Thursday, 27 September 2007

Area Committees for Farnborough

I think it is about time we had Area Committees in Rushmoor. These are committees that bring the Council down to a few wards and ensure all the services and resources of the Council are held to account very locally. I think they could well grow out of, or work along side the Neighbourhood Committees we are setting up with the Police. We could have maybe two in Aldershot and three in Farnborough based on the population sizes. Each could determine and deal with a variety of issues, the most controversial would be planning, and I have sympathy with those that say such a local committee could not determin applications as objectively as a Borough wide Committee, but liciencing, environemental health, highways and other services and issues could all be dealt with effectively by an Area Committee of at least half a dozen Councillors.

Wednesday, 26 September 2007

Tuesday, 25 September 2007

Summer in the Church yard

I was looking thru some pictures and found this one. I love it. It is so very English, traditional and peaceful. You can almost smell the fresh cut grass and hear the bells ringing, and an empty bench just waiting for someone to sit on it, relax, contemplate life or remember a loved one that now lays silent and cold close by. Hanky please....
There is no other country in the world this picture could have been taken. My England - I love it. (A completely assimilated grandson of Irish Catholic immigrants from Ulster)

Results of my AWC on-line Poll

The Results for my on-line poll about Alternate Week Bin Collection tied in very closely to the consultants findings. However, my poll was completely free!!

The question put was simple: Is a two week waste bin collection adequate?
Answers and votes were as follows:

1. Yes (I recycle) 58 votes (17.79%)

2. Yes (I do not recycle) 6 votes (1.84%)

3. No (I recycle) 256 votes (78.53%)

4. No (I do not recycle) 3 votes (0.92%)

5. Undecided 3 votes (0.92%)

Total 326 votes (100%)

This is about 1% of the households in Rushmoor - not bad for my first on-line poll. More important than the votes were the invaluable comments left which were quoted by officers and members at the final seminar we had to discuss what was going to happen. These comments were invaluable. So thanks to all those that left them.

Spot the rich guy ....

I just know I am going to get into trouble for this .... but I found it so funny and had to share it.

Monday, 24 September 2007

Farnborough Tornado

And it didn't take off or land at our airfield!! I have recieved the following from our Chief Executive at Rushmoor (Borough Clerk to you older residents)

Dear Councillors,
Mini Tornado
I thought it might be helpful to update you on today's events and the action taken by the relevant agencies, including the Council, in response. Apologies to the Leader and Cllr Mark Staplehurst, Cllr Tucker and any other Councillors actively involved during the incident for repeating what they already know.
Up to 20 houses were damaged in the Rother Road and Northcote Road areas of Farnborough at about 7.15am this morning by what has been described as a mini tornado.
Damage has been caused to chimneys, roof tiles, gutters, garage roofs, which in some cases have been ripped off completely, fences and trees, both in people’s gardens and on the highway.
There are no reports of any injuries.
The fire brigade is making sure the houses affected are made safe and removing damaged chimney stacks and roof tiles. They are also making sure the roofs are weather-proof.
A number of our colleagues have been onsite this morning including John Edwards, Geoff Saker who has been advising on structural safety and Andy Ford who is working with our contractors to remove dangerous branches which are being chipped on site.
The Council’s handyman team and Hampshire County Council’s highways team are also helping to clear debris from the scene.
Katharine in our Contracts Team has arranged for two skips to be delivered to the scene and these should arrive by 1.30pm. One will be placed in Northcote Road and one in Rother Road for residents to dispose of any debris. More skips will be available if needed.
Residents are encouraged to contact their insurance companies as early as possible.
They are also advised to be cautious about using any gas appliances where the flue exits through a damaged chimney stack and if necessary to get the appliances checked before using them.
Our colleagues in Housing were also put on standby to provide advice but it looks likely that all residents will be able to stay in their homes.
Andrew Lloyd Chief Executive Rushmoor Borough Council

Friday, 21 September 2007

Top Ten Tory Policies

On the Stand Up Speak Up website you can vote on which recommendations from the Policy Review Groups you think should go into our manifesto.
The 10 proposals which have received the most votes so far are:

Fixing our Broken Society:
1. Make the benefits system a 'something for something' system (86%)
2. Support in the tax and benefits system for married couples (78%)

Globalisation and Global Poverty:
3. We should stop turning a blind eye to corruption and start speaking out (73%)
4. The EU should unilaterally remove its own barriers to imports for the world’s poorest countries (72%)

5.Agreeing a European strategy towards Russia (85%)
6. Establishing a National Security Council (80%)

Freeing Britain to Compete:
7. Abolishing Inheritance Tax (80%)
8. Creating a Lifetime Savings Account (79%)

Public Services:
9. Reintroducing GP responsibility for out-of-hours care (51%)
10. Giving heads the absolute right to exclude (51%)

Would these be your top 10? Have your say at Stand Up Speak Up - and don’t forget we’ll be discussing all the recommendations at the Party Conference in a little over a week.

