Wednesday, 6 December 2006

Council Offices begin customer services revamp

Building work has started at the Rushmoor Borough Council offices in Farnborough as one of the first steps to modernise the council’s customer services.

The work will create a new customer services unit on the ground floor, where residents will be able to have many of their queries dealt with at the first point of contact.

While the work is being done, the reception area and some other council services will be based in temporary office space at the front of the building.

Ian Harrison, Head of Customer Services said “We will be providing a full service to all our residents while the building work is going on. However, residents may find it more convenient to do business with us in other ways. Payments can be made online, over the telephone or by post.

“We are also encouraging residents to make Council Tax payments by direct debit, as it is the most convenient and cost effective method of paying. The offices in Princes Gardens in Aldershot are open as normal. Many of our services are also available through our website

“We hope that residents will bear with us during this period, as the end result will be a much improved customer service for them.”

The work is expected to finish in the spring.
To contact the Customer Services team, please call 01252 398398

Monday, 4 December 2006

Forty Niner

Well, I cannot believe I am 49 already. And it's not just me, my mother cannot believe it either. My wife is waiting for me to grow up and act my age, and is fed up waiting. My girls think I should do more exercise, but nothing too strenuous!

Anyway, it was lovely having everyone come to the house, and remind me how old I am. I loved all the cards from my little people, and rude cards and surprise screen saver from my big people.

It has been lovely to hear from all those I love, and especially those I have missed and not heard from for a long time. I have a life full of wonderful memories, especially the last few years.

There is a political group meeting tonight, but I have another party to attend. I am sure they will understand!

Friday, 24 November 2006

I want to let you know about the ‘sort-it’ campaign that has just been launched. This is a campaign about personal debt - which is growing by £1 million every four minutes. The Conservative Party have produced a film that will be distributed on the Internet to drive people to the website - the site also provides tools to help people take control of their finances.
This is about doing rather than just talking. The ‘sort-it’ campaign is not a political campaign. It’s about getting people to think about their own social responsibilities. We don’t believe that in opposition all you can do is talk about what you might do in Government. That’s why the Conservatives have championed the Young Adult Trust; that’s why Conservative candidates are creating their own local social action projects around the country - and that’s why we’ve launched the ‘sort-it’ campaign.
‘Sort-it’ is a website that will campaign on a wide range of issues. Its aim is to inspire people to take personal responsibility for making change happen, and it will provide tips and tools for people to do so - locally, nationally and sometimes internationally.
We really hope that this website will play a big part in helping people in this country tackle the serious problem of personal debt.
To see the site please go to

Wednesday, 22 November 2006

Progress on the Town Centre

We have been notified of the following press release which is good news about the town centre. However, I will believe it when I see the bulldozers and builders laying bricks on the site.


Key milestone reached in Farnborough town centre deal

A financial deal has been agreed between Rushmoor Borough Council and Key Property Investments Ltd (KPI - the joint venture between St. Modwen Properties PLC and Salhia Real Estate Company of Kuwait) that will pave the way for the long-awaited redevelopment of Farnborough town centre.

At a special meeting of the Council’s Cabinet on Monday (20), members were pleased to approve formally the deal, which has also been signed off by the independent District Valuer.

Approval of the deal removes another major obstacle from the £75 million redevelopment scheme and means that once both sides have completed the necessary legal agreements, work will be able to start on site.

Rushmoor Council’s leader, Councillor Peter Moyle, said: “I am very pleased we have been able to reach this important stage in the project and got the support of the District Valuer for it.

“I share residents’ frustrations over the delays in the redevelopment of the town centre because I want to see it built as much as they do. We will be doing everything in our power to support and enable the scheme to now go ahead and we will be pressing KPI for an early start date and to deliver the scheme in the shortest possible timescale.”

Chairman of St Modwen, Anthony Glossop said: “It has been a very long road to get to this point. However, it was vital that we not only delivered a scheme that was right for the future of Farnborough, but also struck a financial deal with the Council that gave the community the appropriate reward for the Council’s landholdings whilst giving us an adequate incentive to undertake the scheme. This was not an easy compromise to reach, but I am delighted that, with goodwill on both sides, it has been achieved. I look forward to starting on site as soon as possible in the New Year.

“The scheme is a complex one and needs to be carried out in phases so that access is maintained for the public, services and service vehicles at all times and certain local occupiers, such as the residents of Firgrove Court and a firm of solicitors, can be relocated within the scheme with full continuity of their lives and livelihoods. We are in the process of working up explanatory material to inform the public and particularly all occupiers affected by the proposals of the sequence of works and how and when they will impact on them. Our plan is to complete all the main phases by Summer 2009 but we are constantly looking at ways to shorten the construction programme.”


Mobile Offers - beware

Communications Direct - 02920 368700 - 02920368700
Beware if you receive a call on your mobile phone from the above number. The caller will not know your name or anything about you but they will trick you by saying they are calling about your O2/Orange/3/Vodafone/T-mobile contract. Most people assume because they know which network they are on that it’s a legitimate call, they will try and offer you an upgrade, but what they are really doing is signing you up for a new 12 month contract. They are using the prefix of your mobile number to guess your network, historically numbers from the same network have the same prefix i.e. 07736 = O2. The only time that they’ll get this wrong is if your have ported your number from one network to another. If you take the bait they’ll ask for you bank details and set up a direct debit, if you have been unfortunate enough to fall for this contact your bank and stop the direct debit. If you received the phone you are within your rights to cancel the contract within 14 days.

Tuesday, 21 November 2006

Planning Applications:

Case Number: 06/00728/TEMP
Renewal of variation of condition 25 of planning permission RSH/05684 to allow deliveries to the front of the store between 22.00 and 07.00 Mondays to Saturdays and 22.00 to 09.30 on Sundays and Bank Holidays
Asda Superstore - Princes Mead Shopping Centre Westmead
Asda Stores Ltd
c/o Jones Lang LaSalle, 22 Hanover Square, London. W1A 2BU
Phone: 020 74936040 JOHN ATTFIELD
Case Officer: Chris Jones

Case Number: 06/00729/FUL
Erection of a single storey side and rear extension following removal of existing conservatory and outbuildings together with installation of two pairs of replacement entrance gates
1 Empress Avenue Farnborough Hampshire GU14 8LU
Jane Davis & Dennis Markey (address as above)
Case Officer: Judith Mee

Case Number: 06/00730/FUL
Erection of 1.9 metre front boundary wall with pillars
12 Marrowbrook Lane Farnborough Hampshire GU14 0AG
Mubasher Ikram (address as above)
Case Officer: Wendy Betteridge

Monday, 20 November 2006

Walk about in Rectory Road

This weekend I spent a little time talking to residents in Rectory Road. There are some parking issues mainly at school collection and dropping off time. It is only about 2 hours each day, but the increased conjestion is damaging kerbs and verges. Another issue in this area is speed of traffic along the road. Everyone is pretty happy with the Park with a few exceptions, and I am going to explore organising a group of local volunteers to form "Friend's of Rectory Road Recreation Ground" maybe we could just call it "Friend's of Rectory Park"? The correct name is such a mouth full!

