the BCP Area, Highcliffe & Walkford continues to believe the present Committee system of the Planning Authority is not fit for purpose and requires overhauling to allow better representation of the views of Christchurch area councillors.
The inability of BCP Council to honour the promise of Christchurch Borough Council to transfer 4 play areas to the Parish Council together with their failure to carry out their own promise of transferring the Recreation Ground are arguably the greatest disappointments the Parish Council has faced.
In conclusion the Chairman concluded that far more of progress could be made in these and other key areas if BCP Council could better understand and accept the role a parish council can play. Co-operation is everything.