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News and Changes

March 16

News -
On February 20 I said that The Beach Hut Cafe and The Paddle were both in the final five in the Bournemouth and Poole Tourist Associations competition for the Best Breakfast Award in the whole BH area - an amazing achievement for both.
The BH is a huge area, running from the Purbecks (including Wareham and Swanage) to New Milton, and then beyond Verwood to the North) so containing a massive number of candidates.

I'm amost loath to say (as it is already very popular and sometimes difficult to get a seat) that following secret visits by judges, The Beach Hut was voted the winner at last night's award ceremony at The Lighthouse in Poole.

Seriously, many many congratulations to the team at the cafe. They deserve it. Not only for the food and service, but for their huge fund raising efforts on behalf of Macmillan Caring Locally.

Here's a picture of the actual award ceremony, plus some of the team dressed in their finery, and the Award itself.
(Click pictures for bigger version)

Good traffic news. The traffic lights in Lymington Road outside the old Post Office building site have gone.

Telephone scammers are at it again. The latest scam involves people pretending to be from well-known UK telecommunication service providers. They call victims claiming to provide a ‘Telephone Preference Service’ - an enhanced call-barring service, which includes barring international call centres.
All complete noncense of course.
Details on the latest Neighbourhood Alert report (link below).

Changes -
What's On page updated
Neighbourhood Alert page updated

March 13

News -
There's a new website relating to road safety.
I quote from the announcement:

Dorset Road Safe brings together the police, fire service, health and local authorities to work in partnership to reduce the number of people killed and seriously injured on our roads through education, enforcement and engineering.

Members of the public can also contribute by reporting areas of concern, including dangerous or speeding driving.
Locations of mobile speed cameras will also be shared.
The site is:

Changes -
What's On page updated

March 8

News -
Correction to the article about the theft of building materials. Ittook place at Greenways, not Greystones.
The warning is still the same though.

Chewton Bespoke Homes, that I added to the Builders business listings yesterday, also offer a complete design service as well (and having looked at their website, some of their designs are stunning).
Therefore I have added them to the Architectural services page as well.

Changes -

March 7

News -
I've heard from a builder doing work at Greystones that when they had to leave the site during the extreme weather last week, having locked up everything before they left, they returned to discover a garage had been broken into, and equipment, including a brand new whacker plate, had been stolen.
It is believed that the thieves broke into the rear or the garage being used for storage at about 8:00pm on Thursday evening, and used a white Transit van to remove the stolen goods.
The victims want to warn all local tradesmen, and anyone having work done, that thieves are active in the area.

Later in the month (Saturday 24 and Sunday 25) Highcliffe Castle is the scene of an Americal Civil War re-enactment.
The days events run from 10am until 5pm, but the times of the actual battles is still to be announced.

There are lots of events planned for the Castle over coming weeks and months, so it's well worth keeping an eye on their website.

With all the work being done by Virgin contractors in the area, there have been a lot of complaints about the ruination of grass verges that have not been repaired and left a complete mess.
Councillor Lesley Dedman would like to hear about any complaints on this subject. She has been dealing with Virgin on the matter, with a level of success, so if you have a issue please contact Lesley.
See the Local Politicians page for contact details:

Changes -
What's On page updated
Chewton Bespoke Homes added to the Local Builders page

March 6

News -
It's National Pie Week!
The only local place I know that's celebrating this is The Amberwood in Walkford.
Here is their poster with all the details.
The Amberwood - National Pie Week

Reference Bentley's Barber Shop mentioned yesterday.
The owner is Francis, who is a Highcliffe resident, and for twenty years had a hairdressing business in what is now the Thai Massage salon.
Francis only left in 2011 when the lease expired, and the building was gutted and renovated. He is now back in Highcliffe, and offering haircuts for only £6.50 at present.
It's good to see a local filling a previously empty shop.

I hear rumours that someone is moving into the old bank building at 372 Lymington Road (next to Flowers by Design).
If anyone gets any concrete information, please let me know.

Changes -
What's On page updated

March 5

News -
The temporary lights in Lymington Road (the new ones at the building site where the Post Office used to be) are causing long delays in both directions.
The works that have moved up and down Lymington Road over the past weeks have finally gone, but I guess "they" think we can't live without sitting in our vehicles waiting for a green light, so some more would be in order.
Some would say it's about as exciting as life gets in Highcliffe in Winter. Creates a bit of pollution, and gives us something to moan about.

The old Fire and Ice cafe at 348 Lymington Road has a new occupant.
Bentley's Barber Shop is now open. That's all I know at present, as it had a "Back in 5 minutes" sign on the door when I visited, but I didn't wait.

The latest Christchurch Residents Newsletter is available. See below:

Changes -
What's On page updated
Business listings and village plan have the new barber added

March 1

News -
There was a burglary in Hinton Wood Avenue last night, a bit North of Holmhurst Avenue. It took place between 7:00 and 11:00pm.
Details on the Neighbourhood Alert page.

Talking of which, you can see the latest Watch newsletter below. It's well worth a read.
Our Watch Newsletter, February-March 2018

Changes -
What's On page updated
Neighbourhood Alert page updated
On the Dentists business listings, Hoburne Dental have a smart new advert

Feb 27

News -
There's several litter picks in the area over the coming weekend, organised by Christchurch and East Dorset Councils, rather than the normal beach cleans we are used to).
The one at Highcliffe Beach on Friday is hosted by Highcliffe Rotary. All bags, pickers, and gloves are provide.
Below are the details:
Friday 2 March 10am-12pm
Highcliffe Beach Clean (meet at the Cliffhanger- hosted by the Rotary Club)

Saturday 3 March 10am-12pm
Mudeford Quay- meet in the car park

Saturday 3 March 10am-12pm
Stanpit Recreation Ground- meet in the car park

Saturday 3 March 1-3pm
Christchurch Quay- meet near the Bandstand.

I notice that shop fitters are in the old bike shop in Waterford Road. Does anyone know what or who is planning to move in?

Changes -
What's On page updated

Feb 21

News -
Some seriously great news! We're getting the Zig Zag Path back!
Below is the press release from the team that have worked so hard, and fought CBC tooth and nail to make them see sense.
‘Fantastic news, Council Members, at the Full Council meeting yesterday evening approved additional funding of £239,500 to allow the rebuild project to proceed. This sum does include sizable contingencies which are unlikely to be required.

The Residents Group (Bob Hutchings, Nigel Brooks, Ian Nichols, Angus McMillan and Andy Rogers) worked tirelessly with the ‘Task and Finish Group’ (comprising Members and Officers) to bring about this successful outcome.

If you were able to sign the Petition back in October or have come along to support the campaign at Council meetings (or worn the Zig-Zag badge!) you are warmly invited on FRIDAY morning around 10.30AM to come to the Highcliffe Castle, Castle Kitchen where Bob and Nigel would like to buy you a nice cup of coffee (with a cake) to celebrate our success.

There’s lots more to do before the path finally re-opens but at least we’re now underway and we can chat to you about how we hope to move forward in the coming months’.

More good work being done by local people comes from the team at Highcliffe Hawks Football Club.
They already spend a huge amount of time and effort to support youngsters' football teams, and now they are trying to raise money to install a defibrillator at Wingfileds Recreation Ground in Smugglers Lane North.
This will benefit anyone who uses the area, both locals or for sports.
As part of this effort, Kevin Adams (one of the coaches) is taking part in the Bournemouth Bay Run to help raise funds.
You can help Kevin by going to his Just Giving page:

(Until the aim has been achieved, the above link will also be on the Community Links page.)

Changes -

Feb 20

News -
I hear that the Beach Hut Cafe at Friars Cliff, and The Paddle at Sea Corner, are both in the top five cafes in a competition to find the best breakfast in the whole of the BH area.
This is a competition being run by Bournemouth and Poole Tourist Associations, and the winner will be selected by secret and unannounced visits by members of the associations.
When you consider the huge number of eateries in such a vast area, it's quite amazing that we have two of the best right on our doorsteps.

Talking of cafes. I hear that the Noisy Lobster's application for a first floor extension was passed at the council meeting a few days ago. Needless to say the CBC Planning website is out of date, and says that the application is to be considered on 15 February.
I'm guessing that noone will be surprised that this hotly contested plan, which has been refused a couple of times, was eventually approved.
If you want to keep an eye on it, it's 8/17/3034/FUL at

Changes -
What's On page updated

Feb 17

News -
The story about the ram raid on the back of the Co-Op last week finally has some detail.
The van used was stolen from Practical Van Hire at New Milton Station, and was first used to rob the Londis Store in Marlow Drive at St Catherine's Hill, before hitting the Highcliffe store at about 6:10am last Thursday.

The incompentant crooks were soon arrested however, and have been charged with all the crimes, including the breakin and stealing relating to the aquisition of the van.
They are Alan Smith of New Milton, and Ian Smith from Bournemouth. The report does not indicate if they are related.

Changes -

Feb 16

News -
Try this for good news.
The Highcliffe Zig-Zag Path Task and Finish Group are unanimously recommending to Full Council on 20 February that additional funds be agreed for the reconstruction of the zig-zag path.
See the full press release below.

This doesn't mean that the full council will approve it of course, and we still need as many as possible at the Civic Offices next Tuesday afternoon at about 5:45pm, to make sure they know the strength of local feeling on the matter.
Of course, they all should know by now, but their track record of listening to local opinion is not great, is it?

Changes -
What's On page updated

Feb 12

News -
PLEASE - put the following date and time into your diaries, and do your utmost to be there.

The Task and Finish group set up by the Borough Council to look at the Castle Zig Zag repair are reporting their findings to the full council meeting on Tuesday, February 20th at the Civic Offices.

We need to get as many people as possible to the meeting to let the Council know that the Zig Zag is very important to local people - be there, if you can, by 5.45pm.
More detailed information will be available after the meeting.

This one hasn't appeared in Neighbourhood Alerts yet, but a friend of mine experienced an attempted scam this morning.
The culprits pretended to be from the tax authorities, saying they were dealing with the victim's tax avoidance.
Obviously trying to get him to part with money to settle the supposed debt, they hung up when he insisted on seeing the allegation in writing.

What has appeared in the latest Alert is that The Office of the Police & Crime Commissioner is currently recruiting for independent members of the public to sit on police misconduct panel hearings across Dorset and Devon & Cornwall Police. (The linked website also has lots of info about all kinds of voluntary opportunities to do with police and crime related matters.)
Details on the Alert (link below.)
There's also a warning about the dangers of carrying knives, and what to do if you suspect that someone is carrying one.

Changes -
What's On page updated

Feb 8

News -
I hear (as yet unconfirmed) that a ram raider attacked the rear of the Co-op this morning at about 6:10am. I also hear that the culprit was caught. More to come on this I'm sure.

Because of the huge success of the latest Beach Clean at Steamer Point on January 14, and the massive number of people who turned out in poor weather, the powers that be (our local councils and Litter Free Coast and Sea) have agreed that there will be more dates allocated of similar events this year.
This also alters some dates already agreed.
See What's On for the new/changed dates (in April, May, July, September, October, and January 2019).

Great job, and well done to everyone involved.

Changes -
What's On page updated
Neighbourhood Alert page updated

Feb 7

News -
It looks like most people are being sensible and staying in out of the cold.
Except the scammers of course. One that has just been reported is targeting prospective holiday planners. It is targeting people looking for flights.
All the details on the Neighbourhood Alert page.

As are details of upcoming courses on the use of drones, which aim to help people be responsible, and stay within the law.

With people now actively looking for breaks in our area, a link has been added to the front page for self catering accommodation - the places I know about anyway. (If you want to add yours, just email me.)

Changes -
What's On page updated
Neighbourhood Alert page updated

Feb 5

News -
A nasty scam has occurred against an lady in Rothesay Drive, which almost succeeded
in robbing the lady of several thousands of pounds. Only the suspicious staff in her bank foiled the plot, which involved people pretending to be the police investigating a crime.
They even sent a taxi to pick her up and take her to the bank to withdraw money!
There are reports of several similar attempts in the area, so make sure you, and anyone you are responsible for, is aware.

All the details on the Neighbourhood Alert page.

Changes -
What's On page updated
Neighbourhood Alert page updated
Village plan and business listings amended (G & T removed)

Feb 1

News -
If you have a couple of hours free here and there, the really good people at Highcliffe Friends In Need could do with your help. Their main aim is to help local people, so a seriously good cause.
There's no committment,
other than a little time when you can spare it, and any phone calls or petrol costs are reimbursed.
Find out what it's all about, and what is required, by clicking on the link below.
Highcliffe Friends In Need - Please Help.

Yet another telephone scam. This one pretends to be from a debt collecting agency, or baliffs, etc.
It goes without saying it's a scam, but if they get a person at the wrong time, it could cause problems. As usual, contact ActionFraud if you get this one.
See the Neighbourhood Alert page for details.

Changes -
What's On page updated
Neighbourhood Alert page updated

Jan 30

News -
Local author Robert Dee, who has written a couple of very funny books, has produced another.
Fiddleswick Manor is all about Lord and Lady Fiddleswick, and the goings-on within their family home, where time seems to have passed them by.
The book is available in some local outlets, including The Castle Kitchen, or directing from Robert through his website


Robert also produces excellent local photographic scenes which are printed on canvas. These can be seen displayed at The Castle Kitchen, and are for sale.

The latest Neighbourhood Alert report has more anti scam advice, and an item aimed at businesses regarding fake Bank of Ireland notes.

Surveyors have been spotted working at the building housing the Highcliffe Tandoori. Is this another one for the chop I wonder, to be replaced by yet another block of flats? We'll see.

Changes -
What's On page updated
Neighbourhood Alert page updated
Lots of changes to lots of pages, correcting, adding, and deleting links.

Jan 22

News -
Another burglary in the area. This time in Dunlin Close in Mudeford - a little too close to home for comfort.
Use the Neighbourhood Alert link below to see the details.

There is also news on the Alert of an interesting new service from Dorset Police.
AskNED provides information about lots of non emergency problems which can crop up, and we don't know the right people to contact. Issues like noisy neighbours, parking problems, animal welfare, and many others are all covered.

Changes -
What's On page updated
Neighbourhood Alert page updated

Jan 19

News -
It seems that another house has been broken into. An elderly resident of Falcon Drive returned after being out for a short while to discover the damage.
This happened between 4:00 and 7:30pm on Friday, January 12, but has only today been publicised by Neighbourhood Alert.
Use the link below to see the details.

Changes -
What's On page updated
Neighbourhood Alert page updated

Jan 15

News -
A follow up to to the item about the Avon Beach hut owners getting in touch with the Avon Beach Company with regard to the reduction in rents offered. (See January 9 below.)

It seems the response was less than sympathetic. Basically, the company is saying the offer was only a good will offer, and in any case it was based on 2017 rents.
They point out that 2018 rents are subject to an annual increase, and are maintaining that the hut owners will be benefitting from the "from the much improved promenade facility".
Their answer to huts not being available until Easter (rather than January as originally planned) is that it's nothing to do with them. It's all the Council's responsibility.
Along with the refusal to renegotiate, they have issued a less than veiled threat about future rents in 2019.
"Before we consider what the ground rent for 2019 will be, we will be taking into account the overall costs incurred by Avon Beach Ltd to achieve this much improved facility as a result of this scheme."
(Those costs are quoted as being in excess of £30,000.)

Make of this all what you will.

A lot more encouraging is the result of last Sunday's beach clean (sorry - litter survey) at Friars Cliff. Probably not surprising after recent storms, but a huge amount of rubbish was collected.
The good news is that a record number of people turned up to help. Organisers say that over 150 volunteers were present, described as far and away the best turn out ever. Well done everyone involved.

Take a look at this lot. (Click picture for bigger version.)

There's still time to add your comments to the consultation about the Dorset Police Precept (the cost to residents of running the Police service). There's also a live web chat on the subject TOMORROW (Tuesday) evening, and a website to visit afterwards to see what happened and what was said
All the links are on the latest Neighbourhood Alert update (link below).

Changes -
What's On page updated
Neighbourhood Alert page updated

Jan 10

News -
The G&T closing down sale (it's a Retirement Sale) is in full swing, and stock is disappearing at a great rate of knots.
Everything - already cheap - is now half price, so if you are thinking of going, I recommend not hanging about.

Changes -

Jan 9

News -
Now another crime. A house in Smugglers Wood Road was broken into on Sunday afternoon, between 3:05pm and 6:05pm.
See the Neighbourhood Alert page for details, and for incident reference for anyone with information.

The Alert also warns of a school fees scam, relating to private education.

Hut owners at Avon Beach are not only rightly aggrieved at the disruption being caused by the work they consider uneccessary, but they are demanding a bigger reduction in their rents than the £90 offerered.
They point out that the reduction was based on the work being done in November and December, and taking six weeks (as specified on the earlier notice boards).
Now, the time frame is for twelve weeks work before they get their huts back at Easter.
Seems perfectly reasonable to want to renegotiate the rental situation.

I'm told that Stones Cycles are going to be providing a mobile sales/rental/repair service in future, after deciding that their latest rent demand would make their business a lot less profitable.
I don't blame them. And as someone has pointed out, with the ridiculous business rates situation, many landlords are quite happy to leave their premises empty, rather than offer a sensible rental opportunity.

St Marks Church has started a weekly Sunday morning breakfast event.
It's called Breakfast@9. Obviously starting at 9:00am, and running until 9:45am, everyone is most welcome, and it promises family fun, food, and fellowship. Below is the flyer with the details
Breakfast @ 9

Changes -
Neighbourhood Alert page updated
What's On page updated
Lots of corrections, deletions, additions to business listings.

Jan 8

News -
Spoke too soon - as usual.
On the very day I reported that nothing was happening (last Thursday) we had some criminal damage to cars taking place in Woodhayes Avenue. This happened during the day, between 6:20am and 4:30pm.
See the Neighbourhood Alert page for details, and for incident reference for anyone with information.

It's worth taking a look, as the Alert also mentions the restrictions along Avon Beach promenade, in place due to the preparation for the work about to start. Work which we all know about already, so I won't bore you with details.

Stones Cycles, the bike shop at 7 Waterford Road, has closed, and now stands empty.
This appears to have happened without warning, but we'll see if we can find out anything more.
If anyone has any info please email.

The What's On page is looking a bit sad. If anyone has any upcoming events, please let me know about them.

Changes -
Neighbourhood Alert page updated

Jan 4

News -
Apart from the storm, it has been pretty quiet on the Highcliffe front.
Even the Neighbourhood Alert people have apologised for lack of updates, and said there has just been nothing to report.
Unless you know differently of course!

The good people from the Beach Hut Cafe presented the bulk of the money raised from their Christmas Day opening, and sales of calendars etc, to Macmillan Caring Locally a couple of days ago. With still more being raised, the amount was nearly £7,500 - quite astonishing.

Changes -

Dec 29

News -
The Beach Hut Cafe's annual opening for charity on Christmas Day, raised a quite astonishing more than £5000 in two hours.
Along with sales of calendars etc, the total going to Macmillan Caring Locally is already nearly £6900, with more donations coming from people who couldn't make it to the Christmas Day event.
Absolutely amazing.

Also amazing, although sadly not in a good way, is news that the work to raise the prom at Avon Beach is set to start in January.
Let's have a look at the situation for a minute.

When first announced, this unnessary project was announced to be going to cost £120,000.
Many of us were incredulous, and asked councillors to give the breakdown of the estimate, as it did not make any sense. I assume that like me, people were treated like idiots, and told that the figures came from CBC's highly qualified engineers. Basically we were told "What do you know about anything?
(The breakdown requested was never revealed.)

Eventually, the plan reached the Resources Committee, who were concerned about the scheme, as the estimate was now up to £540,000. Work out the percentage difference for yourselves. It would seem to suggest that the CBC "experts" who came up with the original figure were slightly less than competent.
The Committee decided to return the issue to Full Council.

By the time it reached Full Council, some £65,00 has mysteriously been shaved off of the figure, so the scheme under discussion was around £475,000. (Remember the original estimate, which itself caused much public disquiet?)
This is where it gets really silly.
Instead of councillors pointing out that this was a ridiculous situation, especially given CBC is apparently too broke to fix things that actually need fixing, and throwing the whole unnessary plan in the bin, they approved it!
What more can I say?

(Except that affected beach hut owners have been offered a reduction in their rents - of under £100 - as they won't be able to access their huts for an unspecified amout of time.)

Changes -

Dec 22

News -
A reminder about one of the area's most popular Christmas traditions.

Between 11:00am and 1:00pm on Christmas Day, the Beach Hut Cafe at Friars Cliff will be open for hot drinks, mulled wine, and mince pies, all provided by the family and friends of the owners.
It's all donations only, and as usual, all money raised will be going directly to Macmillan Caring Locally, based at Christchurch Hospital.
Anyone who has been before will know how popular the event is, and how chaotic the parking can be. (I'm assuming the good old council will once again refuse access to the larger Steamer Point car park.)
I would suggest the earlier you get there the better, but whenever you arrive, you'll get parked somewhere. It's worth the effort.

Changes -

Dec 21

News -
The Neighbourhood Alert people are sending out so many scam warnings at the moment, I can barely keep up.
Take a look at the latest updates on the Alert page. It also includes an opportunity to give your views on drink driving limits, and information if you are getting someone a drone for Christmas.

HP Music in Lymington Road is going from strength to strength, with their artistes (both new and existing) doing extremely well. Many thought it was a strange business to set up in Highcliffe (I'm not one of those) but led by the extremely talented Harrison Perks, the company is proving to be a huge success.
Take a look at the News section of the company website.

Changes -
What's On page updated
Neighbourhood Alert page updated

Dec 11

News -
A man's body was found on the beach yesterday at about 8.20am. Foul play is not suspected, and net of kin have been informed.
The story so far can be seen below:

If anyone has not seen the leaflet recently arriving about the upcomng referendum on future council changes, take a look at the images below. There's some interesting information contained, which is sure to trigger questions for many.

(Click the images for bigger versions.)

Changes -

Dec 6

News -
Drivers under 25 make up about 12% of Bournemouth area drivers, but are involved in over 25% of traffic accidents.
With this in mind, Bournemouth Council has joined forces with SafeWise Safety Centre, Borough of Poole, and Dorset County Council to offer the Life Drive course to drivers aged 17-25 who have passed their driving test within the last four years.
The course is free of charge and offers theoretical and practical training. Participants also receive a £50 Amazon voucher on completing the course.
All the details here http://www.safewise.org/education/life-drive/

Since CBC put the locked gate on the jetty on Mudeford Sandbank, visitors, hut owners, and boat users have complained that there is nowhere to just drop off and pick up.
The owners of the Beach House have taken the initiative, and are proposing a seasonal temporary jetty for that purpose.
It will be interesting to see if the Council does their normal thing, and stands in the way of actions for the benefit of normal folks. Details of the plan below.

Changes -

Dec 1

News -
It's been pointed out that I did not report the damage caused at the Cliffhanger Cafe last Friday night/Saturday morning. I was away and missed it.
But between 1:00 and 5:00am, 48 windows and doors were smashed with a hammer, causing thousands of pounds worth of damage. The full story can be seen below.

More on the Avon Beach fiasco (the latest one manufactured by Christchurch Borough Council).
I'm sure that many, like me, wrote to CBC and/or councillors at the time of the announcement (February 2017) asking to see a breakdown of the costs, as none of us could see how the proposed work could be completed for the published figure of £120,000.

I'm assuming also, that again like me, everyone received an extremely condecending reply, basically saying that CBC's expert engineers had worked out the cost, taking into account various grants and donations, and that we members of the public were not in a position to question their figures. (Obviously, only those connected to CBC know anything about engineering or building, or posess any common sense).
I wonder how those more than slightly smug councillors and council officers are feeling now.
The new estimate for the work is £540,000, just the 450% more than the "experts" quoted.
The report below is going to the Resources Committee at the December 6 meeting.
Avon Beach Promenade Raising the Height and Widening Project

We can only hope that the competency of those responsible for the original estimate will be questioned. (If not, why not?)
We can also hope that common sense will prevail, and that the whole project is dropped as unnecessary, and any money available is diverted to other more worth while projects.

Popular Highcliffe Hawks Football Club, who provide brilliant support for local youngsters from Under 7 to Under 14, has a brand new website.

Please note that the Girls section (The Chicks) has been taken over by New Forest Soccer, and if any young ladies want to get involved in football, all the information can be found at:

Changes -
What's On page updated
All references to Highcliffe Hawks now include links to their new website.

Nov 24

News -
Apparently there is a story doing the rounds that the popular Room 298 shop in Lymington Road has ceased trading.
I'm assured that this is not true.
The shop is temporarily closed due to illness, but Sally will be reopening as soon as possible.

