Tuesday, 21 December 2010

Monday, 20 December 2010

Princes Hall panto

The Princes Hall's three panto shows are all going ahead as planned today (Saturday).
Sunday's performances will also go ahead. We do not expect this situation to change, but if there are any changes, we will update our website as soon as possible.

Our town centres and car parks
Following the heavy snow on Saturday morning, we are doing our best to help clear the main areas of Aldershot, Farnborough and North Camp and we have crews hand-clearing the town centres. In Farnborough town centre, we have ploughed the main routes through to Asda, Princes Mead and Queensmead car parks.
In Aldershot, we have ploughed the main routes to the High Street, Warburg and Birchett Road car parks.
We have also ploughed the access route to the Aldershot Centre for Health, access to Aldershot and Farnborough railway stations and Camp Road in North Camp.
We have carried out some clearance and treatment of the North Lane shopping area and the footpaths in North Camp

Winter weather and bin collections
If our bin collections are affected by this weekend's snow, we will update this web page as early as possible.

Roads and pavements
For details about which roads Hampshire County Council will salt in bad weather, grit bins and safe winter driving, visit www3.hants.gov.uk/roads/winter-maintenance.htm.

For details about school closures, visit Hampshire County Council's website, http://www.hants.gov.uk/education/schoolclosures 
Being prepared for snow
Following the heavy snowfalls of last winter, we have made our own preparations to deal with extreme snowy and icy conditions.
We now have increased salt stocks in place and extra staff have been trained in snow clearance. We have also added a Land Rover to our fleet of vehicles, complete with snow plough attachments and a towable gritter, to help keep our car parks and the town centres open during snow.
Where we can, we will also support Hampshire County Council to help keep local roads and footpaths clear

Tuesday, 14 December 2010

Government Grant - 25% cut to Rushmoor

We will do all we can to protect key public services, but there will inevitably be significant cuts.

That is the stark warning from Rushmoor Borough Council following the Government’s finance settlement announcement on Monday.

While the Government’s quoted reduction in grant to Rushmoor is 7.41%, the Council believes that in cash terms, this will actually mean a cut of 25% for 2011/12.

Over the next two years combined, the reduction in grant looks likely to be 32%.

And while the Council has already made significant savings of £1.1 million and planned a further £1.5 million in anticipation of a 10% grant reduction, it will now have to consider further, major savings.

Cllr Clifford says " This is the inevitable fallout from the gross mismanagement of Government finances over the last few years of the Labour Government. 

The new coalition Government is working closely with Local Government to ensure front line services are protected and local authorities are being given more freedom from central government control, which they need to introduce innovation, so they can deliver to local residents better value for money.

This will involve some tough choices, but local Conservatives will ensure necessary public services are protected and the best interest of residents considered above anything else." 

Conservative Councils do more for less.

Monday, 13 December 2010

New Look - Farnborough

Another image conscious retailer invests in Farnborough...actions speak louder than words...

Friday, 26 November 2010

Lads of the Village

On Wednesday evening together with the Mayor, the Leader and Chief Exec I was pleased to be invited to a ceremony at which the Lads of the Village were formally dissolved.  It was a sad event as the Lads have been in existence for over 80 years having been established originally on the invitation of a former Mayor of Aldershot Borough Council to help[ raise funds in support of the Aldershot Cottage Hospital.  They had continued since those days with a maximum membership at any one time of 40 and has raised many hundreds and thousands of pounds for local charities.  The decision to end was not taken lightly but they had found it harder to maintain interest in membership and they  had reduced to only 12 members.  The Chief Lad formerly handed back to the Mayor their symbols of office.  We will see whether they can be displayed in the Aldershot Museum together with a wide variety of scrapbooks that have already been handed over. I am very proud of the fact I served a few happy years with them when I lived in Aldershot. 

Royal Aeronautical Society

On Tuesday the Royal Aeronautical Society held a ceremony at their national library at The Hub on the SEGRO estate behind us with the unveiling of a plaque to commemorate the life and achievements of Anne Burns.  Anne, who would have been 95 on the day, was a distinguished aeronautical scientist and champion glider pilot.  She worked for many years at the Defence Evaluation and Research Establishment and its predecessors and had an international reputation for her work.  The plaque is mounted on the outside wall adjoining the entrance to the library which is open to the public and well worth a visit.

Help for Heroes Calendar

The Princes Hall Team led on this occasion by Edward Haversham, the Marketing, Box Office and Information Centre Manager, have produced an Aldershot 2011 Calendar with pictures chosen from a local competition open to local residents.   Over 60 people entered and the calendar reflects the quality of the entries.  The calendars are being marketed at £5 a copy with all of the proceeds being donated to the Help for Heroes Charity and are available from Princes Hall and shortly elsewhere within the town centre.

