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In discussion with BCP Leader Cllr Vikki Slade


On the 23rd July, we were delighted to be able to share, with a wide audience from all corners of the planning, property and built environment world, our ‘In discussion’ session with Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole Council Leader, Cllr Vikki Slade.

The session explored the challenges the BCP conurbation is currently facing, and the opportunities arising from those challenges. We considered the importance of strong city-region leadership to enable recovery, with community and sustainability perspectives at the heart of all plans.

Some of the themes that Cllr Slade considered are summarised below, with the full recording also available on this page.

Local Plan

  • BCP Council aim to submit a Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole Local Plan in 2022, 2 years earlier than required by Government.
  • The Council’s target from government of 2,500 new build homes a year is too great and should be challenged. The number of houses needed is half that amount.
  • The Leadership are currently looking into whether they can challenge the housing target and, if so, finding the best way to do that.
  • The protection of the green belt is part of her strong sustainability agenda.
  • The current individual Local Plans for Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole are outdated. For example, the level of parking provision that the Bournemouth Local Plan requires for developments in the town centre is far greater than needed.

Unitary Authority Status

  • Bournemouth previously struggled to get traction because it was viewed as a small town. Since the formation of BCP Council as a unitary authority that has not been a problem.
  • The spending power that comes with being a unitary authority has strengthened their position in bringing regeneration projects forward. Within the area, far larger and more significant regeneration projects can come forward than would have been possible with three borough councils.
  • Unitary authorities must allow different places to grow at different rates.
  • Nervous about further devolution and being wedded to one group of people within a combined authority, when it as vital that relationships are formed with other towns, cities, and regions in all directions. Respect of ‘place’ must be maintained by combined authorities.
  • It is key to raise the profile of the area, because if not, there is a real risk that all funding will go to the North.


  • Sustainability is at the top of the agenda. The UN Sustainability Development Goals underline all BCP Council activities and policies.
  • All BCP Council Housing is to reach Passivhaus standards.
  • There should be higher sustainability standards within the Local Plan.
  • Government needs to commit nationally to higher sustainable housing standards to make real progress.

If you have any questions regarding the session, or thoughts around how we can work together for the benefit of the BCP area, please contact Marlies Koutstaal, Director of Southampton & Central South.

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