Saturday, 31 May 2008

How many councillors does it take to use a phone box?

A PartridgeOne - just. According to councillor for Shortheath and Boundstone, John Ward. Here's what he emailed me this week about the red phone box in Boundstone that's under threat of removal by BT:

There is a big intimidatory sign on the door saying NO COINS and when one gets inside there is the notice saying that it is to be removed (after 42days "consultation"). Actually using it is more difficult.

There are reasonably obvious instructions. Firstly one is told to swipe ones credit card in the card swiper - after careful search I found that there isn't one. Then I discovered in small print very low down (so that I had to bend double) "what to do if there is no card reader".

This involved dialling an 0800 number which one had to bob up and down like a demented partridge to read the number and then key it in. One extra small problem - after dialling 0800 the line goes dead!!

There are also instructions in small print about using a BT card which I doubt many people have.

I lost patience and anyone at all infirm or with poor eyesight would never be able to make a call anyway. One might wonder of this is an "accidental" ploy by BT to reduce the takings!!

Friday, 30 May 2008


It's less than two days since I posted about my incorrect assumptions about the Echo Barn Lane consultation. And already I have the answer!

And for it, I take my off my (metaphorical) hat to David Munro, our local County Councillor, who gets back to me on these kind of things with some swiftness. As it turns out, the plan goes to the Surrey County Council Local Committee (Waverley) on the 6th June. The committee's role includes the review and approval of the Local Transport Plan, which as this meeting will include the scheme for the crossroads (including "road cushions").

If you're keen to observe a bit of local bureaucracy democracy, then it's all happening at Godalming Baptist Church from 1.30 pm on Friday 6th June.Surrey County Council Local Committee (Waverley)

Thursday, 29 May 2008

Greenbelt. Or not greenbelt?

GreenbeltThis morning I was able to confirm a date next week for visiting a location in the ward that is giving me a planning conundrum. It's a piece of land next to existing properties, that has been used for light industrial / storage / building purposes, for the past years, and for which there is now an application to erect a single dwelling.

The conundrum springs from the fact that this land is not for urban development. It's not strictly greenbelt, yet is has a designation that protects the village from expansion in this direction. However, a number of the residents of adjoining properties would be happy for the new house to be permitted, as it would look much nicer from their own properties than a builders yard, and would seem more in keeping with the area.

There are a number of questions in my mind though:
(1) If relevant conditions are placed in the deeds of adjoining properties, would that be sufficient to prevent further development, even perhaps in the near future? I.e. how binding would these conditions be on future owners?
(2) Would allowing a particular development on very local grounds, be setting a precedent (even though this is not allowed for in national planning law) for further application for nearby greenbelt (or similar) land?
(3) Is it possible that an owner could use a certain piece of land in a way that means neighbouring owners would then be glad to see development on it as an alternative?

I post these as they are the real questions in my mind as I ponder over this application, and thought it might be of interest. Comments anyone?

Wednesday, 28 May 2008

Gate A19

A19Sat at Heathrow's Terminal 5, enjoying its space, cleanliness, and general calmness, I'm struck at the sight and example of three children playing before me. Two girls, sisters I think, have just invited - without guile, hidden agendas, or contractual obligations - a young boy to join them in a game.

I write this, as I'm simply made happy by the sight of such simple fun and enjoyment. No natual suspicion of someone unknown and unmet. No fear. No ideological separation. No nonsense - just sense.

The world of course, is not this simple and clearly bounded, and not in the main guided by loving watchful parents from their nearby seats, sharing frequent glances with the parents opposite them, all equally enjoying the sight of such playfulness. But, perhaps there's something to be learned from approaching things in a childlike manner.

Perhaps you're thinking "Mike, you're totally overworking this into some pseudo psychological-come-political analogy that simply doesn't work." Or perhaps you're thinking like me, "Wouldn't it be great if I could make friends this easily, and if I fall out with them, make it up as quickly" I'm pretty sure the world would be a nicer place.

Cross with the crossroads

Link to Google MapsThis is probably something I could have asked about months ago, but I made a bad assumption, and I'm cross with myself.

I assumed that the work going on at the crossroads at the top of School Hill and Sandrock Hill, would be the junction upgrade to make it safer for drivers and pedestrians alike. However, I should have looked more closely, as it appears that it was exclusively for gas works that have been going on for many months now in the villages of South Farnham.

Echo Barn Lane Scheme PlanApologies if anyone else thought this too. I'm checking up on the "Echo Barn Lane Consultation and Plan" (available on the Surrey County Council website) to find out the latest, and will post about it as soon as I hear.