Visit Stand Up Speak Up and help shape our election manifesto
Visit the Conference 2007 website

Thursday, 20 September 2007

National Insurance Contributions

I am not sure how many of you are aware of this but ...

If you have paid your 'stamp' for your National Insurance contributions for 30 years you qualify for a full State Pension. And need contribute no more.

I know it is only about £10 a month but £10 is £10.

If you think it is worth checking out for yourselves the number to ring is: 0845 3000168

(Don't thank me for this useful piece of information, thank Claire a local resident)

Empress Ward Borough Council Candidate Selection



A Selection Committee will meet at 7.30 p.m. on Thursday, 18th October 2007 at “Wellington House”, 40 Avenue Road, Farnborough, Hants., to interview and select a candidate to stand in the May 2008 elections for the Empress Ward of Rushmoor Borough Council.

Applicants wishing to be considered should send their names, addresses, telephone numbers and a C.V. to the Empress Branch Deputy Chairman, Cllr David Clifford, “Wellington House”, 40 Avenue Road, Farnborough, Hants., GU14 7BL, by Monday, 15th October 2007. Those selected for interview will be informed, by telephone, of the time they should attend.

Wednesday, 19 September 2007


... I think in as a Rugby lover I have been very good and wise not to mention it lately!!!

Invest in a Isa

I have and highly recommend it.
For further details go to

You can also find some other useful financial information.

WARNING: Never invest in a some Isa's unless you are prepared to loose them.

My biggest issue is that once I have invested I keep wanting to check on how my investment is doing. Motley Fool is a great website for all financial issues from loans to investments.

Thursday, 13 September 2007

Out with the speed cops

Sgt Plews armed and dangerous

This morning I was asked to accompany the police on a speeding education exercise. The idea was to give speeders a ticket, but offer them the option to attend a 15 minute rolling presentation on the dangers of speeding at Farnborough Fire Station. At the completion of the presentation they could hand in their tickets issued at the road side and no prosecution would take place. However, if they did not attend before 2pm or were speeding excessively they would be prosecuted.

BUS STOP - one of the first vehicles to be caught was the number one bus! Sgt Plews held up the Stagecoach and was not buying a ticket but issuing one.

Shame the driver did not take a closer look at the rear end of his bus before he drove today

... more drivers speeding in North Camp

Road safety awareness in exchange for fixed penalty notices

What do you think?

Wednesday, 12 September 2007

I need to hear your voice

... we can make a difference

Rushmoor Burglaries highest in area

Officers from the North and East Operational Command Unit are urging residents to keep their homes secure.
The advice is being issued based on statistics which show a rise in burglaries at insecure premises at this time of year.
There were 90 burglaries at insecure homes in the North and East OCU between 1 September 2006 and 31 December 2006. The statistics are broken down into districts as follows:

Basingstoke and Deane - 23
East Hampshire - 24
Hart - 17
Rushmoor - 26

Acting Chief Superintendent Mark Chatterton, North and East OCU deputy commander, said: “We are issuing this advice based on statistics which show a trend in burglaries at this time of year. By issuing this advice at this time we hope to educate residents on how to secure their homes and reduce the number of offences being committed this year.
“There are a number of simple precautions residents can take to reduce the chance of becoming a victim of burglary.
“Look at your house from a burglar’s point of view. Are there any open or unlocked windows or doors? How would you get into your house if you were locked out?
“It is important to remember that burglaries in North East Hampshire remain rare, and these kinds of offences are very easy to prevent. Burglars are often opportunistic and if they see an easy target, they will take their chance. Take simple precautions to protect your property and make it difficult for burglars to operate in our communities.”
Hampshire Constabulary offers the following advice as part of its Safer Homes initiative:

• Make sure you secure all your doors and windows every time you leave the house, even if you are ‘just popping out’.
• If you are in the garden or upstairs, make sure your downstairs doors are locked
• Fit window locks – easily visible locks may deter some thieves because it forces them to break the glass, which could attract attention. Remember to remove window keys and keep them out of sight in a safe place.
• Keep valuable items out of view – if you have electrical equipment worth hundreds of pounds, don’t keep it by the window where passers-by can see it.
• Never leave a key under a doormat, on a string through the letterbox or in a place which can be reached through a letter box – it’s the first place any burglar will look.
• Make sure tools and ladders are kept in a secure place – burglars will happily use your own garden equipment to break into your home.
• If you’ve taken extra security precautions, make it clear – if you have an alarm, make sure the box can be clearly seen; if you take part in Neighbourhood Watch, display a sticker in your window and, if you have a dog, put up a warning sign.