Saturday, 18 November 2006

In Memoriam - XXVII - Alfred Lord Tennyson

I envy not in any moods
The captive void of noble rage,
The linnet born within the cage,
That never knew the summer woods:

I envy not the beast that takes
His license in the field of time,
Unfetter'd by the sense of crime,
To whom a conscience never wakes;

Nor, what may count itself as blest,
The heart that never plighted troth
But stagnates in the weeds of sloth;
Nor any want-begotten rest.

I hold it true, whate'er befall;
I feel it, when I sorrow most;
'Tis better to have loved and lost
Than never to have loved at all.

Town Twins come to Town.

Our town twins came and set up shop in Princes Mead this weekend. It was good to meet them and welcome them to town. Above is the Polish stall from Sulechow. Below is the Oberussel stall from Germany.

The Deputy Mayor of Meudon, France also came along. It was nice of him to come and visit for the day before catching the train back. Below is a picture of us beside the French stall with one of our Town Twinning volunteers Heidi.

Thursday, 16 November 2006

Neighbourhood Policing is coming to Empress

Today I had a meeting with fellow Ward Councillor Patricia Hodge and our two local beat Police Officers PC Lee Jeffers and WPC Bev Woodhead. We are putting together a plan to introduce a local Community Safety Panel, which will meet every 3 months to decide what action needs to be taken to tackle issues in the Ward. Those involved in the panel will represent a variety of areas and people within the Ward. This will be a real partnership task group that will help focus action to where it is needed in the Ward, and hopefully come up with innovative solutions.

If you have concerns regarding community safety contact us and tell us what they are:

Cllr. Patricia Hodge:

Cllr David Clifford:

Together are are going to make a difference.

Tree Preservation Order work in Empress

A team from our planning department is out in the Ward identifying trees worthy of tree preservation orders (TPO's). They award points to each tree according to a variety of factors, like type of tree, quality of specimen, contribution to the street scene, etc. If it scores over a certain number it indicates the tree should be seriously considered for a TPO if it has not already got one. Like the beautiful specimen below.

I very much welcome this work. It will protect the trees that make a valuable contribution to our local area, and also restrict over development at a time when greedy developers seem to want to build more and more houses in ever smaller plots, and would not think twice about clearing trees in order lay down more concrete.

Monday, 13 November 2006

The International Terrorist Threat to the UK

**The complete text of a speech delivered on November 9, 2006 by Eliza Manningham-Buller, Director-General of MI5, on the terrorist threat facing the UK:

The International Terrorist Threat to the UK

1. I have been Director General of the Security Service/M15 since 2002. Before that I was Deputy Director General for five years. During that time, and before, I have witnessed a steady increase in the terrorist threat to the UK. It has been the subject of much comment and controversy. I rarely speak in public. I prefer to avoid the limelight and get on with my job. But today, I want to set out my views on:

* the realities of the terrorist threat facing the UK in 2006;

* what motivates those who pose that threat

* and what my Service is doing, with others, to counter it.

I speak not as a politician, nor as a pundit, but as someone who has been an intelligence professional for 32 years.

2. Five years on from 9/11, where are we? Speaking in August, Deputy Assistant Commissioner Peter Clarke, the head of the Anti-Terrorist Branch of the Metropolitan Police, described the threat to the UK from Al-Qaida-related terrorism as ‘real, here, deadly and enduring”. Only last week the Home Secretary said the threat will be “enduring — the struggle will be long and wide and deep.” Let me describe more fully why I think they said that. We now know that the first Al-Qaida-related plot against the UK was the one we discovered and disrupted in November 2000 in Birmingham. A British citizen is currently serving a long prison sentence for plotting to detonate a large bomb in the UK. Let there be no doubt about this: the international terrorist threat to this country is not new. It began before Iraq, before Afghanistan, and before 9/11.

3. In the years after 9/11, with atrocities taking place in Madrid, Casablanca, Bali, Istanbul and elsewhere, terrorists plotted to mount a string of attacks in the UK, but were disrupted. This run of domestic success was interrupted tragically in London in July 2005. Since then, the combined efforts of my Service, the police, SIS and GCHQ have thwarted a further five major conspiracies in the UK, saving many hundreds (possibly even thousands) of lives. Last month the Lord Chancellor said that there were a total of 99 defendants awaiting trial in 34 cases. Of course the presumption of innocence applies and the law dictates that nothing must be said or done which might prejudice the right of a defendant to receive a fair trial. You will understand therefore that I can say no more on these matters.

4. What I can say is that today, my officers and the police are working to contend with some 200 groupings or networks, totalling over 1600 identified individuals (and there will be many we don’t know) who are actively engaged in plotting, or facilitating, terrorist acts here and overseas. The extremists are motivated by a sense of grievance and injustice driven by their interpretation of the history between the West and the Muslim world. This view is shared, in some degree, by a far wider constituency. If the opinion polls conducted in the UK since July 2005 are only broadly accurate, over 100,000 of our citizens consider that the July 2005 attacks in London were justified. What we see at the extreme end of the spectrum are resilient networks, some directed from Al-Qaida in Pakistan, some more loosely inspired by it, planning attacks including mass casualty suicide attacks in the UK. Today we see the use of home-made improvised explosive devices; tomorrow’s threat may include the use of chemicals, bacteriological agents, radioactive materials and even nuclear technology. More and more people are moving from passive sympathy towards active terrorism through being radicalised or indoctrinated by friends, families, in organised training events here and overseas, by images on television, through chat rooms and websites on the Internet.

5. The propaganda machine is sophisticated and Al-Qaida itself says that 50% of its war is conducted through the media. In Iraq, attacks are regularly videoed and the footage downloaded onto the internet within 30 minutes. Virtual media teams then edit the result, translate it into English and many other languages, and package it for a worldwide audience. And, chillingly, we see the results here. Young teenagers are being groomed to be suicide bombers. We are aware of numerous plots to kill people and to damage our economy. What do I mean by numerous? Five? Ten? No, nearer……. thirty that we know of. These plots often have links back to Al-Qaida in Pakistan and through those links Al-Qaida gives guidance and training to its largely British foot soldiers here on an extensive and growing scale. And it is not just the UK of course. Other countries also face a new terrorist threat: from Spain to France to Canada and Germany.

6. A word on proportionality. My Service and the police have occasionally been accused of hype and lack of perspective or worse, of deliberately stirring up fear. It is difficult to argue that there are not worse problems facing us, for example climate change... and of course far more people are killed each year on the roads than die through terrorism. It is understandable that people are reluctant to accept assertions that do not always appear to be substantiated. It is right to be sceptical about intelligence. I shall say more about that later. But just consider this. A terrorist spectacular would cost potentially thousands of lives and do major damage to the world economy. Imagine if a plot to bring down several passenger aircraft succeeded. Thousands dead, major economic damage, disruption across the globe. And Al-Qaida is an organisation without restraint.

