Wednesday, 28 February 2007

Redrow Development Update

The proposed residential development at the former RAE factory site by Redrow Home(Southern) Ltd & Farnborough Business Park Ltd is still going through the planning application process.

Redrow submitted amended plans, which included reducing the height of the terrace housing adjacent to Pinehurst Cottages to 2-storey, meaning the closest 3-storey property is now 21 metres from the boundary.

The Public consultation period ended on 12th February 2007 with another 13 letters of objection being received by the Council and it is now expected that the application will be presented to the Planning Committee on 28th March.

Tuesday, 27 February 2007

If you visit - please leave a message

If you dont want your comments published let me know. But please leave a comment and give me feed back on the issues I raise, or tell me about an issue I should be involved with.

Monday, 26 February 2007

Always and forever

Here, there and everywhere.
I must get organised - I need a part time bookeeper and full time manager.

MP's have assistants and researchers.
Us poor councillors .... nothing.
Quite right too.

Saturday, 24 February 2007

Council Meeting

The Council Meeting of the 22nd February was the worst Council Meeting I have ever attended in my 16 years as a councillor.
I do however want to re-assure residents that much good work is done by many councillors in small working groups where they do not "play to the gallery" or press. I find the full council meetings sometimes brings out the worse side of members. Having said that it is usually good humoured and harmless.
There is no doubt in my mind, however, that the most effective meetings at Rushmoor are the panels where councillors work together to find solutions to local problems. You will be pleased to learn this happens all the time in Rushmoor.

Tuesday, 20 February 2007

Remembering the Aldershot Bombing

This last weekend, we had Thames Valley TV come and do a piece on the Aldershot Officers Mess Bombing by the IRA (in revenge for bloody Sunday) on 23rd Feb 1972 which killed 5 young women, an elderly gardener and a Catholic Priest (Padre). It was a turning point for the Official IRA, their first bombing on the mainland, and was such an outrageous slaughter of innocents that the Official IRA gave up the armed struggle later that year, only to be replaced by the Provisional IRA (Provos).

The bombing took place just a few 100 yards from where I lived. And it was poignant remembering the event and the effect it had on the town and the devastation it caused to the victims families and friends.

I want to see the site preserved as a garden of remembrance. And a little more money spent to make it worthy of the innocent souls who were murdered here, and a more pleasant place for friends and families to visit.

Dispersal Order for Cove Green and Town

Following consultation between the Police and Rushmoor Borough Council an application was made for a Dispersal Order to be granted for this location. The application was granted for a six month period from 00:01 16th February 2007 until 23:59 15th August 2007. Details of the order were published in the local press and signs with full details were placed around the area for your information. Even if these signs are removed, it does not prevent Police action.

This leaflet contains an extraction of the relevant details from the sign together with contact details for your information. If you are intimidated, harassed, alarmed or distressed by groups of two or more people within the area of the map shown, you should contact the Police on 0845 045 45 45.

This is not an exclusion zone or a curfew area, but it is designed to make the area a more pleasant place for everyone. The Police will not necessarily disperse people in this area for just being in a group. If the complaint is found to be false and malicious, this could be seen as a form of harassment of those being complained about. The legislation gives the Police the power to disperse the offenders from the area and to stop them returning within 24 hours. This may cause problems to them if they are living here but they should now have been adequately warned before reaching this point. Between the hours of 9pm and 6am, any person under the age of 16 years who is not under the effective control of an adult may be removed to their home address or a place of safety, if more appropriate. a small section of the community are gathering in the street and other public places, drinking alcohol, being abusive to residents and passers by, trespassing on private areas, causing damage and being guilty of antisocial behaviour.

The Police need you to advise them when there is a problem that affects your life and aim to respond quickly to deal with any matter in a robust and justified manner. Please ring 0845 045 45 45 and ask for the control room for North East Hants. They are aware of the legislation in force and should send police units to attend and deal with the situation. You should not have to put up with the inconsiderate behaviour of any group of people.

Monday, 19 February 2007

First Flight of 2007 in England

Got my fiirst flight in on the 17th Feb over the beautiful countryside of Basingstoke. After a text book "forward launch" take off I had a great flight for an hour, and then almost collided with power lines trying to land in a cross wind.

With my eagle like landing on tip toes clumbsily turning into a frontal collapse onto hands a knees, almost kissing mother earth.


Flying in Cappadocia, Turkey

I have just returned from a few weeks exploring in Turkey. Cappadocia is a fascinating region of Turkey for a number of reasons. First it has some unique geology. The landscape is stunning and filled with unusual glacial features that are a geologists dream.