Planning Applications 28th May 2008

(Click here if you want to go the Waverley planning search page, and select 'Ward' from the left hand list of options)

WA/2008/0916: 20/05/2008

Proposed DevelopmentAlterations to access, gates and fence including dropped kerb. Glenwood Cottage, 22 School Hill, Farnham.
E: 482808 N: 144631
Case Officer: Neighbourhood Team

Applicant &
Agent: D Halfpenny, Glenwood Cottage, 22 School Hill, Wrecclesham, Farnham GU10 4QD

Tuesday, 27 May 2008

Use it or lose it

It was thinking about a comment by Roger Ellis at the AGM of the Wrecclesham Village Society that made me start writing. Roger is on the committee of the Wrecclesham Community Centre (see my ward map for it's location), and was encouraging us all at that AGM to use the centre for parties, meetings... basically any gatherings where a larger space is needed.

Do consider the centre, because like most things, unless we use it, we may lose it.

Monday, 26 May 2008

The Public Whip

Another website that's invaluable for holding MPs to account, is The Public Whip which makes available every vote in both Houses of Parliament, searchable by either topic or MP or Peer.

Click here, for the law of blasphemous libel that was repealed on 6th May.

And click here for a list of the votes in last week's human embryology debates.

The Public WhipLiving in a democracy that elects representatives to parliament, does not mean that each MP should simply do as the majority in their constituency tells them - otherwise in this day of technology, we could simply ask everyone in the country to vote by internet on every bill in the House of Commons. But it does mean that we should each take up our responsibility to vote, and to lobby, with seriousness.

Sunday, 25 May 2008

Third Way

No, not my confession of a weekend conversion to New Labour, but the title of a magazine to which I'm considering re-subscribing.

Some years ago both my wife and I would read it from cover-to-cover. But, then, the writing quality went downhill a little; there was too much ranting and invective; and it simply didn't cover enough insight on enough of the current issues of the day.

Well, I'm glad to say that if the latest, rebranded, relaunched, issue is anything to go by, these problems have been solved.

This post also serves as somewhat of a follow-on from my one on Blasphemy a few days ago. A local resident and I have been swapping emails about how one should (or should not) strive to protect our Christian heritage by enshrining it in our law, including the retention or otherwise of the blasphemous libel laws. Well, a great article in Third Way by its deputy editor Stephen Tomkins, goes into much more detail about the argument for its repeal, and pretty much gets my vote on it.

Unfortunately... their website is being updated with the new branding, and so I can't show you the whole article. But, to whet your appetite, here's a snippet:

"Don't the Ten Commandments put not taking the Lord's name in vain at the heart of Christian Morality? Perhaps, but there are two problems. The main is that Christian morality is for Christians. It is not obvious that we have a responsibility to impose it on the world and demand that people honour the name of a God they believe does not exist.
Secondly, it is not at all clear what misusing the name of the Lord meant in the ancient world.
It behoves Christians to put their own house of God in order before trying to control how unbelievers use the name of the Lord."

Friday, 23 May 2008

Last night

Last night I was engaged in a conversation about this week's votes on the Human Embryology Bill, and our discussion amounted to the following quandry: "to what extent should legislation be enacted to outlaw something, independent of its efficacy, and if only in order to prevent the pursuit of alternate agendas and outcomes?"

I find this a key question in my own worldview - how I view the role and rule of law reflects my own moral and ethical values, and the extent to which I believe they should be codified even in the light of others', differing, values.

The other underlying positions in our conversation were:

(1) When does human life begin?
(2) Is it possible to measure the value of one human life over another? If so, when, and how?

TelegraphOn these questions and their answers, hang the answers to the issues of this week, and many others. I think that Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O'Connor is correct in today's Telegraph: the debate is only really beginning.

Thursday, 22 May 2008

They Work For You

They Work For You
Reminded by just reading the email that I get most days, I thought I'd post about a great website. records all the words written or spoken by every MP, and anyone can register to be updated by email on any number of MPS. Of course, I'm mostly interested in Jeremy's words, but I also get information on a few other MPs that I either know, or respect, or... well, for any reason really.

Rowledge Village Design Statement

Over coffee yesterday afternoon I think I found the fourth person to express specific interest in a village design statement for Rowledge. Great news, and once I've heard from 3 or 4 more of you, I think we'll be a good group to meet with Sarah Wells, Urban Design Officer at Waverley. Sarah gives a good overview of what's entailed, and we can then see if everyone would like to continue on.

On a related item, the Frensham Village Design Statement gained the Executive's approval on Tuesday evening, and so passes to the next full council meeting for ratification. After that it will be available on the Waverley website.