7. There has been much speculation about what motivates young men and women to carry out acts of terrorism in the UK. My Service needs to understand the motivations behind terrorism to succeed in countering it, as far as that is possible. Al-Qaida has developed an ideology which claims that Islam is under attack, and needs to be defended. This is a powerful narrative that weaves together conflicts from across the globe, presenting the West’s response to varied and complex issues, from long-standing disputes such as Israel/Palestine and Kashmir to more recent events as evidence of an across-the-board determination to undermine and humiliate Islam worldwide. Afghanistan, the Balkans, Chechnya, Iraq, Israel/Palestine, Kashmir and Lebanon are regularly cited by those who advocate terrorist violence as illustrating what they allege is Western hostility to Islam.

8. The video wills of British suicide bombers make it clear that they are motivated by:

* perceived worldwide and long-standing injustices against Muslims;

* an extreme and minority interpretation of Islam promoted by some preachers and people of influence;

* their interpretation as anti-Muslim of UK foreign policy, in particular the UK’s involvement in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Killing oneself and others in response is an attractive option for some citizens of this country and others around the world.

What Intelligence can do

9. As I said earlier, I have been an intelligence officer for some 32 years. And I want again to describe what intelligence is and is not. I wish life were like ‘Spooks’, where everything is (a) knowable, and (b) soluble by six people. But those whose plans we wish to detect in advance are determined to conceal from us what they intend to do. And every day they learn. From the mistakes of others. From what they discover of our capabilities from evidence presented in court, and from leaks to the media. Moreover intelligence is usually bitty and needs piecing together, assessing, judging. It takes objectivity, integrity and a sceptical eye to make good use of intelligence: even the best of it never tells the whole story. On the basis of such incomplete information, my Service and the police make decisions on when and how to take action, to protect public safety. Wherever possible we seek to collect evidence sufficient to secure prosecutions, but it is not always possible to do so: admissible evidence is not always available and the courts, rightly, look for a high standard of certainty. Often to protect public safety the police need to disrupt plots on the basis of intelligence but before evidence sufficient to bring criminal charges has been collected. Moreover we are faced by acute and very difficult choices of prioritisation. We cannot focus on everything so we have to decide on a daily basis with the police and others where to focus our energies, whom to follow, whose telephone lines need listening to, which seized media needs to go to the top of the analytic pile. Because of the sheer scale of what we face (80% increase in casework since January), the task is daunting. We won’t always make the right choices. And we recognise we shall have scarce sympathy if we are unable to prevent one of our targets committing an atrocity.And the Service?

10. As I speak my staff, roughly 2,800 of them, (an increase of almost 50% since 9/11, 25% under 30, over 6% from ethnic minorities, with 52 languages, with links to well over 100 services worldwide), are working very hard, at some cost to their private lives and in some cases their safety, to do their utmost to collect the intelligence we need. The first challenge is to find those who would cause us harm, among the 60 million or so people who live here and the hundreds of thousands who visit each year. That is no easy task, particularly given the scale and speed of radicalisation and the age of some being radicalised. The next stage is to decide what action to take in response to that intelligence. Who are merely talking big, and who have real ambitions? Who have genuine aspirations to commit terrorism, but lack the know-how or materials? Who are the skilled and trained ones, who the amateurs? Where should we and the police focus our finite resources? It’s a hard grind but my staff are highly motivated: conscious of the risks they carry individually; and aware that they may not be able to do enough to stop the next attack. We owe them a tremendous debt of gratitude and I thank them. On July 8 last year I spoke to all my staff. I said that what we feared would happen had finally happened. I reminded them that we had warned that it was a matter of when, not if, and that they were trained to respond — indeed many had been up all night, from the intelligence staff to the catering staff. I told them that we had received many messages of support from around the world, and that we, along with our colleagues in the police and emergency services, were in the privileged position of being able to make a difference. And we did. And we have done so since.

11. My Service is growing very rapidly. By 2008 it will be twice the size it was at 9/11. We know much more than we did then. We have developed new techniques, new sources, new relationships. We understand much better the scale and nature of what we are tackling but much is still obscure and radicalisation continues. Moreover, even with such rapid growth, we shall not be able to investigate nearly enough of the problem, so the prioritisation I mentioned earlier will remain essential but risky. And new intelligence officers need to be trained. That takes time as does the acquisition of experience, the experience that helps one with those difficult choices and tough judgements.What else can others do?

12. That brings me on to my final point. None of this can be tackled by my Service alone. Others have to address the causes, counter the radicalisation, assist in the rehabilitation of those affected, and work to protect our way of life. We have key partners, the police being the main ones and I’d like today to applaud those police officers working alongside us on this huge challenge, those who collect intelligence beside us, help convert it into evidence for court, and face the dangers of arresting individuals who have no concern for their own lives or the lives of others. The scale and seriousness of the threat means that others play vital roles, SIS and GCHQ collecting key intelligence overseas, other services internationally who recognise the global nature of the problem, government departments, business and the public.

13. Safety for us all means working together to protect those we care about, being alert to the danger without over-reacting, and reporting concerns. We need to be alert to attempts to radicalise and indoctrinate our youth and to seek to counter it. Radicalising elements within communities are trying to exploit grievances for terrorist purposes; it is the youth who are being actively targeted, groomed, radicalised and set on a path that frighteningly quickly could end in their involvement in mass murder of their fellow UK citizens, or their early death in a suicide attack or on a foreign battlefield.

14. We also need to understand some of the differences between non-Western and Western life-styles; and not treat people with suspicion because of their religion, or indeed to confuse fundamentalism with terrorism. We must realise that there are significant differences between faiths and communities within our society, and most people, from whatever origin, condemn all acts of terror in the UK. And we must focus on those values that we all share in this country regardless of our background: Equality, Freedom, Justice and Tolerance. Many people are working for and with us to address the threat precisely for those reasons. Because: All of us, whatever our ethnicity and faith, are the targets of the terrorists.

15. I have spoken as an intelligence professional, describing the reality of terrorism and counter-terrorism in the UK in 2006. My messages are sober ones. I do not speak in this way to alarm (nor as the cynics might claim to enhance the reputation of my organisation) but to give the most frank account I can of the Al-Qaida threat to the UK. That threat is serious, is growing and will, I believe, be with us for a generation. It is a sustained campaign, not a series of isolated incidents, It aims to wear down our will to resist.

16. My Service is dedicated to tackling the deadly manifestations of terrorism. Tackling its roots is the work of us all.

Sunday, 12 November 2006

Neighbourhood Policing coming to Empress

Here in Empress we have an excellent relatioship with our local Police beat officers and we have some very active Neighbourhood Watch schemes. We are setting up a regular beat meeting to discuss and tackle crime in our patch of Farnborough. If there is an issue in your area I want to know about it.

Garrison Remembrance Day Parade

Veterans show us all how it is done.