I'm also told that the erroneous information appeared on Nextdoor (which used to be Streetlife).
Any users of that system might want to put them right.

A reminder.
There's a couple of annual Christmas events next week (see What's On page).
On Friday (Dec 1) there's the Amberwood Christmas Lights switch on at 5:30pm, with Santa, mulled wine, mince pies, and Christmas music from CODA. Free entry.
On Saturday (Dec 2) there's the Christmas Fayre at Highcliffe St Mark Primary School, from 11:00am until 1:30pm.
With a Grand Raffle, Santa's Grotto, Games, Stalls, Cakes, and fun for all the family. Adults 50p, kids free.

Changes - What's On page updated

Nov 20 (b)

News -
Reference Avon Beach.
I have just received the following from CBC.
Tenders for the Avon Beach Promenade project have been received and evaluated. The cost of the project is greater than the funds available so the Council’s Resources Committee will decide on 6 December whether to recommend that Full Council approves additional funding at its meeting on 12 December.

If additional funding is approved by Full Council, construction will start in mid-January and be completed before the Easter weekend.
It looks like those of us that were dubious about the financial estimates for the planned work were right to be suspicious.
It will be interesting to see what the actual figure turns out to be. Perhaps they will scrap the idea, and use the money to repair the Zig Zag Path.

Changes -

Nov 20 (a)

News -
As expected, the developers wanting to build on the Jesmond Avenue site have entered an amended plan.
This one is only for 23 houses, 15 flats, and a 68 bed residential/nursing home.
You only have until Saturday December 2 to add your comments. See the application below:

The Noisy Lobster at Avon Beach have also reapplied to etend, after their previous attempt was turned down.
They say they are taking the concerns of the Planning Inspector into consideration this time.
You only have until Wednesday (December 22) to comment n this one.

I am trying to find out when work is actually going to start on the Avon Beach Prom raising fiasco. Hut owners were told that it was to be immediately after half term, but all that has happened is the removal of the information boards.

Changes -

Nov 18

News -
Reference BRAVE.
They managed to open today, as they had hoped. Although this morning final touches were still being attended to by a band of enthusiastic people.
Yesterday I omitted to mention contact information. Anyone wanting to telephone should call Warwick on 07866 986752.

Changes -

Nov 17

News -
A new business is about to open in Lymington Road.
BRAVE is at Number 401 (the old Lifestyle Concept premises) and the plan is to open tomorrow (Saturday) if at all possible.
They will be selling all things relating to skateboarding, and for all levels, from complete novices to expert.
Novices of all ages can get lessons, enabling them to have a little confidence when they actually hit the skateparks or streets. They even have a half pipe in store to help with that.
Good luck Guys. It's probably Highcliffe's only shop aimed at younger people.

Any disappointed customers of the now closed Full Of Beans, can still buy goods online.
Email fullofbeanshighcliffe@outlook.com for details.

I can't say I was suprised by the closure of Fire and Ice Cafe. Not because it wasn't a friendly place serving good coffee and food, because it was.
But owner Mark has for a long time now had to become heavily involved in a family business, which has him driving ridiculous distances all over the UK for most of the week, so he is only in town on a Monday, and not always then.
I have no idea where the van and taxi drivers will get their early morning drinks and sarnies now. It was the area's only cafe open early.

There are loads of internet and telephone scams doing the rounds at present, and the latest Neighbourhood Alert updates (see link below) give lots of good advice on the subject. It's well worth reading them.

Changes - Neighbourhood Alert page updated
What's On page updated

Village Plan and business listings amended.

Nov 15

News -
You may have noticed that Mayor David Flagg is proposing that, rather than be forced into a giant super council with Bournemouth and Poole and others, investigations take place that would allow Christchurch to be part of Hampshire once again.
Older ones amongst us will remember having no say in 1973 when we became Dorset residents rather than Hampshire Hogs.
This time there's a chance to have your say. There is a public meeting at the Priory Church on Monday next (November 2
) starting at 6:00pm. Also being discussed is the current proposal.
It's a chance to hear the arguements before the referendum.
More on the story below.

Changes -

Nov 13

News -
I've been out of town for a few days, so was not around for the official Post Office opening.
However, the nice people at HQ sent me some photos, and a press release.

(As usual, clicking the pics will show bigger version)

Press Release - Highcliffe Post Office

We all heard the rumours, and they were all true. Highcliffe institution G&T's is closing.
Plans are in to build flats on the site, in a four storey block. Take a look below:

Changes -

Nov 9

News -
The Yellow Bus X37 route is up and running.
The route takes it from New Milton to Bournemouth, and tours around Highcliffe a bit (rather than runnning straight through).

The route and times can be seen below:

Changes -

Nov 8

News -
On September 11, mention was made here of a plan to rebuild the Life Saving Club premises at Friars Cliff, in order to make it more able to cope with it's increasing popularity, and more suitable for it's needs.
Following discussions with Christchurch Council, some amendments were made to the scheme, and formal planning application has now been made.
Having looked at the documents, I can see little that could cause objection, so would encourage as many people as possible to support the club.

Not that long ago the club was all but defunct, and kept alive only by a couple of dedicated volunteers. It is now thriving, with an ever increasing demand from local youngsters, and providing a really worthwhile outlet for kids of all ages.

Take a look, and support the application if possible.

Comments can be made until November 28.

Changes -

Nov 7

News -
Our new Post Office will be opened officially on Friday morning at 12:30pm.
The ribbon cutting will be performed by MP Chris Chope.

As we all now know, the Post Office will be in Occasions in Lymington Road, run by Postmaster Stuart Brittan.
It will be open from 9:00am to 5:30pm, Monday to Saturday, and will provide all the services found in a modern main post office.
Why not turn up and show your appreciation for Stuart and Jocelyn?

Here is the Post Office official announcement.

Police have released a cctv photo of the suspect in the incident last Tuesday, when a male demanded money from staff at the Honeymoon Chinese takeaway in Lymington Road, before escaping empty handed on a bicycle.
Here is the Echo link with the photo.

Changes -

Nov 4

News -
You may remember that in August Police were investigating an alleged rape in woodland near Hinton Station.
A 30 year old male was detained, but later released. Police have now said that no further action is to be taken.
Read all about it in the latest Neighbourhood Alert update.

The update also offers advice to anyone - male or female - wishing to report an incident to the police.

You may also remember that a while ago CBC received a planning application for Poppy Close on the Hoburne Estate, where it was proposed that a currently open green area in Primrose Way be destroyed, and have parking and garages built on it.
The Council quite rightly rejected the application, as out of character with the area, and an opening for many other of the open areas of the estate to also be paved over.
Unsurprisingly, the applicants have now reapplied with a slightly different plan. This one has removed the garage block, but still wants to turn the green into a tarmac parking area.
Hopefully, everyone who objected last time (successfully) will do so again, as the arguements are exactly as before.
Not only would this be an eyesore for residents opposite in Primrose Way, but would be a not very thin end of an very big wedge.
Many of the open green areas of the estate, which is it's main attraction, would certainly be open to similar applications.
Details below:

Changes - What's On page updated
Neighbourhood Alert page updated

Nov 3 News -
People at this morning's gathering at Highcliffe's Castle Kitchen for supporters of the Zig Zag Path Action Group were rewarded, not only with coffee and biscuits, but also with information from the group's work in getting more realistic surveys and quotes about the work and costs of reinstating the path.
It all reinforced the commonly held view that the original decision to demolish the path was taken far too quickly, and based on unsubstantiated and unscrutinised calculations from Christchurch Council officials, who then gave advice to elected councillors which was never questioned.
At least, not until the Action Group got going, using their considerable technical expertise and experience.
On a positive note, at least some councillors realised that the original decision had been taken far too hastily, and have now agreed to look deeper into the matter.

This is not a "U Turn" as described in today's Advertiser, but rather an agreement to investigate the matter properly.
There is still no guarentee we will get the path fixed, but at least a future decision will be based on fact.

On Saturday morning, the local Mudeford/Highcliffe/Walkford Neighbourhood Police Team will be at the Christchurch Day Centre in Lymington Road, between 10am and 2pm.
This "Meet The Team" event gives us a chance talk to the team about any concerns, and to actually see what they look like.

There are a lot of changes to the business community in Highcliffe, especially in Lymington Road. Before I change the business listings, I need to spend some time investigating. Watch this space.

Changes -

Nov 1 News -
The CBC meeting last night about the future of the Zig Zag went better than could be hoped. Council agreed to recind their original decision to close the path permanently, at least until they have investigated the fantastic work done on our behalf by the Action Group.
they agreed to fully investigate alternative ways to proceed and then seek tenders for the work.

The actual motion can be seen below.
Notice of Motion – Revised Motion (Highcliffe Zig Zag Path)

The Action Group are so pleased with residents support that they have organised a "Thank You" event.
Thay would love to buy you a nice hot cup of something. It's at The Castle Kitchen from about 10:30am on Friday morning (November 3).
By the way, the new people at the Castle Kitchen have been very supportive of efforts to get the path reopened, so good on them.

Changes -

Oct 27 News -
Everyone who cares about the future of the Zig Zag path should make a little time on Tuesday evening.
A full council meeting is taking place, and on the agenda are the proposals from the group of local professionals created to form a viable plan for the path's restoration, within the council's published budget, which CBC's so called experts say cannot be achieved.

As much local support as possible is needed at the meeting, so that councillors are left in no doubt about the strength of opposition there is to their plan.
Once again CBC is proposing to act against the wishes of local people, and is trying to steamroller opinion and protest.
Please turn up and show them how you feel.

The meeting is a Full Council Meeting, starting at 6.00pm, on Tuesday October 31.

Below is the Group's latest information release.
Notice to Supporters

Changes -

Oct 24 News -
Halloween is almost upon us. Dreaded by most, especially elderly and vunerable residents, it can be a time of stress and concern.
As in previous years, Dorset Police are providing various posters that might help, including a "No Trick or Treaters".
To see what is available, and to print a copy - either for yourselves, or for relatives or neighbours - go to the link below.


There are several items on the latest Neighbourhood Alert offering., including warnings about various scams, and a link to the latest Neighbourhood Watch newsletter.

I'm hearing that the residents of the roads near to Hinton Station (Cranemoor Avenue/Close for example) are not at all happy. It seems that commuters using the station are parking in those streets, partially blocking roads and driveways, and generally making life difficult for residents.
If you are one of the culprits, please reconsider, and think how you would feel if someone was parking in an inconsiderate way outside your house.

Changes - What's On page updated
Neighbourhood Alert page updated

Oct 18 News -
Almost missed this one, and it hasn't appeared in Neighbourhood Alert yet.

At 2:45am on Monday, a number of offenders broke into Walkford Stores on Ringwood Road.
They used a dark-coloured Toyota pick-up truck to try to pull out a cash machine, but this was unsuccessful and they left the scene in the truck, heading in the direction of the A35.
The truck was found abandoned nearby, and subsequent enquiries have revealed that it had been stolen.

A full search of the area was carried out, assisted by the NPAS helicopter, but no suspects were located. A full investigation is underway.

Detective Constable Andrew Burley, of Bournemouth CID, said: “I am appealing to anyone who was in the Walkford area in the early hours of this morning, and either witnessed the incident or saw a pick-up truck being abandoned, to please contact Dorset Police.”
Anyone with information is asked to contact Dorset Police at www.dorset.police.uk, via email 101@dorset.pnn.police.uk or by calling 101, quoting incident number 55170161444.
Alternatively contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555111, or via www.crimestoppers-uk.org.

For you Twitter users out there, CBC is asking for you to tell them what you love about Christchurch and East Dorset.
Follow them using @cb_edd_councils.
Include a photo and the hashtag #loveCED and be in with a chance to win one of lots of prizes, with all kinds of things on offer across the Borough.

Highcliffe Castle has a Jazz and Swing concert on Monday October 30, with old favourites Swing Unlimited.
Tickets are £12.50 (£11.50 to season ticket holders) and it starts at 7:30pm
Full bar will be available.

Changes - What's On page updated

Oct 16 News -
At 9:03am today Police were called to reports of a woman's body in the water just off the beach near The Black House on Mudeford Sandbank.
Enquiries are ongoing to establish the circumstances of the death and the identity of the woman.

The lady who was killed on Friday afternoon at Mudeford has been named as Pat, an 85 year old resident of Avon Reach Care Home. She was on the pavement when hit by a BMW driven by a 94 year old local man.

Lots of Portuguese Men Of War have been washed up along the coast from Swanage to Keyhaven, apparently driven across the Atlantic by Hurricane Ophelia.
They look like jellyfish but are in fact not a jellyfish but a siphonophore, which are not a single creature, but a collection of individual organisms.
More to the point, they can give a very nasty sting, even when dead, so don't touch them, and don't let kids or animals near them. Report finding to the local council.

Even more interesting is the huge amount of work that has been going on behind the scenes regarding the Zig Zag Path.
A team from Rothesday Drive Residents Association and the Friends of Highcliffe Beaches and Cliffs, have put together a team of experienced retired professionals with geology, civil engineering and construction project management backgrounds, all Christchurch residents.
Here is the current situation in the Team's own words.
We have met with David McIntosh, Christchurch Council’s (CBC) Chief Executive and his ‘top team’ as well as held ‘Technical Meetings’ with Lindsay Cass CBC Head of Property and Engineering, and colleagues, and put forward, what we believe, is a viable rebuild solution within their ‘signed off’ financial budgets.

We have also introduced to CBC’s Property and Engineering team a national specialist ‘design and build’ contracting company that we believe can deliver a rebuild project. These discussions are continuing.

CBC’s Consulting Engineers, AECOM, solution and CBC’s own ‘build up’ figure £1.25m is the Council’s ‘back stop’ solution. We know Council Officers as well as Council Members will not support it on financial grounds.

Our next step is to talk to Councillors to convince them that at the next Full Council meeting on Tuesday 31 October at 6.00pm, they must rescind the decision to abandon the path and agree to properly investigate the alternative solution we have proposed.

Changes - What's On page updated

Oct 14 News -
As mentioned on October 10, The Lakewood Restorationteam have produced a 2018 calendar, with the wildlife photos taken by a local professional photographer.
It is now available at Much Loved Pets, and at PMTs, both in Lymington Road. Other outlets are to be announced soon.

Also mentioned a few days ago that the Life Saving Club is applying for permission to improve their facility.
The application has been delayed a little, as CBC have asked for more information.

Changes - What's On page updated
Please note that Amberwood jazz nights (first and third Tuesdays) now start earlier at 7:30pm

Oct 12 News -
There was an attempted burglary last night. It took place at a property in the Laurel Close/Woodfield Road area of West Highcliffe, between 8 and 10pm.
(Laurel Close is off of Smugglers Wood Road.)

The two offenders made off, and are described as late teens/early twenties, one wearing grey clothes, the other wearing black clothes.
Details on the Neighbourhood Alert page.

Changes - What's On page updated

Oct 10 News -
The good folks who spend so much time and effort getting the lake at Lakewood Road back to it's former glory have a fun dog show coming up. It's at Stanpit Village Hall on Saturday October 28, starting at 12 Noon.
They also have produced a 2018 calendar, with photos taken by a local professional photographer. This will be available in several local shops net week. (More details when I have them.)

Finally on the subject of Lakewood, a specialist company is to dredge the lake of all the rubbish, dead leaves and wood, and whatever else has accumulated over many years. This is weather dependent, but will take place during the last week of October. Because of the machinery operating, and the resultant mess, we are being asked to keep clear while the operation is in progress.
More about the restoration work can be found at https://www.facebook.com/Lakewood-restoration-136753646532864/

St Mark's Church have several changes coming up to their scheduled services.
As from November the Healing service moves to the first Sunday so will be on Sun 5th Nov at 6.30pm (it was previously on the second Sunday of the month).
Also as from November they start a new Taize service at 6.30pm on the third Sunday - 19th November.
(But in December neither of these take place as they have Advent Carols at 6.30pm on Sun 3rd, and 9 Lessons & Carols on Sun 17th.)

All details will be on the Church website http://www.stmarkshighcliffe.org.uk/

Changes - What's On page updated

Oct 7 News -
The long awaited planning application for the so called improvements to Avon Beach are now in.
Needless to say Christchurch Council is only giving us a few days to prepare any objections/comments, as the planning meeting is on Thursday October 12, at 6:00pm
The application number is 8/17/1748/FUL and details can be seen below:

Anyone wishing to speak at the meeting should contact the Democratic Services Officer on 01202 795054 or by email to democraticservices@christchurchandeastdorset.gov.uk

Don't forget that CBC meetings are now available on uTube. See News on September 17 for links.

Changes - What's On page updated

Oct 5 News -
The wonderful Highcliffe Friends In Need, who do so much ferrying of those less mobile residents to hospital, doctors, and other appointments, are in need themselves.
Although they always need volunteer drivers, their immediate need is for someone willing to take telephone calls and book drivers on a Friday morning, from 9:30am until 12:30pm. (Any telphone expenses are reimbursed.)

If you can help with this, or can spend some time as driver (working at your convenience) please call Cressida on 01425 279328.

Anyone who likes classical music (or show tunes) will be interested in a charity concert arranged by The Friends of St Marks Church on Saturday October 21. Classically trained Nicole Young will be performing at St Marks, starting at 7:00pm, and tickets are only £5 for adults (£3 for under 18s). You can get your tickets at the door.
(to find out more about the Friends, click on their name above.)

Changes - What's On page updated

Oct 2 News -
Starting tomorrow, Highcliffe Castle is holding an exhibition of artworks created by the patients in the Lewis Manning Hospice, which offers palliative care to those with life limiting illness in the surrounding area.
Part of the care comes from the classes they offer, including art.
The exhibition runs until October 31.

Changes - What's On page updated

Sept 25 News -
Confirmation that following last Monday's visit to court, the MCA sucessfully got the travellers who had broken into the site at Steamer Point evicted. They moved on peacefully.
The entrance is now blocked with massive concrete blocks.

Highcliffe Sports and Social Club now has a new website which is being maintained and is up to date, including the Entertainments page.
It is http://www.hsandsc.co.uk/

Here's an interesting item, which may be of benefit to some.
A local driver challenged a fine received for parking in Wortley Road, and won. Here's the story in his own words.
You may have noticed that CBC brought in 24 /7 30 minute parking in Highcliffe a few years back now enforced by Dorset County Council. This was not to ensure free moving traffic but to simply raise revenue.

At the Highcliffe Food Festival I picked my wife up a late afternoon on a Sunday and was given a ticket in Wortley Rd. I was taken aback as there is only one small sign introducing their spiteful regime.

I complained and was told to cough up by Dorset CC or the fine would double. I felt unfairly treated due to both their methodology of fund raising and that the Dept of Transport recommends signage every 30 metres rather than their one sign.

I took the matter to the matter to the Traffic Penalty Tribunal whom quashed the ticket agreeing with me that the signage was inadequate.

Perhaps CBC and DCC should refund everyone whom has illegally had money purloined by their aggressive Parking Services Dept in Wortley Rd.

Changes - Local links page updated.
What's On page updated

Sept 21 News -
Just a reminder that there is a Beach Clean coming up.
It's on Sunday, October 1. As usual, it's at Steamer Point, and meeting time is 10:30am at the Wave Wall.

Changes -

Sept 17 News -
Presumably as part of their aim of more openness, Christchurch Borough Council have decided to start live streaming Council meetings via YouTube.
You'll also be able to catch up with meetings that have already taken place. The link is below.

SafeWise, the road safety people, are running more of their popular practical and/or theory driving courses, aimed at more senior drivers, mobility scooter users, and also those who have only recently passed the driving test.
Details on the Neighbourhood Alert page.

Changes - What's On page updated
Neighbourhood Alert page updated

Sept 12 News -
There's more positive news on the Zig Zag path situation. Several councillors (named on the document linked below) have issued a notice to rescind a previously taken decision, using "Notice of Motion Under Procedure Rule 15".
I won't bore you with details, as you can read it for yourselves, but it does appear that at least some councillors have been listening.
Click here for the Notice of Motion

The improvement works at Nea Meadows continue apace. To follow the completed bridge repairs, and work on the paths and fences, will be improved access for wheelchairs, mobility scooters, pushchiars, etc.
Extra parking, seating, and bike racks are also to come over the coming months.
All works are approved by Natural England.

Changes -

Sept 11 News -
Sorry Everyone. I've been walkabout for a few days. I don't appear to have missed too much though - except for a new traveller invasion on Saturday, when they broke into the empty ex MCA site at Steamer Point.

One resident reports seeing people with a black car changing registration plates on a number of traveller vehicles.

By coincidence I'm sure, but this weekend has also seen several thefts of building materials from the various sites around the Friars Cliff area, along with young males (usually with a white van) being discovered and challenged in private gardens. Their response is that they are looking for scrap.

Better late than never item.
Tonight at the Beach Hut Cafe is an informal planning preview about the proposals from the Christchurch Life Saving Club to improve their facilities, with a view to making them more suitable for the great work they do with local youngsters.
My personal view is that the plans don't impact on any other local residents, and that the benefits the Club brings to the community should be supported and encouraged, but peple should make up their own minds.
So why not go and take a look?

With regard to the Zig Zag path, there seems to be a fair bit of wriggling going on down at Civic Offices.
Having categorically stated that the path would not be repaired due to cost, since the huge petition against the proposal (which would have been much bigger with a little moretime) they are now admitting that they don't actually know what repairs would cost, as there has been no tendering process.
Councillor bath is reported as saying that "We don't have enough information on the cost of repairs, or the economic impact of not repairing the path, to decide now."
She goes on to say that "We are seeking the views of residents." I wonder what she thought the petition was about then?
We all just need to ensure that there is no doubt in CBC's or Councillors' minds what residents views are.

Changes - What's On page updated

Sept 1 News -
The Petition, objecting to the decision not to go ahead with the rebuilding of the Zig Zag path, with now over 3,000 signatures, will be presented to the Christchurch Full Council meeting next Tuesday evening, September 5, at the Civic Offices in Bridge Street.

Please be encouraged to go along for a Press 'photo call' at 5.35pm and to attend the meeting, which commences at 6.00pm.

Let's make sure that CBC know we think they are wrong - again - and that once again they are not acting in the interests of residents and visitors.

The popular Highcliffe Short Mat Bowls Club now has a smart new website.

Changes - Above website added to Local Organisations page.

Aug 30 News -
This morning, the Post Office have published a press release about the opening of the Occasions based new facility in Lymington Road. It's good news, so take a look below.
Reopening of Highcliffe Post Office

Hampshire Police have published their Summer edition of Rural Times, which is about their efforts to protect people and property in the countryside. Anyone interested can see the publication below.

Christchurch Police Station is now closed, and local Police have moved to their new base in the Fire Station in Fairmile Road.
It won't make much difference to anyone though, as the Police Station has been closed to the public since March 2015,
and at least officers are still based locally.

Changes -

Aug 29 News -
The outrageous proposal to build a monster house and double garage in Poppy Close (with the garages being planned for currently open green space) have been amended. They don't look much different to me. Take a look application 8/17/2037/FUL at:

Better news is that it seems Highcliffe is to get a replacement Post Office in October. The 16th is the date I hear.
As reported before, the owners of Occasions Cards in Lymington Road applied for permission, having had the necessary experience in the past, and after the cogs of beurocracy turned etremely slowly, will soon to be in a position to open.

Changes -

Aug 25 News -
Yesterday, representatives from the Friends of Highcliffe Beaches and Cliffs and the Rothesay Drive Residents Association handed to the Borough Council a petition demanding that the Zig Zag path be reopened.
The petition contained an amazing 2,506 signatures, with more coming in all the time.

You would think that such strength of feeling locally might cause a rethink among the people who are allegedly representing residents, but we need to remember that CBC and elected councillors do not have much of a track record in considering local opinions.
We shall see.

It's worth noting that the committee that recently decided to get rid of the path were split down the middle, and only the deciding vote of the committee chair (Councillor Sally Derham-Wilkes) condemned the path. I'm guessing that her vote was just protocol, which would be sad.

It's also worth noting that getting rid of the path, and the work necessary to fix and secure the resulting exposed cliff face, will cost nearly as much as repairing the path.

At the risk of repeating the obvious, what makes this situation even more ludicrous is that CBC are saying lack of finance is the reason behind the decision, while at the same time they are planning to spend a fortune on totally unnecessary work at Avon Beach.

Travellers have once again set themselves up in the overflow area of the Crow's Nest car park near the Cliffhanger.
Apparently, they are only staying a couple of days.
I don't suppose they'll be paying for parking like everyone else has to though. Feel free to correct me if I'm wrong.