Weather update

As you will have picked up from the various weather forecasts we are moving in to a cold spell which could well last for several weeks.   There is no snow forecast for this area this weekend but there is a possibility of snow next week.  We are given regular direct briefings by the Met Office and their current advice is that there is an increased risk of some sleet or snow reaching the south-west of Hampshire and perhaps the Isle of Wight for a time early on Monday morning but it is not expected to be significant.  The rest of Monday should be largely fine across the south-east although a bitter east to south-east wind will pick up during the day.  They have said that there is the possibility of a major area of snow coming in to the south of the U.K later in the week but this is far from certain.

The Borough CEO is extremely pleased with the level of our preparedness for snow this year and grateful to all those who have developed the plan and also to the Member Task & Finish Group.  John Trusler organised an exercise last week and our Land Rover with snow plough and gritting attachment is all ready and Members are being provided with copies of the salting route in the post today.

Monday, 22 November 2010

Salisbury Road, Farnborough On Street Parking Recommendations

A report to Cabinet in January 2007 described a history of vandalism to signs (to allow unrestricted parking), and frequent use of the 25 space ‘car park’ for visits to town centre shops (that in turn reduced capacity for access to adjacent shops and medical facilities).

Cabinet approved a proposal to retain the existing 2-hour waiting restriction and to overlay a 10p/20 minute charge from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. (subject the statutory process for consultation). The resolution has yet to be implemented.

The construction of Concept House caused parking problems between 2009 and 2010. The car park was subject to repeated abuse by contractors, and parking space outside the surgery was frequently abused by delivery lorries awaiting site access.

Of late, complaints have been received from residents and traders about on-street parking by residents of Concept House. It is claimed this impairs local trade and is the outcome of unfair parking allocation within the development.

Survey Work

Regarding Concept House, a ‘before and after’ survey has been carried out by the Transportation Strategy Officer.

Regarding trader concerns about the adequacy of parking, a survey has been carried out by the Parking Manager.

Summary Findings

Concept House Survey

The survey suggests there has been no change to residential parking levels on Abbey Way, Monks Close, Douai Close, Carlyon Close, Rapolio Close and Clockhouse Road.

In contrast, there has been an increase in residential parking on Salisbury Road, Church Avenue, and Salisbury Road Car Park. This does not appear to originate from Concept House during weekdays, but other evidence confirms this is likely be the case regarding evening/overnight/early morning parking.

Parking within Concept House appears to be underused, but contractual arrangements between the developer and residents are significant and to a large extent determine occupancy. A parking management contractor has been appointed by the developer who, we understand, is proposing to introduce and enforce a residents’ permit parking scheme. With this in mind, it would be inappropriate for the Council to involve itself directly in the management of parking within the complex.

Trader Survey (ADP Dental Care, Alexander House Surgery, Lloyds Pharmacy, Currylicious, Mattik Polish Shop, Ford Mears Undertakers)

The consensus view of traders is that:

-       the existing 2-hour waiting period is too long – medical practitioners have their own parking for longer appointments;
-       the 8 a.m. – 6 p.m. Monday – Saturday restriction is too short and there are calls to extend this to 10 p.m. and to Sundays to protect local trade and deter overnight parking;
-       traders will support a structured parking charge to deter ongoing town centre parking and residential parking;
-       medical practitioners are calling for more disabled parking, more protection of entrances (double yellow lines), and better bay markings (i.e. general improvements)

-       Lloyds described an early morning parking problem caused by overnight parking (residents are not in contravention until 10 a.m.)
-       Lloyds and Currylicious described ‘wall-to-wall’ evening/overnight parking from 4 p.m.
-       Alexander House Surgery and ADP advised of overnight residential parking in their own car parks, plus a lot of town centre parking that reduces capacity for patients. 


The Salisbury Road (on-street parking and car park) restrictions fail to meet the needs of local businesses and their patrons, and require adjustment.

Daytime congestion on Salisbury Road/car park/A325 does not appear to originate from Concept House. It appears to arise from shoppers visiting the town centre. A reduction in the waiting time and a parking charge will overcome this, which in turn will increase turnover and available parking space.

Evening and night parking on Salisbury Road car park and in the immediate vicinity (largely by residents of/visitors to Concept House), is the result of convenience parking, not necessarily arising from the inadequacy of parking within the complex. The extension of parking restrictions and a charging regime will deter residential parking, and in all probability drivers will then utilise the parking available within the complex.

We need to improve parking standards by increasing the number of disabled parking spaces on-street, laying down double yellow lines across dropped kerbs, improving markings, and introducing better regulation of the area.

