Yesterday (Monday 20 February 2017) a meeting was held –known as a ‘Call-In’ at the Civic Centre. It was in response to proposed closure of an additional eight public toilets throughout the borough. I was granted permission to speak to a committee of councillors-5 of whom had a final vote on this proposal. I spoke against closure of Baiter Park toilets and was ably supported by Eunice Marsden who also spoke against closure–an eloquent speaker.
At the end of the meeting a vote was taken -2 opposing closure and 3 supporting it. So, now, Baiter Park toilets will be ‘mothballed.’ However:
- There are NO adjacent toilet facilities for visitors –the nearest ones will be Whitecliff-15+ minutes’ walk away
- No account was taken of the medical needs of disabled people –currently there are disabled toilets at Baiter Park
- Visitors who have travelled far to visit the area will have no idea where toilets are located
- Visitors to the newly-planted Marie Curie Field of Hope at Baiter park will have no idea where to visit a toilet, despite many of them travelling great distances and dealing with sensitive issues
- No account taken of sailors who pay £13.50 to park at Harbourside 1 car park and spend long hours at sea, who would naturally wish to use toilets on return to land
- There are 3 public car parks at Baiter but now no toilet facilities
- The councillors impressed there is a Community Toilet scheme but the nearest one is along Poole Quay. How will that satisfy the needs of dog walkers who will probably not be allowed to use toilets whilst accompanied by their canine(s)?
- No account was taken of groups of visitors to Baiter, including The Sunshine Variety Club, Lords Taverner (both catering for severely disabled people) and also large school parties –upwards of 60-100 pupils
- What about delivery van personnel, postmen/women, taxi drivers who cannot park to use public toilets elsewhere?
- Baiter Park toilets have a heavy ‘footfall’ yet NO survey has been undertaken to determine how many people use these facilities. I did a sample survey -39 in a 30 minute period+ 4 to use disabled toilets.
- It is interesting that ALL the beach toilets along the promenade at Canford Cliffs will remain open, despite the one adjacent to the car park at Branksome Chine being only 20m away from restaurant toilets which visitors use –and at a cost of over £30000 to remain open –Baiter costs are £19 000
- We want to encourage visitors to this beautiful area but is closure of toilets the way to do this?
- One of the saddest aspects of this ‘fiasco’ yesterday was that NO account was taken of needs of disabled people
- Just to rub salt into wounds- I requested information of the number of designated toilet areas in the Civic Centre…wait for it – 20! Yes, 20- and most recently refurbished-for 580 employees –a ratio of 1:29. Removal of Baiter Park toilets will ensure a ratio of 0:1000s
- Finally, two of the five councillors represent our wards- Cllrs Challinor (Parkstone) and Garner-Watts (Poole Town –that includes Baiter). For your information BOTH voted for closure. When an amendment was made to close the remaining 7 and omit Baiter from closure as some of the councillors felt uncomfortable about the situation of Baiter, Cllrs Challinor and Garner-Watts voted AGAINST this proposal
- …so now we have closure of Baiter Park toilets
Dear Parkstone Bay Residents Association,
As part of the Poole Maritime Festival celebrations in May, Immense Events are delivering a Seven Seas Festival on Baiter Park (Friday 19th May to Sunday 21st May) – a family festival encompassing world arts, culture, food and music. As an extension of their proposal, they have outlined an intention to operate a Big Wheel attraction. This would commence on Friday 28th April and culminate on the same day as Poole Maritime Festival, Sunday 21st May.
The proposal is as follows:
– operational period 12.00-20.00 Sunday to Thursday & 10.00-22.00 on Friday & Saturday.
– to be adjacent to the mobile catering concession. The Big Wheel, and the catering concession, would be enclosed by fencing.
– to expand the food and drink provision, in partnership with the current concessionaire and include alcohol provision.
This proposal is subject to the relevant Licensing application process. In addition, a Planning process will be followed providing a platform for public consultation. To support Poole Maritime Festival, we are minded to accept this unique proposal. At this stage I want to ensure you were fully aware and I would I would welcome any comments you have.
Recreation Development Officer, Borough of Poole
Address: Upton House, Upton Country Park, Poole, Dorset, BH17 7BJ.
Telephone: 01202 261312 or 07814 423824
It would be good to provide you with the latest updates on the proposed council restructuring but the latest situation is that there is still uncertainty of how many councils will be contained within the enlarged council-if that makes sense! Currently, it is our understanding that six councils have indicated that they would like to be part of a ‘super’ council- including Poole but we’re not sure about the remaining three councils. However, more importantly we need to establish how the re-organised councils will impact on costs, services and provision- so this is unlikely to go away in the short term and we will naturally keep you informed as matters ‘progress.’