Changes -

Aug 23 News -
In a few weeks time, on Saturda, September 16, there is a free Community Road Safe theory education session for drivers in Dorset. These sessions are funded directly from course fees generated when motorists break the law on Dorset’s roads.
This one is at Christchurch Fire Station, and you can get the details, and register to attend, at:

Changes - What's On page updated
(Includes all the Cliffhanger pre-Christmas events. New Year's Eve is already sold out.)

Aug 21 News -
Highcliffe Castle Golf Club had a burglary over the weekend. A groundsmans hut was broken into and several thousands of pounds worth of equipment was stolen.
Details on the
Neighbourhood Alert page.

Some prat, or likely prats, thought it would be fun to set fire to wooden table and benches outside of The Cliffhanger.
I wonder what it's like to have an IQ in single figures.

The Pets page now has the correct phone number listed for The Friends of the Strays of Greece.

Changes - What's On page updated
Neighbourhood Alert page updated

Aug 14 News -
The Friends of Highcliffe Beaches and Cliffs - FOHBAC (click for their website) and the Rothesay Residents Association, have combined to raise a petition against the Council's outrageous plans to not reopen the Zig Zag path.
The petition is being distributed at various businesses around the village, and volunteers are canvassing around the Castle Kitchens, and along other coastal areas.
I urge everyone to seek out the petition and sign it. It is vital that CBC be made to reconsider.
This path is essential to all the people who cannot use the steep steps, or want safe and sensible access to the coastal path.

It seems to me that once again the Council is not thinking about residents, be they elderly or infirm, or young families with pushchairs or prams. They are pleading poverty, while at the same time planning to complete a totally unnecessary, and extremely expensive, project at Avon Beach.

I hear that The Beach Hut Cafe is having a quiz Night this coming Thursday. I'll try and get more details.

I'm assuming that people are organising various pre Christmas events. For free publicity, just email me details.
(Link at top of the page.)

Changes - What's On page updated

Aug 12 News - There's been a burglary a couple of days ago in Yarrow Close on the Hoburne Estate.
Entry was gained through an open window, and we're reminded by the NPT to ensure that everything is locked up, and alarms are set, even if only going out for a short while.

On Sunday August 27, Highcliffe is saying goodbye to popular Methodist minister, the Rev David Hollingsworth, with a service at 10:30am.
The following week at the same time, the new minister will be welcomed. I understand that the Rev David Ellis thought he had retired, and was surprised to find himself Methodist minister for Highcliffe.
(The latest Church newsletter is now available through the Methodist Church page.)

This is out of our immediate area, but there's a Coastal Comedy night coming up in October, starring Ben Norris. (They Think It's All Over, Never Mind The Buzzcocks, Mock The Week, Etc.)
It's at the Lymington Centre, in New Street, Lymington, on Saturday, October 21.
See the flyer for all the details.

Changes - What's On page updated
Neighbourhood Alert page updated

Aug 10 News - As you have probably seen, CBC is inviting residents to give their views on the coastal strategy at Highcliffe Castle.
The date is Tuesday, September 5, from 11:00am until 7:00pm, and the exhibition is in the Dining Room, and I would every person to get along and make your comments known. Details below.

However, some people are concerned that the idea seems to be that we should add our views and comments on post-its, which would be open to mis-interpretation and possible "losing" post-its. It certainly doesn't feel like a transparent or efficient way of dealing with such an emotive issue.

Among those concerned about this is the group Friends of Highcliffe Beaches and Cliffs -FOHBAC. (Click for their website)
They have decided that a written response is much more likely to be taken into consideration, and want to encourage all of us, not only to visit the exhibition, but also to write to CBC. At the very least they suggest we write to Judith Plumley (Head of Community and Leisure at CBC) stating that we agree with the comments made in their comprehensive letter, already sent on August 8.
A copy of that letter is below, and I strongly suggest that everyone reads it.
Coastal Strategy - Letter to CBC

The latest Neighbourhood Alert update includes some local news, and also an invitation to get involved in being an Independant Custody Visitor. There's a live online chat about it TONIGHT starting at 6:00pm, and also a website link to find out more.

Changes - What's On page updated
Neighbourhood Alert page updated

Aug 5 News - CBC have finally applied for planning permission for the Avon Beach prom raising scheme.
Please be aware that closing date for comments is next Friday, August 11. (Nice of them to give us so much time.)
The application number is 8/17/1748/FUL.

Bad news about the Zig Zag Path. It now appears that the cost to repair it has escalated to £1.25 million, and the CBC financial officer is recommending that the work does not go ahead, meaning that the path will be closed permanently.
It seems that they are happy to spend a fortune on unnecessary work at Avon Beach, but not to repair the only access to the beach from the Castle area suitable for disabled people, or those with pushchairs or prams.
Ah well. As long as The Noisy Lobster is happy.

The restoration of the lake at Lakewood continues to enhance the area, and the water is now teeming with fish.
On Saturday August 19, the team are organising a free fishing sessions (2 hours) for under 16's accompanied by parent or guardian. All tackle and bait will be supplied, and trained coaches will give instruction. More info below (where you see the type of fish you might catch).

There's a press release from Tracey Beesley, of the now closed Lifestyle Concept. Tracey is now operating Destination Happy - a new lifestyle/Girl Friday service. Her ideas include social events every month for fun-loving ladies of all ages, and much more.
Take a look at her website http://thelifestyleconcept.co.uk/
And remember, as Tracey says "From acorns an Apple Tree grows". (Her words, not mine).

Changes -

Aug 1 News - Many, many apologies everyone.
I'm afraid not only has life been fraught with family problems, but I've had no internet access, and a broken computer for the past couple of weeks.
I've got both of those back today, and should be providing normal service by the end of the week, or start of next week at the latest.
Please bear with me for a few days.

Many thanks for all those who have emailed enquiring about my wellbeing. I've only just seen the mail, and your concerns are extremely humbling. Thank you very much.

Changes -

July 17 News - More items to come (probably tomorrow as it's such a nice day today), but I hear that The Noisy Lobster was broken into last night, and among items stolen was the safe - the whole thing!

Interestingly, that's exactly what happened when Highcliffe Castle Tearooms was broken into a couple of years ago, and I don't believe those culprits were ever caught.

Changes -

July 12 News - Another annual, and very popular, event coming up is the Rotary Club's Grand Community Charity Fete.
It's on Saturday July 29, from 10:30am until 4:30pm, and is in the Recreation Ground as always.
All the usual activities and stalls, with the addition this year of the Ringwood Pipe Band, who will be playing at 12:15 and at 14:30.
Entry is free, but please remember the aim of the day is to raise money for local charities.
Programs are available at various shops in the village. (I got mine from Full Of Beans.)

Talking of which. Both of the latest businesses in the village have been given 01202 telephone numbers.
I'm not sure why, and nor are the businesses concerned. Interesting though.

One of those new businesses (Driftwood) is still not open, despite being expected to start last Monday. I don't know why, as there has been noone at home when I've passed by.
I did notice however, that they have applied for an alcohol license.

For those who have noticed the very similar theme in the decor and fittings to The Paddle just up the road.
It's probably because the same shop fitting company has been used, and it would appear to be their favourite (or maybe only) design idea.

Changes -

July 11 News - The hearing for the outline planning permission of Hoburne Farm's latest (final?) house building project, adjacent to Roeshot Hill and the A35, is due to be heard by the CBC Planning Committee on Thursday July 20, at 6:00pm.
This public meeting will be in the Council Chamber, at the Civic Offices in Bridge Street.

This application has generated a fair number of objections, and the meeting might be interesting. Anyone wanting to speak at the meeting can get the details from the Planning page on dorsetforyou. The application number is 8/17/0195.http://planning.christchurchandeastdorset.gov.uk/plandisp.aspx?recno=106169

There's another of HP Music's musicians releasing a record.
Take It From Here is Amy Knight's debut EP, and a launch party will be held on Saturday July29 at The Barrington Theatre in Ferndown. Doors open from 7.30pm and the event finishes at 10.00pm.
Amy already has a single available on iTunes. It's called Get Away.

I'm still chasing the local Neighbourhood Police team for a working email address. No luck yet though.

Someone has recommended an impressive art exhibition. John Lloyd's coloured pencil drawing exhibition called 'Wild Hengistbury' is well worth a visit. It is situated upstairs in the Hengistbury Head visitor centre, and runs until August 3.

The next Beach Clean at Friars Cliff is on this coming Sunday (July 16). It starts a little earlier than usual at 9:30am.

Changes - Changes/additions to Places to eat page.

July 10 News - Last week I reported the change of STA Chartered Surveyors to MBA Architecture.
Unfortunately, I misunderstood the information behind the change.
The surveyor partner did not die. He had a heart attack, and decided to discontinue his involvement with STA.
Many apologies to all concerned.

There's quite a few events coming up soon.
Apart from the famous RNLI Fun Day on Sunday, July 30, there is also the Mudeford Arts Festival on the weekend of July 22 and 23.


There's also the Highcliffe Charity Players Summer show, Made In Dagenham - The Musical.
That's at The regent Centre, fromWednesday July 26 until Saturday July 29.
Details on their website:
Tickets from The Regent Centre:

There's even a Highcliffe's Got Talent show coming up on Sunday August 6. This 14 hour event starts at 2:00pm.
All the details can be found at

Mudeford Lifeboat have removed their old website, and replaced it with a well maintained Facebook page.

Changes - Neighbours links page updated.

July 8 News - CBC have set up a website, explaining their plans for the ZigZag path, and asking for comments. It also says that £350,000 has been set aside for the work.
Take a look, and ad your comments. (This is of course in addition to the public meeting at Greystones next Saturday morning. See NEWS item on July 2.)

The planning application for the plans for the rest of our stretch of coast are still not available for us to see, and I'm told by the Dorset Coastal Connections team that it could be another two weeks before they appear. Watch this space.

The popular Highcliffe Hawks footbal club are actively recruiting players for both their boys and girls teams. Players for all teams from Under 11 (school year 6) upwards, and anyone interested should contact David by email at davidgvines@hotmail.com

I was very sad to hear that local historian, and Methodist Church stalwart, Sheila Herringshaw has passed away at 89.
Sheila's book, A Portrait of Highcliffe, sits in my ofice, and is often browsed. She was a lovely lady, and will be missed greatly by all who knew her.

Changes -

July 6 News - STA, the chartered surveyors and architects at 306 Lymington Road, is now MBA Architecture.
Sadly, the surveying side of the business has ceased since the untimely death of one of the partners.
The architect Matt Bell now provides a unique service in Highcliffe.

Our councils never cease to amaze. This time it's East Dorset (I believe) who are responsible for emptying the area's rubbish bins.
Just as the area is starting to get really busy with visitors someone has decided it would be a really good idea to:
a) remove all the rubbish bins from Wortley Road car park
b) reduce the number of bins in the Avon Run Road car park to one, when even the two there before were often overflowing
c) any other examples?

Changes -

July 5 News - The old Tulips cafe in Lymington Road, which has been closed for quite a while, and undergoing a facelift, is to be called Driftwood, and I'm told it should be opening on Monday next. It's still a cafe/coffee bar, just with new owners.

There's a couple of items on the latest Neighbourhood Alert offering.
One is about a nasty online scam pretending to be selling pets.
The other is from Martin Underhill (Dorset Police Commissioner) asking for public opinion on the use of force by his force.
There's a short survey to complete.

Changes - Neighbourhood Alert page updated
What's On page updated

July 2 News - Here's notice of an important meeting coming up.

Dorset Coast Forum are holding a public meeting at Highciffe Community Associations(Greystones House in Waterford Road).
They will be presenting plans for the zig-zag path at the Castle, and are wanting comments and suggestions from the public.
We all need to get involved in this, or risk yet another decision being taken behind closed doors.

We're told that the Coastal Forum is an organisation independent from government or councils, so it's still possible that the public consultation could be ignored by local politicians, but the organisation has a good track record in influencing government, both local and national, so let's go and tell them what we think.

The meeting is being held on Saturday, July 15, at Greystones House, starting at 10am.

Changes -

June 28 News - I heard a slightly odd story today.
A while ago I reported that the Beach Hut Cafe at Friars Cliff was not only staying open later on weekend evenings, but that they intended to allow customers to take their own alcohol (with no corkage charge) to enjoy with their evening meals. A great idea.
However, our good old council in their wisdom, has refused permission for this. One would have to wonder which beurocratic spoilsport decided it was such a bad thing to do, and for what reasons.

The same day, I was wandering along Avon Beach, and was surprised to see beer pumps in the fish and chip shop. Being nosey, I asked about them, and was told that as from next week, draught lager, cider, and bottled wine will be available to customers. I was also told that to comply with licensing regulations, the drink must accompany food.
So far so good. But then I was told that if customers did not want food, staff have been instructed to give them a chip (yup! just the one) which would then make the alcohol sale legal.

Hey Ho. I do believe I have a strong smell of hypocricy - again. Wouldn't like to say where it was coming from though.
But I do suspect that some people have friends in the right places, and some don't.

Talking of which, the Aramark Castle Kitchen is now open at Highcliffe Castle.

I'm trying to find out when the council will apply for planning permission for it's coastal "improvements" plans.
By contacting the Dorset Coastal Connections Project Co-ordinator directly, I discovered that the registration process is underway, and the plans will soon be available. The lady also said she would let me know when the process is complete.
Interestingly, not only did she respond in 24 hours, she apologised for being so slow in answering. Maybe CBC and it's personnel should take note.

On a more entertaining note, local rock band Saints of Sin are just about to release their first full length album, Welcome To The Circus.
This Friday (June 30) they are taking over The Talking Heads venue in Southampton to throw a special preview party.
I've seen this band. They're good, and they have strong connections with HP Music in the village, so get along if you can.
Here is the press release, giiving all the details.

Changes -

June 26 News - Reference the enlarged plans for the Hoburne site in Lymington Road.
It has been pointed out that no planning notices have been displayed locally, on lampposts or elsewhere.
(The CBC spokesperson reckons that people remove them. Seriously?)
Anyway, click below to see the notice that should have been displayed. You will notice that comments and objections need to be in before July 15.
Planning Notice for 261 - 275 Lymington Road

I understand that the planning application from CBC to itself for it's beaches plan was supposed to be submitted last week. This follows the public consultation that took place recently.
Can anyone find the application, because I haven't been able to yet? The application is due to be considered at the planning committee meeting in September, as they intend to start work in October.
This seems to imply that they will not have any problem passing their own application. No surprise there I guess.
So the sooner we get to see what they intend to do the better, especially with their recent track record.

I'm told that the old Tulips cafe in Lymington Road, which has been closed and undergoing renovation for quite a while, will be a similar business when it reopens. No details yet.

Changes -

June 22 News - You have probably heard of the plan to complete a Dorset Coastal Path, which would involve joining up all the gaps between Lyme Regis and Chewton Bunney.
Obviously, the last stretch is of major interest to us, and the Government website about the matter was most recently updated yesterday. There is a LOT of information, maps, proposals, etc, etc, and it takes some sifting through.
The site also allows comments and objections to the plans.
Go take a look (when you have some time to spare).

The What's On page now has details of the Summer Fayre on July 1, at St Mark Primary School, in Greenways.
Organised by the Friends of the School, we are assured of something for everyone, from a Grand Raffle, to stalls selling all manner of things (including plants) not to mention plenty of fun for the kids.

Changes -

June 21 News - Reference the Hoburne application to change the Lymington Road development.
Here it is. (Thanks Dave.) Don't forget you have to click the Accept button the Disclaimer page first.)

Also thanks to everyone else who provided the application number (8/17/1254/FUL ).

I'm pleased to say that the new and vastly improved, Highcliffe Castle website is now online. It is so much easier to find information. It was worth waiting for.

Sadly, the long awaited Sports and Social Club's new site is still not available, so is hopelessly out of date.
So the only place online to find their upcoming music events is on our What's On page.

The Neighbourhood Alert page is updated again. There have been attempts to break into garages in Mudeford.
Speaking to our PCSO recently, it was good to hear that their work has seen a dramatic decrease in anti social behaviour from some local youths, especially those that gather around the green at Friars Cliff (behind the Beach Hut Cafe.)

Changes - Neighbourhood Alert page updated
What's On page updated

June 20 News - After reading that Hoburne are revising their plans for their office block development in Lymington Road, and intend to increase the number of dwellings (by 5) over their previously approved plan (number 8/16/1459) I have been trying to find a planning application
Unfortunately, any seach for Lymington Road, with or without the building numbers) seems to crash the Council website with a server error.
If anyone knows the new application number, please email me.

Police are looking for this fine looking gent, who has breached the terms of his probation, following release from prison.
(Click picture for larger version)

Anyone who sees Lee Hogben should dial 999 immediately. Anyone else with other information should call 101, quoting occurrence number 55170083747 or Crimestoppers in confidence on 0800 555 111.

The latest issue of Neighbourhood Watch newsletter is now available through the Neighbourhood Alert report (link below).

Changes - Neighbourhood Alert page updated
What's On page updated

June 18 News - Sorry, the Dorset for You website has changed recently, and you can no longer save the planning search results page.
You now need to go to this page:


Then hit the Planning and Environment button, then the appropriate search buttons, until you reach the page for entering search details (one of application number, street, address, etc).
In the case of Roeshot Hill the number is 8/16/2932/OUT.

Changes -

June 17 News - I have received a response to questions about the plan to raise the Avon Beach prom by a metre, along the entire 200m length.
The questions were simple.
How will such a big project be completed for the published figure of £120,000?
Why is public money being spent to protect the investment of a single private business?

Firstly, it seems that the £120K is only the CBC contribution. Most of the cost will come from a government grant provided for coastal protection work for our area. The rest will come from a considerable contribution form the Avon Beach lease holder.
Secondly, I'm told that the work is for the benefit of the whole town and (I quote) "to prevent further erosion of the cliff supporting Avon Run Road".
My only comment is that since the building of the concrete wall along that stretch many decades ago, I'm not aware of any erosion of that cliff face. In fact, even in the "Great Storm" the only damage was to the old green beach huts, rather than the cliff itself, and that would not have happened if all the advice about removing the huts in Winter had been taken.
I just can't help thinking that the money would be better spent further along, where there is no wall protecting the cliff.

I only gave half the phone number for the new mobile pet grooming business yesterday.
The whole number is 07935 254397.

Anyone interested in the development of the land at Roeshot Hill should take a look at this Planning Application.

Changes - Food and Drink page updated
Pets page updated
Homes page updated (Crafty Wood finally removed)

June 15 News - Had a few days off - hence no updates since last week.
However, I don't seem to have missed too much.

Still no response from the NPT guys with an email address that actually works. I'll try them again.

There is a new business in town. Based in Walkford, Pooch & Ponies offers a fully qualified and very experienced mobile pet grooming service. The brand new van, superbly kitted out, comes to you and treats your pet on your drive. All you do is provide an electrical socket.
We tried it out. Our dog was far lessed stressed than when taking him to a traditional palour. The result was great, and it was even cheaper than normal.
Sarah-Jane can be contacted on 07935 254397, or by email at info@poochandponies.co.uk.
There's also a Facebook page - www.facebook.com/poochandponies - and a website www.poochandponies.co.uk

The latest Methodist Church Newsletter is now available. Link is on the Churches page

I also have some information about the plans to raise the Avon Beach propm by a metre, which goes some way towards answering many of the questions raised by many. See the next update.

A couple of Neighbourhood Alert reports have arrived as well. I'll see if anything is relevant to us. Again, see the next update.

Changes - What's On page updated

June 7 News - The email address that the local NPT gave me, and which I published yesterday, does not work.
I have asked them to check what is wrong, so hopefully we'll have a working address soon.

I'm pleased to say that the new wholefood shop, Full of Beans, in Lymington Road is planning to open tomorrow.
Owned and run by locally born and bred Phil Long, much of the produce on sale will be sold loose, so you buy as little or as much as you require. Great idea.
Also, the shop intends to sell more fruit and veg that originally planned, which given the lack of any other such outlet in Highcliffe, also seems to be a good idea.

How about this? Popular local band, State of Undress, is playing at Glastonbury this year. Incredible news, and further indication that Highcliffe really is a hotbed of musical talent.
Click here to see the press release.

(Click picture for larger version)

Changes -

June 6 News - In the previous entry I mentioned that the local Neighbourhood Police team were suggesting that anyone going to be away from their property for a while should inform them.
I now have the secure Police email address we should use. It is nptmudefordandhighcliffe@Dorset.PNN.Police.uk

As reported before, The Lifestyle Concept at 401 Lymington Road (just along from Sea Corner) is to close.
I can now confirm the closing date is to be Friday June 23.

Bread Headz, on the other hand, is opening tomorrow (I'm told by the lady working inside).
This is the sandwich, snacks, and drinks outlet, owned by Daniel's of fish and chips fame.

Full of Beans, the wholefood store is looking very close to opening as well, with much of the stock already in place.
Unfortunately, there was noone there to ask this morning.

Finally! Elephant Walk has had a big facelift, a coat of paint, and the long dead bamboos have now gone.
It is now called Highcliffe Tandoori. It describes itself as a "Unique Indian bar and grill". I notice that it opens at lunchtime now, as well as evenings.

We are warned of wedding service fraudsters in the latest Neighbourhood Alert. (Link below.)

Changes - Neighbourhood Alert page updated
What's On page updated

May 31 News - There's been a burglary in Braemar Drive, which happened while the owners were away.
All the details on the Neighbourhood Alert page (link below).
One very good point made is that we can notify the local Neighbourhood Police Team if we are going to be away.
What they don't say is how we should do this, as the team website does not contain any phone numbers or email links, and we obviously don't want such information on Facebook or Twitter. I'm trying to find out.

When I reported that Room 298, the clothes agency in Lymington Road, had opened, I didn't have a phone number, or other contact details.
The phone number is 01425 837120 (and there's a Facebook page coming soon).

Changes - Neighbourhood Alert page updated
What's On page updated

May 30 News - You may have noticed from the What's On page, and various posters at St Marks, that there is a three day festival next week (friday 9 - Sunday 11) at the church.
It's a celebration of arts, crafts, music, and much more. I now have the timetable of events, which you can see by clicking the image below.
(Click picture for larger version)

It seems that the scam of smishing is currently rife. Smishing is a crime using SMS messages to your phone (and not just smartphones).
It would be easy to fall for this one if you're not thinking clearly, so I suggest reading the latest Neighbourhood Alert update.

Changes - Neighbourhood Alert page updated
What's On page updated

May 27 News - Tomorrow, Sunday 28, at 6:00pm, there will be a presentation at The Amberwood, of a large cheque (£2380) to Macmillan Caring Locally. This is the result of the pubs recent fund raising efforts.
Fantastic job. Well done to everyone involved.
A representative Coda Music Trust will be also present, as that is the next charity The Amberwood will be supporting.

Apologies, I forgot to tell everyone this. The Beach Hut Cafe at Friars Cliff now stays open later in the evening. Even better news is that they now have a license that allows people to consume their own drinks.
So not only can you enjoy an evening meal right on the sea front, but can enjoy a glass of your favourite tipple at the same time.

Changes -

May 26 News - Apparently, Highcliffe is Chris Evan's favourite place on earth. On his morning programme yesterday, he played a "Good Morning" message from a local lady, and said that he loves it here.
Oh Great! Even more tourists. :-0

To actually hear it, go here:

Those crooks pretending to be from Microsoft are really busy again. Even telling them I don't have a computer, or that I only use Apple doesn't put them off.
Just to be clear, Microsoft will NOT be telephoning you. These people are scammers trying to get access to your computer.
You know what to do.
It's so common now, that the Neighbourhood Alert page has a piece about it, and how to deal with it.

Changes - What's On page updated
Neighbourhood Alert page updated

May 22 News - An amazing weekend! Outstanding job by everyone involved with organising the Festival. Many thanks to you all, for giving us a great event.
Even the weather was fairly kind (very kind on Sunday) apart from the short sharp storm on Saturday lunchtime, which damaged the music marquee at the Cliffhanger, and put paid to several of the performances, including that by up and coming local singer Brogan.

While wandering up the street, it was good to see a couple of the empty shops are soon to be opening to new business.
The old Fry Days chippie finally has it's signs up, and should be opening soon (as a sandwich/snacks/drinks shop).
It's called Bread Headz. (Although I'm sure I'm not the only one to grit my teeath at the z. It's almost as bad as the incorrect use of the apostrophy in the Take's Care sign.)

Also soon to open is Full of Beans in the old Southern Wines shop. They will be selling (mostly loose) wholefoods, herbs and spices, world foods, teas and coffees. I'm looking forward to that opening.

Also, across the road, the old Tulips cafe premises is having a serious facelift, but I haven't yet heard what's planned for there.

Th those who have asked who was responsible for the renovation of the old finger signpost at the Milestone Roundabout (Eastern end of the village). I believe that Councillor Colin Jamieson was the driving influence.
Two more of the historic signs still to be renovated. Both are a little further down Lymington Road, and it seems that The new Charitable Trust is taking an interest in those.