We propose to:

(i)            reduce the existing duration of parking from 2-hours, to 1-hour
(ii)           extend the restriction from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday to Saturday, to 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday to Sunday.
(iii)          introduce a charge of 20p/20minutes up to the proposed maximum 1-hr limit, initially on the car park, and possibly on Salisbury Road and the A325 the latter subject to further review and consultation (we will offer a two-part ticket if traders wish to offer a full or part refund to customers).

(iv)         while making the proposed changes, to improve disabled parking and entrance protection.

Mike Bamber                                                  Jim Pettitt
Parking Manager                                            Transportation Strategy Officer.


Friday, 19 November 2010

Rushmoor Boundary/ Electoral Changes

Electoral Review
We have received confirmation from the Local Government Boundary Commission that they have decided to adopt a Council size of 39 (we currently have 42 councillors - 3 in 14 wards) for the purposes of the next stage of the review which will commence formally on 30 November.   At that time they will invite all interested parties to submit proposals for new wards based on a council size of 39 and the consultation will run until 21 February 2011.

The Commission received three submissions on council size – including the Council’s own submission – and these are all available to view on their website http://www.lgbce.org.uk/all-reviews/south-east/hampshire/rushmoor-electoral-review 
We are continuing work on preparing the council’s submission together with the Electoral Review Group.

Mayor Brian Parker - school visits

Mayoral School Visits
The Mayor has placed high priority this year on engaging with young people and has carried out a number of visits to schools which he has found to be extremely rewarding and beneficial.  If any members would like the mayor to visit schools in which they are governors or otherwise have an interest, do contact Sharon Woodman on 398824 or email sharon.woodman@rushmoor.gov.uk.

Police Changes

Empress Beat changes

We are sorry to loose PC Lee Jeffers and WPC Bev Woodhead, who have now been assigned to St John's in Farnborough and Aldershot town centre respectively. They were our first 'police partners' in Empress and we have built up a great working relationship with them, and I am grateful to them for all the hard work they have put in making our Ward a better place to live.

However, we are really pleased that we keep our PCSO Beth Pathin, and get a new PCSO and new beat manager WPC Emma Fidler. So a warm welcome to Emma, and we look forward to working with and is already making a difference.

Hampshire Police

The Borough currently sits within the North & East Hampshire Operational Command Unit which is commanded by Chief Superintendent Mark Chatterton.  The Force is currently carrying out a review of their operational structures to reflect the predicted reduction in their government grant and it is likely that there will be a rationalisation leading to fewer command units.  This is currently under discussion and there will be further consultation over the next few months. 

In the meantime, Chief Supt Chatterton is making some local changes and has decided to combine the District Command roles for Rushmoor and Hart into one.   Work will take place to harmonise the management arrangements over the next few months with a view to commencing the new arrangements in January.  At that time, Chief Inspector Sarah Jackson, currently the District Commander for Hart, will take over responsibilities for both areas and our existing District Commander, Duncan Weston, will be moving on to a specialised role within the force.  I am relaxed about these changes and am confident that we will be able to work well with Sarah who has an extremely good reputation.

Oak Farm School

Oak Farm School
We received confirmation yesterday that Cllr Perry, Hampshire’s Member for Children’s Services, has approved the proposal to transfer the Samuel Cody School from the Wavell site to Oak Farm.  This is good news for the school which has an excellent reputation and has grown beyond the space it currently has on its existing site.  The move will not only  enable it to improve facilities but also to maintain the community facilities currently provided at Oak Farm.  Wavell will also benefit as it will provide space for the school to expand in the future.  The governing body at Samuel Cody and the headteacher, Anna Dawson, have always worked well with the Borough and I am confident that they will embrace the community elements on the site.

Thames Water

Thames Water
We have been contacted by Thames Water who have confirmed their commitment to taking steps to tackle leakage from pipes in our borough ahead of what they believe could be another colder than average winter.

They have stated that they have made significant progress having hit four consecutive annual leakage targets, but they recognise that they have more work to do on their ageing network.  The problem is apparently worse during the winter months as water drops below 5OC which leads to a dramatic increase in leakage  and pipes burst as the cast iron pipes contract.   They intend to step up their activity over the coming weeks and throughout the winter as this will enable them not only to get a large reduction in leakage but also to tackle problems before they become more significant and disruptive.  They believe it will also minimise leakage to road surfaces and be less disruptive to road users.

We are likely to see more activity on the ground and they are asking for our understanding and support and they will do all they can to minimise disruption to residents and streets.  They have also confirmed their intention to provide more detailed plans as soon as they become available and I will ensure that you are kept informed.

Post Scan - be warned!!

Postal Scam:

Can you circulate this around especially as Xmas is fast approaching - it has been confirmed by Royal Mail.  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 0906 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 £315 for the phone call.