It is also an area that was inhabited by the early Christian Byzantine church - they used the unusual features of the landscape to build churches and homes into the rock. In some areas there are whole cities underground, and built into the mountains. The picture on the right is of a monastic community with many small churches built into the mountain.
The frescos in the churches are beautifully illustrated and colourful, and all very similar in that they depict the life of the Saviour from birth to death. They also often include paintings of the prophets of the Old Testiment, and the writers of the four gospels. Below is a very typical scene of the crucifixion.
Unknown to many people, there was a very large Turkish Christian Community in this region up until 1924 when all the Turkish Christians were force ably exchanged in a deal with Greece for Greek Muslims. However, there remain Christians and Jews in the very cosmopolitan city of Istanbul. Some of the more modern churches in Cappadoccia have been demolished and used for other buildings, like the Hotel I stayed in. Others have been converted to Mosques, but others like the one below stand empty. However, one Govenor in the region is encouraging Christians to use the church below and restore it.

Friday, 16 February 2007

Empress Community Safety Meeting

Last night we held our first Ward Community Safety Meeting. In attendance were neighbourhood watch coordinators from all over the ward along with church, education, sport, business and retail representatives. The meeting was organised by the Empress Police beat officers Lee Jeffers and Bev Woodhead, along with your Empress Borough Councillors Patricia Hodge and myself.

The purpose of the meeting was to identify the 3 top priorities for the police to tackle in the ward. The next meeting in May (meetings will be every 3 months) we will review what has been accomplished in tackling these 3 priorities and then set another 3 priorities. And so it will continue.
The meeting took 2 hours, and set the following 3 priorities:

1. Cove Green - to tackle anti social behaviour and provide facilities for young people.
2. Town Center - tackle anti social behaviour.
3. Cycling - deal with cyclists that endanger pedestrians, but also work to make the cycleways clearer and more obvious.
In May I will report back what we have done to address these issues.
If you want other priorities considered please drop me an email or leave a message here.

Thursday, 15 February 2007

Vehicle Crime targeted in Rushmoor

Police in Rushmoor have launched an operation in the Borough to prevent and detect vehicle crime.
As part of the force’s Safer Vehicles campaign, it aims to reduce the level of vehicle crime as well as encouraging those who live, work and visit the area to follow simple advice to avoid becoming a victim of crime.
The operation was launched in response to an increase in vehicle crime in the borough in recent weeks. In most cases, items such as stereos, cash and satellite navigation system equipment had been left on display. Sat Nav systems are particularly attractive to thieves who will also break into vehicles to search the glove box for these items.
Hotspot areas have been identified and a number of initiatives are being conducted to address the problem. This includes high visibility police patrols and crime prevention officers advising people on the measures than can be taken.
Safer Neighbourhoods Inspector, Paul Pressley, said: “We are committed to preventing and detecting vehicle crime. I want to send out a clear message to car criminals that we won’t tolerate these incidents and are determined to find those responsible and bring them before the courts.
“If this operation is to be successful it is vital that we receive any information from members of the public about vehicle crime and the criminals responsible.
“Also, car criminals couldn’t make any money if people didn’t buy stolen goods. I would also ask anyone who is offered cheap second hand goods, such as stereos or satellite navigation systems, to think twice and if it seems suspicious, report it to us.
“We also need the help of local people to help us discourage car criminals. For people who have older vehicles without lots of security features, I would strongly urge them to invest in a steering wheel lock or alarm. They are simple measures but they really do deter criminals.
“Also, do not leave anything of value in your car. If you want to keep your belongings safe take them with you and remove Sat Nav holders and suction marks from the windscreen.”
Anyone with any information should contact Aldershot or Farnborough police station on 0845 045 45 45 or call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

Sunday, 11 February 2007

Council Reduces Planned Tax proposal

Rushmoor Borough Council’s Cabinet agreed on Tuesday (6) to reduce its planned Council Tax increase for next year from 3.9% to 3.4%.

The Cabinet heard on Tuesday of the work that had been done to identify further areas for reduction in the Council’s budget since it agreed a provisional figure of 3.9% last month.

Councillor Peter Moyle, Leader of the Council said: “We have decided to reduce the planned increase in Rushmoor’s Council Tax to look after the interests of our residents, especially senior citizens on lower fixed incomes. We can do this because of our track record of sound financial management and a programme of work to review services to reduce spending.”