If anyone would like more advice on how to secure their property they should contact their local Safer Neighbourhood Team on 0845 045 45 45.

Council takes on the Flyers

Rushmoor Council is taking action to stop leaflets and flyers adding to the litter in Aldershot, Farnborough and North Camp.

The Council's Cabinet has agreed to use new powers to designate the shopping centres and car parks as places where leaflets and flyers can only be distributed with consent from the Council. This includes leaflets left under car windscreens.

Once the powers come into effect, anyone caught distributing leaflets without consent will receive a fixed penalty notice. The only exceptions will be leaflets from charities, religious groups and political parties.
Cllr Clifford Comment: This is great news. I may now be able to get my political flyers sponsored by a local take away!!!


Following my request after being contacted by our local beat officers the council have taken action at last. (See my note on 6th August 2007

Rushmoor Council will be using new powers to deal with abandoned shopping trolleys. From December, stores will be charged for all the abandoned trolleys that the Council collects.

Hot Air Ballon stolen

A rare hot air balloon and trailer have been stolen while outside an address in Reading Road, Farnborough, on Sunday, September 9.
The trailer and its contents, which are easily recognisable, were stolen over a very short time span between 9.50pm and 10.05pm.
The Linstran 90A hot air balloon, worth £25,000, is of a Union Jack design and is one of only two of its kind in the country.
The galvanised steel trailer, a Staffordshire clam shell, single axle, with a bright yellow clam shell lid and silver/grey plastic wheel trims, is only one of 30 made in the last 15 years.
Anyone who saw the trailer being stolen, or has any information regarding the location of the balloon and the trailer, should contact Aldershot police station on 0845 045 45 45 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

Tuesday, 11 September 2007

Police "tackle" Fishing Shop Robbery

Detectives in Aldershot are appealing for witnesses and information following an attempted robbery at Noels Fishing Tackle store on Fernhill Road in Farnborough during the early hours of Sunday, September 9.
Sometime between 3.30am and 4am,
the 50-year-old shop owner was woken after hearing someone outside the store.
A man came to the door and asked by buy some fishing equipment. The owner agreed and as he opened the door, the man pushed the door open causing the owner to stumble backwards. The owner managed to get outside of the shop and was then assaulted with a wooden instrument.
A second man was also present during the attack.
The attack stopped when a passing vehicle stopped to ask the shop owner if he was ok.
The shop owner was taken to Frimley Park Hospital by ambulance where he was treated for a head injury.
Officers have released a description of the man who approached the shopkeeper.
He is described as:

Of mixed race
5ft 6ins to 5ft 8ins
Slim build
With a small beard

Detective Constable Dawn White, of Aldershot CID, said: “We are keen to hear from anyone who witnessed this incident, particularly the driver and passenger of the vehicle that stopped to assist the victim.
“This was an unprovoked attack and we are keen to trace those responsible.”
Anyone with any information should contact DC Dawn White at Aldershot CID on 0845 045 45 45 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

Sunday, 9 September 2007

Empress Garden Party

Today Empress had its Question Time Garden Party at the home of two of our new members, Alex and Roger - thank you. It was lovely to see so many new members and local residents attend who also got a chance to cross examine our member of Parliament Gerald Howarth, along with local councillors.

My Megan is One year old already!

Yesterday on September the 8th my first granddaughter Megan was one year old. So mum put on an amazing birthday party inviting neighbours, friends and family, to be remembered by all except the little soul at the centre of the celebration ... Megan!! Who loved the company and attention, but couldn't quite understand what all the fuss was about. But loved all the new toys...