If you do receive a card with these details, then please contact Royal Mail Fraud on 020 7239 6655

Thursday, 4 November 2010

Impact of the Comprehensive Spending Review by Roger Martin-Fagg

Economists disagree on the likely impact of the proposed changes in the pattern of government spending. The media keep talking of cuts whereas in fact government spending over the next four years in total will rise by 5%. However if the economy grows faster in nominal terms than 5% a year, the share of government in GDP should fall from the current 47% to a level of 40% over the next few years. It is worth recording that in 1997 the share of government was 36.6% of GDP.

I am one of those economists who believe there is no alternative to the current policy. The reason I have this view is that for the government to keep spending at the rate that was established in 2007, the cost of raising that money would be one and a half percent higher than today. This means that long-run interest rates instead of being just under 3%, as they are now, would be 4.5% and in my view rising.

The government has to cut its deficit because of the impact that a 4.5% long run interest rate would have on the mortgage holders in this country. We know from the FSA that 48% of UK households with a mortgage have no money left after interest payments and normal living expenses. We are talking here around 6 million households. The current spending plans as announced will reduce the effective spending power of these households by around £500 a year over the next four years. A 1.5% increase in the mortgage rate would reduce their spending power by around £900 a year over the next four years. The average debt per household including mortgages is £58k. It is clear to me that the governments plan is preferable to the alternative.

Government has no money of its own. The only money it has is that which it taxes from its people. The current administration realise that the limits of taxation both direct and indirect have been reached. They also know that in a slow or no growth economy tax receipts do not increase. That is why the reduction in borrowing is primarily being achieved by reductions in planned expenditure. The money that government taxes and spends is actually produced by entrepreneurs running businesses. But the original source of this money is bank lending. This is where I am most concerned. If we look back at the last recession from 1992 onwards bank lending grew at an annual average rate of 5% in the first five years and then subsequently at 8% and then from 2003 onwards at 10%. Since August last year each month the rate of increase in bank lending has slowed until in September of this year it actually fell by 1.6%.

This money supply data tells me that there will be a recession next year. It will not be caused by the current government's spending plans. Instead it will because of a lack of growth in money both in the UK, the United States and Western Europe throughout this year. (There is a lag of about 9 months between changes in lending and changes in nominal GDP). Is there anything that can be done to increase the money supply? Well there is quantitative easing. This is when the central bank creates money and with this new money it buys existing government securities. The new money flows into the banking system's balance sheets and then it is hoped that they parcel this new money up and lend it to SMEs and also for new mortgages. In fact although quantitative easing has allowed long-run interest rates to fall below 3%; most of the new money created has either flowed back to government through the issue of new debt or flowed overseas, as the investment arms of the banks take positions in high yielding currencies. In particular the Brazilian Real is being subject to substantial speculative purchases. Indeed the Brazilian government have announced a 6% tax on the purchases of Brazilian assets by overseas agents. The reality is that we in the West will most likely experience a mild recession next year (real GDP minus 1%), and then very low rates of growth (under 2%) until around 2015. By then the Western Banks should have much stronger balance sheets, (that is unless Greece defaults) and lending should be growing strongly.

Wednesday, 3 November 2010

Suspicious Callers in the area

On 18/10/10 Two males were knocking on doors in the Basingstoke rural area  claiming to be from Southern Electric.
They were offering what they said was a new service to Southern Electric key meter customers  and asked a resident for money at the door so they could top up her meter.
This isn't a service that Southern Electricity provide and they are aware that bogus cold callers have been in the area recently.

1st Male: White male in his 20's, wearing black trousers, black fleece, short/shaved hair.

2nd Male: White male in his 40's, Brown Hair going grey in a side parting style, wearing grey suit, white shirt, red tie.

Both males were carrying black clip boards.

They got into a new looking small silver car - no further details. 

Please be mindful of this as they do travel the County and report any  such 'visits' to Police asap.

Monday, 25 October 2010

A letter from Hampshire County Council ...

23rd Oct 2010
Dear Councillors,

Further to the government’s public spending review, and the impact which it will have on public sector funding, it has been decided by the Director of Environment that it would be advantageous in extending the current bus contracts for the Black Water Valley from April 2011 until October 2011, when the Council will have a clearer understanding of the budget implications and would ideally be better placed to tender your local bus services.

Thank you for all your comments received via the questionnaires and this information will be used in due course when we issue tenders in this area.

Friday, 22 October 2010

Burning butts make burning bins - extinguish before you bin it

Last night  Thursday 21/10/10 , some time between 9pm and 9.47pm an unknown person has set fire to a wheelie bin outside a house in Abbey way in Farnborough.

A passing motorist stopped and alerted the householder and fortunately no one was hurt.

