Thursday, 18 December 2008

Paramotor Pilots Christmas Bash and Smash

Tonight went to our annual pilots Christmas Bash in Old Basing, lovely food and great company rounded off with this years pictures and videos of some generally disgraceful flying. It was nice to be reminded regularly of my particularly skillful power line collision. Thanks!!

Highway meeting

At the council offices, present: Three ward councillors, PC Lee Jeffers, John Edwards, John Trussler, Phil Stoneman, Andy Ford. Met with our Highway men at Rushmoor and agreed progress on a number of ward issues:

1. Queen Elizabeth Park: New low lite cycle path to be installed in February 09. At the same time we aim to get CCTV in place too. (a bid has been put into the community fund). Neighbourhood Watch planned for this area in January also.

2. Rectory Road: Double yellow lines to be advertised Feb and implemented in March to stop parking on grass verges. Also plan at same time some improvements to the small car park.

3. Empress Estate: Yellow lines going in unsafe road areas February.

4. Orchard Road: Parking meters to be hooded and not used at our request. This was agreed and will be actioned immediately, and trialed for 6 months.

5. Clockhouse roundabout: We complained about the new junction layout - were told the contractor building concept 2000 had done this without authority so work was to be 'undone', and put back to how it was.

6. Union Street: Any obstruction to drives to be reported to beat officeres who have power to ticket vehicles that are causing an obstruction.

7. Cove Green: Will get increased priority as a regeneration area.

8. Pinehust Avenue, Elles Close: 'Residents only' parking signs going up January

9. Cycle Plan for Farnborough is now getting some proper funding from the County Council, and a comprehensive plan will be complete by May 2009.

10. We now have a hit team to attack any badly maintained areas in the Borough. If you know of one - let us know too!!

You report it - we will sort it.

Wednesday, 17 December 2008

More support for local business

This year I sat for the first time on the 'Farnborough Business and Community' panel. The Chairman is a very nice man, and included lots of nice people, the lady in North Camp that runs the tobacconist, the chap that runs the sports centre, our local beat officer, a nice chap from Planning and another nice chap from Environmental Health.
However, very nice and polite as they all were, I distinctly left my first couple of meetings wondering what Rushmoor actually does to support front line business in Farnborough and indeed Aldershot. You could equally argue - this is not a town hall job, the town hall aspect is ensure a clean safe environment that will attract businesses and nice homes, shops, leisure and living conditions that will attract skilled people.
We would have to be a particularly bad authority to mess up some of the prizes we have been given. We live in a great area, relatively low density housing, although I shudder at what planning have allowed regards slums in waiting that we call modern flats recently. To put blame where it belongs - we have to thank Mr Prescott for most of that, although we have been too slow in my opinion to address parking ratio's for flats.
We have an excellent blue chip company base that is the envy of many a local authority, with Nokia, CSC, QinetiQ and Tag Aviation to name just a few who reside in the Borough. We must not forget (although heavily depleated now) the Army, who are ressession proof. Sadly we are a garrison village more than a garrison town these days.
The other key gem we have is the Farnborough College, who can offer skill training etc to businesses and employees.
We have been very good at the 'strategic' vision, you know the generic stuff that is duplicated on lots of town hall copiers to 'tick boxes'. I think we have very nice people that want to do the right things, and in general we are getting this right, but I think we could do better, and see two areas worth concentrating on.
1. We need to focus on local, especially when the wolves are gathering at the doors. Let us concentrate on what we are good at - delivering local solutions at a local level tailored to local needs. Supporting our local economy in deed not just in word.
2. We need to work with all agencies as a local authority, and not have any favorites. This also spreads risk and keeps us above any accusation of unfair support for a particular organisation. There are a number of agencies now that are offering free support to companies, now if I, as a local business owner and a councillor, am having difficulty finding exactly what is on offer - somewhere, somehow, something is not working as it should.
Can a local authority really have a great impact on local businesses? No a failing business will fail regardless, and assistance sometimes only prolongs the inevitable closure. But local authorities are able to do a number of positive things to help rather than hinder the development of business. These could include, but are not limited to:
1. Hosting events run by specialist organisations, that offer free services to businesses.
2. Have free pre planning briefs for businesses wishing to expand.
3. Promote skilling up via local educational establishments.
4. Get a reputation for working with companies, not to bend any rules, but have an open and friendly dialogue which looks for solutions rather than obstacles to business challenges.
5. Ensuring we keep all costs to companies and individuals to an absolute minimum.
.. and more
Some of these we are doing, some we are not.
The one frustration with local government is the 'oil tanker' culture. Bad habits can take years to stop, and years for a change in direction. This is the fault of the majority of members and senior officers. Change under the present system takes time, some suggest this is one arguement in favour of directly elected Mayors with cheif executive powers.
Summary: Rushmoor is a good place for business - but some aspects of what the local authority are doing could be improved, run more efficiently and more focused.