Changes - What's On page updated
Methodist Church page updated (with several changes to church personnel.)

May 16 News - It seems that we can stop asking about the reopening of the Zig Zag Path. Here is the latest press release.

Highcliffe zig-zag path to remain closed until 2018

The zig-zag path at Highcliffe Castle is to remain closed until 2018 while a full rebuild is carried out.

Having been monitored for over a year, the path was closed for public safety in March as surveys showed a failure of the retaining timber support is potentially imminent.

The council has set aside funds of £350,000 and was also recently awarded approximately £280,000 towards the rebuild as part of the Dorset Coastal Community Bid although until the work is tendered the actual cost will not be known. Specialist design work for the rebuild, which must have disabled access, is ongoing. Because of the value of the works a full tendering process must take place once the final design is approved and it is likely that building works will commence in the autumn. Depending on the weather it is likely that building work will take up to six months meaning the zig-zag path could reopen in time for Easter 2018.

Matti Raudsepp, Strategic Director, Christchurch and East Dorset Councils, said: “We had hoped to be able to reopen the zig-zag with a temporary solution for the summer season. However, recent surveys have shown that the cliff is no longer secure enough to enable a temporary solution to work successfully.

“We understand the closure has impacted on local residents and visitors but the safety of the public has to be our priority. The recent period of dry weather has further exacerbated issues in the area, and recent cliff falls locally demonstrate why it is essential we do not reopen the zig-zag path until we are confident that it is safe. We would like to thank people for their patience while the path remains closed.”

The council is looking at ways to better secure the closure of the footpath down to the beach until it is once again safe to use to ensure people to not try to use the zig-zag while it is closed. It is also looking at options to improve the signage for the public to alternative routes and to provide information about the closure at the start of other routes which end at the Castle.

Changes - Community links page updated (with new Highcliffe Library entry)

May 15 News - I'm told that the works taking place in Lymington Road (currently outside of Priory vets) are supposed to be complete before the Food Fest next weekend.
We all hope so, not only for the festival, but also as the work is currently causing long traffic queues.

The old Fry Days chip shop, which has been taken over by Daniel's, who intend to open it as a sandwich bar, looks like it's getting closer to opening. The "wet paint" signs are up at least. No signs up yet though.

The old Southern Wines shop has been aquired, but noone seems to know what the plan is for it yet.
(If anyone knows, lease email.)

There's another series of the Safewise Driving Course, aimed at drivers over 65.
All the details on the Neighbourhood Alert page.
Along with this, there are also courses aimed at 17-25 year old (with a £50 Amazon voucher for anyone completing the course).
There are also courses fo mobility scooter users (sounds like a good idea) and for cyclists (sounds like an even better idea).
All the details on the Neighbourhood Alert page.

Changes - Neighbourhood Alert page updated
What's On page updated

May 10 News - It seems the recent Neighbourhood Alert report on how quiet it's been on the crime front was a little premature.
There were two burglaries, probably connected, on Saturday morning.
One was in Walkford, and the second in Waterford Gardens.
At the second incident, the thief was disturbed and was chased, dropping items as he ran.
He was caught and arrested, and has already appeared in court.

All the details on the Neighbourhood Alert page.

Changes - What's On page updated

May 8 News - The item about car park tickets on Friday has been altered slightly.
Email comments are welcome on the matter.

People power strikes again!
The ugly and ridiculous concrete blocks along a long stretch of Avon Beach are to be moved futher away from the beach huts, and covered with sand. The council has (amazingly) taken on board the comments of the public. They think that this action will still offer a measure of protection from any Summer storms.
This is to be done in three weeks during June.

They still plan to raise and widen the entire 200 metres length of this promenade by a metre as well, with work starting in the Autumn.
Again amazingly, they still think that this work can be carried out for £120,000. Yeah! Right!

Also a surprise, considering the over budget fiasco last time they did it, is that beach replenishment is also planned for June. This will presumably last about as long as the last lot did, until the first decent high tide.

Changes -

May 5 News - The beach cleans held regularly at Steamer Point (or litter surveys as they are properly known) are very well supported. There were over 40 volunteers at the most recent one last Sunday.
Now there is some interest in running similar events along Highcliffe beach, and the Council organiser would like to hear from anyone wanting to get involved.
He plans to convene a meeting to try to set things up (and threatens to hold it in a Highcliffe hostelry).
To find out more, or to register your interest email GrahamHigley at friarscliff.beachcare@gmail.com
or phone 0780 126 1537 or 0775 846 1926.

I have received an interesting email pointing out some changes to car park tickets in Christchurch, changes which presumably apply across the borough. Below is the email:
I've noticed that Christchurch BC Parking (who in my experience either ignore e-mails or "pass them on to "another Department") have recently replaced the ticket machines at Bank Close (behind Marks & Spencer) in Christchurch and probably other sites.

They now issue you with two tickets which initially appear identical. The difference is that one is headed EXPIRY TIME, DAY & DATE with REFUND at the bottom and the other is headed REFUND VOUCHER with BANK CLOSE at the bottom.

What they seem to have done is scrapped the long running refund sticker (where you can claim back up to £1 at some, now relatively few I believe, stores in Christchurch, if you spend over £10) and combined it with the ticket. This is presumably to make them more accountable where they were redeemed and to stop people using stickers obtained on previous visits as they are not dated and timed?

However, I imagine it will cause some confusion, for a while, for example with elderly (or in my case easily confused!) customers. I wonder whether there will be fines if the 'wrong ticket' is unwittingly displayed. Also, due to the similarity of the front of the two tickets, I wonder if some will try and abuse the system?

There didn't seem to be any information regarding this new dual system on the ticket machines or on the website and I wonder if some people are just taking one ticket and unwittingly leaving the second one behind, possibly for somebody else to pick up?

The solution would be information on the machines and a distinctively different front to the refund version e.g. the date and time of issue, ticket number (the same for both sections), location and 'REFUND VOUCHER, DO NOT DISPLAY THIS IN YOUR VEHICLE or NOT VALID FOR DISPLAY IN YOUR VEHICLE.

There is CCTV in the car park but this new scheme should be 'interesting'!

(Click picture for larger version)

Changes - Neighbourhood Alert page updated
What's On page updated

May 4 News - A little while ago I mentioned that, following several incidents of anti social behavior, some residents suspect that this year was going to be one of those where small numbers of youths cause more than their share of mayhem.
I mentioned the green at Friars Cliff (behind the Beach Hut Cafe) as being a usual locationfor these people to gather.

The latest Neighbourhood Alert report, while saying how quiet it has been on the crime front recently, specifically mentions the green as a cause for concern, with extra patrols taking place.

A while ago, there was concern about a planned development in Wharnecliffe Road, which proposed knocking down four bungelows, and building nine houses. Following rejection by CBC planners, the developers appealed.
I'm glad to say that the Planning Inspector in Bristo;l also rejected the scheme.
I don't suppose we've heard the last of the story though. It's almost inevitable that the developers will come up with something else.

It seems that CBC are up to their, now expected, sneaky tricks. It has been pointed out by a sharp eyed resident, that our recent council tax statements had an increase in Adult Social Care Precept of 3%. Closer inspection revealed the actual increase to be 255%.
I wonder what else we'll find with a closer inspection. You can see a discussion on this matter at:

Changes - Neighbourhood Alert page updated
What's On page updated

April 28 News - The very popular Hinton Admiral Gardens will unusually be open to the public for three days this year.
On Saturday May 13, and Sunday 14, opening will be from 11:00am until 5:30pm. Tickets are £6pp.

Then, as part of the National Gardens Scheme, they will be open on Sunday May 21, from 1:00pm until 4:40pm.

It's well worth making the effort. There used to be a very nice website showing the gardens, but it seems to have disappeared.

Changes -
What's On page updated

April 26 News - The long awaited clothes agency (for both ladies and gentlemen) in Lymington Road is now open.
It opened on Monday, is called Room 298 (a clue to the exact location).
Owner Sally, a Highcliffe resident, impressively did almost all of the internal decor herself, using rescued, renovated, and scrounged materials.
Sally was for many years the manager of Age Uk, two doors down, before branching out on her own, and many will probably recognise her.
Specialising in quality clothes, the customers are already flocking in, and the gentlemens' range is proving to be very popular.
(A bonus is that Sally takes a smaller commission that other agencies, so you'll get a better return on anything sold.)

Changes - Village Plan and Clothes page updated.
What's On page updated

April 21 News - Many apologies for the lack of updates. I've had a totally unexpected stay in Poole Hospital.

I haven't had time to find out what I've missed yet, but I notice a couple of things.
First, Highcliffe Medical Centre is holding an open day in a couple of weeks, on Saturday May 13.
The day is to provide information about healthcare and services available to local people, along with information sessions on dementia and nutrition.
With over 15 external organisations taking part, a “Bandage the Bear” station for children, and a raffle at 2.30 pm to raise funds for medical equipment (with lots of prizes), there will be something for everyone.
Click here for the poster
or visit the Centre's website http://www.highcliffemedicalcentre.co.uk/2017/04/11/save-the-date-patient-open-day-on-saturday-13th-may/

CORRECTION to earlier item. The beach clean at Friars Cliff is a week later than almost all other places., on Sunday April 30. Timings as as stated.
Meet at the Steamer Point Wave Wall as usual.

There's a beach clean this Sunday all along the Dorset Coast. It's part of the Great Dorset Beach Clean, and runs from 10:30am until 12:30pm.
Details can be found here:

I'm hoping to have good news very soon about the Highcliffe and District Charitable Trust. Watch this space.

Changes -
What's On page updated

April 11 News - It looks like the bad guys are back in town I'm afraid.
There have been two burglaries One in Holme Road,, and the other in Hurstbourne Avenue.
All the details on the Neighbourhood Alert page.

Talking of bad guys.
I've already heard that it looks like this year's crop of teenagers is going to be a problem, or at least, a small but a nuisence making number of them. It's been good for a couple of years, but this year there have already been several incidences of anti social behaviour, including the seemingly harmless game of knocking of elderly residents' doors and running away. Not so harmless if you are the elderly person targeted.
On one occasion, the culprits were followed back to one of their favourite haunts, the field behind the Beach Hut Cafe and Life Saving Club, which was smothered in their rubbish (obviously still there after they had left).
We've also had ghetto blasters in the street, at all hours.
Police are already aware, and hopefully we won't have the problem with drugs that we had a couple of years ago, with these holidaying school children openly using in public open spaces.
We'll see.

Changes - Neighbourhood Alert page updated
What's On page updated

April 10 News - I should have known better I guess.
The day after I said that Tracey's good work for the village included work with HELP, I discovered that she had resigned that position. I'm told that this was because of lack of support from people who had previously said they would help.
(Although I did see at the weekend a couple were busy painting the black bollards with undercoat, ready for the top coat of brighter colours.

The long awaited planning application for the Jesmond Avenue development has now been put in.
You'll remember the feelings that were generated when a mass of trees and wildlife habitat was destroyed some months ago. It seems that they want to put 40 houses and (another) old folks home on the site.
See all about it here:

A site regular came across a tweted item from the full January CBC meeting.
It seems that there was a council tax surplus of £450,000, most of which has been donated to Dorset County Council, with only £5000 being retained by CBC.
Which begs several questions I think.
Why, with a large surplus from council tax, have they yet again raised the rate this year?
Why isn't some of the money being spent locally on some of the projects CBC always maintain they haven't any money for?
Why do CBC consider it necessary in future to charge for Winter parking on previously free car parks, despite universal objections?
Why do CBC feel it necessary to be the only council more or less anywhere to charge disabled drivers to park? It doesn't happen just along the road in any direction, and with such a large surplus, surely it would be an opportunity to do something for at least some local residents.
Finally, despite continuous cries of poverty from CBC, they have squeezed us so much they've made a huge excess.
Does this not indicate our council tax bills are too high? If you haven't done so, compare our figures with the much lower bills paid by our neighbours just the other side of Naish. However you look at it, we are being ripped off.

Take a look at the plan for the £5.6 million government grant allocated for coastal improvements.
Christchuch and Highcliffe are in line for a share of this money, but I can find no mention of the breakdown of funds, and exactly what projects will receive.
maybe you can dig more out of it that I can. In the meantime I'll ask our representatives for more detail.

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April 6 News - Last Friday, Tracey, owner of The Lifestyle Concept in Lymington Road, but who also works tirelessly to make Highcliffe a better place to live and to visit, put on a fashion show in the Memorial Hall in New Milton
Seven models showed off The shop's Spring/Summer collection, which was very well received, but more importantly, £1850 (so far) was raised to boost the Rotary Club's charitable works.

(Tracey is an important part of not only the Highcliffe Food Festival team, but also of HELP (Highcliffe Environmental Litter Pickers) who do so much to keep the village clean, and maintain flower beds, and even paint our bollards bright colours, rather than their original boring black.)
Well done indeed.
(Click picture for larger version)

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April 4 News - There's a very nasty, but sophisticated, email scam doing the rounds at present, which would be very easy to fall for as the email contains an amount of personal information about the recipient.

All the details are on the latest Neighbourhood Alert update, which also includes some very good advice..

Changes - Neighbourhood Alert page updated
What's On page updated

March 31 News - Gifted, the garden centre in Lymington Road, which helps people with learning disabilities, is to get a coffee shop in May. Gifted is well worth supporting for all kinds of reasons, lot l;east of which is the quality of their goods.
Take a look at this leaflet for more information. Gifted 2017

The Lakewood Restoration Group is holding its AGM on Monday 10 April, upstairs at the Sports and Social Club, starting at 7:00pm.
Everyone is welcome, so if you want to know about the ongoing work, or are interested in fishing, or getting your children to learn how to fish, it will be well worth attending.

I think I must be misunderstanding who works for whom when we talk about Christchurch Council.
We all know about employed officers doing secret deals, and refusing to show emails, even to the investigating elected councillors looking into their actions, but something in the Christchurch Times yesterday actually jumped off the page at me.
In an article about the possible referendum into the future of CBC, apparently the employed executive, David McIntosh, has "demanded" information from his employers, our elected representatives, and gave them a 48 hour deadline to explain themselves.
What IS going on here? I don't know about the rest of you, but I know what would have happened if I had treated my bosses in such a way. It just seems to reinforce my long held view that many council officers have completely forgotten that they are employed to serve the community, not the other way round. It's time they were put straight on the matter.

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March 30 News - Yesterday I was lucky enough to visit the Castle for a preview of a new exhibition.
Natural Highcliffe - Photographer of theYear 2017 is on show in the Library area, and is definitely well worth a visit.
The photos are stunning, and cover our area, with views, wildlife, storms, and more. Give it a go.

(You won't find details on the Castle's website, as that is about to be replaced by a brand new site, so isn't being kept up to date.)

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March 28 News - Just about the only thing I've heard following the meeting between Aramark and Castle employees last Friday is that they plan to rename the Tearooms "Castle Kitchen". (I wonder what they will call the kitchens in the castle, currently being renovated.)
If there was anything else of interest at the event, I'd like to hear about it.

I've heard that the long term closure of part of Mill Lane is causing the residents a lot of grief, as Dorset Waste Partnership will not empty the bins as they cannot get their normal truck to the affected properties.
Given that many of the occupants of the 14 properties concerned are elderly, I would have thought DWP could have come up with some kind of solution. Something as simple as using a small truck for the duration of the works, which could use the road (which is still open for access to the houses) would seem to be an obvious answer.
Or - heaven forbid - the bin men might consider walking the few yards to do the collections.

I notice that Tulips Cafe has gone from Lymington Road. A pity.
Also gone is Belvoir Lettings from number 302, and has been replaced by Hunters Estate Agents.

By the way, in case anyone didn't already know, the Zig Zag Path is closed again, with currently no date available for it to be reopened. It's apparently for safety reasons.

Changes - What's On page updated
Various business listings and village plan amended. (See above items.)

March 24 News - There have been lots of rumours flying around about a meeting today between Aramark and all the Highcliffe Castle volunteer work force, and the reasons behind it.
Obviously the rumours were fed by the ill feeling and suspicions of secret deals between CBC officers and Aramark, which led to the recent protests.

However, I'm assured there was no secrecy about this particular meeting, and I have a copy of the letter sent to the volunteers. I attach it below.
I'm also hopeful of hearing how the presentations were received, so watch this space.
Dear Volunteer

We would like to invite you to come and meet the team from Aramark UK, who are taking over the operation of the Tea Rooms from 1 April. We are really excited to be working in partnership and Aramark UK would welcome the opportunity to present their new and exciting plans for rejuvenating both the premises and the catering offer, to our loyal volunteers.

This special volunteer event will take place on Friday 24 March at 12pm in the Castle Dining Room. Aramark UK will take the opportunity to introduce themselves to you all and talk through design proposals for the refurbishment and interim plans whilst the works take place. Executive and Development Chefs from Aramark UK are also attending to present their menu ideas, and more excitingly for you, there will be an opportunity to sample their food offering. The Chefs will also be on hand to mingle and would really like to hear your feedback and thoughts.

Aramark UK are keen to talk to you about how we aspire to be part of the local community and our plans for sourcing local produce from local suppliers. We will also be only too pleased to answer any questions that you may have.

We have allocated two hours for the event and appreciate that some of you may be volunteering on the day. With this in mind we will aim to provide some temporary cover to ensure that everyone gets an opportunity to attend. To help us to gauge numbers it would be really helpful if you could indicate to Kate or Inga whether or not you will be able to attend the event.

Look forward to seeing you there

Paul Rutter and Chris Pepin (Aramark UK)

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March 20 News - If you want to keep abreast of what's happening with the Food Fest, keep an eye on the website and/or the Facebook page. (Links below.)
This year there are many more entertainers, I believe over 50, so there is going to be something for everyone.

There two stages in the Lymington Road, and the Cliffhanger is hosting lots of music acts of all kinds.
The good people from HP Music, despite only coming to the village recently, are heavily involved I'm told.
Not only are they supplying the sound systems, and their expertise, for the Lymington Road stages, they are actually organising all the Cliffhanger music events.
You can see a list of confirmed acts so far by using the links below. Take a look to see if any of your favourites are coming to perform.



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March 17 News - The new vape shop at Sea Corner (where the greengrocers used to be at 401 Lymington Road) opened on Following the meeting on Tuesday of the CBC Scrutiny and Policy Overview Committee, the Friends of Highcliffe Beaches and Cliffs Interest Group (www.fohbac.org.uk) have deciphered the proceeding, and issued a "Key Points" document,which I found to be extremely interesting.
The document seems to agree with my view, that CBC have basically absolved all those officers and councillors who were involved in the deceit and secrecy connected to the Beach Huts fiasco.
Take a look and make your own minds up.
Highcliffe Beach Huts- Final Report of the Task and Finish Group

We are always asking for people to look out for their neighbours, including watching for suspicious activity when people are away from home.
Yesterday, someone did just that, and Police arrested a burglar.
Read all about it on the Neighbourhood Alert page (link below).

Changes - Neighbourhood Alert page updated

March 14 News - The new vape shop at Sea Corner (where the greengrocers used to be at 401 Lymington Road) opened on Saturday.
Vapourtrade.com already have three other shops in the Bournemouth/Poole area, so are well established in the trade, and it's good to see another previously empty property open for business.
(No idea what business category I'm going to put them in though - might have to start a new one.)

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March 10 News - The report by the CBC Scrutiny and Policy Overview Committee into the infamous beach hut fiasco is now available.
It's a 48 page document, but I highly recommend reading it. It will be presented at next Tuesday's Committee Meeting.
It's in the Council Chamber, starting at 6:00pm for anyone wanting to attend.
Here's a link to the document.


You will notice that secrecy still surrounds the deal, and even the Committee have not seen many of the emails between council officers and Plum Pictures, which is quite astounding. We actually pay these people, and they won't even tell their employers what they've been up to.
I think we all know what would happen if this situation arose in a proper business, but sadly the people involved are still in their highly paid positions, and almost certainly will remain so, until they decide to retire on their inflated pensions.

There's also an article in today's Echo.

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March 9 News - Highcliffe Castle Tearooms is selling off all the furniture and equipment.
It all has to go by the end of the month, due to the Council deciding (for reasons I suspect we'll never know) to throw out the leaseholder of 17 years, and install the American multinational, Aramark.

For example, tables and chairs are selling for £30 a set. There are also fridges, freezers, and other kit for sale at similar very low prices.
Either call in to the Tearooms, or telephone Mr Kearney (Sean) directly on
07721 991 119

Incidentally, having now seen the Aramark tender documentation for the concession, I am more convinced than ever that certain CBC officers had their plan done and dusted way before the lease ever went to tender. There is no way the documentation I've seen could have been used to score Aramark more than double the current leaseholder.

Once again, we need to insist that our elected representatives get a grip on council officers (our employees) and ensure that future deals and contracts have full council approval before proceeding behind closed doors.
In that way, we should at least have a modicum more confidence that our best interests are being considered.

There's a interesting radio program that you might be interested in, which can be related to the Tearooms situation.
Click the link below, and go to 15 minutes in.

Popular local pub, The Amberwood, is having what it calls March Madness, with 25% off ealy evening meals (weekdays), and special deals on beer. There's also plenty of entertainment coming up.
Click here to see the poster.

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March 6 News - Exciting times for local musicians I think.
Following Brogan's debut single and video release last Friday, I have news that very popular local band State of Undress is confirmed to be playing at Glastonbury this year.
I'm guessing it won't be on the main stage, but just to be invited is some special achievement.

Dorset Police are appearing on a Jeremy Kyle documentary tonight. It's on ITV at 8 pm, and focuses on various dangers caused by drivers.

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March 4 News - Last night saw an event probably unique in Highcliffe's history.
At an evening crammed with many talented local musicians, the release of Brogan Murphy's first music video was celebrated in style at HP Music in Lymington Road.
The video was also produced and filmed by the people at HP Music, and the musicians were also from there.
(A seriously talented bunch they are.)

The video was recorded at Highcliffe Castle, on a freezing cold night. Drummer Josh Rose (of the famous State of Undress family Rose) described it as the coldest session he had ever done.

The video, a cover of Ella Eyre's Home, was well received - to say the least.
If you go to the YouTube link below you can see why.

Brogan is already working on her own material for an upcoming album.

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March 3 News - Do you want your say about the work planned for Highcliffe's beaches and paths?
CBC is preparing plans for spending the grant from the Coastal Communities Fund, and have set up public discussions.
Visit the link below to see what's intended, and have your say.

From recent experiences, I'm dubious about anything anyone connected with CBC says, but they appear to have surpassed themselves with the plan to raise the Avon Beach promenade by 900mm along its entire 200yard length.
For a start, they state that the work (which was approved by full council on Tuesday last) is to bring long term benefits to residents. How is that possible? Residents are already protected by a 15 feet high bank, and are not going to be affected by tides, however high.
Even the beach hut people themselves are up in arms, as they no longer have direct access to the beach, cannot keep an eye on their children playing, and are almost certainly going to block the prom with their chairs and beds.
Most ridiculous of all is the statement that the work (please think about what is involved here) will cost £120K.
What!? I like a joke, but that is just fantasy. Maybe if a couple of zeros are added it might be closer.

The truth of the matter is that this project is to protect the investment of the current leaseholders at the Noisy Lobster, and noone else.
Even the devastation in 2014 would have been no more than a very stormy day, if the company has done what the previous tenants had done, and removed the huts during the Winter months. The damage was caused by the company not bothering to follow suit, and by leaving the huts exposed to Winter storms and tides, despite just about all locals telling them it was risky.

My big objection to this plan is that we council tax payers will be asked to foot the bill for protecting the Noisy Lobster's investment, and for no other reason than they won't do the sensible thing, and remove the huts in Winter.
I have no problem with the work being done, except that it will certainly close the prom for long periods.
But if the Noisy Lobster company wants to do it, let them pay for it. They didn't even pay for the work to erect the hideous concrete wall, only for the blocks themselves.

Planning permission is expected to be applied for soon, and we can only hope that there is someone representing taxpayers that sees the obvious flaws and misleading information relating to this scheme.
Don't hold your breath though.

Local author, Robert Dee, is about to publish a new book. His previous two, about life running a local hotel, were very funny and well received, so we can expect a few more laughs with this one.
It's about the lives and times of Fiddlewick Manor, a 1684 country house in the Borough of Christchurch.
I'll let you know when and where.

Changes - What's On page updated

March 1 News - Happy Ash Wednesday.

Here's something that might be of interest to many Highcliffe residents.
Safewise, the road safety people, are organising safety awareness courses for users of mobility scooters. These courses include practical and theoretical aspects, and include the legal requirements.
Find out more on the latest Neighbourhood Alert update.