PLEASE if anyone has witnessed this incident by seeing someone  recklessly throwing away a cigarette can you let me know.

Thursday, 21 October 2010

David Levey - RBC staff member, resident and Cove Brook volunteer

Fantastic job, well done and thank you David and all the people that help keep this area clear. A good example of voluntary action. 

Armed and dangerous

So much collected, help is required

Well done and thank you David

Thursday, 9 September 2010

Tour of leisure facilities

The Chairman of the Leisure Panel decided it would be a good idea to visit and examine the sports facilities in the Borough. So we made a start the other day and visited the Rugby Club HQ in Aldershot, the Lido and then the Recreation Centre in Farnborough. It was exhausting!!

Aldershot & Fleet Rugby Club -
Great plans for the future - they have 200 youngsters playing, a great achievement

Duncan welcomes the Councillors and explains plans for the future

Cllr Clifford caught playing a game he can cope with, and is not too tiring, encouraged by the Chairman

Leisure Facilities in the Borough provide the best food I have eaten.
There is an awful lot of guilt eating it though...

Wednesday, 11 August 2010

Message From Phyllis Tuckwell Hospice - Supporters Please Be Aware!

Dear supporter
It has come to our attention that some local people have been receiving unsolicited telephone calls from a bogus caller saying they are ringing on behalf of the Phyllis Tuckwell Hospice and asking for a donation over the phone. We would like to reassure you that we would never ask directly for donations over the phone or for personal credit card details to be given during an unsolicited telephone call.

From time to time, however, we may use the telephone to update our current supporters on some of the many developments currently going on at the Hospice but we would always direct them to our website and / or the Hospice itself should they wish to make or change their donation - we would never seek personal banking or credit card details over the phone.

If you have any queries or are in any doubt about the bona fide nature of a telephone call on behalf of Phyllis Tuckwell Hospice we would encourage you to contact us directly on 01252 729446 and one of the team here would be happy to help or to advise.

If you would like to support the Hospice in any way please visit our website at www.pth.org.uk where you can find lots of different ways to help us continue delivering specialist palliative care to people in your area.

Thank you for your continued support of the Hospice - we really do rely on this to keep our many and varied services going.

The Fundraising Team

Phyllis Tuckwell Hospice

(01252) 729446

Monday, 9 August 2010

What is wrong with women these days

Sent to me by a female resident....

Some pun play - well it is the summer.

The roundest knight at King Arthur's round table was Sir Cumference. He acquired his size from too much pi.
I thought I saw an eye doctor on an Alaskan island, but it turned out to be an optical Aleutian.

She was only a whiskey maker, but he loved her still.

A rubber band pistol was confiscated from algebra class, because it was a weapon of math disruption.

No matter how much you push the envelope, it'll still be stationery.

A dog gave birth to puppies near the road and was cited for littering.

A grenade thrown into a kitchen in France would result in Linoleum Blownapart.

Two silk worms had a race. They ended up in a tie.

A hole has been found in the nudist camp wall. The police are looking into it.

Atheism is a non-prophet organization.

Two hats were hanging on a hat rack in the hallway. One hat said to the other: 'You stay here; I'll go on a head.'

I wondered why the baseball kept getting bigger. Then it hit me.

A sign on the lawn at a drug rehab center said: 'Keep off the Grass.'

The short fortune-teller who escaped from prison was a small medium at large.

The man who survived mustard gas and pepper spray is now a seasoned veteran.

A backward poet writes inverse.

In a democracy it's your vote that counts. In feudalism it's your count that votes.

When cannibals ate a missionary, they got a taste of religion.

Saturday, 31 July 2010

A note from my mate David (The Prime Minister)

Dear David (Clifford)

Parliament has risen, summer is here and this coalition government is nearly at the three month mark. It's a good time to take stock of what we've done so far and where we're going. Eleven weeks in and I believe we've made a good start.

We said we'd take the tough decisions needed to rescue our economy and we've been doing that. We've scrapped Labour's jobs tax, completed an in-year spending review to save £6 billion of waste and presented an emergency Budget that will balance the books within five years.

We promised radical reform of our public services and we're delivering, with a big expansion of the academy programme in our schools and unprecedented reform of the NHS - £1 billion of bureaucracy cut, pointless targets scrapped, whole tiers of bureaucracy abolished and real power for GPs and patients.

We campaigned relentlessly on pushing power out from the centre and we're making it happen. Eric Pickles' department has been busy dismantling the architecture of top-down control, scrapping Regional Assemblies, Regional Strategies and the bureaucracy of RDAs.

We said we'd do the right thing by our troops and we've been doing that too. We have established a National Security Council, made sure we have a clear strategy on Afghanistan and doubled the Operational Allowance for our Forces.