Tuesday, 16 December 2008

Suffering with man flu

I am sure we get it worse than the girls!! Just want to sleep right now - I am never sick and hate feeling this awful. So lots of sympathy please.

Wednesday, 10 December 2008

Paramotor Crash

On way back from the factory, I saw some 'Micks' (Irish Guards) laying out a paramotor wing and engine ready for take off, from an undisclosed location in the Garrison. So I stopped to watch - unfortunately the poor chap started off really well, but then failed to launch, fell and badly injured his arm. Luckily his comrade was at hand to take him to the MO, and the engine to the workshop to replace the propellors. Good to see some fellow pilots in the area, hope the guy does not let the accident put him off.

The Aviator Hotel - the Farnborough Society visit

Sue a member of the Farnborough Society - who organised the trip with our guide the delightful 'Miss Bird' of the Aviator - perfect!!

Some inspiring photography made easy by inspired achitecture

The heart of the hotel beating with visitors

An scented altar in a darkened hallway



A room - spot the amature photographer

A room with a view

A great story I came across

A man from Birmingham who cannot read or write just sold some art for £11m. I firmly believe we all have a special talent in a particular area - the challenge is to find it. Mine is being awkward!

Our new PCSO Beth

Welcome to Beth our new PCSO helping us make Empress safer. We are really pleased to welcome Beth who has just completed her training and been assigned to us, having met her I know she will be a real asset to our community.

Christmas Disco fever!!

Send your own ElfYourself eCards

Merry Christmas Hoe Down from Empress

Send your own ElfYourself eCards

Monday, 8 December 2008

Ban cheap alcohol and reduce crime and NHS costs

A ban on supermarket and off-licence discount promotions would cut crime by 14,000 offences a year, including 4,000 violent incidents, and reduce absenteeism from work. according to government-funded research from Sheffield University.

The research was commissioned by the Department for Health and looked at 40 separate alcohol policy options, including setting minimum prices per unit. It showed that reducing the quantity of cut-price alcohol on sale can reduce consumption and have significant effects on reducing related crime and ill-health.

The researchers estimated that a 40p per unit minimum price could reduce hospital admissions by 41,000 a year and save the NHS £116m a year in treatment costs. This minimum price level would also reduce crime by 16,000 offences a year.

The report also looked at the impact of a ban on cut-price alcohol promotions in supermarkets and off-licences, and suggested that wine drinkers would be hit hardest by such proposals. It said that a ban on discounts of more than 30%, while effecting wine consumption most, would have little effect on cheaper alcohol, such as lager and beers, selling for less than 30p a unit.

Targeting price increases at cheaper types of alcohol, particularly in bars and pubs where at-risk groups such as younger people do most of their drinking, would have an impact without unduly penalising moderate drinkers.

Read the full feature from The Guardian here
Booze cheaper than water in some superstores!!
Research by the drink and drug charity Addaction shows it costs less to drink alcohol than bottled water at leading supermarkets. Discounted own-brand alcohol is sold for as little as 23p per can, claims the report.