Wednesday, 21 May 2008

Planning Applications 21st May 2008

(Click here if you want to go the Waverley planning search page, and select 'Ward' from the left hand list of options)

WA/2008/0861: 02/05/2008

Proposed Development
Erection of single storey extensions following demolition of existing single storey rear extension. 27 High Street, Rowledge.
E: 482334 N: 143656
Case Officer: Mr A Griffiths

: J Freeman, 27 High Street, Rowledge, Surrey GU10 4BT
: R Hunt, 6 York Road, Farnham, Surrey GU9 8JX

WA/2008/0878: 29/04/2008

Proposed Development
Erection of a new dwelling with associated works. Land to the rear of 104 Boundstone Road, Rowledge
E: 482760 N: 143739
Case Officer: Major Sites & Implementation Team

Applicant: R Elsmore, Elsmore Construction Ltd, C/o Agent
Agent: Mrs Janet Long, Planit Consulting, Barnfield, PO Box 721, Godalming, Surrey GU7 9BR
WA/2008/0881: 12/05/2008

Proposed Development
Erection of extensions and alterations. 17 School Hill, Farnham.
E: 482809 N: 144680
Case Officer: Neighbourhood Team

Applicant: Dr S Shahnazari, 17 School Hill, Wrecclesham, Farnham, Surrey GU10 4QD
Agent:P Wilson, Titwood, Old Compton Lane, Farnham, Surrey GU9 8EG

Tuesday, 20 May 2008

Nitrogen, Oxygen, Carbon Dioxide... Air, to you and me

At the Village Society meeting last week, a lady asked me about air quality in Wrecclesham. It reminded me that we had some air quality measurement going on in Wrecclesham, that I first heard about a year ago. So, I did some follow-up.

However, (and I'm learning as I go here from Anne Sayer, all things air quality at Waverley), it's not a simple matter of taking a year's readings and then extrapolating conclusions. Things such as temperature, precipitation (rain, to you and me), and wind, all contribute to the quality of air, and with these things ranging widely in quality over different years, comparative analysis is complex.

To quote Anne:
Diffusion tubes are a cost effective method of monitoring Nitrogen Dioxide levels.

Data for each month is then averaged over the year to show whether the Government's annual maximum objective for Nitrogen Dioxide is being exceeded. This objective allows a maximum level of 40 micrograms of nitrogen dioxide per cubic metre - if this is exceeded then the local authority must undertake a more detailed assessment.Areas of exposures are areas where people are expected to spend time - for this objective they include the boundaries of people's houses (but not their gardens) and public offices etc.

Waverley produces an annual report on air quality for the Government every year. This report concluded that the objective for nitrogen dioxide was not exceeded at the Wrecclesham monitoring site in 2007 - the first full year of data (although it was only just below) so we are not recommending a more detailed assessment at this point.

I'm now a little bit more educated thanks to Anne, but certainly not an expert in this area yet. Do let me know if you think it should be investigated a bit more - especially if you're offering to do the investigation yourself!

Geeks in Godalming

Wireless GodalmingThere'll be more of them in the High Street from today, as the Wireless Godalming project goes live. I believe that it will be the first time in the UK that a town has had free wireless internet available across its centre. Councillor Adam Taylor-Smith, portfolio holder for Communications, along with the IT dept of the council, have been hard at work to get this ready, and as you all probably expect, I'll be there with my Apple laptop as soon as I can get there!

See the Waverley website for a bit more info.

Monday, 19 May 2008

Lythe Hill Hotel

Auberge de FranceI'm still not (see previous review) intending a regular feature of restaurant reviews, but my wife and I did just have the most wonderful break in a beautiful part of our borough, and I feel it deserves a mention.

The Lythe Hill Hotel sits just south of Haslemere, and once ensconsed there, we could have been a million miles from the busyness of SE England. Picturesque and peaceful grounds, a great spa, and especially good, the Auberge de France.

The hardwood smoked chicken breast with kiwi sauce for starter was subtle, sweet and succulent, and the salmon with cod and chorizo sauce a surprise and sensational combination. (Can you see that I've used the S section of my thesaurus?)

So essentially this is a hearty recommendation, and if you go for the special Sunday night package, you get one night in a lovely room, dinner, the spa, and breakfast all in the price. A wonderful way to finish the weekend, and start the week.

Click here for the Lythe Hill Hotel website

Sunday, 18 May 2008


A few days ago a friend of mine emailed me, pointing to a brief mention in the Telegraph of an attempt to repeal the law of blasphemy. Paul was supporting a view that the church should counter this attempt.