This isn't an exhaustive list, but it does show our intent to hit the ground running as a great reforming government. And just as we've started, so we'll go on - taking the tough decisions on our economy, radically re-thinking our public services, pushing power out to people and doing all we can to restore Britain's standing in the world.

But however frenetic the coming months and years will be, however busy life in government is, I will never forget how we got here - through your hard work and your tireless campaigning.

Thank you for your continuing support - and have a great summer

Thursday, 29 July 2010

Aldershot Credit Union branches out to Farnborough

From August more people living in the Rushmoor area will have easier access to the Credit Union.
Currently located in Aldershot Town Centre, the Credit Union will soon operate from two locations: First Wessex offices in Gordon Road, Aldershot and Rushmoor Borough Council offices in Farnborough.

• From Thursday 12 August (and every other week) Gordon House 1-4pm

• From Thursday 19 August (and every other week) Rushmoor Borough Council offices 1-4pm

The Credit Union offers secure and ethical banking and loans on a not-for-profit basis for local people. It is controlled by its members and offers a genuine alternative to high interest credit, loan sharks and doorstep lenders.

This joint venture between Rushmoor Borough Council and First Wessex is an important part of tackling financial exclusion in Rushmoor and providing local people with safe options for saving and borrowing.

Nicky Barham, Manager of the Aldershot Credit Union explains: “One member was paying £30 a week to doorstep lenders – which barely covered the interest. A loan from the Credit Union has helped reduce her weekly repayments by half. We’ve now set up an Xmas Savings Account for her, and she’s paying into it weekly to save for Christmas.”

Matt Smith, Community Regeneration Manager at First Wessex hopes more local people will join thanks to the expansion: “We’re working really hard to deter people from turning to loan sharks when they find it hard to get credit or loans elsewhere – and this really is a genuine alternative. We hope that having the Credit Union based in both these offices will mean we can catch lots of people’s attention and raise awareness of this crucial facility.”

Councillor Paul Taylor, Rushmoor Borough Council’s Cabinet member for Corporate Services, said: “The Credit Union offers a valuable service in providing residents with a safe way to save and borrow money. We are extremely pleased to be able to offer an additional base at the Council Offices so the service can expand into Farnborough and I’m sure local people will appreciate the easier access.”

Councillor Clifford thinks Credit Unions are a great community asset, that offer competitive interest rates to borrowers and cuts out greedy bankers and loan sharks. Those that borrow from them often save with them, so borrowers are less likely to default on payments as they are essentially borrowing from neighbours.

Saturday, 24 July 2010

New Look in Farnborough

Some news hot off the press – KPI have been working hard to secure tenants for the new retail units adjoining the Sainsbury. I am pleased to confirm that they have now announced agreement on a lease for a new NEW LOOK store which will occupy one and a half of the new units and extend over two floors. NEW LOOK currently trade in Princes Mead but the new store will be significantly larger and one of their national “model” stores.

Housing Benefit Fraud Prosecution - Farnborough

A couple from Farnborough who fraudulently claimed more than £25,000 Housing and Council Tax Benefit have been prosecuted at Winchester Crown Court and given a nine month suspended prison sentence. The couple, Andrew and Sarah Beck from Blackthorn Crescent Farnborough, were accused of claiming in excess of £60,000 in both local authority and DWP benefits and admitted 11 counts of benefit fraud. The prison sentence has been suspended for two years and Mr Beck was also given a 150 hours unpaid work order and Mrs Beck a supervision order. This is an important message to those minded to defraud the benefit system and makes clear the Council’s commitment to taking prosecutions when this arises.

Interestingly, this successful prosecution was as a result of a two year investigation involving a number of council services and Department of Work & Pensions staff and shows the real benefits to be gained from collaboration and partnership working.

Thursday, 8 July 2010

Sex assault - man wanted

Detectives have released an e-fit image of a man they would like to speak to in connection with a serious sexual assault in Aldershot on Saturday, July 3.
Between 2pm and 3pm a 15-year-old girl and a 14-year-old girl were walking through Aldershot town centre when they bumped into a man. They spoke to him briefly but he didn’t speak very good English and they left.
The teenagers then went to sunbathe in Manor Park. While they were there they were approached by the same man who came and sat down with them.
When the girls went to leave the park at around 4.15pm the man followed them. He then grabbed the 15-year-old girl and sexually assaulted her.
The victim screamed and the man then walked off.
The man is described as:
• 22 years old
• Tanned skin
• Long face and two moles on his face
• Sharp jaw
• 5ft 8ins to 5ft 10ins tall
• Muscular and athletic build
• Short, dark hair
• Spoke with a Romanian accent
• Wearing a brown short sleeve t-shirt with a pattern on the front, blue light coloured shorts and dirty canvas trainers

Detective Constable Andy Panter, of Aldershot CID, said: “This was an unusual but very serious incident that happened during the day at a busy park. “We want to hear from anyone who recognises the man in the image as soon as possible. “The victim screamed during the incident and other people in the park would have heard her and may have seen something.” Anyone with information about the incident should contact Det Con Panter at Aldershot police station on 101 or call the Crimestoppers charity anonymously on 0800 555 111.
For more information about policing in your area visit the local policing pages of Hampshire Constabulary at www.hampshire.police.uk

Tuesday, 22 June 2010

Historic Budget

What a historic picture: Tory Chancellor flanked by Liberal Democrats!!