Addaction said proposals which will be announced by the Governmennt later this week may not include measures to stop cheap booze from being sold in supermarkets and off-licenses.
The charity analysed the price of drink from supermarkets including Tesco, Sainsbury’s and ASDA. Although the range of cheap alcohol on offer has shrunk over the past year, shops continue to offer low-cost “value booze”.

Tesco Value lager cost just 23p per can, or 26.1p per unit of alcohol. This was less than the equivalent volume of bottled water. Cider by the three supermarkets cost just 59p per litre, or less than a bottle of coke. The researchers also found that Sainsbury’s and ASDA had two-for-one deals on a well-known brand of 5.2% lager, and that value vodka was being sold for as little as £6.55 per bottle.

Read the full article from TimesOnline here
I also think we should take names of drunks that abuse police, nurses at A&E, ambulance staff, and taxi drivers, etc - and they should get banned from all pubs in the area for a fixed period according to their behaviour. This could easily be agreed with local landlords.

Friday, 5 December 2008

Some body statistics

  • The largest cell in the human body is the female egg and the smallest is the male sperm.
  • It takes your food seven seconds to get from your mouth to your
  • One human hair can support 3 kg (6 lb).
  • The average man's penis is three times the length of his thumb.
  • Human thighbones are stronger than concrete.
  • A woman's heart beats faster than a man's.
  • There are about one trillion bacteria on each of your feet.
  • Women blink twice as often as men.
  • The average person's skin weighs twice as much as the brain.
  • Your body uses 300 muscles to balance itself when you are
    standing still.
  • If saliva cannot dissolve something, you cannot taste it.
  • Men who read this are probably still busy checking their thumbs.

Thursday, 4 December 2008

Beware door to door salesmen

Yesterday CID arrested a man in Winchester for going door to door without a Pedlars Certificate
He had numerous convictions for Burglary, theft etc..

He said that other 'Nottingham Knoockers' would be coming to Hampshire before Christmas.

Officers have been told to arrest anyone selling door to door without a Pedlars Certificate.
If they knock your door - tell us immediately


Are you a councillor who believes that local authorities should have more power?

Or a Conservative activist who wants the party to set out in more detail what it would do in office? Or a patriot who feels that too much power has been ceded to Brussels?

Or simply an intelligent person in search of a good read?

Well, my friends, I have just the thing. The Plan: Twelve months to renew Britain, co-authored by me and Douglas Carswell, a Conservative MP, sets out a comprehensive plan to restore purpose to the ballot-box, dignity to the legislature and freedom to the individual.

"Douglas and Dan show how a future government could actually shift powers back, from Brussels to Westminster, from Whitehall to town halls, from the state to the citizens. Things do not have to be as they are.

The Plan shows how we can change our country for the better," writes Boris Johnson .
"There is real power and integrity in their analysis, and it presents a conundrum for Cameron. The Tory leader can only remain true to his ideas by relinquishing power on a massive scale-to communities and to Parliament" says Peter Oborne <> in the current issue of Prospect.
Other critics, too, have been generous (see, for example, John Redwood <> , Dizzy <> , John Laughland <> , Donal Blaney and ConservativeHome
> ).
And here's the best bit, amigos: we can do all these things in just one 12-month parliamentary session. You don't believe me? Read the book. You can it from <> or through Amazon
Read Daniel's blog on
Visiting our troops in Helmand
Conservative MEPs must leave the EPP
Five ways to make Parliament more representative <>=20
The best and worst of Shakespeare
How to bring down the BBC
Public sector workers immune in the Baby P case <>=20
The Speaker must go
You can follow Daniel in the Telegraph online every day at

Wednesday, 3 December 2008

Search of Damian Green's Office on cam

David Cameron on the Queens Speech.