The Christchurch group of Cancer Research UK are organising a barn dance at Highcliffe School.
It's on Saturday March 25, at 7:30pm.
The tickets are £12.50, which includes fish and chips and tea/coffee. You can take your own drinks and glasses.
For tickets ring 07925 974 174.
If you've never been to a barn dance, they are a lot of fun, as I discovered when I was dragged to my first one.

Christchurch Angels is looking for volunteers in Highcliffe (and Mudeford).
The group offers short term befriending to isolated and vunerable patients registered in the area, so if you have a little time (which is completely flexible) to spare, and want to make a real difference to people, call Jan Childs on 07443 476 798 to find out more.
Or visit their website www.christchurchangels.org.uk

Also looking for volunteers and the good people at CODA.
They are looking for musicians to work with the elderly, as part of their music therapy initiative.
Find out more by visiting www.coda.org.uk, or by phoning 01425 276161.

Changes - What's On page updated
Christchurch Angels added to Community links page.

Feb 27 News - Sorry for lack of updates, but a few computer free days was in order.

Some good news from local police.
A Poole man was recently arrested in Sway while breaking into a house, and during questioning he owned up to lots of other similar crimes, including several in Highcliffe.
Which could account for the big drop in recent burglaries in our area.
See the latest Neighbourhood Alert update.

Unfortunately, the update also details quite a lot of anti social behaviour in the stretch from Steamer Point to Mudeford.

Well known food writer and chef, Lesley Waters, is coming to the Food Fest, and will be hosting lunch at The Cliffhanger.
Also announced is that both Jennifer Williams of Naked Jam, and Kerry Witt of Chocolate by Miss Witt fame, will be at the festival

Changes - What's On page updated

Feb 21 News - Well Well!
Take a look at this Echo report into the Christchurch Borough Conservative councillors chucking out both their leader, and deputy leader (Ray Nottage and Claire Bath respectively).


Former Mayor David Flagg is their new leader.

Now that the Food Festival runs over two days, organisers are looking for even more entertainers.
If you know someone who would be interested, or that way inclined yourself, please contact Mark at Fire & Ice Cafe in Lymington Road. Email is probably the best way, as I know mark is on the move a lot these days.

Maybe exciting new local talent, Brogan Murphy, should give it a go. Brogan is the subject of the HP-Music video we mentioned on Feb 15. I understand the video, her first, is to be released on March 3.

Also on the same date, I mentioned the Great British Spring Clean on the weekend of March 3 - March 5, and that the nearest event was in Burton.
Since then, HELP (Highcliffe Enviroment Litter Pickers) have organised a clean up of Lymington Road.
HELP of course are always working around the village, and don't need a formal event to do their great work, but decided to tie in with the County wide effort this time.

To find out more contact Helen Kennedy at helenlizkennedy@gmail.com, or by dropping into The Foot Clinic in The Precinct in Highcliffe, or into The Lifestyle Concept, and speak to Tracey.

Changes - What's On page updated

Feb 15 News - That's interesting. I thought I'd advertise, and probably take part in, the Great British Spring Clean on the weekend of March 3 - March 5.
However, when I looked for local events, the only one anywhere near us is at Burton Green, nothing else at all in Christchurch or Highcliffe, nor any other locations anywhere even close.
Quite surprising, given how well the beach clean initiatives are supported.
(Talking of which - I notice that the Dorset Litter Free Coast and Sea team is homed in Dorchester, an interesting location for that particulat team.)

The newly opened Creative Hub in Lymington Road (https://www.hp-music.co.uk/) are already getting involved in Highcliffe life, in addition to working with some very talented local performers.
A few days ago, they were working in Highcliffe Castle, producing their first music video. I guess it will be a while before it's ready for us to see, but it is good to know that their talent seems to be starting to bear fruit.
(Click picture for larger version)

A quick summary of what they offer is:
-- Recording
– Videography / Photography
– Artist Development
– Music Lessons
– Production / Songwriting
– Music Distribution
– Digital Media Design

Pretty quiet on the crime front in our area. At least, I have had no reports of the recent spate of burglaries continuing at present.
If you know differently, please let me know.

Also, if anyone knows what happened on Monday teatime-ish, near the Naish entrance, please let me know.
There was an road accident which caused long traffic queues. There were several Police vehicles in attendance, along with paramedics, but I can find no information about the incident.

Changes - What's On page updated

Feb 13 News - Some of you may have missed the news about Council reorganisation. See Echo report below.


The arrogant way our senior council officers behave (along with a few councillors) is starting to make me think that we might be better off if CBC disappears.
But I guess that at least we know who we are dealing with at present.

The reality is that it doesn't matter what the electorate wants. Change will be forced on us anyway, again by people who don't actually care about us.

Changes - What's On page updated.
Neighbourhood Alert page updated with info about Doorstep Crime Awareness week - which starts today.

Feb 9 News - Click below to see a copy of the letter sent to all councillors, and to selected council officers, following the public meeting on Tuesday. (By the way, there were 87 residents at the meeting, crammed into a room designed for many less than that.)
Click here for the letter.

I also hear that our MP, Chris Chope, is showing the same kind of concerns that he showed last year with the beach hut fiasco, as it appears - yet again - that normal council decisions, which should be decided openly by elected committees, are being pushed through in secret by council officers, and one or two portfolio holders.
For anyone involved in last year's fight, it will come as no surprise that the portfolio holder for Highcliffe Castle is Councillor Vicki Hallam, a leading light in trying to push through the Plum Pictures deal.

On that subject, I also now know that their plans to build a small number of beach houses was, as many of us thought, merely the thin edge of a very big wedge. The actual figure they planned to build was much nearer a hundred than 12.
I remind everyone that at the time it was being claimed (including in the national press) that Natural England was in agreement with the plan, whereas in fact they knew nothing of it at all, and were extremely unlikely to approve it.
And they wonder why we don't believe anything they say or do in their secret meetings and deals.

I also hear that the present incumbant of the Tearooms is being bullied and harrassed by a senior council officer, with regard to letting Aromark officials into the Tearooms.

I've said it more than once, but have no hesitation in saying it again. This situation stinks. It stinks of secrecy, lack of openness, lack of respect - for just about everyone - and total contempt for Council, and for residents and taxpayers.

It's such a shame there isn't a local election coming up.

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Feb 8 News - Standing room only at last night's meeting, which alone shows that people are concerned about the way the issue of the Castle Tearooms contract has been handled.
In attendance were our Mayor, and several councillors.
All the points and concerns raised are being summarised by the Friends of Highcliffe Castle Tearooms, and will be presented to CBC officials and Councillors as soon as possible.
As was pointed out strongly, the whole (so called) tendering process was not only flawed, but fundamentally wrong., which is why so many of our elected representatives are showing their concerns.

There has been a load of tosh on Streetlife about the subject, with a few people trying to support Aromark, and saying the current leaseholder is no different from Tesco's, as he doesn't actually work behind the counter, and other such nonsense.
Maybe these people are deliberately being arguementative, but if not, they are completely missing the point.
This is NOT about the current leaseholder, and the way he's being ejected in favour of a multinational catering company.
It IS about the way some council officers wheel and deal in secret, without any attempt to even keep their employers in the picture (in the shape of our elected representatives) much less us taxpayers (who pay their wages).
We saw the same arrogance and contempt last year, and we're seeing it yet again with this issue.

The Oakhaven Charity furniture shop in Lymington Road was apparently broken into last night. Not sure if anything at all was stolen, or even what the thieves were expecting to find, but the stock is intact. Some very odd people around.

Changes - What's On page updated

Feb 7 News - Any members of the Sports & Social Club out there that haven't yet renewed their membership?
If so, you've only got until February 28 to do so before your membership lapses.
(They are a quite tolerant bunch at the Club, as membership runs from January 1 until December 31.)

Anyone not a member and wants to join, it only costs £19 a year for full membership, and only £14 for over 65s.
Junior membership (under 18) is only £2 pa.

At long last,Police are cracking down of drivers using their phones while on the move. In a week they've issued tickets to 91 offenders.
Details on the Neighbourhood Alert page.

Don't forget tonight's meeting.

Changes - What's On page updated

Feb 5 News - URGENT - from the Friends of Highcliffe Castle Tearooms

18:30 to 20:30, 07 February 2017
Old School House, Lymington Road, Highcliffe

A public meeting has been organised, by residents, for residents, on Tuesday to enable residents to express their views and comments in respect of Christchurch Council's Tender/Tender result, and the proposal to award a Catering Concession, from April, to a US $ billion Facilities Management conglomerate company. Many negative comments have been registered on Streetlife and the Bournemouth Echo on-line. This newly formed 'Friends' Group is to enable you to have your say and collectively give feedback to Christchurch Council, in the strongest terms, as well as Aramark themselves. We do hope you can attend the meeting. Thank you.

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Feb 4 News - Outline planning permission has finally appeared for 835 houses to be built at Roeshot Hill.

We knew this was coming, and as expected, there is no provision for any services such as medical centre or school.
Which given that that number of houses could easily generate a population of 2000+, and maybe 1000+ children.
I've already objected to those missing services.

Also, bearing in mind the Hoburne Farm development on the opposite side of the A35, there is no plans for a roundabout, only slip roads for the new development (and no access to the A35 at all from Hoburne Farm).
A roundabout serving both developments would not only make logical sense, but would have the added benefit of slowing traffic in the area of Roeshot Hill, which as we all know is a notorious accident blackspot.

The popular dixieland jazz group, The Tony Robinson New Jazz Aces Quartet, is now resident every Thursday night from 7.30 pm to 10.00 pm, at The Willow Restaurant, Gore Road, New Milton, BH25 6SJ. (Used to be the Milton Barns.)

I know there are people in Mudeford and Friars Cliff that read this page. So for them - be aware of a Borough Council election coming up, triggered by the resignation of Andy Barfield.
It's on Thursday March 2.

The deadline for requesting a postal vote is 15 February at 5pm
The deadline for arranging a proxy vote is 22 February at 5pm
For anyone not registered, you can do so by going here

Changes - What's On page updated

Feb 3 News - As regulars will know, I have been long protesting that some of our employees at Christchurch Council treat both councillors and us residents and tax payers with complete contempt.
They do secret deals behind closed doors, following their own agendas, and for their own reasons.
They did it last year with the beach hut fiasco, and now the same people have been at it again with the secret deal with Aromark. (There's probably many other examples as well.)
I have said all along that as these people actually work for us, there is no way they should be doing deals that our elected representatives (their bosses) know nothing about until it's too late.

I'm pleased to say that this time, many of our councillors actually agree with my views completely, and below is the content of a couple of emails received by other concerned members of the public. I have removed the names - for now at least.
Please be assured that most of the Christchurch Councillors are very concerned about the result of the Highcliffe Tea Rooms lease renewal bids. Yet again except for a few Portfolio holders and the Leader, we Councillors were only made aware of the winning bid, very shortly before the public notices were published!

Although not on the agenda, the Scrutiny Committee that met on Wed evening discussed the matter of the Tea Rooms. We will be taking the matter further.

We are concerned also that despite the fact that we are elected to put forward the wishes of our residents, decisions are by being made that pass us by, and are being taken ‘from the top down’

Thank you again for your email, and please keep emailing, writing and phoning your concerns to Councillors and the press. it really does help us to support our residents.
Many thanks for this information. The Councillors were not given the name of the winning bidder (or the names of the other bidders) The process was a matter for the Officers to deal with ( Judith Plumley) and questions must be asked as to how this could be acceptable! Having been made aware now of ARAMARK as a bidder – and indeed the winning bidder- we are learning more about the company. I had heard that they own Subway but as yet have not checked that.
Thank you again for the information which I will send to fellow Councillors.

We also have to wonder why such a large corporate company is interested in a small local English Tea Room! These Companies deal with million Dollar profits and successful as the Tea Room has been, I cannot see it generating enough profits for Aramark. At least not in it’s present form. From our initial discussion at the Scrutiny Meeting it seems the lease is for 15 years, with no ‘out’ clause after a ‘probationary’ period. We did ask the legal team also who will monitor their performance. Without further investigation, initially it seems that Aramark will monitor itself. Again though – we have not had time to check the details of the contract.
You are correct in that the APPLICATIONS for ANY bids for ANY business/contract MUST be offered INTERNATIONALLY. That is applied to the UK through the EU. It has been applied into British law by whatever Parliament of the day was in control at that time.

I am one of many that believes that the tendering process was a sham, and that is was deliberately intended to ensure that Aromark got the contract. The whole thing was deliberately intended to ensure that no local or small business could comply with the requirements, which is why almost all interested parties dropped out without even bothering to tender.
We all know - just common sense tells us - that Aromark are not just interested in a small village tearooms. Which begs the question. What are they really after? Maybe someone like Judith Plumley could tell us.

Now all we need is for the repeat offenders to be dealt with properly. It still hasn't happened over the Plum Pictures deal, and I'm guessing that even after this, those same employees will still be in place, and probably still doing their own thing with our money.

Changes -

Feb 2 News - The latest action foisted on us by CBC officials - the Castle Tearooms fiasco - has unsurprisingly made the national press. Here's what the Times online has to say.

However, the hard copy newspaper was more comprehensive, and well worth a read if you can steal a copy.

Different subject.
The memorial SRDE plinth, that was removed from the historic site at Steamer Point after damage by a vehicle during a water sports event, and which we were told would most likely not be replaced in the same location, and maybe not at all if funding for repairs could not be found, IS going back where it belongs, although to one side rather than centrally.
Here's the CBC response:
We are in the process of having the plaque cleaned and refurbished, once complete we will reinstate the plaque, mounted on slab of Purbeck stone to one side of the old concrete base.

By situating the plaque to one side we will avoid damaging the original concrete base and it will not be as vulnerable to accidents such as the one that caused it’s recent demise.

I estimate the works will take another few weeks but please be assured will be completed as soon as possible.

Changes -

Feb 1 News - The request by Dorset Police last week to help locate a convicted murderer who was out on license (!!) but had absconded, ended with a satisfactory conclusion, when Jamie Frater eventually handed himself in, and has been returned to jail.

Changes - What's On page updated
Neighbourhood Alert page updated.

Jan 31 News - The email address for Councillor Geary (North Highcliffe and Walkford) was incorrect on the Local Politicians page.
It is now fixed.

The petition, created by customers of the Castle Tearooms to protest about the shocking way the leaseholder of the Tearooms is being treated by officers of Christchurch Borough Council, has been delivered to the council offices in time for the Full Council meeting tomorrow.
In just a few days, hundreds of people signed, with many making the trip in appalling weather just to add their names.

It really is time that some of these council officials were reminded that they actually work for us, and that when they come up with these sneaky and underhand secret deals, they really must get them approved by their employers first (in the shape of our elected representatives).
Once again, councillors were among the last to know what was being planned behind closed doors. In any real business, some of these people would have been sacked after last year's beach hut fiasco. Unfortunately, they are still in place, and still following their own agendas, regardless of the wishes of the electorate.

Changes -

Jan 30(a) News - More apologies.
The Dorset Police/Home Watch event at Greystones is on Saturday 4th, NOT Friday.
All other details are as reported earlier.

Changes -

Jan 30 News - Apologies. I had not heard about the death of Don Percival at the age of 90, until a kind person pointed it out to me.
Don was best known for his support and service to the Highcliffe Sports and Social Club for many years, but he was also well known in golfing circles, having been born and raised at Highcliffe Castle Golf Club, where his parents were the golf professional and stewardess.
His funeral took place at St Marks on Friday.
(There is an interesting obituary on page 12 of the most recent edition of the New Milton Advertiser for anyone who would like more information about Don's life.)

For anyone who missed this news elsewhere, it's good to see that our recently departed postmaster, Rob Coates, has now started hisown oven cleaning business, and is part of the Oven Wizards franchise.
Rob can be found at www.ovenwizards.com

At the Castle Tearooms there is currently a petition running to protest about the shocking way the current leaseholder is being treated, following 17 years of good service to the local community.
He is at pains to stress that he has nothing to do with this petition, and that regulars and staff made the decision.
He is however, extremely touched and grateful at the overwhelming show of support.

Next Friday, there is an interesting event at Greystones.
Dorset Police , with Home Watch, are running a community safety event. It runs from 10 am until 2 pm.
In the morning, there will also beguided ttouurs of this listed building, and refreshments will be available.
Along with advice, there will also be a selection of security products on sale, not to mention a fire engine to look over.

Next Friday (February 3) the popular Highcliffe Community Association Cinema is showing "Bridget Jones Baby", with Renee Zellweger and Colin Firth.
Doors open at 6:30pm, and film starts (sharp) at 7:00pm. Tickets are £4.50 from the Association, or by calling 01425 271604.

Changes - What's On page updated

Jan 27 News - Urgent!
The contract with Aromark for the Castle Tearooms lease has not been signed yet. But is due to be on Wednesday February 1.
If, like me, you think this whole situation stinks, and has the same aroma of underhand and secret dealings, which will be to the detriment of Highcliffe, it's residents and taxpayers, and most definitely to the detriment of local businesses/suppliers, then contact your councillor right now to demand - at least - a postponement, so that the whole situation can be examined by Council.
This did not happen with the beach hut fiasco, and we (NOT CBC officers) nearly ended up with a big legal bill.

This situation is very similar. The deal is being done by mostly the same council officers (our employees) as almost got away with their self interested plans last year.

At least most of Highcliffe's councillors are as concerned as we are about this situation, and presumably don't want to be presented with the same kind of fait accompli as they were last time.
So make sure they know the level of concern out in the real world, and give them some encouragement to sort this out before it's too late.

Also, ask yourself this. Why would a multinational American company, used to dealing with major events such as the Olympic Games, be interested in a little village tearooms? I'd be surprised if you come up with a different answer from me.

A different subject. There have been items in the News on this website, and discussions elsewhere, about the state of the paths in Steamer Point, and around the castle grounds.
You may find this planning documant very interesting. I know I did.

Changes -

Jan 25 News - I've had my trusty pen out again, the one I use to write to my councillors. I invite you to do likewise.

First, on the secret dealings that CBC have been undertaking (on our behalf of course - Ha!) which have led to the existing leaseholder at Highcliffe Castle Tearooms being usurped in favour of a multinational American company, who are probably still wondering where on Earth is this Highcliffe place. Rumours have been doing the rounds for a while, but one one was true. See the story below.

I would remind everyone that the existing leaseholder has built up this business over many years, is a major local employer of local people, and - with his Selfridge initiatives - has helped put Highcliffe Castle and the village on the map.
Even if Christchurch Council decided, for whatever secret reasons of their own, to not renew the lease , they could at least have looked at other local businesses (of which there were several) who might have an interest in the location, the customers, and local taxpayers.

Highcliffe councillors' contact details can be found here:

Second - now that the facts about the missing Steamer Point SRDE memorial have finally been uncovered, another letter was required.
The plinth and plaque were removed from the site after being damaged last year during one of the water sports events, when visitors take over the public open spaces at Steamer, courtesy of CBC.
It seems that the damage was caused by a vehicle, and the memorial was removed. Not only is it quite possible that it will not be repaired or replaced, as funding is required, but if it is repaired, it is likely that it will be placed somewhere else, away from it's historical site.
WHAT? So we let people move in for private events, and when they cause damage to a unique local site, we locals are supposed to pay for the repairs. I've come to the conclusion that CBC could not run a wotsit in a brewery.
Why on earth are the event organisers not responsible for damage to the site?

For anyone who doesn't know, this site was the first satellite early warning station on Earth, and much vital research was undertaken, which led to SKYNET instant telephone communications being used to quickly help areas of the world stricken by natural disasters - something we now take for granted.

Changes -

Jan 24 News - We finally know what's happened to the SRDE memorial plinth at Steamer Point. Apparently it got damaged during one of the water sports events,, when the area was full of trucks and campers. Here's the full response given to the chap who first raised the issue.
The concrete was damaged last year following a windsurfing event, probably backed into by a large vehicle. It was consequently inspected, and sadly declared unsafe. CBC were told to either repair or remove the concrete base. As it is intended that more events will be allowed to take place there, it was decided to remove it.

The bronze plaque is temporarily in the Council Offices and the Council’s plan is to re-install into a new interpretive project on or near the site which informs the public of the history of the site. At present the officers are planning the project, and looking for funding.
Which probably means that they have no intention of replacing it. My suggestion would be to charge the organisers of these events and/or make them responsible for any damage they cause.

Police are looking for a convicted murdered who has disappeared while out of jail on license (!!!).
See Neighbourhood Alert page for details and a photo.
Also on that page is a request from Christchurch Police for info on anti social behaviour. Some may want to complete ther little survey.

Just in case anyone was thinking that the long awaited report on the beach huts fiasco, from CBC's Scrutiny and Policy Overview Committee (SPOC), has conveniently been forgotten, it seems we were wrong.
Apparently, the report was delayed by ongoing council reorganisation discussions, but will be presented at the SPOC meeting on February 1.
I'm thinking that we will then witness some high class council sweeping under carpets time. It would be amazing if anyone actually was brought to book over it all.

Changes -
Accommodation page updated with a new bed and breakfast establishment.
Neighbourhood Alert page updated.
What's On page updated
Includes Twinning Association events (Feb 5, Feb 28, March 21)

Jan 20 News - Tomorrow there is a Fun Dog Show at Stanpit Village Hall, with all proceeds going to the Lakewood Restoration project.
There are all kinds of categories, with prizes and rosettes on offer.
There is also a photo competition, so if you have pictures of your dogs you think others will like, why not go alonge and try to pick up a prize?
It runs from 12 noon until 4:00pm.

Changes -

Jan 16 News - I understand that contractors should be working around the Castle grounds within a couple of weeks, repairing all the many potholes in the various paths.
It seems we have a more proactive team running the place these days.

Talking of which, the Castle has been nominated in the 2017 UK Wedding Awards, under the category of Best Castle Venue.

No answers forthcoming as to why the SRDE Memoroal Plinth has been removed from Steamer Point.
As with all of my recent attempts to get information from CBC officers or councillors, people trying to find out why/where it's gone, have been met with complete silence.
I can't help but wonder if there is a deliberate policy in place to completely ignore any questions from residents.
(We such a bunch of inconvenient trouble makers after all.)

Changes -

Jan 12 News - I have an answer regarding the tree felling behind the Castle.
It is connected with the plans from 2015, relating to the Heritage Lottery Application that was made.
Part of those plans were to increase car parking, connect the Zig Zag Path with the path through Steamer Point nature Reserve, which starts at Common Gate (which has been removed).
More info at http://highcliffecastle.co.uk/hlf_award
I'm told that there are still a few trees that are rotten at the base, which will also need to be removed.

I'm also told that, as suggested, the resultant wood chippings are being used (starting yesterday) on the muddy paths and other locations around the site. A little common sense prevails, which is god news.

Dorset Police now have a new website specifically about fraud, and how to handle the many threats facing us all.
Go to https://www.dorset.police.uk and follow the "Fraud" links.

Changes - The Neighbourhood Alert page updated.

Jan 11 News - If you like walking among the trees behind the Castle, between Steamer point and the open green area, you'd better do it soon. The trees are disappearing very quickly. They are being felled in large numbers, and although some are obviously near end of life, many appear to be healthy.
Email attempts to find out why so many are being removed have been completely ignored. Also, the chippings are just being piled up in the bushes (same as last time) when they could be used to cover some of the muddy paths.

Talking of emails being ignored. Over the past few weeks, I have made polite enquiries on a range of subjects, from the Council Communications Officer, my councillor, and a Castle contact. Unless everyone connected with CBC is on holiday, I am being totally ignored, with not even an acknowledgment.
Maybe they haven't read the statement on the CBC website about being committed to openness.

There's an opportunity to take part in a free Community Road Safe session, aimed at improving road safety for all of us.
(The sessions are funded by the fines of people who have broken motoring laws.
There is advice from a range of organisations, such as the Emergency Services, and even Kwik Fit.
Free refreshments, a goody bag, and vouchers will also be available.
Take a look at the Neighbourhood Alert page.

Changes - What's On page updated
A new site about the old SRDE site at Steamer Point ahas been added to Neighbours Links page
The link to Yellow Buses website is now correct on the Useful links page.

Jan 7 News - Further to the article about the Community Association's appeal against the refusal of their planning application.
Apparently the original application was rejected by only two voters. There was one vote for, and all other councillors on the committee abstained. Hardly democracy in action I'd say.

It seems that the Planning Officer's opinion was that if passed, the result would be that Historic England would want a public enquiry. I don't suppose for a minute that planners actually asked them though.
Also, nothing that Historic England would be interested in would be destroyed or damaged by the extension planned.

I ask again, if there's anyone with the necessary experience required for an appeal, please give the Association a call or email.