David Cameron also dropped me a line to keep me updated as he always does when there is something important.

Dear David,
I know how worried people are about the state of our economy and the decisions we have to take as a country. So I wanted to write to you personally about the emergency Budget the Chancellor delivered today.
I'm not going to hide it from you - what the coalition has announced is tough. But let's be clear, it's also entirely necessary and entirely unavoidable. Never forget - Labour left us with one of the worst economic inheritances imaginable. They racked up one of the biggest budget deficits in Europe - with the government borrowing one pound for every four it spends - and they doubled the national debt.
Doing nothing about this isn't an option. Greece stands as an example of what happens to countries that don't deal with their debts. And we cannot afford to be timid either - take just small steps now and confidence in our economy will fall, interest rates will rise, we'll carry on with this debt cloud hanging over our whole economic recovery.
That's why these difficult times call for such decisive action. And that's what this emergency Budget is about. Unlike the Budgets of the past thirteen years it's not a random shopping list of policies to buy short-term popularity. It's a thoughtful plan to pay for the bills of the past while planning for our future prosperity. At the heart of George Osborne's Budget are three principles.
First, responsibility. We will bring some sense and sanity back to the public finances by reducing our deficit by an extra £40 billion over the next five years. The majority of this will come from spending cuts - though as we always said, we will protect the NHS and international aid budgets. But tax rises are required too. I know you won't like that. Believe me, I don't like it either. But there's a high price to pay for Labour's incompetence, so VAT will have to rise to 20 percent to deal with their deficit.
Second, freedom. The economic growth needed to create jobs and opportunities for all will only come when we get enterprise flourishing again, so this Budget sends out a signal to the world that Britain is back open for business. In its pages are plans to cut red tape, stop Labour's jobs tax, reduce corporation tax rates, improve our infrastructure, support a low-carbon economy and spread new industries to every corner of our country.
Third, fairness. As I said, this Budget is tough. But it's also fair. That's what I'm about, what this Party is about, it's what this coalition is about. That's why we have asked every part of society to make some sort of contribution to paying off our debts - with the richest paying most. For example, Capital Gains Tax will rise for top rate taxpayers - but I think most people will agree that 28 per cent is a fair rate.
At the same time, we have also done everything we can to protect the least well-off. So while there will be a two-year public sector pay freeze, we will make sure those earning less than £21,000 still get pay increases. We will also increase the personal tax allowance by £1,000 for low and middle income earners, re-link the basic state pension to earnings and make sure it rises each year and reform the benefit and tax credit system so we reward work and protect the most vulnerable. What's more, we have committed an extra £2 billion in child tax credits for the poorest families - helping to ensure there is no increase in measured child poverty over the next two years. This is what we mean when we say we're all in this together.
David, in this emergency Budget I believe you have the measure of this government. Will it provoke debate? Certainly. Will it cost our coalition some popularity? Possibly. But is this the right thing to do - for the health of our economy, for the poorest in our society, for the future of our country? I passionately believe it is.

South Africa Lunch

Thursday, 17 June 2010

Aldershot Hot News

The MOD shortlist for the Aldershot Urban extension comprise three companies
  1. Argent Uk
  2. Taylor-Wimpy
  3. Grainger
 The contract should be awarded in the autumn.

Wednesday, 16 June 2010

Pictures of a Parade: Welcome home 101 Logistic Brigade

It was great to see so much warmth not just from the heavens but from the great and good that had gathered to welcome home 101 Logistics Brigade today. The Mayor and other VIPs even got to pin a few medals on the extended chests of these returning troops that had served in Helmand province, Afghanistan helping communities to resist the oppression of the Taliban and live in peace.

After the parade and medal award ceremony we all gathered in the Princes Hall for refreshments with all the returning troops, where we had the pleasure to meet and talk with them and their families. The overwhelming message from every soldier I spoke to was that despite casualties, they all agreed that they were doing a valuable job and genuinely helping the Afghans, who they spoke kindly of. They were also happy with equipment and speaking to a senior officer in equipment supply I learned that new vehicles are being designed and built and will be put into theatre soon.