It was a pleasure to attend the Remembrance Day Parade in an active Garrison town, surrounded by troops and residents remembering those that suffer and give all in conflict. It was profound and significant that in the prayers of the Army Padre he prayed not just for the fallen, and for protection of our troops putting themselves in harms way. But prayed as sincerely for all thoses killed or affected by conflict, and also the terrorists, that their hearts will be softened and moved by the love of God to stop sheddding the blood of the innocent. A sharp contrast to the message of hate we often see coming from the mouths of some so called religious leaders.
After the service and wreath laying, it was good to see the parade which had all three services represented. A warm round of applause was reserved for the Veterans who had a great turn out and looked very smart.

413 Squadron (lead by the CO "Mo" who I was a cadet with) Very smart

HMS Swiftshore provided the music - and very good it was too.

Grenadier Guards - without Bearskins today

General and Mayor take the salute while other Councillors from Aldershot enjoy the parade

Saturday, 11 November 2006

Our family Roll of Honour

Today, we all remember the fallen, those that gave (or rather had taken) their lives for the cause of freedom. Here below I just want to remember, and by remembering thank, all those in our family that served their Country by putting themselves in harms way and took up arms. Starting with those that gave all.
World War II
1. Patrick Clifford 20yr 1st Feb 1943 RN HMS Welshman sunk Tripoli Harbour, Libya by U-617 which was later sunk 12 Sep 1943
World War I
2. Charles Hardaker 19yr 22 Aug 1915 Australian Army. Gallipoli, Turkey
3. Patrick J McBride 25yr 26 Oct 1915 Durham Light Inf. Houplines, France
4. Francis J Trudden 30yr 15 Oct 1916 Durham Light Inf. Somme, France
5. Dennis Trudden 37yr 6 April 1917 SS Powhatan. Atlantic
6. Arthur W Merrell 22yr 8 May 1917 Gloucester Reg. Arras, France
7. George Richards 30yr 2 Aug 1917 South Wales Borderers. Ypres, Belgium
8. Charles H Penfold 23yr 12 April 1918 Royal Fusiliers. Hazebrouck, France
Those that served and survived:
9. Francis E Clifford (Royal Corps of Transport)
10. Albert G Godwin (Royal Engineers - PoW Japan 1940 - 1944)
11. William T Jackman (Royal Enginners WWI)
12. Harold J Sanders (Royal Horse Artillery WWI)
13. Henry A Sanders (Royal Artillery WWI)
14. John J Townsend (Australian IF WWI)
15. Frank Edwin Powell (RN - HMS Victory)
16. David Pullen (51st Reg of Foot) recieved a medal at storming of Rangoon.

Rememberence Day in Farnborough

Duty spanning the generations. It was good to meet young Grenadier Guardsmen side by side our Veterans collecting for the poppy appeal outside Asda. They all looked very smart, and happily giving of their time to help others. Such a contrast from some of the people I met while out on patrol with our police last week.

Thursday, 9 November 2006

Immigration email doing the rounds.

I recieved the following email from a friend. This is very similar to one that originated in Australia some time ago that I read. Whatever its origin, I have a lot of sympathy with its sentiments, and am very tired of those that continually take offence or look for offence in many of our cultural and Christian traditions. And as the great great grandson of immigrants - I am certainly not anti - immigrant!!

* After many cities not wanting to offend other cultures by putting up Christmas lights.
* After hearing of a Primary School in Birmingham where a boy was told that for PE they could wear Football League shirts (Aston Villa, Birmingham, West Brom etc) but NOT an England shirt as it could offend others!
Published in a British tabloid newspaper.
I am tired of this nation worrying about whether we are offending some individual or their culture.
Since the terrorist attacks on London, we have experienced a surge in patriotism by the majority of Brits.
However, the dust from the attacks has barely settled and the "politically correct" crowd begin complaining about the possibility that our patriotism is offending others.
I am not against immigration, nor do I hold a grudge against anyone who is seeking a better life by coming to Britain.
However, there are a few things that those who have recently come to our country, and apparently some born here, need to understand.
This idea of London being a multicultural community has served only to dilute our sovereignty and our national identity.
As Britons, we have our own culture, our own society, our own language and our own lifestyle.
This culture has been developed over centuries of wars, struggles, trials and victories by millions of men and women who have sought freedom.
We speak ENGLISH, not Spanish, Lebanese, Arabic, Chinese, Japanese, Russian, or any other language.
Therefore, if you wish to become part of our society, Learn the language!
"In God We Trust" is our National Motto.
This is not some Christian, right wing, political slogan.
We adopted this motto because Christian men and women, on Christian principles, founded this nation, and this is clearly documented.
It is certainly appropriate to display it on the walls of our schools.
If God offends you, then I suggest you consider another part of the world as your new home, Because God is part of our culture.
If St. George's cross offends you, or you don't like " A Fair Go", then you should seriously consider a move to another part of this planet.
We are happy with our culture and have no desire to change, and we really don't care how you did things where you came from.
This is OUR COUNTRY, OUR LAND, and OUR LIFESTYLE, and we will allow you every opportunity to enjoy all this.
But once you are done complaining, whining, and griping about Our Flag, Our Pledge, Our National Motto, or Our Way of Life, I highly encourage you take advantage of one other great British freedom, "THE RIGHT TO LEAVE".
If you aren't happy here then leave!
We didn't force you to come here.
You asked to be here.
So accept the country YOU accepted.
Pretty easy really, when you think about it.

Tuesday, 7 November 2006

Planning applications this week

Case Number: 06/00696/FUL
Erection of two and single storey extensions to side and rear following demolition of existing garage and conservatory (variation to scheme approved under planning permission 02/00775/FUL)
13 The Crescent Farnborough Hampshire GU14 7AR
Mr And Mrs Turk, c/o D S Designs, 5 Roebuck Close, Ashtead, Surrey. KT21 2DN
Phone: 01372 274023
Rushmoor Case Officer: Judith Mee. Phone 398398

Monday, 30 October 2006

Mail Delivery Scam

The Trading Standards Office are making people aware of the following scam:-A card is posted through your door from a company called PDS (Parcel Delivery Service) suggesting that they were unable to deliver a parcel and that you need to contact them on 0306 6611911 (a premium rate number). DO NOT call this number, as this is a mail scam originating from Belize.If you call the number and you start to hear a recorded message you will already have been billed £15 for the phone call. If you do receive a card with these details then please contact Royal Mail Fraud on 02072396655 or ICSTIS (the premium rate service regulator) <> or your local trading standards office. This is a genuine scam and is under investigation by ICSTIS.

Saturday, 28 October 2006


Here are two poor attempts at poetry. I am very fond of poetry, and love the way sentiments can often be expressed more powerfully in verse. One is an attempt at humour about a really nice girl I met many years ago that kept saying "gosh". The other is more serious and reflects the anguish of losing someone suddenly without warning.