Changes -

Jan 6 News - The Community Association at Greystones needs your help.
They quite rightly plan to appeal the rejection of their plans to build an orangery at the rear of the property, in order to increase the number of activities they can provide for us residents.
The Association have been advised by council to appeal, but as a charity, money is an issue. So they are looking for people with the expertise to offer professional advice to help them with the appeal.

On the face of it, their case is very strong, so if you think you may be able to help, please contact the Association.
Email the Chairman Leslie Newman at lesleyalison53@msn.com or telephone Greystones on 01425 271604, and they will put you in touch with the right people.

Telephone and email scams galore going on at present, Not only the well known Microsoft one, but we also have BT, Norton, Amazon, PayPa, and others. If you just assume that all such phone calls and emails are criminal, and ignore them (or tell them their fortune) you won't go far wrong.

The What's On page is looking a bit bereft atpresent. If you have anything coming up over the coming months, and want some free publicity, please email and let me know

Fancy a job as a call handler for 999 and 101 calls? Take a look at the item on the neighbourhood Alert page (link below).

Changes - Neighbourhood Alert page updated.
New Mobility aids page has been added

Jan 3 News - Happy New Year Everyone. Let's hope that we don't have so many things to concern ourselves with this year.
Unfortunately, with organisations like CBC operating, I suspect that might be a forelorn hope.

Sadly, we start with some bad news straight away. The burglars are still operating in the area, and there have been two more breakins over the holiday.
One was in Elphinstone Road, and the other was in Rook Hill Road. All the details on the Neighbourhood Alert page

Changes - Neighbourhood Alert page updated

Dec 30 News - I'm very late with this item, as today is the last day for comments/objections.
Application has been made to demolish The Rothesay B&B in Lymington Road, and build two blocks containing 20 flats.
Unfortunately, just like the Hoburne development plans further up the road, there is only provision for one parking space per property.
In this part of the world this would seem to be totally inadequate, and does not allow for anyone to have visitors, especially as the main road is outside where parking is banned.
See the application (8/16/2195/OUT) below:

Changes -

Dec 29 News - The bad guys are still around. There's been an attempted breakin in Sunderland Drive while the owners were away.
It's too close for comfort, so take every precaution.

Don't forget those crazy people at the Life Saving Club are having a swim in the sea on New Year's Day.
If you want to join them, registration takes place at the Club (next to the Beach Hut Cafe at Friars Cliff) at 11:30am, for a Midday dip.
It's £5 entry, and all proceeds (including any sponsorship) goes to Macmillan Caring Locally.

Talking about the Beach Hut. Their efforts on Christmas Day raised an amazing £5438 - in TWO HOURS. Just incredible.
They say that more money will be added from calendar sales, and other donations that are still arriving, and that the total will be announced in early January. As always, the money will go to macmillan Caring Locally.
(The live music this year was a nice bonus.)

Changes -

Dec 22 News - Not quite Highcliffe, but there was drama at Avon Beach this afternoon.
The Mudeford Lifeboat was in action after a boat overturned on the sandbank just off shore (which was covered by very shallow water at the time).

One person was helped ashore by a crew member, and taken to the Noisy Lobster. Another was hauled on board the lifeboat, which then spent some time getting a line attached to the overturned boat, an operation hindered by the shallowness of the water. Needless to say they eventually succeeded.

The person who had been helped ashore appears to have been hurt, as the rapid response vehicle turned up, quickly followed by an ambulance.
Local police turned up at one stage, but were not required.
Hopefully we';ll have full details tomorrow.

While at Avon Beach (dog walking) I was devastated to see that our glorious council have found a new way to antagonise many of us.
They have completely obliterated the shrubs and brambles all the way around the sunken car park.
This undergrowth was not impacting on the parking area at all, and was home to many birds, and probably a lot of other wildlife. Sparrows could always be heard twittering away in the dense brambles, but not any more I'm afraid.
For no good reason at all, CBC has destroyed the habitat of a rapidly declining species of bird in the middle of Winter.
Why -Why - Why do these morons continue to take actions which very few (if any) locals want them to take, without any warning or prior consultation?
Once again, their claims of "openness" are shown to be nonsense.

Just in case this is the last update before Christmas, here's a reminder about the annual charity do on Christmas Day. It's at the Beach Hut Cafe on Friars Cliff, between 11 am and 1 pm, where mulled wine and mince pies are free. Every penny of donations, plus any money raised from hot drinks sales, goes to Macmillan Caring Locally.

Changes -

Dec 20 News - Reference the consultation on CBC's planned car parking charges, and the plan to not only increase charges, and to remove free Winter parking from three car parks near the coast.
The consultation is now online.
(Nice of them to tell us about it, although I never ever got the return call I was promised, and had to phone up again.)
You can find it here:

Please have your say and please keep in mind that:
a) there is an estimated surplus of £169,000 from car parking this year
b) removing the free Winter parking will only hit local people, who are not only already council tax payers, but who often are frail and/or elderly, and use the facility to get close to the proms for their Winter walks and exercise.
Many of us already pay (through the nose) for Summer permits, and the respite of free parking in Winter is a Godsend.
This also means that anyone living close to the sea is very likely to have constant parking outside of their houses all Winter.
I already hear that the Rothesay Drive residents are very unhappy at the prospect.
(I still recommend contacting your councillors, to make sure they are in no doubt about our resentment.)

While on the subject of the coastal areas.
The Friends of Highcliffe Beaches and Cliffs, who did such a great job fighting the miserable and tedious beach hut fiasco, are keen to assure everyone that they are still hard at work, and that there is still work to do.
Below is a statement from them. (I also am looking forward to the Scrutiny Committee's report, but will be astonished if it's anything but a whitewash.)
FOHBAC are in an ongoing dialogue, as well as meetings, with CBC to ensure that, firstly, the £50,000 Coastal Revival Fund monies are productively spent on physical improvements to the cliff paths and access routes and secondly any further grants/funding secured are ‘targeted’ at maintaining/enhancing what is already there.

We have also been consulted and attended site meetings with CBC about the Castle ‘zig zag’ path reinstatement works, which are about to start.

The Council Members Scrutiny and Overview committee will shortly report on their investigations into CBC’s failed project to build the Retreats in partnership with Plum Pictures/Channel 4. FOHBAC Steering Group members provided a significant file of papers and background information on the project to the Committee.

Changes -

Dec 19 News - Reference next year's Food Festival.
Many details, including contact information for those wanting to book a stall, can now be found on

Even much of the events schedule is in place. It's well worth having a look at the site.
As reported, the Festival is now a two day event, taking place on Saturday May 20, and Sunday May 21.

Last Friday's Advertiser encouraged us to take part in a consultation about the plans to increase parking charges, and the proposal to remove free Winter parking at some car parks.
Unfortunately, in true CBC style, they omitted to tell us how we can take part in this consultation. (Probably don't actually want us to, I suspect.)
I'm currently waiting on a return call from CBC on the subject. When I know, you'll know.

Changes - What's On page updated
Community links page now has Food Festival website included.

Dec 18 News - Yet more burglaries in Highcliffe. Properties in Seaton Road, and in Ranleigh Road have been hit. Also there's been a van broken into in Pinewood Road, with a number of tools stolen.
All the details can be seen on the latest Neighbourhood Alert page.

HP Music (at The Creative Hub in Lymington Road) is currently offering all new clients 25% off all payments under £300.

Bookings for stalls at next Summer's Highcliffe Food Festival are now being taken.
They haven't made it clear who to contact, but I'm sure Tracey at The Lifestyle Concept (01425 271122) or Mark at Fire and Ice (01425 271969) will be able to help.

Changes -Neighbourhood Alert page updated.

Dec 15 News - The new business that has moved into the old HSBC building at 363 Lymington Road is now well and truely open.
The Creative Hub offers just about a complete service for musicians, both beginners and professionals. The talented team have moved to Highcliffe from Ringwood, and are already helping many musicians with their experience and expertise.
For novices and non professionals, there is music tuition in the newly renovated first floor classrooms, covering guitar, piano, violin, and vocal tuition.
On the ground floor, there are fully professional recording studios, and media design,and videography facilities.

Although the shop sign says The Creative Hub, the company is HP Music, and here is their website.

Interestingly, the team were intending to take over the whole HSBC building, but have ended up in the left hand side. It seems the unchanged part is more or less condemned internally, and will require a great deal of work (and expense) to bring it up to a useable standard. Unsurprisingly, the landlords are a bit reluctant to get involved, so sadly that part of the eyesore looks like staying as it is.

If you fancy a hamper of Blue Sky Deli products, there's a raffle going at present. It ends tomoorow I believe, so if you fancy a go, you'd better be quick. Tickets from the shop.

I notice that the old Southern Wines shop has got a SOLD sign up. Does anyone know who has bought it?

Changes - Business lists, Entertainment page, Village plan, all amended with recent changes.

Dec 11 News - There's a discussion on Streetlife at present about a planning application from the Highcliffe Community Association. They wanted to add an extension to allow more groups and activities to take place.
As far as I could see from the plans, the extension would not impact on the Grade 2 listed existing building, but in their wisdom, CBC turned the application down.
Needless to say, the planning website has not yet been updated since the planning meeting on December 7, so we can't see the reasoning for the refusal.
It seems a bit harsh though, as Greystones is a vital part of village community life, giving pleasure and support to many people. Shouldn't our councillors be encouraging Greystones, rather than blocking their moves to provide an even better service?

Changes -

Dec 9 News - It should be fun at Fire and Ice tonight and tomorrow night.
They are open until 11:00pm on both nights, and have an alcohol license, and are inviting everyone to turn up and start celebrating Christmas.
The last time they did anything like thiswas to kick off the Food Festival, and the atmosphere was brilliant, so why notgo and have a good time?

As everyone knows by now, Fire and Ice is at 349 Lymington Road.

Changes -

Dec 8 News - The latest Neighbourhood Alert page reports another crime in Highcliffe, and includes more advice on how to avoid becoming a victim.
(See link below.)

Changes - Neighbourhood Alert page updated
Village Plan and appropriate business listings updated with latest moves and changes

Dec 5 News - The new business that has moved into the old HSBC building - The Creative Hub - has pushed back their opening until Monday 12.

Age UK is moving out of its premises in the block which is to be redeveloped by Hoburne.
They are moving into the old Lumen8 shop a little further up, and are planning to open on Thursday 8.

Changes -

Dec 2 News - Good old CBC.
I read with dismay that they are planning to remove the free Winter parking at Avon Run Road, Steamer Point, and Highcliffe Castle. I'm assuming that this is because they know that these three car parks are the ones with reasonably easy access to the prom, and that locals use them, often when taking their elderly and/or frail relatives our for a daily constitutional on the sea front, as they are unable to walk from their homes.

I completely understand that the Mudeford Quay and Avon Beach car parks get a lot of outside visitors, who want to park where they can see the sea. I also understand that in Summer, us locals must compete for spaces everywhere with visitors, which is why many of us buy the extremely expensive Summer permit.

Removing free parking at the three named car parks will almost entirely hurt locals, But as we know, CBC only considers us to be cash cows for their often hair brained schemes, and providing a service to those that pay council tax is not a consideration. This is just another example.

On top of the above, they are going to remove free pre-Christmas parking in Christchurch.
That should drive everyone to Castle Point and other retail parks, and seriously upset Christchurch traders.
It's also worth noting that a New Forest parking clock costs £20 for a year, and allows parking in every town in the Forest area. The April to September Christchurch permit costs about £160, and that is going up next year.

These measures are in spite of a car parking surplus of £169,000.

Changes -
What's On page updated

Dec 1 News - Dorset Police have issued a Neighbourhood Alert, giving advice on how to avoid being a Christmas crime victim.
Also take a look, at their Facebook and Twitter pages. The links are on the Alert linked below.

Changes -
Neighbourhood Alert page updated

What's On page updated

Nov 29 News - I'm glad to say that The Songbirds are still going strong. They've just moved their up to date info from MySpace to Facebook.
They have several gigs coming up, including one at the Captain's Club on New Year's Eve.
Take a look and listen. www.facebook.com/songbirdsuk

Also, Mum Jane is running her own successful PR company, and has a very distinquished client list.
(A different world from running The Scullery tearooms it has to be said.)
Take a look at her website. www.janedeanpr.co.uk

As mentioned before, this coming Saturday sees the annual Christmas Fair at Highcliffe School, organised by The Friends of the school. (See the poster by clicking here.)
Also mentioned before is that this year's event is bigger and better than ever, with lots of really good raffle prizes, including a holiday for six, and many other attractions.
What we didn't mention was the Bidding Wall, where you can bid for any of the many lots on offer, all donated by local companies and organisations.
To make a bid, go here:

Bookings are also being made for a visit to Santa, and slots are going fast, so be quick:

The actors who play Harry and Rose in the popular Castle tour - The Real Mr Selfridge Experience - were on Radio Solent yesterday, explaining how it came about. Anyone interested can hear the interview here:

Changes -

Nov 28 News - A reminder.
There is a quarterly meeting of the Residents Association TONIGHT.
It's in the Old School House, and runs from 7:00 - 9:00pm.

Last week on the quiz Pointless, we saw Highcliffe residents Jane and daughter Laura reach the final round.
Sadly they didn't get a pointless answer, but having got to the last round, they will be invited back for another go.
Just in case you don't recognise the names, Jane used to own and run The Scullery on Sea Corner (which is now The Paddle of course) and Laura is one of the singing duo The Songbirds.
I'm not sure the duo are still performing, which would be a shame, as they were very good. I'll try and find out.
(Even better - if you read this Jane, send me an email.)

Interesting piece in the Echo today. A lady was fined £85 for spending over three hours at the Christchurch Retail Park (Homebase/Home Bargains/etc).
She can prove that she went in the morning, went away for the day, and returned later in the afternoon.
Take a look.

Changes -

Nov 25 News - I notice on the Lakewood Restoration Facebook page that there is a task day tomorrow.
It starts at 10:00am.
I know from previous such days that any volunteers can do as much or as little as they can manage, so those of us not in great shape can usefully help, even if in a small way.
The only advice is to take a pair of gardening gloves, and maybe wellies or sturdy boots.

So far, with the help of volunteers, the whole place has been transformed from the overgrown rubbish tip it was, into a tranquil and lovely spot.
More about the project on their Facebook page.

Changes - Local organisations page updated with correct contact details for Highcliffe Scouts

Nov 24 News - Yet another burglary! This time in Wharnecliffe Road.
See the Neighbourhood Alert page (link below) for details, and more advice.
I notice that today (early afternoon) the Police helicopter has been hovering around parts of West Highcliffe, and can't help wondering if there's been yet another crime.
Let's just hope they catch the *******s.

Avon Beach is the scene of a three day surf sports event this weekend, hence the two storey construction that is being erected.
There's also a lot of activity from coastal engineers Earlcote, with lots of new Purbeck boulders being brought in.
I was told by one of the engineers that they are being used to protect the shore based part of the event from the elements.
I wonder who's paying.

Talking of events.
There's a Christmas Craft Fair tomorrow and Saturday mornings at Greystones. Lot's of goodies on offer, from 10:00am until Noon on both days.
St Joseph's Church at Purewell also has a Christmas Bazaar on Saturday, from 11:00am until 2:00pm.
The Wessex Youth Orchestra will be performing a "Winter in Wessex" concert, with choir, on Sunday 4 Dec, starting at 3:00pm. That one is in the Lighthouse Concert Hall in Poole.

Changes - Neighbourhood Alert page updated

What's On page updated

Nov 22 News - I forgot to mention yesterday that there is no need to panic about The Paddle being closed.
It is only for a couple of weeks for Donna's annual holiday, and will reopen on December 1.
You can still use the online booking system on their website to book a table after that date, remembering that there's no booking at lunchtime.

Eclipse Hairdressers, at 408 Lymington Road, is now home to lots of new faces, as Liz, Sandra, Michelle, and Janice, all previously at Hi-Lites, have taken chairs at Eclipse. I think that means a total of six hairdressers in the shop.

Changes -

Nov 21 News - There's been another burglary Tis time in Merley Drive.
The details are in the latest Neighbourhood Alert update, which includes some sound advice, which is even more relevant with Christmas coming up.
Please take a look. The link is below.

I have no idea how this happened, but the long established (16 years) Dorset Interiors, at 415a Lymington Road, did not appear in the Homes, Furniture, & Gardens business listings, only on the Village Plan. They do now.

I've been told that the Zig Zag Path has reopened. If the weather eases,, I'll go and take a look.

An old village business, Fry Days fish and chip shop, closed a few weeks ago, and I'm told that Daniels just along the street has bought the lease. The rumour is that it will still be a take away of some kind.

Changes - Homes page updated

Neighbourhood Alert page updated

Nov 18 News - Criminals are out and about in our area again.
There have been burglaries in Terrington Avenue and Kilmington Avenue, plus another in Warren Avenue in Mudeford.

The details are in the latest Neighbourhood Alert page, along with the reminder to phone 999 if you think a crime might be in progress.
Please don't think "should I or shouldn't I" - just do it.

See the Alert page link below.

Changes - Neighbourhood Alert page updated

Nov 17 News - There's action at the old HSBC bank premises.
It seems that 'The Creative Hub', featuring 'HP Music' and 'R Route Records', plus a brand new media company, will be opening on Monday November 28.
More details when I get them, but it will be good to see one of the street's worst eyesores back in use.

If anyone fancies a trip to the famous Camden Market just before Christmas, Walkford Youth Club are organising a fund raising coach trip on Sunday December 18. It's only £15 per person.
Click here to get all the details.

Changes -

Nov 16 News - If you want to support a very worthwhile charity, and also have what promises to be an amazing evening, you may want to take a look at the Julia's House Carols By Candlelight concert.
It takes place at The Priory on Wednesday December 7. (Doors open at 6:15pm for a 7:00pm start.)
Along with the carols, there will be readings by Kate Adie, and other, as yet unnamed, celebrities.
There are standard and premium tickets. Under 12s go free. Wheelchair access is available.
For all the details, and to book, go to:

There is another series of Dorset Drivers Gold courses coming up.
These popular refresher courses are aimed at drivers over 65, and include both theory and practical elements.
All the locations and details can be found on the latest Neighbourhood Alert update (link below).

Changes - Neighbourhood Alert page updated

Nov 11 News - Common Gate has vanished.
The gate is between the Castle grounds and the Steamer Point Nature Reserve, and has always been locked at night.
A couple of weeks ago, work to repair the clifftop fence was taking place, and when the work was completed, the two metre high gate, and the adjoining wooden fence fence had vanished.

Even more workmen and machinery in action on the Zig Zag this morning.

I've asked CBC about the two matters above, but no response as yet.

Confirmation of a rumour about the Post Office appears in today's New Milton Advertiser on page 4.
Stuart and Jocelyn of Occasions (348 Lymington Road) have applied to the Post Office to be sub-postmaster and sub-postmistress. The Post Office has formal procedures that it has to go through before they can confirm the new posts. Apparently they have run Post Office premises before, and hope that this will be in their favour.

They do not have to apply for planning permission, but do have to apply to their landlords for permission to alter the premises.

The downside is that once all of the necessary approvals have been given, the new Post Office won't open until next year, hopefully before Easter.
As the current Post Office is closing on 18th November Highcliffe will be without a Post Office for several months.
(As the Advertiser is not available online - apart from pages 1 and 2 - thanks to Lynn for typing the above and sending it to me.)

The Neighbourhood Alert page (link below) has a couple of articles about a telephone scam which has been tried in our area. It's worth a read.

Don't forget that the stretch of Hinton Wood Avenue past St Marks Church will be closed for much of Sunday afternoon for the Remembrance Day Parade.

Changes - Neighbourhood Alert page updated

Nov 8 News - Workmen were on the Zig Zag this morning at 8:00am. A promising start.

Following queries, I can confirm that the traditional 11 November short remembrance service outside of the Methodist Church, with the British Legion, and any members of the public that want to participate, will take place on Friday.
The service starts at 10:30am, and will end with a minutes silence at 11:00am.

The Methodist Church will also be holding a Remembrance Service on Sunday Morning.

Changes - What's On page updated

Nov 7 News - I suspect that most people, including me, thought that the new company that has moved into 322 Lymington Road would be yet another offering home nursing/care services.
Far from it. Takes Care (or Take's Care if you go by the shop sign) is different. They offer a range of handyman services, and then some. From carpentry and flooring, to gardening and rubbish clearance.
I have no idea about their charges, but quotes are free, and the service sounds very useful. Take a look.


Changes -

Nov 4 News - Following comments both here and on Streetlife about the out of date information online about the Mudeford and Highcliffe Neighbourhood Policing Team, I contacted them.
A very helpful person responded, and it seems that the website many of us have been using was replaced a while ago.
Unfortunately, the old one was/is still online, with no indication that it had been replaced.
The new website also includes photos of our local team members.

The information I now have gives working links, not only to the Police website, but to Team Facebook and Twitter links, and both of the last two are updated on more or less a daily basis.
We can now follow the Team's activities, and contact them if necessary.

The links on this site's home page, and on the Services page are therefore now up to date.

The builders are hard at work in the Castle, with several large skips already full to the brim with debris.
At present it is planned to close the Castle in January and February, but that closure may be brought forward to start towards the end this year.

Changes - Services page updated. Front page updated, with local Police Twitter link added.

Nov 2 News - Hoburne are certainly going for it as far as new building is concerned.
Following the plans to redevelop both sides of Lymington Road, and the new office block off Hoburne Lane, they have now applied to build ten houses and flats on land at the Holiday Park.

Next to Smugglers Lane North (just South of Saulflands Place) there is a collection of old garages and out buildings, plus an old barn.
The application is to demolish them all and build the new dwellings in their place. If you want to see the plans, the application number is 8/16/0862/FUL, or just click the link below
(not forgetting you have to tick the disclaimer box first).

A little discussed problem is being highlighted by Dorset Police, who have organised a conference in Poole on Monday November 14, to raise awareness of domestic and/or sexual abuse of males. Tickets are free.
Anyone interested in the conference can get the details from the Neighbourhood Alert page (link below).

Changes - Neighbourhood Alert page updated

Nov 1 News - On Saturday, I was fortunate enough to have a tour of the areas of Highcliffe Castle that are normally closed to the public, and are where much of the Phoenix Project work will take place. The amount of restoration work involved is quite staggering.
As most locals know by now, much of the Castle is going to be closed for 18 months while the work takes place, but the end result will provide a major asset for Highcliffe.
The new management team have already introduced several evening activities, such as yoga, keep fit (including for the over 60s) and other popular interests, all of which are proving to be well attended.

After the renovations, there will be classrooms, workshops (including production of stained glass, and possibly pottery), lots of restored rooms, many using the huge amount of artifacts currently being catalogued and/or renovated or repaired.

There's also a new Castle website being built right now, so we should be able to keep track of progress. A webcam is being considered, which would be a bonus.

The planning application for much of the Phoenix work, and which also included landscaping work, and an increase in car parking, was passed some time ago. The external works are scheduled to start next Spring, probably after the Easter activities.

The Friends of Highcliffe School are organising a big Winter Fair - their first. There will be festive and craft stalls, plus entertainment, refreshments, Santa's Grotto, games, and lots more.
The raffle (at £1 a go) looks to be a bit special, with a Hoburne holiday for six people as first prize, plus cash prizes, and vouchers for lots of local attractions, eateries, and businesses.
It's got to be worth adding this to your diaries. It's on Saturday December 3, from 11am until 3pm. Entry is 50p but children go free.
The whole event is sponsored by Winkworths Estate Agents.

I'm still trying to get the Mudeford & Highcliffe Neighbourhood Policing Team website updated. So far I haven't even had an acknowledgment. It's currently worse than useless. It's incorrectly titled Safer Neighbourhood Team, it still has PC Morton's photo on it (and he retired over a year ago), and not one of the links work, including the one for contacting Christchurch's top policeman, Inspector Cliff (if in fact he is still in that position)

Changes - What's On page updated (new events added, old events removed)

Oct 26 News - I notice that the new care company moving into 322 Lymington Road are having an Open Day on Saturday October 29, starting at 11:00am..
They are called Take's Care LTD. From the puncuation, I'm assuming the owner is called Take, which would be a little unfortunate, given the line of business.

Changes -

Oct 24 News - Here's a couple of good news items.
First. Reference the Zig Zag Path.
The planners have passed the application for the work on the trees that needs doing.
The first phase of the remedial work on the path is now scheduled to start in November.

Second. Reference the steps to the beach behind the Warden's cottage in Steamer Point.
Although most thought they were being closed permanently (as witrh Culmore Steps) they are in fact being refurbished right now, and are expected to be open again by the end of the year at the latest.

The Lifestyle Concept shop at 401 Lymington Road is one year old on November 1. Well done people.