Finally, another reinforced appeal to anyone who can give a few hours each month to support our committee and take the not so massive plunge and join us. We need a strong committee more than ever before during turbulent times and any support will be welcomed
You may have read very recently about increase in car parking charges. It’s a no-win situation for anyone. The council is faced with shortfalls in revenue whilst at the same time ‘trying’ to improve facilities and incentives to use the town centre. Just for information, it is very likely that car parking charges will be introduced at Whitecliff and Newfoundland Drive (Skateboard Park). How this will deter visitor parking we’re not sure or even how the parking ‘policing’ will work. In the town centre car parks, charges will increase from 80p to £1 per hour- an increase of 20%. In addition, there will be no reduction for Sunday parking and revised rates for overnight parking. We are disappointed that the ‘consultation’ by the council with particular groups did not include Parkstone Bay Association, particularly as there will be immediate impact for two of our car parks.
The submission for a £2.7 million Heritage Lottery Bid for Poole Park will be made on 28th February 2017. There is then a long nail-biting wait until July of this year to hear if the bid has been accepted. It has been a very long and sometimes tortuous journey but if the bid is accepted it will be a journey well worthwhile. A huge amount of work has been undertaken by a number of willing volunteers and officers of the council –ably marshalled by Martin Whitchurch (senior officer Poole Borough Council) Eunice Marsden and her happy band of colleagues! Win or lose I genuinely believe nothing more could have been done by these unsung heroes and heroines and it is evident that without the backing and support of residents and visitors to Poole it would not have got this far.
Everyone who has a photo on the Photomosaic, volunteered their time and talent, attended consultation events, completed consultation and survey forms, generously gave donations or just their opinions has made it a possibility to create our own Town Park, the People’s Park, rejuvenated for the future. So please…keep fingers crossed everyone!
I am sure you know there are proposals to move some of the services from Poole General hospital to Royal Hospital Bournemouth. I attended one of the ‘roadshow’ discussions in Longfleet Road. On a personal level I am not convinced of the sanguinity of removal of many of the services to Bournemouth. Please do make your feelings known via the consultation process. It is vital for you to do so –your opinion and views need to be heard!
You can access an online survey questionnaire at csr.dorsetsvision.nhs.uk
PLEASE I exhort each and every one of you to take up a few minutes of your time to complete the consultation as outcomes could impact on our future lives and the lives of our children. Once a decision has been made, it will be irreversible. The closing date for consultations is 28 February 2017
You may be aware that Poole Borough Council are proposing to close an additional eight toilet blocks across the borough in order to effect savings. One of the toilet blocks identified for closure is at Baiter Park. Whilst appreciating the council has to make savings, I personally believe the closure of toilets at Baiter Park is a backward step. I live opposite the block and in some ways closure of this non-aesthetic block may appear pleasing. However, for the following reasons I will object to it:
- The council is keen for people to use ‘community’ toilet facilities which is fine in town centres but there are none even remotely close to Baiter
- It will inhibit usage by elderly, very young and disabled. How removal of such facilities will sit statutorily with disability access would be interesting in a court of law
- Baiter toilets are one of the most-used toilets in Poole as a result of the huge number of visitors. Where will they be expected to use toilets if they don’t know the area?
- Sailors launch boats from the slipway (Harbourside 1 car park). They will probably need to use toilets either prior or after sailing
- Baiter is visited by many school groups. Removal of toilets may cause significant logistical problems (as a former headteacher I am only too aware of this!)
- We recently agreed to a ‘Field of Hope’ for Marie Curie Charity with planting of thousands of daffodils at Baiter. Large numbers of visitors will make emotional visits, many of whom will travel from afar. The last consideration for them will be to try to find toilets when they don’t know the area
The list goes on…Please remember, when the first round of closures occurred, Baiter wasn’t even a consideration. Where next if another tranche of savings are to be made…? I have contacted all ward councillors for our area and received responses from Cllrs Howell- Poole Town, Cllr Challinor (despite him representing Parkstone and not being ward councillor for Baiter Park) and also Cllr Hadley- Poole Town. I have not had a reply from Cllr Garner-Watts-Poole Town.
A local resident of Whitecliff has had a reply from the ‘Parkstone Ward Team’ – ‘…we are not PROUD of having to make any cuts at all-and didn’t ‘happily’ vote to close toilets. It was with great reluctance and is a reflection of the budgetary pressures we face. And, as I have said, we are doing what we can to keep open toilets and protect services.’
The proposal to close the eight toilet blocks has been ‘called- in’ at a Scrutiny Committee on 20 February 2017 @ 14:00 in the Civic Centre. If you feel as strongly as I do about proposed closure of an additional eight toilet blocks (remember, this is NOT the FIRST tranche of closures –and wonder where subsequently the next closures may occur…) please make your feelings known to our respective ward councillors and attend the meeting. Thank you
For those of you who attended our AGM last September, I hope you found the evening of use. Our speaker for the evening was unavailable but I’m so grateful to Councillor Ann Stribley who proved to be such a font of knowledge in dealing with current issues affecting our area and Poole as a whole. We received very positive feedback as a consequence of the proceedings. Thank you again, Ann and also to those of you who attended