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 
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

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.