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At last common sense has prevailed. The Council Planning Board must be congratulated for taking notice of public outrage and throwing out the monstrous plans for the Winter Gardens. It is now up to the residents of the town to decide what should go there and how it can be funded.


Unfortunately another dreadful planning disaster is on the verge of implementation. The council granted itself planning consent to demolish the Boscombe Community Centre of Arts in order to build 11 houses. Clearly the Council Tax revenue from 11 properties is far greater than can be received from one building.

There were many flaws in the planning application including omission of petitions from residents and users of the Centre. There was no such disregard for the council’s own report suggesting amongst other things 20 or so alternative venues. On inspection, none of these alternatives were suitable for any number of reasons. This building was gifted to the people of Bournemouth by a certain Mr. Shelley. No one has the moral right to take it away.

Dorset Local Enterprise Partnership

During investigations into the circumstances surrounding the BCCA we noticed that a grant had been given to the Dorset Local Enterprise Partnership by another government quango “Growing Places”. A photo appeared in the Echo of a Mr. David Ramsden and Mr. John Beesley in celebratory mood.

Mr David Ramsden and John Beesley along with other “dignitaries” sit on the panel of the DLEP.

Mr Ramsden made himself bankrupt in March 2009. At the time he was a director of at least 5 companies and continued to be so until their dissolution at varying times in the future.

Two of these companies “Ken Park Ltd” and “Tanner & Tilley Ltd” were set up by David and Harriet Ramsden to divert clients away from the competitors of Planning Solutions, a company owned and run by David’s son Tony.

Tony himself, as is public knowledge, has been bankrupt 3 times, his wife Harriet twice, and as mentioned, David once. John Beesley is godfather to Tony Ramsden’s son.

Other members of this panel, that controls and distributes large amounts of public money are Gordon Page (Chairman) CBE, and Mr Philip Warr, a surveyor, who coincidentally was surveyor to the failed Winter Gardens plans of Tony Ramsden. Mr Page is also chairman of P Warr Ltd.

Any further information on panel members and their associates would be most welcome.

In the Pipeline

S&D Leisure have just been granted 14 year leases to run the new “bunker” catering in the Pleasure Gardens. Did this go to tender? What is the hold S&D have over Bournemouth Council ? They run the pier approach “fun fair”, the coffee stalls in the Gardens, the balloon, the Christmas ‘German’ market, and acoustic shells when they are needed. We would like to hear from anyone who has been asked to tender for any of these contracts as the Council itself has guidelines that require only local companies to participate in the tendering process. S&D are not a local company.

There was a recent report in the Echo of a £35,000 finder’s fee paid by Bournemouth Council to SOLACE for the appointment of M.J. Forrester. We obtained this information under the F.O.I. Act 2000, as we felt it was in the public interest.

SOLACE stands for Society of Local Authority Chief Executives. It is a private limited liability company with 9 directors that charges its “members” up to £497 per annum. For this it provides Local Authorities with “executive placements”. M.J. Forrester came to Bournemouth after the Head of Paid Services, Pamella Donellan required assistance in pushing through the Mouchel contract. He was not interviewed, nor was his CV examined in the normal way, by his prospective employers. On arrival he wrote his own contract. “Chief Executive” is a made up title. The correct address is “Head of Paid Services” We at ‘A Better Bournemouth’ believe that membership of SOLACE, amongst our council staff, should be a matter of public record. As we write we are awaiting a reply from Mr. Gary Josey of the Housing Department regarding the Leaseholder’s Panel

Contact us if there is an issue which concerns you.