I came away from this parade extremely impressed with our troops, and their positive and optimistic attitude. They really are a credit to our nation, and I am so pleased we hosted this reception. I was particularly impressed with a young group of military policemen I spoke to who had gone on regular foot patrols with the infantry. They were bright, positive and sober beyond their years, a real credit to their unit and just a good and descent group of young men. We are sending out to these far away lands fine ambassadors. 

This is in stark contrast to the enquiry into 'bloody Sunday' that filled the news yesterday. It is all too easy to make judgements from the comfort and safety of a courtroom on soldiers caught in the 'fog of war' with  those they believe or fear may be terrorists. Although I fully appreciate the pain of families that loose loved ones in such a situation.

Today however, having met with some of our troops today I believe Bloody Sundays are now much less likely, and, as some wise commander recently suggested, we should start giving medals out for soldiers that are nowadays showing incredible restraint under fire.

I felt extremely privileged to meet these fine young men and women today, and feel very sad that four that should have been there were not.

Thank you LDS Helping Hands

Members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints ’Helping Hands’ team acted swiftly when they received an appeal from the police and us local councillors to assist an elderly resident.

The elderly resident needed help clearing the overgrown grounds of her house to make it safe after being recently targeted by heartless vandals, some of whom have been arrested. With the elderly resident unable to cope with her overgrown garden, over 20 keen Mormon volunteers from their ‘helping hands’ action team in Farnborough readily picked up their tools at short notice and went to work clearing paths and overgrown shrubbery.

WPC Woodhead and myself who referred the case to the Helping Hands team were both delighted with the outcome and praised the volunteers for their quick response and the dramatic difference they made.


After - a resident with some of the LDS 'Helping Hands' volunteers

Friday, 11 June 2010

Isabelle and Megan

I saw Isabelle and Megan this last weekend and got a great photo of them talking to each other. I hope they always stay this happy with each others company!

Megans love of the camera is frighteningly like her grandfathers, another keen photographer or a budding politician perhaps......

Gareth gets married

Last weekend Gareth my fellow councillor got married. A lovely wedding and a beautiful bride. I hope they are both very happy together. I got a few snaps, but sure we will see much better photos of the wedding later.

Tuesday, 8 June 2010

Farnborough Football Club approach the Council for money

I have been assigned to three council committees: Environment Panel, Farnborough Business and Community Panel and Leisure and Youth Panel.

Last night I attended the first meeting of the Leisure and Youth panel. The first meeting of the year we elect a chairman, and I am pleased Ken Muschamp was re-elected with Sue Carter as his vice chairman.

We then had a presentation from Farnborough Football Club, which essentially was a request for £300,000 from the new owner Simon Hollis. Simon is a very nice chap, and obviously committed to football. He has put a huge amount of money into the club and spoke passionately about the game and about the vision he has for a new stadium.

Our panel has no authority to give money. That, under the cabinet system, is left to a group of seven councillors who get most of their decisions endorsed by the council as a whole. Under the political system we have, this effectively means that with a good Conservative majority it is highly unlikely that any decision the cabinet make will be overruled by council. Officers particularly like this system, as one can imagine. So the role of panels that I serve on is to advise or feedback to cabinet. It is a good opportunity to 'test the water' before a decision, and to 'scrutinise' after a decision.

I personally prefer the 'consultation before a decision' approach that our cabinet take. And the football club is a good example of that.

The presentation from the club lacked imagination in my view. I think we have potentially an exciting opportunity to build a 'coalition of support' for an inspirational project drawing on a few important themes:
1. Football Club under new management and with a growing supporter base.
2. Located in a deprived area with challenges that football can help tackle.
3. Close proximity to schools and colleges that can add an important educational dimension.
4. Good location, close access to M3

The challenges are:
1. No money anywhere, in fact it is a time of huge reductions and cuts.
2. Two football clubs in the Borough competing for money.
3. The club is a private company, not a social enterprise.
4. The club already has outstanding debts to the Council.

Positive factors:
1. Council own the land.
2. New management of the club that are enthusiastic and want to make a difference.

I am sure there are more that could be added to the above, but that is just a quick empty of my brain onto paper, which you will not be surprised did not take long.

My view for what it is worth is that we obviously have a talented chairman of the club, that is enthusiastic. The council is also talented and enthusiatic. And I think the two working together could come up with an imaginative solution that could achive a number of objectives that could benefit the club and the community without the Council giving a huge amount of money at a time of radical spending cuts.

The panel under the leadership of the chairman Ken Muschamp had an animated discussion after which the chairman summerised the feelings of the panel which will be passed on to the cabinet.

What would you do? What advice would you give to cabinet?