Fancy joining one of those ukulele bands which look like so much fun.
There's one called MUSK based in the New Milton Memorial Hall which welcomes new members, and offers tuition for beginners.
The band is really popular, performing free for charities, and is fully booked for this year, and is already taking bookings for 2017. They also help organise charity events.
They have a songbook of 90 tunes, which is free, as is their Christmas songbook.
They meet on the last Tuesday of each month, and can be contacted through Peteflunky@aol.com

Police are looking for a man called Stephen Gadd, who sounds like a nasty bit of work.
All the details, including a photo, are on the
Neighbourhood Alert page.

Changes - Neighbourhood Alert page updated

Oct 21 News - For anyone wanting the Selfridge Experience - a conducted tour of Highcliffe Castle with Harry Selfidge or as near as you are likely to get) - followed by high tea, is going to be available on Wednesday, November 16, at either 12 Noon, or 2:30pm.
This tour received great reviews when held earlier in the year. To find out more, or to book, go here:

Dorset Police and Trading Standards are joining forces to run a week of "be sure who is at your door" events.
See the Neighbourhood Alert page for details of events.Be aware that the first one is in Saxon Square next Monday (October 24).

Changes - Neighbourhood Alert page updated

Oct 19 News - The conducted trip to Selfridge's in London that was mentioned on October 12 has proved to be so popular that further dates have been added. You can now take the trip on Thursday December 8, and Thursday January 5.
All the details below.

The application to fell a couple of trees, which is holding up work to repair and reopen the Zig Zag path, still has not been dealt with. The application (8/16/1819/TTPO) does not even have a date - not available to us riff-raff anyway - when the relevant committee will be considering the request.
A vey helpful chap at the Castle is trying to get some information for us, as they don't know anything either.

Still no answers to my question about the steps to the beach in Steamer Point, nor about the disabled ramp at Friars Cliff.
Fairly simple questions. "What's happening?". So again, no idea why it takes so long to answer.

While the CBC Scrutiny Committee is investigaing the Plum Pictures fiasco, Councillors Hallam and Lofts are still maintaining that they are bound by confidentiality rules, and cannot even discuss their involvement with other council members. Sounds like a cop out to me, and reinforces my view that some people have forgotten that they are elected to represent our views, not their own.
I suspect that the outcome of the investigation will be a massive whitewash, and that those responsible will never be held to account.

The results and awards from the recent photo competition run by The Friends of Highcliffe Beaches and Cliffs will be announced next Tuesday. I believe the winners will be displayed on the Friends website soon after.

Changes - Walkford United Reform Church page ammended. Details on hiring the church hall added.

Oct 14 News - I'm currently trying to get information about the work taking place on the (closed) steps to the beach in Steamer Point. Although I suspect the worst.

Police are asking for any witnesses to the Barrack Road accident yesterday, in which a young cyclist sadly died.
See Neighbourhood Alert page for contact details.

Changes - Neighbourhood Alert page updated.

Oct 12 News - It's pretty quiet on the Highcliffe front. Has anyone got any news for me?

The Cliffhanger has another Mr Selfridge event coming up in November. They are organising a coach trip to Selfridges in London on Thursday 24.
You get a pre trip drink at The Cliffhanger, a coach trip during which you'll hear the Selfridge history, a welcome at the store, where the Cliffhanger's excellent Mr Selfridge, will give you more historical facts.
Finally, you get 4 -6 hours of shopping time, before returning home.
It costs £45 pp, and can be booked by calling 01425 278058.

Dorset Chamber of Commerce and Industry (DCCI) is running a series of free events for businesses to hear about and discuss the Dorset Councils reorganisation plans.
Anyone interested can book a spot by going here:

Changes -

Oct 7 News - Just a reminder. Raising funds for the RNLI next Saturday (October 15) is n antique valuation day.
It's in the Methodist Church Hall, from 10.00am until 3.00pm, and valuations cost £1 per item.
There will also be refreshments, plus sales of cakes, souvenirs, books etc.

Changes - Local organisations page amended with a new description about the Christchuch Twinning Association.
What's On page updated (lots of new events added, including upcoming fund raising events for the Twinning Association).

Oct 5 News - There is still lots of stock piled up in the new clothes shop (where Lesley's used to be) but still no sign of it opening.

Elephant Walk has changed hands again. This time it has opened as a Ghurka restaurant, which should be an interesting addition to the village eating scene.
I understand that it will also change it's name very shortly.

I'm hearing rumours, and that's all they are (unless you know differently) about Weatherspoons moving in, possibly to the old HSBC eyesore.
That should make life interesting for Napoleons across the road.

Changes - Local organisations page amended with new info about the Christchuch Twinning Association.

Oct 3 News - I don't know how the other Macmillan Coffee Mornings in the area went on Friday, but in two hours The Beach Hut Cafe raised an astonishing £2065, and the total usually goes up even higher over the following few days.
Well done to both staff and customers. As always, the money goes to Macmillan Caring Locally.

Next week, on Saturday October 15, there is a public meeting at Greystones (Waterford Road, BH23 5DR), where MP Christopher Chope will discuss the proposed changes to local government.
The meeting starts at 2:30pm, and I suspect it will be very well attended, so it's probably wise to arrive in plenty of time to ensure a seat.

Changes - Dorset & New Forest links page updated with new iKnow-Dorset link
What's On page updated (new events added).

Sept 29 News - A reminder.
It's the Annual Macmillan Coffee Morning tomorrow. There are several locations around the area, but the Beach Hut Cafe at Friars Cliff specifically raises money for our Macmillan Caring Locally unit at Christchurch Hospital.
Not only that, but they always have a super range of goodies, not to mention a big raffle.

Another one I know about is at the Lifestyle Concept at 401 Lymington Road.

The Christchurch Heritage Festival is coming soon (October 17 - 30) and there are events all over the place.
The theme is Watch The Wall - Smugglers, a subject which many of us find interesting.
Keep an eye on their Facebook page for details https://www.facebook.com/WatchtheWall/

It's flu jab time again, and after the chaos of previous years, Highcliffe Medical Centre now has a booking system, which should improve things greatly.
Give them a ring if you haven't already done so, and think you qualify.

There's another round of community grants available from the Dorset Police & Crime Commisioner.
Grants are on offer to local voluntary groups, and the theme is A Safer Dorset.
Use the Neighbourhood Alert link below to get the details.

There's a new Yellow Bus service (Number 124) that runs hourly (Monday to Saturday) from Purewell Medical Centre to Bournemouth Hospital and Ccastle Point.
Unfortunately, they didn't think to include Highcliffe (which almost certainly has more need of such a service that most areas).
I suggest we all contact Yellow Buses and point out the problem. Not a bad idea to get our councillors on the case as well.

Changes - What's On page updated (new events added).
Neighbourhood Alert page updated

Sept 23 News - Below is a statement from the CBC Press Office, and if true is cause for celebration indeed.

“There is no current proposal or plan for any huts at Highcliffe; the Plum Pictures proposal will not happen and the reference to 30 day huts in the Coastal Revival Fund application came from the original Committee Report on possible investments along the coastline (the Community Services Report of May 2013), no specific plans were ever developed. There is no requirement or expectation in the Council’s receipt of CRF funding for any huts to be delivered.

The CRF grant of £50k provides for a series of feasibility studies to improve access, interpretation and the like, and to carry out further consultation with the community before any further proposals are put forward for the revival of the coastal area. Until that consultation has taken place and we have a better idea of what is wanted by the community, no decisions will be made and we have undertaken to involve the community fully in developing any ideas which may come forward via the consultation at that time”.

If accepted at face value it would appear that they intend to consult us - the residents of Highcliffe - on what we want.
That would indeed be novel, coming as it does from our local authority, which hasn't got a great track record (or ANY track record) on consulting the public.
One issue I already have is that the statement seems to imply that the coastal area actually needs reviving. It doesn't!
This apparently ingrained concept that CBC and certain councillors have, that our coastal strip actually needs developing is a huge concern, and means we will have to continue watching them like hawks.
Thank goodness for The Friends of Highcliffe Beaches and Cliffs.

Changes - What's On page updated (new events added).

Sept 22 News - Here's some good news, especially for younger people trying to get on the housing ladder.
The housing that has been built on the old Cobbs Holiday Park site in Gordon Road is becoming available soon, and amazingly, it is not aimed at the retirement market.
These two bed homes are available with shared ownership, with prices starting at £98,000 for a 35% share, which means you may need at little as £4,900 deposit to buy.

There's a launch at Mudeford Wood Community Centre on Monday October 10, but you can register interest earlier than that by goingto the website.

Changes -

Sept 20 News - Not much happening at the moment apparently.
Still no sign of the clothes shop that is supposed to be moving into the old Lesley's premises, and still no sign of the care company who have had their shop signs up for ages at 322 Lymington Road.

CBC leaders continue to upset everybody by refusing to answer questions - about just about anything it seems.
This time they have upset Christchurch Residents Association by refusing to have a senior representative at a meeting to discuss the proposed changes to Dorset's councils setup.

The Neighbourhood Alert page (link below) includes information (and an invitation) about the Community Road Safe scheme. It's worth a look.

Changes - Neighbourhood Alert page updated
What's On page updated (new events added).

Sept 10 News - As mentioned yesterday, below is a link to the ltest Neighbourhood Alert posting, in which PCSO Stan Mackrell gives some good news for a change.

There is also a piece about being able to become a Voluntary Custody Visitor.

Also, the ECHO link yesterday did not work. It does now.

Changes - Neighbourhood Alert page updated

Sept 9 News - Three people have been arrested in Lymington Road ( yes - in Highcliffe) on people traffiking chanrges.
See the story here:


I now know why there have been few local Neighbourhood Alert notices recently. Apparently there haven't been any crimes.
See tomorrow's update.

Changes -

Sept 7 News - Lots of in-fighting at Christchurch Council. The meeting last night was mostly to discuss the proposed merger of Dorset councils, but got heated when Leader of the Council, Cllr Ray Nottage was asked 21 questions, not only by opposition councillors, but some in his own party.
Noone in Highcliffe will be surprised that queries included accusations about lack of openness. We are told that Cllr Nottage's answers to the questions will be available later.
(I look forward to reading that.)

Because many of the questions simply were not answered, the end result was that Cllr Colin Bungay gave notice that he will be proposing a vote of no confidence in the council leadership at the next meeting.

I have been asked if I know what was happening on Saturday in the water off of Avon Beach, when many young people gathered on boards, small boats, and anything that would float.
The answer is that it was a memorial/celebration for Tom Perry, the very popular Mudeford 23 year old, who died in June, while visiting Sri Lanka. You may remember that Tom fell from a cliff and was killed.
It is believed that Tom's parents were on the larger cruiser, and were planning to scatter Tom's ashes on the Bay which he loved so much.

Changes - What's On page updated.

Sept 3 News - While extremely disappointing - depressing even - it will little surprise to anyone that Churchill Retirement Living have won their two appeals for plans to build up to 48 (yes - you read that correctly) retirement apartments by knocking down numbers 2 to 10 Stuart Road, which are currently family homes and the Beech Tree B&B.
Christchurch planners did their best to stop this criminal development by rejecting Churchill's plans twice, but as usual, the Planning Inspectorate (from Bristol) took the side of the developers, rather than local people.

Locals are obviously very disappointed, and point out that Highcliffe already has the highest average age resident in England and Wales (at 69) and what we actually need are family homes, including ones that normal people can afford.
There were many objections at the enquiries, both from residents, and local politicians, but it made no difference at all.

Which makes you wonder what planet the Churchill spokesman, Andrew Burgess, is on, when he spouted:
"It is very frustrating that the appeals had to be lodged, causing delays in bringing forward a new retirement living development in Highcliffe, where there is a great need for older peoples housing.
While some local residents were opposed to the proposals I believe that when they attended the Public Inquiry they realised we had a convincing case and that this is a high quality, well designed proposal."

He would obviously like to knock down the whole village, and turn it into one massive old folk's home. He is also obviously only interested in profit, and has no interest in our welfare or neighbourhood. I might be marginally more sypathetic if they were to build extra medical centres and associated necessities to go with the massive intake of old people. The one's we have at present certainly can't cope.

(To make one thing clear. I am one of the old people of Highcliffe myself, and feel more than qualified to say that there are plenty of us already.)

Changes -

Sept 2 News - As already mentioned, the survey about the proposed changes to Dorset's councils is now live (see News, August 30) and CBC and East Dorset have finally invited us to have our say. The link is

Have now got some up to date information about the Sports & Social Club, who also now have a website.

I am have receiving the Methodist Church regular newsletter, which can be accessed by using the link below.

I STILL can't get a response from Dorset police about the information on the Mudeford & Highcliffe local police page being so out of date. (It still has a photo of Andy Morton, who retired months ago, and is still titled SNT (Safer Neighbourhood Team) instead of the new name NPT (Neighbourhood Policing Team).
If anyone sees Stan or Danny, or our faceless new local policeman, please ask them what's happening.

Changes - What's On page updated.
Methodist Church page has changes to personnel, and to regular events. Plus a new website link has been added.
Churches page amended.
Local organisations page and Community links page have Highcliffe Sports & Social Club added.

August 30 News - Consultation on the possible reshaping of Dorset's councils starts today (and runs until October 25).
Go to the site below to have your say.
There is a road show about the proposals, which will hit Highcliffe on Tuesday September 20, outside of Tesco Express.

The views of MP Chris Chope are interesting. Take a look at his take on the situation.

Another interesting view can be found on the website below.

So the rumours are true. The Post Office in Lymington Road is to close with the upcoming resignation of postmaster Rob Coates. The lease on the premisies will not be renewed after November 25, due to the planned redevelopment of the site.
Although Rob was offered larger premises (the old Lumen8 shop) which he investigated, it was not financially viable, so although very disappointed, he is resigning.
However, a Post Office spokesperson has said that they are committed to maintaining a post office in Highcliffe, and when they receive Rob's resignation, they will be advertising the vacancy, and apparently there is already one interested party.
The spokesperson also said that the necessary relocation would involve a six week consultation period, so we will definitely be without a post office for a while.

A photo competition has been launched by The Friends of Highcliffe Beaches and Cliffs. "Pictures Worth Fighting For" is inviting entries that highlight the landscapes and activities on the cliffs and beaches between The Cliffhanger and Highcliffe Castle.
The winner will receive a stay in the Captain's Club Hotel, in a three bedroom luxury suite, and their entry will be enlarged and printed on canvas by In The Frame. The competition runs until September 30.
All shortlisted entries will be displayed on the friends website. (Competition and entry details can be found on the website.)

Local author Robert Dee, who made many of us laugh with his story about running a small local hotel (allegedly ficticious)
"A Few Days At Forest Charms Hotel" has released another funny story.
This one is about taking a holiday from Forest Charms, and flying from Bournemouth to sunnier climes.
"My Deranged Holiday" (the title says a lot) the book can be ordered from Robert direct at the special offer price of £8.99 including delivery. Call 01425 277171 to order.

From September 3 to 9 (all next week from Saturday to Friday) there is a major European Championship sailing event being hosted by Highcliffe Sailing Club.
Many competitors from at least eight countries will be sailing in the bay, so it should be quite a spectacle.

Changes - What's On page updated.
Community links page now has FOHCAB Facebook page included.

August 26 News - Reference the Zig Zag closure.
The information I was given about the excavation of the earth bank, and the associated work to get the path reopened was correct. The work is expected to take about a week.

However, the path is to remain closed for eight or nine weeks, as it seems there are several trees in the excavation area which have tree preservation orders on them, and to overcome this difficulty apparently takes six or seven weeks.

I can imagine there are lots of unhappy people, not least the owner of the Tearooms, and anyone with a wedding coming up (as going down the path to the beach for photos is extremely popular).

One can only wonder why we didn't get to this stage ages ago, as the problem has been with us for months, with the path fenced down to one person wide, but with no action being taken to remedy the situation.
Perhaps CBC was far to busy trying to waste our money on building works that no one wanted, rather than actually fixing a real problem.
I don't suppose we'll find out why the work wasn't carried out before, because as we all now know, CBC is a law unto itself.

Changes -

August 23 News - A better late than never item.
An application to build six X 3 bed and three X 4 bed dwellings, following demolition of existing dwellings at 6 - 12 Wharnecliffe Road, has been rejected. Access, layout, and scale were mentioned in the rejection.
Presumably A. J. Developments will have a rethink, and apply again.

Further to the item about the Zig Zag closure.
As I write, consultant engineers are on site, and are expected to come up with solutions to the dangerous and unstable wooden retaining walls problem. It is hoped that answers will be forthcoming today.
They are also surveying the situation a little further down the path, as it seems there may be some movement in the cliff face.
It is also hoped that the necessary work completed in about a week, although this is not certain, and relies on everything going smoothly.

I also hear that the council is proposing to create a new path to cut across the existing one, to avoid the part where the wall is failing, but this will need some survey work to check whether this is feasible.

Changes -

August 22 News - I managed to make my birthday last the whole weekend, and am catching up with what's been happening.

For a start, the Zig Zag path has been closed completely for "Safety Reasons" Presumably, the rotten wooden retaining wall, which has caused the top of the path to be partially fenced off for some time, has become even more unsafe.
CBC couldn't tell me anything, and referred me to Highcliffe Castle, who allowed me to leave a message.
I'm still waiting for a reply.

I read a superb article in the New Milton Advertiser. It went into detail about the whole beach hut competition fiasco, and using statements from Channel 4 and Plum Pictures,just about proved beyond doubt what some of us have been saying for a long while.
Representatives of Christchurch Borough Council have consistently lied about several aspects of the debacle, both to the press, and to members of the public. These lies include the original one, in which it was claimed that the competition organisers initiated the whole idea. We are now told that the exact opposite was in fact true, and the approach came from thus far unnamed Council representatives.
There is also a lengthy response from CBC about their plans relating to the large grant from the Coastal Communities Fund, which it is believed by many they intend to use for other building works in the SSSI.
With their usual waffle, they say that they are preparing "strategies" and "assessments" and "outline designs" rather than actually building anything.
We all, of course, believe every word. For a start, if no developments are intended, why would they be spending a great deal of money on the area, including "specialist computer software".

It's well worth reading, and most local shops still have copies. The article is on page 6.

By the way, I'm hearing from various sources that neither Councillor Hallam, nor Councillor Nottage are replying to emails.
Not just about the beach hut fiasco, but other local issues as well. Has anyone had any joy with contacting these people?

I've added the CBC telephone number to Community links page, as their website does not provide it. They just want you to fill in an online form. (It's 01202 495000.)

The Highcliffe Theatre Group has released its upcoming program of theatre trips, which get fully booked very quickly.
I'll add them to What's On very soon, but if you fancy any of theose listed below, I recommend getting in soon.

Booking closed -
1 Half a Sixpence
2 Much Ado About Nothing
3 Cats
4 Mamma Mia!
5 Giselle
6 Night Must Fall

Booking closing shortly -
7 Lady Chatterley's Lover - 10th November - Salisbury Playhouse
8 The Wipers Times - 17th November - Salisbury Playhouse

Coming up -
9 Handel's Messiah (BSO) - 14th December - Lighthouse, Poole
10 New Year's Concert - 1st January 2017 - Lighthouse, Poole
11 Buddy - 13th January - Mayflower, Southampton
12 Billy Elliot - 8th February - Mayflower, Southampton
13 Worst Wedding Ever - 18th February - Salisbury Playhouse
14 Not Dead Enough - 7th March - Mayflower, Southampton
15 Heroes and Legends (BSO) - 11th March - Lighthouse, Poole
16 Red Shoes (ballet) - 21st March - Mayflower, Southampton

Contact Rick Tompkins, Chairman, HTG, 01425 270308 (or email rickandliz@hotmail.co.uk).

Changes - What's On page updated.

August 16 News - Some good citizens are campaigning for funds to install an externally mounted defibrillator, to cover the East of Highcliffe and the High Street.
There is one in West Highcliffe at Hoburne Dentists, so Lymington Road would seem to be a good location for another.

Anyone interested in helping, or wanting to find out more, should contact Lee at lfrancis2002@gmail.com

Other than that, it seems very quiet at present. Email me if you know differently.

Changes -

August 11 News - On Monday next (August 15) at the Castle, there's a chance to become "Friends of Highcliffe Castle". Ths is a charitable organisation, which is being set up by Christchurch Council, and which will work alongside CBC.
The aim seems to be for members to promote the conservation and repair of the Castle, and to inform the public about the history and heritage.
Also, in addition to being able to join the group, there will be an opportunity to find out about the restoration project, The Phoenix Project, which is being funded bythe Heritage Lottery.
You can call 01425 278807 to confirm your attendance, I guess so they have some idea of the numbers interested.

There was a report in the Times yesterday about the ending of the beach hut competition with Plum Pictures.
(Click picture for larger - and legible -version)

Please note - some web browsers are turning the larger image through 90 degrees, Edge for example. I have no idea why at this stage, but it's fine with some, such as Firefox (which is a far better and safer browser anyway).

Changes -

August 10 News - The Highcliffe and Mudeford NPT Twitter account is reporting a burglary overnight in Smuggler's Lane North, while the owners are away.

The planning application from Hoburne to demolish the four shops from 282 to 286 Lymington Road, and redevelop the site can be found under application number 8/16/1209/FUL at https://www.dorsetforyou.gov.uk/planning/applications/search (once you have clicked the disclaimer box).

Changes - Complimentary treatments page finally has Trinity (Chiropractic & Acupuncture Clinic) added.
Village Plan finally has Kiteley Solicitors added.

August 9 News - So the battle is over.
Unfortunately, the war goes on. Despite the fantastic job done by
The Friends of Highcliffe Beaches and Cliffs, and the cancelling of the nonsensical beach chalet plans, there are STILL certain councillors, and presumably council officials, who want (and are planning to) commercially develop Highcliffe's coast.
It STILL hasn't sunk in that the protest was not specifically about beach huts, it was about the site not only being an attraction as it is - unspoiled - but about it being unsuitable for development for a whole range of reasons.
Today's ECHO is worth a read. The report includes statement from MP Chris Chope, who has been against the scheme from the off.

It also occurs to me that there is little chance of the CBC Scrutiny and Policy Overview Committee's investigation into how a contract was ever signed without the huge majority of councillors even being aware of its contents, actually coming up with the names of those responsible, and if they do, I'm certain that the veil of secrecy will once again descend, and it will be considered none of the public's business.
You only have to read the comments of the Committee's Chair, Judith Plumley, in last Saturday's New Milton Advertiser to realise that attitudes have not changed at all.
She's says such things as pulling out of the contract with Plum "is not an option that should be considered" and withdrawing would "set a precedent that the council is susceptibleto public pressure". There's lots more in the article.
It just proves to me that here is yet another CBC representative that has forgotten why we elect councillors, and employ officials.
Just to remind them - it is to represent us public, not to treat us as a major inconvenience to them spending our money on frivilous and self serving projects that the we the public do not want.

Just to remind ourselves. The leaders of this fiasco were Open Spaces Manager Matthew Reeks, and Highcliffe councillor (who does not live in Highcliffe) Vicki Hallam. They couldn't have created this unholy mess on their own, but they appear to be the instigators.

We have a new vicar at St Marks. The Reverend Gill Nobes was licensed by the Archdeacon of Bournemouth last week, and replaces the Rev Garry Taylor, who retired a few months ago, after eleven years in the job.
Gill and her husband Andy originate from Guernsey, but for the past four years has been a curate in various Test Valley parishes.

Changes -

August 8 News - There I was, browsing through a very full Inbox after a weekend away, thinking that I wasn't going to find anything interesting among all of the junk mail and spam, when an email arrived from The Friends of Highcliffe Beaches and Cliffs.
This is some of it.
BREAKING NEWS, We’ve done it !!! Plum Pictures has ended their agreement with Christchurch Council for the beach huts competition.

Plum Pictures has confirmed that it will not be seeking costs from the council as a result of the termination.

Please note:

The extraordinary Full Council meeting scheduled to discuss the beach huts project on Tuesday 9 August will not now take place.

More to follow, but incredible news, and proof to those that had doubts that you can take on injustice and authority if you have proper cause.

Changes -

August 4 News - The Friends of Highcliffe Beaches and Cliffs have sent a detailed set of objections about not only the whole plan and its many flaws, but also the way CBC intends to discuss and vote next week, despite the fact that the Scrutiny and Policy Overview Committee is still investiging the situation.
The document below has gone to every councillor, and to MP Chris Chope, and is definitely worth reading, if only to discover the way many of our councillors behave.

Objections Revisions Emergency Meeting Agenda Item 4

I am also trying to find out the current stance of Natural England, who of course knew nothing of the plans, despite CBC making statements in the press that NE had been on board from the beginning, and approved the scheme.
Not to put too fine a point on it, CBC lied.