I once knew a girl who loved to say "gosh"
She was awfully pretty and frightfully posh.
Daddy worked in the City and made lots of dosh.
Mummy lived in the country and ate fancy nosh.

Never got to say goodbye.

Never got to say goodbye
Never understood quite why
Never wanted you to fly
To a place I could not spy
I must live and get on by
Talk to you without reply
Look, but never catch your eye
Only holding close a sigh
Never think my eyes will dry
Never will stop asking why
I never got to say goodbye

Wednesday, 25 October 2006

Farnborough Town Masterplan

Urban Practitioners have been hired to put together a Masterplan for the Town Centre. I attended their workshop which was well supported (see my ealier post14th July 2006) and produced some innovative ideas.

The consultants have now set up a new web site where you can see what they are up to and the progress they are making. If you care about our town, visit the site and tell them you want to be consulted and involved in what happens. You can then make comments and contributions to the people helping us put the plan together.

Sunday, 22 October 2006

A veiled threat?

I feel very strongly that people should be able to worship freely according to the dictates of their conscience, so long as it does not impair others of the same privilege. I also believe in the rights of men and women to be able to wear what they want when they are in their "own time", and not at work.
We should not be looking to any western European Country for an answer, least of all France, who has always acted a little odd, and who's President would be behind bars, were it not for his office. (I love France having said this - but love does not = agreeing with).
No, we should look no further than our closest Muslim State. A place where women are banned from wearing not just the veil, but also the headscarf in state controlled institutions like universities and government offices. And they successfully defended this policy to stop women wearing veils and headscarves in the European Court of Human Rights in 1998. The court was supportive of the nations constitution based on secularism and equality. And what sensible forward thinking country was this?....


... and last time I visited I did not feel they were anti - Islamic!!!

Thursday, 19 October 2006

A walk in the Park

Parks are the jewel in any communities crown. Safe clean parks are also a good indicator of how well a Council are doing (much like checking the toilets in a resturant - I always feel better about a resturant if their toilets are clean and well maintained). So I am very keen to see the Parks in the Borough and especially in Empress where we have 3 large parks plus a number of "play areas" well maintained and a pleasant place for families to visit, feel safe, enjoy, relax in peace or have fun at play.

So on one of my regular Park visits in the ward I took a parks specialist with me pictured below and made some observations and put in recommendations to be actioned immediatley. I would also like to thank some residents that also wrote into me. Together we are making a difference in our Parks for the benefit of everyone.

Oli my official Parks advisor

The first Park we have taken action on is Rectory Road Park. Here I have requested the rusty redundant light columns to be removed by the end of this month. I got the awful graffitti removed from the play equipment and had an assurance that if it re appears it will be removed immediately (I think graffitti attracts more graffitti) I have also asked for the mobile CCTV camera's to be placed there to catch any anti social behaviour. I am also having a broken bin replaced.

Wednesday, 18 October 2006

Alcohol ban in 9 Borough Area's

By popular consent Rushmoor has agreed new powers to crack down on anti social behaviour. These will come into force on 6th November 2006

Police and the new Community Patrol Officers (CPO's) will have power to ask someone to stop drinking alcohol and/or confiscate and dispose of any alcohol in that persons possession. If they do not stop, they can be arrested and fined up to £500.

The Council have agreed to nine areas to be designated non drink zones.Three of them are in Empress:

1. Queensmead.
2. North Camp and Farnborough Park.
3. Cove Green

The other 6 are:
1. Aldershot Town Centre.
2. Manor Park, Aldershot.
3. Mayfield/Totland.
4. Southwood Village Centre.
5. Southwood Playing Fields.
6. Pinewood Park & Irvine drive.

If you see breaches of this order call the new non emergency police number to report it 101

Goodbye Home of the British Army

Had a very nice presentation tonight by Aspire who have a 35 year contract to improve the buildings in the Garrison and maintain and look after the running of it. The best part about the presentation was that unlike the 35 year contract, it was short and sweet.

There was lots of talk about providing local jobs and contracts with local suppliers, and becoming part of our community. So look out for a sponsored event by Aspire coming to town soon.

Many are very happy to see a huge portion of the Garrison's land being sold off and developed. But I am not one of them. Aldershot will no longer be "Aldershot home of the British Army" after all the land south of the Basingstoke Canal is sold it will be "North Camp bedsit of the British Army" albeit a very posh and trendy bedsit.

See for more details.

Tuesday, 17 October 2006

Hampshire's Consults on Bus services

Today I wasted 2 hours of my life in a meeting organised by the County Council. Take a look at it. This is called consultation before you axe Bus services. I do not wish to defend or justify reduction or abolition of any Bus route, but this has to be one of the most useless meetings I have ever attended. Like many a resident waiting for a bus themselves I sat waiting for something useful to happen, or even get discussed, only to be as many residents must feel - disappointed.
After the initial introduction by County Council officers refering to "facing some tough decisions", "no more money from central Government" and "need to work closer with community transport" it was obvious the knife was out to cut services. However, it was dressed very neatly in democracy, we were told "there will be consultation and a review over the winter and early months of 2007" before the decision in April 2007. Great I thought - perfect timing - just before the elections.
Shame I thought to myself that we spent so much money on those awful Bus Lanes, they should have saved that waste of tax payers money and put it towards avoiding a cut in the services we have.
The only way to improve mass transportation is for central Government to plough huge amounts of money into it - it has to be cheap and frequent. People do not want to pay or wait. The car has spoilt us and it is no good trying to put the genie back in the bottle. I personally think we should be putting our resources into home working and flexitime so we simply reduce the rush hour conjestion which is where all the trouble is. Outside rush hour it is usually very pleasant driving outside the capital.
They are going to have another democratic "consultation" on the 30th November - why dont you go along when they get around to agreeing the venue and see if I am just getting cynical.

Monday, 16 October 2006

Crime Statistics for Rushmoor

(1) Violence against person (2) Robbery (3) Burglary
Apr 05 - Mar 06 (1) 2,159 (2) 45 (3) 377
Apr 04 - Mar 05 (1) 2,460 (2) 39 (3) 241
Apr 03 - Mar 04 (1) 2,225 (2) 40 (3) 301
Apr 02 - Mar 03 (1) 1,272 (2) 45 (3) 194
The Borough has seen an increase in assault by 70% over the last 3 years
Robbery has shown no change and burglary has increased by 94%

(4) Theft of a vehicle (5) Theft from a Vehicle
April 05 - Mar 06 (4) 195 (5) 530
April 04 - Mar 05 (4) 325 (5) 514
April 03 - Mar 04 (4) 302 (5) 448
April 02 - Mar 03 (4) 306 (5) 411
Car crime has shown a decrease in vehicle theft of 36% but an increase in theft from vehicles of 29%

Taken from:

Thursday, 5 October 2006

This weeks planning applications in Empress

Case Number: 06/00629/FUL
Erection of a single storey front and rear extensions
68 Prospect Road Farnborough Hampshire GU14 0EE
Mr And Mrs Hogg
c/o DJ Green And Associates
25 Worsley Road, Frimley, Camberley, Surrey. GU16 9AS
Phone: 01276 505969
Rushmoor Case Officer: Evan Keating

