Legal Services

Williams Thompson

Williams Thompson Solicitors

My Happy Christmas wishes this year go, unusually, to our local councillors....

As a group I suspect they are seldom at the top of anyone’s Christmas list, but I cannot but notice that they are having an unusually hard time of it at present.

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Williams Thompson Solicitors

On the face of it, the proposal to scrap the nine different councils that run Dorset and replace them with just two seems sensible...

If you were starting a fresh, you would never devise the current complex maze of nine different councils with differing powers. The result is significant duplication of departments and services. There are six chief executives and 330 councillors spread across the county.

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william thompson

Williams Thompson Solicitors

What’s happening to our Post Offices? Their services are important to us and essential to local businesses. Indeed, they are part of our local communities.

It was a worry a few years ago when the large post office and royal mail depot in the centre of Christchurch was sold off for property redevelopment.

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William Thompson

Williams Thompson Solicitors

Along with the Regent Centre, Christchurch’s other big non-for-profit business is the Priory Church....

With the new Vicar settled in, the Priory is determined to become more outward looking and has big development plans.

Over the years the large historic house behind the Priory (Priory House) had become underused- but that is no more. It has been renovated with a new café linked into the Priory. Choir rooms and offices have also been established . That was only Phase One, however.

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William Thompson

Williams Thompson Solicitors

I have been advised not to write this month’s article!

First I am going to alienate 58.8% of you. Second given the time gap between me writing it and you reading it, who can guess what else has changed. I am, of course, talking about Brexit. I spoke for Remain at the Christchurch Chamber of Trade meeting just before the vote and felt most the businesses- and certainly the youngsters who braved the meeting- were in favour of Remain. Christchurch, however, supported Brexit and 18,268 voted leave (against 12,782 remain). Whilst I believe in the E.U, I recognise that the E.U leadership did little over many years to sell its own benefits and I feel they have no-one to blame but themselves.

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William Thompson

Williams Thompson Solicitors

One of the most successful businesses in the centre of Christchurch is not even a “for profit” business. It is a charity run with the support of 200 unpaid volunteers.

The Regent Centre was built as a cinema 85 years ago in 1931 at the start of Hollywood’s Golden Age. But as cinema audiences declined, so did the Regent Centre. For a period it was a Bingo Hall and when that failed the doors were closed in 1973 and the property lay empty.

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William Thompson

Williams Thompson Solicitors

The new Living Wage has now come into effect and could have significant implications for Christchurch.

I remember a remarkable survey a few years ago put Christchurch near the top of a league of ‘deprived areas’. This was based on our relatively high cost of living but the fact that our main employment is in tourism and care services. Both industries are notorious for their low pay.

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William Thompson

Williams Thompson Solicitors

At long last, a Christchurch development is taking place...

Eight years after Aldi’s first application in 2008 for development at the top of Somerford (now called Meteor Park), not only has the work started but it is proceeding at a cracking pace. Indeed it will not be long before the keys to the site are handed over to the retailers.

Only a few years ago we were reeling from numerous supermarket planning application. The site at the back of Barrrack Road was the first to get permission for an Asda store- but the site still remains empty. Next Beagles’ application for the building of a Morrisons finally got the go ahead after appeal- but again there is no sign of any development taking place.

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William Thompson

Williams Thompson Solicitors

It’s official. According to Department of Transport data, the traffic in Christchurch is the worst it has ever been.

Our main artery, the A35, has lowest average speed in the region: 14.2 mph during the rush hour- which is when I use it on my way to work.

And that is before any road works. May I use this column to apologies to the residents of the quiet back-roads of Highcliffe whose peace and quiet I, and many others, shatter as we try to circumnavigate the closure of Walkford Road due to gas works.

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Williams Thompson Solicitors

A plan that will result in the death of Christchurch Borough council is fast gathering pace.

The controversial proposal is for there to be a merger of the authorities in Poole, Bournemouth, Christchurch and East Dorset. This would turn Christchurch from one of the smallest councils in the country to a bit player in what would be the 6th largest.

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William Thompson

Williams Thompson Solicitors

Congratulations to the Chewton Glen for obtaining planning permission to build their cookery school- a master class on charming the Christchurch Council Planning Committee.

The controversy over their plans was not the cookery school itself, but the decision to site the development not near the hotel but at the edge of their grounds on a quiet residential road in the middle of a precious area of green belt.

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Williams Thompson Solicitors

Will 2016 see the but-to-let bubble burst?

This is heresy to some estate and letting agents and those heavily invested in such properties will deny the possibility of a downturn. But that is the nature of investment bubbles.

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Williams Thompson Solicitors

You wait years for one major development in Christchurch- and then another comes along.

Last month I wrote about the proposal 850 house development for the land between Stoney Cross and Roeshot Hill, and now we are told the redevelopment of a 4.74 acre site in the heart of Christchurch is going to take place.

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‘Common Law’ myth, cohabitation & living together agreements

The concept of ‘common law’ spouses is one often put to family lawyers. The reality is that couples living together without marrying are treated quite differently in law and certainly not as though they are married in most cases.

Separations amongst couples living together who are not married can be the most challenging and complicated arrangements to negotiate. Disputes relating to contributions made to the maintenance and repair of properties, improvements and payment of bills and mortgages arise in many situations. What was intended between the couple at the time can change over time or be misinterpreted or remembered differently by the two parties concerned. To complicate things further, the legal position is complex, and outcomes vary hugely and are case –specific making outcomes difficult to predict. Bringing this type of dispute to the attention of the Court can be expensive and lengthy.

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Cohabitation

There is an enduring myth that there is such a phrase in the English Legal System as common law marriage.

Such a term is not recognised by the English Courts. It remains the case that the law relating to the breakdown of a marriage, and the various orders one spouse may have against the other upon divorce, is very different to the law relating to cohabiting couples.

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Planning for the Future – Lasting Powers of Attorney

When a person begins to lose their ability to manage their affairs and care, it can be a very distressing and difficult time. The benefits of creating a Will to determine how your affairs will be managed after death is widely recognised, but in many cases little thought is given to making provision for the managing of those affairs during your lifetime. A Lasting Power of Attorney can provide the certainty required and give you peace of mind so that in the event that you can no longer manage your personal affairs, a trusted family member, friend or advisor can act on your behalf.

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Williams Thompson

Renting a Business Premises

If you own a business then a key decision is whether to buy or rent property. Renting business premises ties up less capital than buying which means you can invest it in the business instead. It can also give you flexibility to relocate easily should you need to.

The type of premises you rent and the location will be partly dictated by the type of business you are running. The amount you can afford - taking into account extra costs such as business and utility rates, and building insurance - will also be a deciding factor.

You can rent business premises by leasing them. If you require premises for a short term then consider a licence rather than a lease.

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Countdown Clock

Why do I need to extend my lease?

The need for a lease extension arises because as your lease gets shorter the value of your flat will go down compared to a similar flat which has a long lease of, say, 100 years or more. This reduction in value is a particular issue when the length of your lease gets to less than 80 years.

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