Changes -

August 3 News - Good old ECHO. They have yet more about the CBC fiasco today.
The report contains some truely wonderful quotes, and the names of some councillors who are concerned, not only about the whole issue, but also that it is to be discussed while the investigation is ongoing.
You can read it for yourself, but I'd like to repeat a quote from Councillor David Jones, which echos what I have been bleating on about for ever.
"Unfortunately there seems to be an impression that the public are responsible to the council.
The council is responsible to the public; we are their servants, not their masters."

Take a read.

One further comment, again one that I repeat.
Councillors (most of them anyway) are still missing the point. The objections are to plans to build anything on this site. They were never simply about overnight dwellings. Are we now supposed to say everything is fine if they are "only" day huts?
Are we supposed to now say "It's fine that you signed a secret contract that is going to cost a fortune to escape from; we'll either bale you out through our taxes, or let you go ahead with your ridiculous ideas?

If they must have beach huts, why not move the site to Gundimore, where there is not only space, but already huts at the location. There's plenty of room for twelve more.
Why do they feel the need to put them in an unspoiled stretch of coast, and on an SSSI to boot?

Changes -

August 2 News - Just when you thought Christchurch councillors could not possibly show themselves up to be any more incompetant, or secretive, or uncaring about public opinion, they come up with even more rubbish.

For a start, at next week's Full Council Meeting, the discussion about the beach house fiasco will now be held in secret, with no public and no press allowed. We can still go, but won't be allowed in until 6:30ish, when the subject will have been decided.
Agenda for EGM on August 9

Next, the secret discussions will be about the report from the Scrutiny Committee, which according to an Echo report today, maintains that it is impossible to get out of the contract with Plum Pictures without financial compensation.
We already knew that! The question is, who should be responsible for the cost? The Committee witters on about how much it would cost council tax payers, and the effect it would have on the morale of staff, etc, etc.
Today's ECHO report

Who cares? The whole scheme is just plain wrong, and should not go ahead under any circumstances, for all the well publicised reasons. It matters not if these become day huts (which seems to be the direction the Council is heading) or people can stay in them overnight.
They would still involve concrete bases being built in the SSSI, almost certainly water supplies, rubbish collection, and vehicular access for any tenants.

For goodness sake CBC. Hold your hands up and admit the whole thing is a nonsense, and then deal with the consequences. You are making yourselves look more ridiculous with every statement, and not just to locals tax payers and residents.
Your silly little compromise about the size of the huts just doesn't do it.
There will STILL be no benefit to Highcliffe, and it will STILL ruin the only unspoiled bit of coast we have, which is actually more of a draw to visitors than any building you want to erect.

Hopefully Natural England will continue to put a large spanner in the plans.

Changes -

August 1 News - Emergency correction!!!
The Council EGM is on Tuesday August 9, not tomorrow. Still at 6:00pm though.
Apologies for the confusion.

Changes -

August 1 News - Plenty coming up at the Castle, but otherwise seems fairly quiet in Highcliffe at present,

A couple of out of the ordinary events at the Castle are a Scarecrow Competition on Sunday August 21, which coincides with a Capability Brown Exhibition that same day. This is followed on Wednesday September 14 by Heritage Day, during which you can find out all about the plans for spending the latest lot of heritage Lottery money.

Don't forget the EGM of the Full Council tomorrow evening, where we can witness CBC trying to absolve themselves of any responsibility for the beach house competition debacle, and maybe even still trying to go ahead with placing day huts in the area.
Meeting starts at 6:00pm

Also don't forget that the Highcliffe Art Fellowship Annual Exhibition keeps running until August 22.
It's at the Methodist Church Hall, is free to enter, and is well worth a visit to see the huge range of talent we have in Highcliffe.

Changes - What's On page updated, new events added, old events removed.

July 29 News - An Extraordinary Meeting of the full Council has been called for August 9, starting at 6:00pm, to discuss the Beach Buildings scheme.

However, there is a strong rumour that this date has been chosen because some councillors who are against the whole plan will not be able to attend the meeting. The apparent intention is to avoid personal liability by the persons responsible, by seeking approval to go ahead with the scheme, but stipulating day time use only.

This underhand behaviour might seem far fetched, but after the secretive and undemocratic behaviour we have seen in recent months, you couldn't be in the slightest bit surprised.

Given that just about all the objections to the building on the site would not alter by removing the overnight stay facility, I suggest we all turn up at the meeting to ensure that councillors are made aware that we members of the public are not actually as gullible as they think we are.
Day huts would still require concrete bases, would still be on an SSSI, would still ruin just about the only reason people come to Highcliffe (the Castle apart), etc, etc.

Have they still not yet got the message? The people of Highcliffe do not want beach huts in this area. I would have thought that even the most arrogant and selfish would have dropped the idea by now.

Also, I'm hearing a real groundswell of opinion that us tax payers should not be liable for any costs incurred in extracting CBC form its contract with Plum Pictures.
Given the way certain councillors and officials have behaved over a lengthy period, why should we pay to get them out of their self inflicted predigament?

There's more.
Here we go again!

The Coastal Plan mentioned earlier suggests the placing of "Surf Pods" at Highcliffe (presumably in the same area as the other planned buildings).
What is a Surf Pod you might ask? How about this:
(Click picture for larger version)

(I half expected LaLa and Tinky Winky to be in the picture.)

Changes -

July 27 News - The intrigue goes on.
Apparently the Minister responsible, in his reponse during the Adjournment Debate (see New July 23) mentioned the Dorset Coast Community Teams, who have a plan for the Christchurch area (see link below) in which proposals for Highcliffe include beach huts). The team allegedly invited responses from the public, which had a closing date of February 2016.
Christchurch Coastal Area Plan

Did anyone actually know about this consultation (or the plan itself) apart from those CBC related people involved?
I certainly did not, and nor did the Highcliffe Centre Partnership. I suspect that it's yet another example of hiding such activity, while still being able to say that there was an opportunity for the public to have their say.
Yeah! Right! People certainly would have had their say if anyone had known about the plan.

I have received a serious suggestion, and it's one I agree with entirely. Here it is as received.
I find it unacceptable that the Council Tax payers of Christchurch should bear any of the costs involved in any breach of contract by Christchurch councilors with regard to the beach huts proposal. Would it not be possible to refer the matter to the District Auditor (as suggested in the parliamentary adjournment debate) to require any such costs to be personally borne by the councilors concerned ?
Can't argue with that.

Don't forget the Annual Highcliffe Summer Fete, organised by Highcliffe Rotary, and raising money for local charities.
It's at the Recreation Ground on Saturday, from 10:30am until 4:00pm.

The Highcliffe Community Centre at Greystones is starting yet another innovation.
Starting on Friday September 2, there is going to be a monthly film night. The first film will be Golden Years, and it is only £4.50 pp. Starting at 7:00pm, tickets are available from Greystones, or by phoning 01425-271604.

Changes - Neighbourhood Alert page updated.

July 23 News - Sorry for lack of updates - lots of people staying, so busy, busy. (Back to normal next week, for a few days at least.)

However, this is to good to miss. MP Chris Chope, who has sided with the anti beach retreats campaign since the beginning, led an Ajournment Debate in Parliament on Thursday evening on the subject.
You can see it here:

While on the subject, it seems that powers that be at the Borough Council have no idea what it will cost to extricate themselves from the contract with Plum Pictures, with several councillors, including leader Ray Nottage, saying that they had not even looked at the contract, admitting that they just rely on the CBC legal team.
It was also admitted that at the council meeting (last December) where they approved the agreement, they did not even have the specifications for the buildings.
Make your own minds up if these people are competent to be representing us residents, or being responsible for our council tax money.
I will be remembering this fiasco, and the contempt of some of them, when the next local elections come around.

Changes -

July 15 News - Good old Highcliffe. There's always a surprise popping up.
Police were at a property in Highcliffe (not sure exactly where yet) last Sunday, carrying out an unrelated matter, when they found "a vegetative substance".
Further investigation led to the discovery of what is described as a "significant cannabis factory".
One person was arrested, and another is assisting with ongoing enquiries.

Talking of Highcliffe. My wife overheard a conversation between two elderly couples, believed to be strangers to each other, sat on a bench. One lady said "I've heard that everyone in Highcliffe has Aids". After a stunned silence, she said "Yes. Walking aids, hearing aids, ......".
It made me laugh anyway.

Just a reminder. Noone has come up with anything about the Norman family (see News, July 7).
As they ran the Globe Inn, I thought there might be someone who remembered them, and had an idea or two.
Let me know. Even a little info would help.

As you know, the beach chalets matter was discussed at a full council meeting last Tuesday, and will now be investigated by the CBC Scrutiny Committee, starting at a meeting next Monday.
What I didn't report at the time was that there was a huge turnout of people from the public, every one of whom was against the ill fated scheme.
Nor did I give you the petition statement made by Nigel Brooks on behalf of The Friends of Highcliffe Beaches and Cliffs, which is permitted under CBC rules.
Here is a copy of Nigel's statement.

Changes -
Neighbourhood Alert page updated.

July 12 News - It's decision time!
Tonight sees the full Borough Council meeting, during which the ridiculous beach chalets plan will be discussed.
I suspect that the plan will be dropped, as CBC has withdrawn the application to Natural England for permission to proceed.
Thus far, they have not made a further application to build day huts, which was one of the possibilities they came up during their trying to squirm, following the huge public protest.

At the meeting, The Friends of Highcliffe Beaches and Cliffs will be asking a number of questions relating to the scheme, including about the secrecy and underhand way it was dealt with, and about the lack of openness in allocating £130,000 to it, with absolutely no public knowledge.

After tonight's meeting, the matter will go to the Scrutiny Committee next Monday, where members will discuss the formation of a group to review the decision making process of the much-criticised project.
However, this being Christchurch Borough Council investigating its own behaviour, they are saying that parts of their report will remain secret, what they describe as "exempt elements". Still nothing to do with us then.

While I was on holiday, the Christchurch Advertiser had a front page article about an invention by Richard Faraday, called the Flying Saucer, which aims to get the stubborn last drops out of bottles and jars.

Richard, as many will know, ran the Comoco gifts/cards shop in the village until it closed a while back, but has carried on an immense amount of work for Highcliffe, being extremely active in the Centre Partnership, the Food Festivals, and just about everything that goes on to improve our village.
He tells me that press interest in his invention has been quite remarkable, with not only local papers featuring the story, but also the Daily Mail, several other nationals, Vanessa Feltz on Radio 2, and radio interviews on RTE and Hope FM.

Also in touch has been the Chair of the Primary Group for the Design and Technology Association, which is probably leading to a trip for Richard to Shropshire.
Interesting times, and we look forward to hearing where it all leads.

There is a warning on the Neighbourhood Alert page about holiday booking scams, which is well worth a read.

Changes - What's On page updated, new events added, old events removed.
Neighbourhood Alert page updated.

July 8 News - Following several enquiries, I have realised that I have not reported on the Post Office situation.

Despite finally getting all the necessary authorisations that would allow a move to different premises, Postmaster Rob has decided to stay put. I understand that the move to the old Lumen8 shop turned out not to be financially viable.

Changes -

July 7 News - We've received a request for help in tracing some old friends. If anyone can help, please email me and I'll forward any info to the lady in question.
Here is what she says:
I am looking to find some old friends who used to live in Highcliffe, The Norman family, who ran the Globe Inn for many years in the 70s and 80s. The parents ran the pub and two of their three daughters helped them in the bar and restaurant.
I am looking to ask the folk of Highcliffe whether they might remember them and know where they moved to after they left the pub, and whether anyone knows where the three daughters might live now? Am particularly keen to contact the elder daughter, Clare, whose husband Paul was from Christchurch.
They married in Highcliffe. They moved to Warsash where they ran a small pub. I used to visit the family in Highcliffe quite a bit, but lost touch with them when they moved away. However, I would like to make contact with them again.
If anyone can help with any information, I would be most appreciative. Can’t remember the parents’ names but the daughters were Clare, Helen and Christina.

The recent petition asking for HGVs to be banned from Lymington Road is under consideration, along with several similar requests in other parts of the county.
The Network Traffic Team at Dorset County Council says:
"There is currently a Policy Development Panel (PDP) running specifically set up to look at the issue of HGV movement upon the Highway network".
They point out that Councillor Margaret Phipps is a member of the panel, and will presumably be looking at issues relating to the CBC area.
Watch this space (but don't hold your breath).

I'm told that because of the plans Hoburne have for their properties in Lymington Road (as specified in the application below)

All occupants of the affected properties have been given notice to quit. This is unconfirmed at present, so if anyone can shed further light, please email me.

CBC seem to be trying to get rid of the old nuclear shelter in Grange Road, but unusually, they have applied for planning permission. This shelter has been used as a repository by St Barbe's Museum, and has English Heritage trying to save it.
See below for details:

Sadly, the large mural in the Highcliffe Medical Centre waiting room, painted by local artist Terry Goodison back in 2000, has been removed during the complete revamp of the Centre.

Changes - What's On page updated, new events added (more to be added tomorrow).

July 4 News - What can I say, other than "peaceful protest works!"?
Christchurch Borough Council are now squirming, as they try to extract themselves from the contract they made with Plum Pictures for the beach dwellings fiasco.
The underhand and secret way they went about things means that they are now in deep mire, as they try to get out of the hole they have dug for themselves.
This will inevitably waste yet more of our money, as Plum will, understandably, want some kind of recompense for their time and effort.
However, it was a joy to return from holiday to see the ECHO report.

The subject even got a short mention on the Andrew Neill Sunday Politics Show this weekend.
The relevant piece starts at 55:14 minutes in.

Next weekend's Beach Clean starts at 9:30am, rather than the usual 10:30. Still meeting at the Steamer Point Wave Wall though.

Sadly, the reduction of the popular 111 Yellow Bus service, due to funding cuts, seems inevitable.

So this might be a good time to have your say in a survey by Dorset County Council into public (and school) transport.

Changes at St Marks Church, with a new vicar arriving.
The Reverend Gill Nobes, currently Assistant Curate of Broughton with Bossington and Houghton and Mottisfont
has accepted the post of Priest in Charge of the parish of St Mark's Highcliffe.
It is expected that she will be Licensed at a Service in Highcliffe in July.
There are also changes to Church Wardens and Friends of St Marks contacts.

Changes - What's On page updated, new events added (more to be added tomorrow).
St Marks page updated.

June 28 News - Thank you for the concerned emails, which are much appreciated.

I am fine thank you - just on holiday - and will be back to normal service next week.

Changes -

June 17 News - Further to the Advertiser article yesterday.
It seems that the photo they used in their "Enjoy our beautiful region" of the very area of our coast that will become a lot less beautiful if certain people get their way, was actually taken from the The Friends of Highcliffe Beaches and Cliffs
website. They did not ask for permission to use it, and did not acknowledge either the source, nor the photographer.
Interesting situation.

Having been in contact with the owner of Jackson Developments following my faux pas a couple of days ago, I would like to assure everyone that I have heard no critisism of that company. Also, Simon Jackson (the owner) would like to make it clear that his company would never employ the scare tactics we have recently heard about, that have upset some elderly residents in the area of the proposed Wharnecliff Road development.

Back to the beach house plan, or related to it at least.
In 2013 (on May 22) the CBC Community Services Committeee discussed, and approved for futher investigation, a document entitled HARBOUR & COASTAL FORESHORE – FUTURE POLICY AND PRACTICE.

Referring to Highcliffe Beach and Chewton Bunny it states:
"Character – well used by the public for commercial and casual recreation and leisure, with services and activities of a similar nature. Greater use is feasible without affecting its character or exiting uses."
It mentions carrying out investigations and feasibility studies for potential sites for additional beach huts along coastline including Highcliffe Undercliff. It also suggests feasibility studies for "Surf hire / surf tuition / beach 'surf' pods / online surf webcam"

Steamer Point Woodland was also mentioned with the potential Introduction of an educational play trail to improve connectivity between Friars Cliff and Highcliffe Castle sites (in the style of Moors Valley).

Many thought/think that the beach houses, and the Steamer Point Holiday Park plans, were merely the thin end of a very large wedge. It seems that we were correct, and CBC has plans to turn the entire area into a Blackpool like holiday destination. Watch this space.

Changes -

June 16 News - Take a look at today's Christchurch Advertiser.
On Page 4 they tell us about the budget for their beach dwellings was approved last year - in secret - and is £130,000 (of our money). This is to cover the cost of each hut, the huge concrete bases, and - for the first time mentioned - water supply, drainage requirements, and my favourite, "other unforeseen infrastructure".
The article also points out that permission is still needed from Natural England, despite the councillors and council officers involved continually insisting that Natural England have approved the plans from Day One.
Someone's lying, I wonder who.

What makes this article all the more interesting is that on Page 11 in the same publication, is a huge photo of the very stretch of coast they propose to ruin, tagged with a massive headline "Enjoy our beautiful region".
You just could not make this up. If it was a tv drama, it would be panned as too far fetched.

Correction of yesterday's article.
I said that the 9 house development in Wharncliffe Road is being proposed by AJ Developmnets. That is correct, apart from the name of the owner.
What was not correct is that they also built Seascape, and were looking to aquire other local properties. That was not correct. That developer was/is Jackson Developments.
Thank you to the person who pointed out the error. Much appreciated, as I like to get things straight whenever possible.

Changes -

June 15 News - The property developer aiming to build nine houses in Wharncliffe Road is A J Developments, owned by Simon Jackson, and based in Poole.
This is the same developer who has bought several properties in Wharncliffe, and built the Seascape flats among others.
The proposed site appears on their website:

You may be interested to read the file below. It is CBC's Codes of Conduct and Good Practice, and seems to me that what it states is in total contradiction to the behaviour of both our councillors, and council officers, with regard to the beach houses plan. See what you think.
CBC Codes of Practice

Changes -

June 14 News - I understand that because of CBC inefficiency (can you believe that?) the date for objecting to the Wharncliffeoad proposed development has been extended until June 23 June (or maybe June 25).
It seems that they did not put up the necessary yellow planning notices until about a week ago, and only then because of a protest from an affected resident.
Apparently the date on the relevant website still reads June 14, but it is currently not working (at 10.35am).


I've also been hearing about the nature of the developers' agents (Anders Roberts Cheer Ltd ) visits to neighbouring properties, when they have deeply upset some elderly residents. There also seems to be questions about the identity of the actual developers, as Pennyfarthing tried to buy the whole block a couple of years ago, including properties in Elmwood Way.
They were sent on their way at that time.

Be aware that this application is for outline planning only at the moment, so get your objections in before the end of next week, and let CBC know your feelings. Contact your councillors also. Some of them might even answer you.

Many people will remember Peter Holloway, who was head of CBC nature and wildlife for many years (and who lived in the house in Steamer Point Nature Reserve - currently being turned into a holiday camp.
Peter took early retirement, following a long period of illness.
I'm glad to say he has recovered, and now works on a nature project at the Avon Tyrell Youth Activity Centre.
He only works three days a week, but describes that as "just right".

Changes -

June 13 News - I somehow missed this one, but thanks to a reader who spotted it, I can report that a planning appliation has been put in to demolish four bungalows in Wharncliffe Road, and replace them with NINE houses (6 x 3-bed and 3 x 4-bed).
I realise that we need houses in Highcliffe, rather than more retirement apartments, but this seems to be extremely intensive building.
I'm also told that residents in neighbouring bungalows, almost entirely elderly, have been subjected to visits from the developers, warning them that they will be overlooked by the new houses. This tactic is presumably to get them to also sell to the builders.
Unfortunately, because I'd missed it, it's become urgent for anyone wanting to object, as closing day is June 14 - tomorrow.
The details can be found below.

Changes -

June 11 News - I've used the word hypocricy a lot recently, and just to reinforce my view I'd like to share with you a quote that an eagle eyed resident spotted on the Christchurch Borough Council website.

"Christchurch Borough Council believes consultation to be a vital ingredient in deciding its priorities. We are committed to openness and transparency about our decisions.

We need to ensure that our service delivery is accessible to everyone. We have talked and listened to local groups in many ways over the past few years and have undertaken many formal and informal consultations with residents, residents associations, partners and other stakeholders, on wide ranging issues."

I wonder what Matthew Reeks and Councillor Hallam have to say about it. Oh! I forgot! They don't answer any questions from anyone.

Changes -

June 10 News - I notice that Morris, Scott, and Co, the solicitors who have been at 280 Lymington Road for many years, are now called Kiteley Solicitors (Incorporating Morris, Scott, and Co).
This happened last Monday. I'm assured that nothing else has changed, and contact information/phone number are as they were before.

There's a lot of scams around at present, particularly on the telephone.
Even the old "This is Microsoft calling" one has reared it's head again. (We strung them along when we had such a call a few days ago. After pretending to follow their instructions for a while, they asked if we could see a box which should have appeared. On saying we could, they asked what was written in it, and to spell it out. The response was "S. C. A. M.", whereupon the crooks ended the call, without even saying goodbye, which I thought was quite rude.
The latest info is all on the Neighbourhood Alert page.

Changes - What's On page updated, new events added.
Solicitors page amended. Village Plan amended.

June 9 News - The people behind the beach dwellings plan are continuing to stumble from one load of nonsense to another.
They now say that these building do not have to comply with building regulations, as they are only temporary.
They originally said that they did not need planning permission, only to discover at the eleventh hour that it wasn't true because of the potential height. They just changed the height from 6m to 4m.
They then said they could do what they like and call it "permitted development".
When faced with the possibility of needing to comply with building regs, they just called them temporary.
I don't know how twelve concrete blocks, measuring 6 metres by 4 metres, can be called temporary, but I'm sure they can dream something up.

The contempt that both certain councillors and council officials have continually shown for the public is truely awe inspiring. Who on earth do these people think they are? Councillors are elected to represent us, not themselves and their own publicity stunts, and council officers are paid (by us) to work for the community, not to get themselves on telly.

On top of this, many of the concerns and questions are STILL not being answered, and secrecy still abounds. (This is being justified by calling it "commercial considerations".)
Why won't they say what the sewage situation is for example? Why won't they say if prospective tenants will be permitted to drive to these houses? Why won't they say exactly where the buildings will be? Etc? Etc? Etc?

A representative of The Friends of Highcliffe Beaches and Cliffs will be speaking at the next full Council meeting on July 12, when the petition recently handed to CBC will be discussed.
If this is a public meeting, maybe we should support our spokesman in numbers.

The Friends of Highcliffe Beaches and Cliffs have also raised safety concerns in their latest press release.
See the latest FOHBC Press Release here.

Changes - What's On page updated, new events added

June 6 News - I have been asked to remove the entries for the Highcliffe Sports & Social Club from this website.
It's done, including events on What's On page.

Police last week arrested four people last week, in connection with the recent breakins in the Hinton Wood Avenue area.
They are all on Police bail while enquiries continue.

Changes - What's On page updated, new events added

June 2 News - Hoburne Estates have entered plans to convert their offices in Lymington Road into a mix of flats and retail units.
We knew this was coming, as they displayed their plans at the Vision for Highcliffe exhibition earlier in the year.
I can't imagine there will be too many objections, as it would seem to be the kind of development we actually need in the village (unlike another well publicised development nearer the sea).
You can see lots about the plan here:

Planning deails can be seen here:

It's interesting to note that any recent attempts to improve the village centre have all come from local people, either the business community, or residents groups, or a mix of the two.
Not one initiative that might help and improve Highcliffe has come from anyone to do with our local council.
They are far too busy with their vanity project, trying to ruin one of the best assets Highcliffe has.

Changes -

June 1 News - There's a new business in the village.
Urban Barbers has moved into 406 Lymington Road, in place of beauty of Highcliffe, who have moved a couple of doors down, to 402 (the old surf shop).
The shop opened last Saturday, and is owned by a very pleasant chap called Peter, who has transferred his business from Christchurch.
You can reach him on 01425 275473, and his website (www.urbanbarbers.co.uk) is expected to be online by the weekend.

We have unexpected backing for the anti beach dwelling campaign.
Our MP, Christopher Chope, has come out and said that the buildings do in fact need planning permission, and quoted a very similar situation on Tyneside. He went further, and heavily critisised the Council for its secrecy, and lack of communication.
Get the full story below. It makes good reading:

I've also been reminded of a case a couple of years ago, where a (real) beach hut owner was forced by CBC to repaint his Avon Beach hut in "uniform" colours. He had used pale blue and white stripes, and I remember thinking at the time that it was the only one that actually looked like a beach hut, rather than a shed.
Councillors have already seen the winning designs (still not going to let us in on their secrets though) and I suspect that we might well soon witness a huge amount of hypocricy coming up. "Do as I say, not what I do."

Changes - What's On page updated, new events added.
Business listings and Village Plan updated. (See above news, plus additions to The Paddle.)


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