Case Number: 06/00632/FUL
Extension of existing porch with pitched roof and installation of dormer windows in front, side and rear roof elevation to facilitate loft conversion
15 Salisbury Road Farnborough Hampshire GU14 7AN
Mr And Mrs R Ward
c/o KF Design
85 Alexandra Road, Farnborough, Hants. GU14 6BN
Phone: 01252 370399 TONY LITCHFIELD
Rushmoor Case Officer: Nick Cobbold

Case Number: 06/00634/TPO
Felling and removing one Scots Pine tree in front garden
49 Prospect Avenue Farnborough Hampshire GU14 8JT
Mr R Mogge
Rushmoor Case Officer: Ian May

Case Number: 06/00642/FUL
Erection of a first floor extension over existing garage
48 Pierrefondes Avenue Farnborough Hampshire GU14 8NH

Mr And Mrs Cullum
c/o Mr P Morley
6 Chesilton Crescent, Church Crookham, Fleet. GU52 6NZ
Phone: 01252 622535
Rushmoor Case Officer: Sarita Jones

Tuesday, 3 October 2006

Conservative Group Meeting 2 Oct 06

Welcome behind the closed doors of the Conservative Group Meeting. We always have this meeting the Monday before full Council to discuss the topics to be agreed or debated. It is also a chance for the Leader (far right above) to discuss issues with all Conservative Councillors in an informal setting. It is chaired by Cllr Masterson (2nd right) who is chairman of the Group and a post that cannot be held by a member of the Cabinet.

In this meeting we can have an open and frank discussion about any Council or political issue - all in total confidence. So it is an important meeting for Cabinet members and backbenchers like myself. Cabinet members can test ideas, and backbenchers can express concerns and opposition to a variety of issues.

So in this meeting I can and do raise issues that concern you, that I think the whole Group should hear rather than just a discussion with another councillor. So in this particular meeting I raised amongst other issues alternate week bin collection ... again!!

I am bound to keep confidence about Group discussions so I will not report what was said. Which is right. We need times when we can talk frankly and without the constraint of public scrutiny - and all the political Groups enjoy this.

Suffice to say, that the Council leaders are very aware of the strong feeling over this issue.

Saturday, 30 September 2006

Concept 2000 - New application progress

I have just recieved a letter from Concensus Planning who are assisting with Fairview New Homes planning application. They have said that they will be submitting an application late November time, after considering comments raised by residents at the public meeting they held on the 13th July this year.
Following the application, there will be an exhibition of the new proposal at St Peter's Hall on 11th December 2006 from 2pm to 8pm. Representatives from Fairview and Concensus Planning will be there to answer questions.
I will post on the blogg the link to the application details when it comes in.

Tuesday, 19 September 2006

I oppose 2 week Bin Collections

The Cabinet have agreed (Tuesday afternoon 26th Sept 2006) to go for a pilot scheme covering 20% of the Borough, this is likely to be early in the New Year, I have been told by one senior officer February. The 20% will cover a range of dwellings so it is highly likely a part of Empress will involved. The pilot will last for 6 months concluding in the Summer. The pilot will be accompanied by an intensified education campaign in order help maximise the success of the pilot. The result of the pilot will then be evaluated and a decision will be made whether the scheme should be rolled out Borough wide. During the pilot period I will be insisting they monitor use of the already busy Council Tip. I am also dissappointed they will not use the pilot period to evaluate other options like collecting a smaller bin every week.

I personally think this is ill conceived, and am aghast we are going to experiment on 20% of our residents! In my opinion we could have phased in a much gentler yet effective plan to tackle this issue, keeping residents positive about the Council and working in partnership rather than this rather abrasive approach. I remain hopeful that some sensible approach will be found that is practical and of real environmental value.

Monday, 11 September 2006

A memo to Gordon Brown from my mate Daniel

Daniel Hannan's memo to Gordon Brown: There is one way the English might accept a Scottish Prime Minister

I have found it: the philosopher's stone of politics, the elixir of life. There really is an answer to the West Lothian Question. Twenty nine years have passed since Tam Dalyell, the stony Old Etonian who then sat for West Lothian, set the conundrum before Parliament. Scottish devolution, he observed, would lead to a constitutional anomaly, as Westminster MPs with Scottish seats would be able to vote on matters affecting English constituencies, but would have no say over such matters in their own constituencies.
Today, the problem is no longer academic. On two occasions -- over foundation hospitals and again over tuition fees -- the votes of Scottish MPs secured the passage of contentious legislation that did not apply north of the border. And the signs are that the English are becoming miffed. An opinion poll in The Daily Telegraph showed that nearly half of English voters object to the idea of a Scottish Prime Minister -- a finding that would have been unthinkable a decade ago.
What, then, is the answer? The only two solutions so far hazarded - a separate English parliament or a wholly independent Scotland - have understandably failed to win widespread support. But there is a third option: localism.
There is no power exercised by the Holyrood legislature under the 1998 Scotland Act that could not, in England, be devolved to a lower level -- either to counties and cities or, better still, to individual citizens.
English councils could, for example reassume responsibility for the relief of poverty, which was considered a municipal function from the Middle Ages until the late 20th century. They could take up the powers of the now defunct Office of the Deputy Prime Minister. They could administer health and education (or at least the financing of these policies: there is no reason why they should directly run schools and hospitals).
All Westminster MPs would then find themselves on an equal footing. True, they would have lost some of their powers. But they would be able to compensate by taking back different powers from judges, quangoes and Eurocrats. The House of Commons would, in its functions at least, resemble the US Congress, concentrating on big, national issues such as defence, immigration and foreign treaties. I suspect that most MPs would regard this as an improvement on their current status as providers of a queue-jumping service for pushy people.
Could our local authorities cope with the increased responsibilities? Absolutely.
Kent has three times the population of Wyoming; yet Wyoming happily runs its own criminal justice, social security and taxation systems. Give councils more power and you will attract a higher calibre of candidate as well as boosting participation at local elections. In Britain, local authorities raise 25 per cent of their budgets and turnout is typically around 30 per cent. In France, those figures are, respectively, 50 and 55 per cent; in Switzerland 85 and 90 per cent.
English devolution is not simply a way to correct the lopsided devolution settlement; it is a meritorious reform in itself. Canvassers from all three parties will privately tell you that they are coming across an unprecedented degree of doorstep cynicism. "Voting doesn't make any difference," say the punters -- and they're right. The questions that impact most tangibly on local communities -- whether to build more houses, where to deploy the police, who goes to which school -- have been removed from the democratic process.
Decisions that would be made at a town meeting in the US are made, in England, by a single minister and then imposed uniformly on the whole country. As well as being unaccountable, the system is inefficient. "To the size of a state there is a limit, as there is to animals, plants and implements," wrote Aristotle, "for none of these can retain its facility if it is too large". The NHS payroll is the size of the population of an average African nation, and its budget considerably higher. No single minister, be he the wisest in Whitehall, can get the most out of such a monstrous organisation.
In Europe, as in North America, conservatives generally stand as the defenders of local particularisms against the bureaucrats in the national capital. There are signs that, after decades of misguided centralism, the Tories might do the same here. David Cameron has promised to place the police under locally elected representatives, to democratise the Crown Prerogative powers and to wind up the regional quangoes and pass their powers downwards. If he follows through, he may find that he has solved the West Lothian Question almost without meaning to.
It would, of course, be open to the Scottish and Welsh electorates to embark on a parallel localist agenda, devolving power to Aberdeenshire, Flintshire and the rest. Either way, the asymmetry of the current dispensation would have been corrected. The English would no longer have anything to complain about. We could all go back to resenting Gordon Brown, not because he sits for a Fifeshire seat, but because he is a miserable girner who has plundered our pensions and given away our gold reserves.
Righting the current constitutional imbalance will be like tapping a pebble out of our shoe. With the irritant removed, we can go back to celebrating the things that we have achieved together: ending the slave trade, bringing law and civilisation to new continents, fighting for the freedom of all Europe's nations.
There will still be occasional squabbles, of course. The relationship between England and Scotland, like that between Johnson and Boswell, has always involved a certain amount of teasing along with the underlying affection. It is a relationship typefied by the Highlander who, observing the rout at Dunkirk, commented tersely: "If the English give in too, this could be a long war".
But, in the last analysis, there is more that unites us than that divides us. For all our quarrels, we share a way of looking at the world. The underlying argument for the Union has not changed in 400 years. It was ably and eloquently advanced by that aboriginal Unionist, James VI and I: "Hath not God first united these kingdoms, both in language and religion and similitude of manners? Hath He not made us all in one island, compassed by one sea?" Amen.