My verdict on the Queen's speech
Today was the day Labour lost its last shred of credibility. First we had a Queen's speech that was all about the short-term political prospects of the Prime Minister, and not the long-term future of this country.
Then Gordon Brown failed to support the Speaker's regrets about the search of Damian Green's office. His silence on the episode was deafening and damning. It's time for this Government to go.
Click on the video below to get the rest of my take on today's events.
David Cameron

Harlequin Hall of Fame Dinner - Harrods

Well - where else for Harlequins? Above is the shrine to Dodi and Diana which greets everyone that comes in the back door. I reached for my wallet when I saw that jeans were 40% off - but then realised they started at £300, so thought I would wait for the New Year sales.

I seem to have been following Jason Leonard MBE around the last few years - I was at his testimonial dinner and last night discovered I was at his induction to the Harlequin Hall of Fame. I had a great night with a table full of extremely interesting people, some of which I met that night and some I have known for a good many years.

Jason Leonard getting the well earned induction into the Harlequin Hall of Fame

On our table was the Harlequin Director of Rugby (Head Coach) Dean Richards who is doing a fantastic job at Harlequins and has the fear and respect of the players. He has a stunning rugby career

Dean Richards and friends on our table - identities hidden to protect the innocent .. well guilty actually...

Tuesday, 2 December 2008

Alarm Bells ..... be warned

On ….1430 28/11/08
A resident in Winchester received call from a female from a company called

First Direct/First Response Alarm Co

Said salesman was in area and that they only sold to elderly. Man arrived gave name Paul Hardcastle and mobile number 0XXXX 31558
Pointed out how easy it would be to break into house and that there was a real risk of fire
Their system would alert police and fire service… a snip at £3300
When they did not agree price gradually fell to £1500 + £40 per month for police attendance

This is the 2nd complaint in a week
An elderly lady in Twyford gave them bank details set up direct debit, handed over a cheque for £3000 And a cheque for £45 made out to Hampshire Constabulary
Trading Standards waited for them ….an engineer from Bournemouth turned up. He had no connection with company and been hired to install system
Cheque & direct debit were cancelled

Monday, 1 December 2008

Two incidents in Westheath

Two recent incidents that you need to be aware of.
Please pass this on to neighbours.

1. Sunday afternoon around 1300 hours there were two suspicious males in the Westheath Road area.
They knocked on a door asking if the household owned a dog that looked like a fox that was lose in the area.
The female visitor and ex police officer stated that it was not theirs but was visiting so she would ask the occupant of the house if they knew if the neighbours had one.
She could not update the males as they had already walked away down Westheath Road.
The males were soaking wet and looked like they were seeing who was home or not.

The males were both around 17 years of age and white.

The first male had short dark hair was skinny and 5ft 8.

The second male was 5ft 9, skinny build, gaunt face, with hood up. They were not seen again.

2. The second incident involves a white transit van seen on Sunday 30th around 1300 hours again on Westheath Road.

The male driving this van stopped to speak to a lone female.

The male initially asked for directions to Farnborough Main Train Station and then offered the female a lift.

This was declined but shook the female. It is believed that this is the same male who was seen some 7-8 months previously under the same circumstances.
The number plate of the vehicle was not seen.

The driver is described as being white, 5ft 8-9, stocky, late 40s early 50s, short stubbly beard, uncombed medium length hair which was dark grey/white.

Can you all please be on the lookout and be careful.

Farnborough Town Centre Schedule update

There are 6 phases in the above plan. Phase 1 and 2 are now complete. Phase 4 is the major work currently being carried out now, building the superstore units and Hotel, which are blocks one and two. According to the new schedule, these will be completed November 2009. The remaining work phase 5 and 6 in the map above and units 3 and 4 in the schedule below are the works to be completed adjacent to the main site.
The final piece of the puzzle is the Cinema construction, which is now expected to start in the summer of 2009 and completed October 2010.

click on images to enlarge

Theft in Holly Road

Please be aware that overnight 27/28th in an address in Holly Road an intruder removed from a trailer filled with odd timber and the like, the plastic cover.

The cover had been secured with rope and difficult to remove when wet.
There was no sign of the rope so it is suspected that it had been cut off and taken.

Fortunately nothing has been stolen