He added, “This will require some difficult decisions on services, but I am confident this Council can achieve these.”

“However, I would assure our residents that we are still committed to providing the high quality front-line services that they expect from us. Our budget also allows for the Council to move forward in some high priority areas, such as recycling, community safety and concessionary travel for our senior citizens.”

The Council’s budget proposals were drawn up following consultation with senior citizens’ forums in Aldershot and Farnborough and representatives of business and voluntary sectors. Each of the Council’s Policy and Review Panels has also reviewed them.

Councillor Moyle added: “We have received widespread support from all parts of the community for the budget, and my fellow councillors have put forward some interesting proposals for reviews of particular services to enable us to reduce our spending.”

The budget is due to be considered for final approval at the meeting of Council on the 22 February.

Rushmoor’s budget makes up around 10% of the total Council Tax bill received by residents. The rest of the bill goes to pay for services provided by Hampshire County Council, Hampshire Police Authority and the Hampshire Fire Authority.

Recycle your old clothes & save lives

Recycle your old clothes and save lives!

Residents who recycle their old clothes and shoes at Rushmoor Borough Council’s recycling banks in Aldershot and Farnborough could be helping to save lives.

The money made from the old clothes, shoes and textiles collected at five sites across Rushmoor is being used to support the Hampshire & Isle of Wight Air Ambulance Service. The money is used to provide helicopters, pilots and paramedics to fly emergency patients to hospitals across Hampshire.

Rushmoor Council has recently provided another four brand new textile recycling banks in Heron Wood Road, Deadbrook Lane and Bridge Road in Aldershot as well as Giffard Drive in Farnborough.

Councillor Roland Dibbs, Cabinet Member for the Environment at Rushmoor Borough Council said: “Since September, nearly seven tonnes of textiles have been collected from five existing sites. The four new recycling facilities are another convenient way for our residents to recycle locally whilst protecting the environment and helping to save lives by supporting the air ambulance service. Other items such as glass, aluminium foil, books, paper and card can be deposited in similar banks at the same sites.”

Helen Walker, from Tradehouse Ltd who raise the money on behalf on Hampshire Air Ambulance said: “We would like to thank Rushmoor Borough Council for supporting our recycling scheme, which is going to raise thousands of pounds towards the £65,000 needed per month for the new Hampshire and Isle of Wight air ambulance, which is due to launch in the spring”.

A full list of banks and further information about recycling in Rushmoor is available at

Further information about the Hampshire Air Ambulance Service visit

Locations of other textile banks involved in the scheme:
Morrison’s car park in Farnborough.
Peabody Road car park in North Camp
Pinehurst car park in Farnborough.
Cove Green Recreation Ground car park.
Brickfields car park in Aldershot.

More Family Homes for rent

Three new family homes are to be made available for rent in Farnborough following approval by Rushmoor Borough Council’s Cabinet on Tuesday (6) to invest £195,000 in the scheme.

The new homes will add to the 189 affordable homes built in Rushmoor since April 2006 by the Council’s housing association partners as part of its target to provide 475 new affordable homes in the borough over the next three years.

Each year, the Council contributes £1 million towards the total cost of the borough's affordable housing development programme, adding to the contribution of more than £9 million from South East Regional Housing board as part of the 2006/08 National Affordable Housing Programme.

The Cabinet meeting was told that the two three-bedroom homes and one four-bedroom home had previously been used as shared accommodation for students and needed a grant subsidy to make them permanently available for affordable rent.

The homes would become part of Pavilion Housing Association’s stock and would provide three family-sized houses, where much of this year’s programme had funded flats and smaller units.

Councillor Francis Williams, Cabinet member for Health and Housing said: "We are pleased to be able to fund an additional three family homes for affordable rent. These new homes will help us provide a balanced development programme to meet the high level of housing need in Rushmoor.”

The average market rent for a three-bedroom house in Farnborough: is £850 a month. The average housing association rent (based on Housing Corporation target rents) is £432 a month.

Fixed Penalty Fines- Council Consults

Rushmoor residents, businesses and community groups are being asked for their views on Rushmoor Borough Council’s new Fixed Penalty Notices enforcement policy.

The draft policy is aimed at helping to tackle environmental offences such as littering, dog-fouling, illegal cycling on the pavement and nuisance parking.

The Council is also asking other enforcement agencies such as the Police and Hampshire County Council to have their say on the proposals.

The policy is available on the Council’s website, and anyone who would like to comment can do so online. Comments need to be received by 17th February.