Grandpa caught pinching one of the presents

Great Grandma is very nice but all this nice food makes me sleepy

Saturday, 8 September 2007

Update on Alternate Weekly waste Collection (AWC)

Today I received the report from our "independent" consultants ABA on the results of the survey of the households in the trial area. One thing that needs to be remembered is they are working for and paid by the Council. Who pays the piper calls the tune. They have a close relationship with senior officers who can choose to continue to use them as outsourced consultants or choose never to use them again. As a firm I have nothing against them - but have experienced tension from senior officers in the past when I have asked to see the raw data they analyse to produce these reports.
I have to repeat also at this point my disappointment with the quality of the survey. The questions were appalling, and did "load" the option to introduce AWC which I think did the survey a great dis service. Residents are not fools. With that in mind the results are even more interesting.
6,549 households received the survey. 2,916 returned them (45%). Of these 1,487 supported AWC (23% of all households, or 51% of those that responded). This reflects the 20% support AWC received on my web poll. A big thank you to those that have voted in my poll and and also thanks to those who left comments which have raised some extremely interesting points.
Having spoken to some of those who did not return their surveys, I was met with an attitude of "my remarks will not make any difference - the Council will do what they want". I am bitterly disappointed with this attitude. Politicians value nothing more than their own skin - they want to be re-elected. They will not as a majority vote in schemes that will jeopardise their seats. I believe this is one such issue. Waste collection is at the very heart of what we are paid to do. And messing with it is playing with fire. Many people regardless of their views on waste collection say they do not want to get an inferior service and pay more for it. The report goes on to explain how AWC effects the popularity of the Council. This will not be music to the ears of local politicians. So it must be now looking less likely that we will go with AWC.
The final decision will be made by the 7 members of Rushmoor's cabinet, who have decided not to refer this to a meeting of the full Council. Which is a shame, as it stops myself and others from debating this with all my fellow councillors before a full Council vote, giving all councillors an opportunity to be involved and take part in this important decision.
This does leave me with more questions:
1. If AWC is not supported and we have been told the status quo is not an option, what do we do now?
2. What was the cost of the trial and was it worth it?
3. If this was a serious trial, why wasn't the other option (weekly collection of smaller bins) trialed as well? I find it unscientific and sloppy that both options were not put on trial. Or this was not so much a trial as a litmus test on residents tolerance of AWC.
4. We have spent a lot of time and money focused on AWC and recycling. What are we going to do positively about promoting the other arguably more valuable habits of reducing and reusing items before they see any of our bins?
The good news from all this I hope is that residents will see that they are listened to, and that your voice and opinion is not only important but needs to be expressed and shared with your political representatives. And if your political representatives are not listening to you - do not vote for them.
What do you think?

Tuesday, 4 September 2007

I need to hear your voice

I am interested in what you are thinking, how you feel about things, and what I can do to make this a better place for you.

Summer Newsletter on Waste (click to enlarge)

Turkey 07

Just enjoyed an amazing 10 days in Turkey. It is an incredible place of paradox, and I love it. A secular democracy where the main political topic is religion. A Muslim country saturated with Christian history. Caught in the East but with its heart in the west. A friendlier people you could not meet - a terrifying foe you would do well to avoid. History is full of people that underestimated Turkey from the well disciplined ancient Roman Legions to the modern well armed western military powers. It sits quiet, self confident and alert with hands extended east and west. Show respect and these hands will embrace you, show hate and they will become a fist of iron. The more one sees the more one cannot help loving it and its people.

Its also a fantastic place to learn to wind surf .....

One of my few moments upright on the surf board riding the wind. And yes - those white legs are brighter than the white surf board.
I came across a sculpture of a very unpopular roman governor in the region, known for his huge ego and poor diplomacy and failure in politics. The name escapes me but the ugly face rang a bell, and scared small children .....

The beautiful Ephesus, of which only 25% has been uncovered, close to the last earthly home of Mary the Saviours mother, a place now cared for by devoted French Nuns - I felt a strange peace there. The altar had a cloth with a woman's name embroidered in italic writing - and it wasn't Mary! Maybe a name that isa name to represent all women. The question however, is why did she choose here. Because John the beloved was posted here? Who was given charge of her by the Saviour as he hung on the cross - or some other reason? If only the hills and stones could talk - what stories they could tell. In time.

Where your recycled rubbish ends up....

The process (click to enlarge)

Bearing in mind the recycle debate going on I asked our Waste Szar for a visit to the local MERF (Materials Recycling Facility) located between Alton and Farnham. This is not to be confused with the tip in ElImoor Road in Farnborough (pictured above). I will try and explain and show with pictures what takes place.

You fill your blue bin and it gets taken to the MERF and emptied - paper, board and plastic

Plastic and paper is then loaded onto a conveyor belt together....

The machines and labourers sort it....

For the paper a huge industrial magnet takes out from the paper all metal like staples...

The paper is then further cleaned and refined and finally spills off the end of the conveyor into areas to be collected and recycled into newsprint:

While the plastic is collected and bailed in another part:

So do not listen to people who say it just gets put in with the rest of the waste - they are talking a load of rubbish!!