If you know anyone else who would like to receive these mailings, please send their email address to If you no longer wish to receive them, please reply using the word "unsubscribe" in your title. For details of meetings at which Daniel Hannan will be speaking please see his website - - click News, then Forthcoming

Saturday, 9 September 2006

Welcome to our wonderful earth Megan

I am very pleased to introduce a new and very important member of our family. Megan. I am so sorry I took this photo minutes after she was born (8th September 3.08pm weighing in at 6lb 14oz), without enough time for her to clean up! But I think she looks beautiful and love her very very much, and am so proud of her brave mum who I love very much too. And I am sure that is a smile for the camera - definately MP material.

Someone told Annabelle she is not the youngest grandchild anymore......

Oradour sur Glane - France

On the way back home my daughter Charlotte and I paid our respects to the innocents murdered in Oradour sur Glane.

Village of the martyrs ... preserved as it was the day the soldiers left 10th June 1944

Over 640 villagers - men, women and children slaughtered, then the homes torched and bodies dumped into a mass grave. But the broken walls and empty streets live on and remember so we can not forget. Following the emotional seperation of the men from their women and children, the men were shot in the village square, and the women and children butchered in of all places the holy sanctuary of the church. Sealing the eternal damnation of the wicked souls responsible.

Cars left in the Garage courtyard where they were burt 10 June 1944

It was a privilaged to visit this village, and I felt the blood of the innocent shed here made every patch of ground I stepped on sacred. It was quiet, no-one spoke loudly, all instinctively whispered. My heart was heavy as I contemplated the complete and utter waste of life, and how fragile but how very precious life is.

Tuesday, 5 September 2006

Paramotoring - Langeac, France

This year we flew with the eagles high in the Mountains of the Central Massive of France. It was breathtaking as shown by the picture I took above during a flight. The mountain valley filled with clouds, as the sun warms the mountain tops.

And some lovely views with my feet firmly on the ground too:

This delightful place is Brioude. Cheesy smile for the camera please!

Monday, 14 August 2006

Abbey Planning Consent for new altar

Case Number: 06/00541/LBC1

LISTED BUILDING CONSENT: Replacement of main altar in Abbey Church, St Michaels Abbey 280 Farnborough Road Farnborough Hampshire GU14 7NQ

Applicant: Empress Eugenie Memorial Trust, St Michael's Abbey, Farnborough, Hants. GU14 7NQ

Case Officer: Russ Mounty

Floods hit Cove Green

Following my complaint, investigations carried out by Hampshire County Council Inspectors conclude there is an obstruction/breakage on a 300mm.dia surface water pipe (owned by Thames water) which runs down the side on No 42 Prospect Road and emerges into Holly Close.
Thames Water have been requested to repair this immediately.
My sincere thanks to the residents that brought this to my attention.

Monday, 31 July 2006

A new Clifford in the world!

Welcome to the world little person. xxx My new nameless nephew.
This was his reaction when I told him about my enthusiasm for local politics!

Saturday, 29 July 2006

Rectory Road Recreation Ground

I am investigating a number of issues at this valuable park area in our ward. I paid a visit there today. The toilet handbasin in the Gents was not working for 4 weeks. That is now back on. There has been a spate of graffiti and I have asked for that to be removed. The Park Rangers will be paying a number of visits and I have requested some CCTV surveillance. A big thank you to the resident that contacted me, and those that spoke to me in the Park.
31st July: A big thank you to Rushmoor staff who reacted promptly to my report. The water was turned on immediatly. They have been in today, and all grafitti was removed. The Park Rangers are going to be visiting more regularly and they are going to bring the mobile CCTV in.
YOU reported it - I sorted it - together we have made a difference.

Friday, 28 July 2006

B&Q - complaints about noise

Mr Nick Cobbold is the Rushmoor Council case officer dealing with the complaint. He had a meeting with B&Q on Monday.
There are 2 relevant planning conditions of the original planning consent (00/00796/OUT) with regards to deliveries and noise on the site.

1. Condition 23 (Deliveries) states that: "No deliveries shall be taken at or be despatched from the retail unit outside the hours of 0700 and 2200 hours Mondays to Saturdays or 0800 to 1800 hours on Sundays."
This condition does not make any specific mention of the front or rear of the site and therefore it must be assumed that no deliveries whatsoever should be taken or dispatched outside these hours.
B&Q have committed to: Ensure that deliveries arrive in the specified times. It seems to be a problem with certain lesser used contractors who are not aware of the condition. These will be made aware of the condition.

2. Condition 24 (Noise) states that: "Outside of the hours 0700-2230 Mondays to Saturdays and 0800-1830 on Sundays, no activity shall take place within the site of the retail unit that would result in noise being audible at the boundaries with the adjoining residential properties."
This condition does not prevent work continuing on site beyond 2230, but specifically relates to noise being audible outside these times.
B&Q admit that they were in breach of this condition and promised to make every effort to overcome the problems.
B&Q have committed to: Carry out the noisier activities within the hours stipulated in the condition. They intend to resurface the service area (currently concrete) with a quieter tarmac. The nature of the store is such that works have to carry on over night (which is allowed by the condition) but the night manager was at the meeting and is aware of his responsibility with regards noise.
Environmental Heath have looked into complaints about noise and are happy that the noise problem has ceased -we will continue to monitor it from a planning point of view.