The move to take tougher action on littering and other environmental crimes follows new powers given to councils by the Clean Neighbourhoods and Environment Act that now gives Rushmoor the ability to issue on the spot fines of up to £100.

Councillor Graham Tucker, Cabinet member for Safety and Regulation, said: “The enforcement powers will help the Council’s new community patrol team keep Rushmoor safe and clean. The uniformed team can be seen on patrol seven days a week from 7am to midnight, providing a reassuring presence for the residents of Rushmoor.”

The Council has already received a number of helpful comments as a result of the consultation, in particular, some about repairing vehicles on the road. The new powers mean the Council can take action when this is causing a nuisance to people who live nearby. However, initially, it would work with those involved to try and agree a way forward.

Monday, 5 February 2007

To Euro or not to Euro

A great piece from my mate Daniel Hannan(MEP):
A distinct case of the wobbles
Enjoy your moment, all you apostles of the euro: this is as good as it's going to get.
The accession of Slovenia last month brought membership of the single currency to 13, and I'm willing to bet that that's as high as it'll ever go. A survey in the Financial Times this week showed that, throughout the euro-zone, large majorites hanker after their old currencies. The nostalgia is keenest at the Union's core: nearly two thirds of Germans oppose the euro. The FT made no attempt to disguise its contempt for the doltishness of the common man. Its report began: "The euro-zone economy may be growing robustly, but its citizens appear not to expect significant financial gains as a result. They give scant credit to the eight-year-old euro for improving their national performances, an FT/Harris poll shows..."
But it's not just the polls. Millions are simply opting out. A chunk of Bavaria is issuing its own money, while shops from Italy to the Netherlands have started to accept their former currencies, to the delight of their customers. Suddenly, the question is not who will be the next to join, but who will be the first to leave. In anticipation of a collapse, Germans are being advised to hang on to euro notes beginning with serial number "X" (which, apparently, indicates that they're issued in Germany) and to ditch those beginning with "S" (issued in Italy). Amazing how quickly something can go from being inevitable to being unthinkable. Eight years ago, most commentators assumed that the three recalcitrants - Britain, Sweden and Denmark - would have to join sooner or later. But guess which of the then 15 EU states have since enjoyed the highest growth rates? That's right: Britain, Sweden and Denmark. As the Americans say, go figure.

Saturday, 3 February 2007

Congratulations to all born 1940 - 1970

First, we survived being born to mothers who smoked and/or drank while they carried us.
They took aspirin, ate blue cheese dressing, tuna from a tin, and didn't get tested for diabetes.
Then after that trauma, our baby cots were covered with bright colored lead-based paints.
We had no childproof lids on medicine bottles, doors or cabinets and when we rode
our bikes, we had no helmets, not to mention, the risks we took hitchhiking .
As children, we would ride in cars with no seat belts or air bags.

Riding in the back of a van - loose - was always great fun.

We drank water from the garden hosepipe and NOT from a bottle.
We shared one soft drink with four friends, from one bottle and NO ONE actually died from this.

We ate cakes, white bread and real butter and drank pop with sugar in it, but we weren't overweight because......


We would leave home in the morning and play all day, as long as we were back when the streetlights came on.
No one was able to reach us all day. And we were O.K.
We would spend hours building our go-carts out of scraps and then ride down the hill, only to find out we forgot the brakes. After running into the bushes a few times, we learned to solve the problem .
We did not have Playstations, Nintendo's, X-boxes, no video games at all, no 99 channels on cable, no video tape movies, no surround sound, no cell phones, no text messaging, no personal computers, no Internet or Internet chat rooms..........WE HAD FRIENDS and we went outside and found them!

We fell out of trees, got cut, broke bones and teeth and there were no lawsuits from these accidents ..

We played with worms and mud pies made from dirt, and the worms did not live in us forever.
Made up games with sticks and tennis balls and although we were told it would happen, we did not poke out any eyes.

We rode bikes or walked to a friend's house and knocked on the door or rang the bell, or just yelled for them! Imagine that!!

The idea of a parent bailing us out if we broke the law was unheard of. They actually sided with the law!

This generation has produced some of the best risk-takers, problem solvers and inventors ever!

The past 50 years have been an explosion of innovation and new ideas.

We had freedom, failure, success and responsibility, and we learned HOW TO DEAL WITH IT ALL!

And YOU are one of them! CONGRATULATIONS!

We have had the luck to grow up as kids, before the lawyers and the government regulated our lives for our own good.

Makes you want to run through the house with scissors, doesn't it?!