However, I'm not certain it should. I'm a Christian, and I believe that blasphemy offends God, but I don't believe that it means it should be illegal in our society, and carry a penalty. Here's what I emailed back:

Hi Paul,

Thanks for your email regarding the 'small print' proposal to abolish the 'ancient laws of blasphemy'.

Thought I'd contribute by being potentially controversial! I disagree that this proposal is a bad thing, and that the church should counter it. I do not believe that there should be a legal penalty for blaspheming. In fact, there's many things that I believe are contrary to God's law / will, which I do not believe should be illegal.

It's possibly hard for us to swallow the fact that this amendment is de facto sponsored by three of the most anti-Christian characters in three of the most opinion-forming sectors of society. However, this doesn't persuade me that they are wrong, merely powerfully remind me that the church is far too reticent about being engaged in public discourse about such issues. And, when it does engage, it far too easily relies on theological and ecclesiastical jargon and assumptions of a superior and naturally authoritative worldview.

And to go further, I believe that it's weak to give the impression that the Christian faith requires protection by law in this way.

Don't get me wrong - I believe that God instituted many things that we should not only cherish, but also seek to codify in law. But blasphemy isn't one of them.

What do you think? :-)

Saturday, 17 May 2008

Welcome! Willkommen! Bienvenue!

As I pulled out of Fullers Road, I remembered that I needed to take a closer look at the 'Welcome to Waverley' sign as I crossed the border from Hampshire to Surrey. Thankfully I had my iPhone with me (well, I always have it with me to tell you the truth), and a quick stop, with a quick snap, and here's the result. Needs a bit of a wash, and I'm still trying to think of improvements. Perhaps "Welcome" in a few different languages?

(As well as fixing the two dents of course).

Friday, 16 May 2008


A speech? That would be going a bit too far. But I did say a few words at the Wrecclesham Village Society AGM last night.

I spoke briefly about my hopes for the development of a Village Design Statement; I mentioned the new supplementary planning guidance for section 106 contributions (jargon, I know - you can read the Waverley document here); and told everyone about this blog.

However, I fell well short of the excellence of the first presentation of the evening by Verity O'Connell. Waste & Recycling Officer for the council, Verity told the meeting about the various aspects of the recycling efforts in Waverley, and did so with obvious passion (especially for her bicycle), and with great knowledge. (Check out more information on the Waverley website)

As the evening went on, I found myself feeling more and more guilty for contaminating our recycling containers with inappropriate materials. Note to self - margarine tubs shouldn't go in with the plastics! Or the brown paper bags with paper!

Bird. Singular.

I think Bridget died.

Let me explain. The most recent four chickens we bought a few years ago, we decided to name after four good friends of ours: Bridget, Dayle, Nicky-Sue and Jackie. Initially I could tell them apart, and all was okay, but unfortunately, as they matured, filled out, preened themselves, and generally grew-up (and yes, I'm talking about the... chickens), it became a bit more difficult.

So, finding a dead chicken this morning was quick and easy to deal with, but identification somewhat debatable.

Anyway, I promised I'd let me readers (up to 25 of your now!) know when it happened.

It happened.

Just Jackie left. (Or Nicky-Sue. Or Dayle)

Thursday, 15 May 2008

What speed? What colour? What make? What model?

Community Speedwatch
If you think you could answer the questions above easily as a car whizzes by, then you may be the perfect candidate for a community speedwatch near you! Speedwatch is a scheme to help people reduce speeding traffic though their community. It incorporates poster campaigns linked to direct action using radar speed guns and Vehicle Activated Signs, all under the supervision of the County Council. The use of the radar devices may not initially lead to prosecution (although multiple letters might) - drivers will get a letter from the police instead - but will help to underline the community’s commitment to reducing speed.

A Wrecclesham scheme was started up about 2 years ago, but recently has floundered a little due to difficultly getting enough people who can answer the above questions. Wrecclesham Hill was the prime target, with vehicles flying by throughout the day. What I have noticed though is the setting up of vehicle activated signs, which I happen to think are great.

What I didn't know though, was that there was now a scheme in Rowledge. A resident popped into our coffee shop at the weekend and happened to mention it, so I'm hoping to meet up with one of the organisers soon.

I'll blog some more when I have better information about how help's needed in both these schemes. But, in the meantime, if you're a Top Gear fanatic, you may be just the person we need. (Although the cars are not all likely to be Ferraris, Porsches or Aston Martins)

Wednesday, 14 May 2008

Where in the world? Part 2

Here in fact. I've found a great way of marking out the boundaries of the ward using Google Maps. Yes, I am a nerd. Yes, I love my Apple laptop. Yes, I love maps.
Ward Map

Oh, you did say that again.