I will continue to keep a close eye on the site to ensure that they are complying with their conditions. Obviously, to some extent, I will have to rely on information from the local residents to inform me of any breach. If we continue to receive evidence that they are in breach of these conditions, further action will follow.

The following numbers are for the night manager and can be called at any time during the night if an immediate fix is needed to a noise problem. 01252 379601 or 379602.

Thursday, 20 July 2006

Ham & Blackbird application for illuminated sign

Case Number: 06/00474/ADV

Display of 1 externally illuminated promotional display unit
The Ham And Blackbird 281 Farnborough Road Farnborough Hampshire GU14 7LZ

Whitbread Restaurants PLC
c/o Artis Projects Ltd
The Garner, Greatworth Hall
Banbury, Greatworth, Oxon. OX17 2DH
Phone: 01295 760888 ALAN MOUTTER
Rushmoor Planning Case Officer: Chris Jones

Prospect Road Bridge

Please note that essential work is required at Prospect Road Bridge between 31st July and 21st August. This has been approved by Hampshire County Council, who have asked the contractor to provide appropriate advanced notices, etc.
This has been timed to coincide with school holidays when there is reduced traffic.

Tuesday, 18 July 2006


For once man has tasted flight
he will forever walk the earth with eyes turned skywards.
For there he has been
and there he longs to return.

Leonardo Da Vinci

Monday, 17 July 2006

Noisey neighbours?

Environment Charity ENCAMS launched a campaign last Monday encouraging the public to try to resolve noise issues with their neighbours before they involve the local authority or police. Visit their web sit at:

Saturday, 15 July 2006

Pleased to introduce Megan

I am still overwhelmed at the miracle of life. Here is another soul coming into the world. Her name is Megan. She is loved very much already. We do not know her, her personality, her habits and ways, but we have nothing but love for her. She is part of us. Our blood runs in her veins. Our genes make up her body. She will have faults, but most of them are inherited or will be learned from us. We want the very best for her. She is a new generation for our family and all that we have will be shared with her. She is our hope for the future and the culmination of numberless generations from the past.
And I am far to young to be her grandfather!

Friday, 14 July 2006

Concept 2000 Consultation

Innes Gray (above) MD of Concensus Planning on behalf of Fairview Homes organised a consultation with residents from around the Concept 2000 building, before a planning application is submitted by Fairview Homes in November 2006. They are planning to build 200 - 300 dwellings on this 4 acre plot on the Clockhouse Roundabout site, and hope to start construction July 2007, with completion by July 2009 latest.
This is the first time any such consultation has taken place with residents before an application has been submitted, and Fairview are to be commended.
The evening started with a presentaion about the site and an outline plan of the proposed development. Residents were very outspoken and presented their concerns very bluntly and directly. Their concerns were broken down into different issues: Design, Transport/Parking, Planning policy, Developer Issues and Environment - these were then discussed in detail at different tables at the venue. Residents could then go to the table / Issue that most concerned them or move to all tables in the time allocated.
The evening finished with a summary of residents' concerns, and a chance to make final points or ask questions.
There will be a follow up meeting, again I will keep you advised.

Farnborough Town Planning Day

Yesterday was filled with talking about the future of Farnborough.
Controversially, the Council have hired consultants to tell us what we already know, and to help the Council through public engagement put together a Supplementary Planning Guidance Note for Farnborough Town Center. Lots of people were invited, traders, developers, council staff, residents, police, clergy and a few of us elected members. After a walk round the town we came back to the Council Offices and listed all the problems with the town, and our aspirations or dreams.
The interesting thing is that if I were to stand up in Council and list all the things wrong with our town center I would be castigated by fellow councillors for "talking down" our town. But if a non political "focus" group do it, we councillors pat ourselves on the back for listening to the public!
That aside, some excellent points were raised: Bland civic area, pedestrian unfriendly access to town, poor highway infastructure, no identity, not enough public art, no public square, ugly and inconvenient car parks, dirty pond, no evening economy, no gateway. But it was noted by many that the only good thing in the town center is the flower displays!!
The consultants are now going to correlate all the ideas and come back with some proposals. I will keep you advised.

Sunday, 9 July 2006

Empress Ward BBQ

A big thank you to Linda and her helpers for all the work on the BBQ we put on in our back garden. We had a great time and raised some funds for good quality newsletters that we want to put out 4 times a year to keep residents aware about what is going on in the community, and what we are doing to make our area a better place to live and work in.

Brian Parker our ward chairman at the bar ... this time serving!!!It was great to see Gerald Howarth MP a fellow resident of Empress, and always on hand when we need him. Although we got to talk about some of the important issues affecting Farnborough, there was plenty of time to relax and enjoy the evening.Hey!! Who burnt to sausages??? ... Thanks Terry for the help on the BBQ

And it was great to see Philip one of our political opponents. We may disagree politically, but we both want to see the best for the Borough, and Philip has put in more hours than many when it comes to campaigning over local issues. Thanks for coming Philip, I promise I will not tell a soul!

Wednesday, 14 June 2006

Town Center walk about

During one of my regular ward walkabouts I noticed this important Farnborough Monument was in a terrible state. So I have reported it, and am chasing Street Scene to mend it. We may be waiting on Developers to rebuild the town, but that is no excuse for not making the best of what we do have.

Tuesday, 13 June 2006

Farnborough Town Center

Frustrated as many residents are I sent the following letter into the Chief Executive of Rushmoor Borough Council.

Out in our town center looking for bulldozers: did not see any today - will keep looking!

Dear Mr Andrew Lloyd

I note that the Cinema application promised for mid May is still not here. KPI did not complete an updated Leisure Impact Assessment, which they are now working on. So the application should be in mid June. Two questions, why could this not have been submitted subsequent to the application, and as this is an application involving the Council why was this not picked up earlier when we announced an application was coming in mid May?

I also note that the judicial review period for the Town Centre has passed a week last Friday, there was no challenge - so where are the bulldozers? Having spoken to Simon Rutter at KPI I understand they are still "in discussion" with the Council over land ownership. Why did we not resolve the land issue during the Judicial Review period?

May I suggest that the meeting with you, the Leader and KPI be more frequent at times like this? I understand the last meeting according to Simon Rutter was March and the next according to Mr Rutter is due mid July.

The next meeting to discuss land ownership is 16th June with Richard Stafford. But I suspect this will not conclude anything, without your involvement. This election brought home to me the frustration that many residents have over the town centre. What more can be done to expedite this important local issue. I am afraid I do not feel, in consideration of the above that we are doing enough.

Warm regards
David Clifford
Empress Ward Councillor.
"Together we can make a difference"
Tel 01252 371111
Fax 01252 371112