It happened two weeks ago. It's happened today. No new planning applications in the ward!

To all 10 (someone at the council has found my blog and let a few other know!) of you who were anticipating sheds, extensions, and conservatories with bated breath... apologies.

And I did check twice again.

Tuesday, 13 May 2008

Pomp and Circumstance... and charity...

... made their annual appearance at the council tonight, with the election of the new mayor and deputy mayor of Waverley. Len Bate will make an excellent mayor, with his wife Meryl as Mayoress.

In the midst of the ceremony and general back-slapping, I want to pick out the two charities that Len has picked out for his particular support this year. They are both wonderful organisations - please consider supporting them either via events organise by the mayor this year, or via their own fundraising activities. Like all charities, they depend massively on the support of volunteers and donors.
Phyllis Tuckwell Hospice
Phyllis Tuckwell Hospice offers Specialist Palliative Care to those facing the end of their life and to those who love and care for them, serving a population of 600,000 across West Surrey and North East Hampshire. Every day they support over 100 patients and carers in their own homes, in the community and at the Hospice.

Crossways provides a professional counselling service in Haslemere and the surrounding area for people who otherwise would not be able to afford private counselling sessions. We have a team of 8 counsellors who have either a diploma or MSc in counselling and abide by the Code of Ethics of each of the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy and the Association of Christian Counsellors. They are all Christians and work under regular supervision.

Monday, 12 May 2008

Where in the world?

Had a great meeting this evening regarding the Wrecclesham Village Design Statement. We made a great start on next steps. And decided to call ourselves the "Wrecclesham Village Design Group" ! Surprise, surprise!

We're going to look at 3 key things over the next month or so:

1. Mapping - what constitutes the boundaries of Wrecclesham village?
2. Conservation Area - how should the Wrecclesham Conservation Area Appraisal guide and influence our work?
3. History - discover and build on the history of Wrecclesham in our understanding of design for the future.

If you'd still like to be involved, please do let me know, as we have space for all comers, and would be so pleased with any help.

In the meantime, a quiz for you. Can you identify where in Wrecclesham these photos were taken (all taken this evening)?

Sunday, 11 May 2008

Birds. Plural. Still.

... even though a 2 year old made best efforts to dispatch one of our chickens with his flying shoe!

All in all, it's a been a great day otherwise, with lovely local white and rose wine in the garden, rounding off a barbeque of sausages and home-made beefburgers.

Friday, 9 May 2008

Birds. Plural. Just.

During my frequent visit to the new Waverley website today, I spotted the top news story for the environment:

Avian Influenza (Bird Flu)

Was this another outbreak?! My concern level grew somewhat. Then I noticed that it was more of an update on the situation, than a warning of impending doom. Phew.

But, it did get my mind wandering. If one were to trust the media to reflect accurately the intensity, impact, and immediacy of any particular news story, one would have to assume that Bird Flu now has only a place in history rather than the present. Sadly, it's not the case. However, I happen to think that it's excellent that Waverley's site deals with information about issues that continue to be issues, long after the daily rags have grown bored.

Chicken!As an aside, one of the two chickens we have in our garden is looking decidedly under the weather. We may soon be the owner of 'a chicken' rather than many.

I'll keep all (five) of you posted.

Thursday, 8 May 2008

The Jackson F... Two, so far

Just over a week ago I popped down to the Wrecclesham Community Centre on Greenfields Road to meet Fiona Jackson for the first time. A long-term resident of Wrecclesham, Fiona has started up a youth club on a Monday night at the centre, and what success! 27 the first week, 33 the next, and already the need is confirmed, and new need for more leaders is created. It's wonderful for the centre to be used in this way, and the more leaders that offer help, the less that each one has to do on a rota basis. The two leaders at present could do with lots more help!

Fiona has many years experience and can offer the support and guidance needed. She does point out that a 'sense of humour and a laid back approach' are required! And, you'll need to undergo a CRB check as any volunteers would be working with children.

If you're interested in helping, please let me know, and I'll put you in touch with Fiona.

The youth club has been started as part of the Weydon and Wrecclesham Community Consultation (aka W2). Click here for more information.
Network Farnham

Wednesday, 7 May 2008

Planning Applications 7th May 2008

(Click here if you want to go the Waverley planning search page, and select 'Ward' from the left hand list of options)

WA/2008/0798: 14/04/2008

Proposed Development
Erection of a replacement dwelling following demolition of existing dwelling. Merrythough, 30 Gardeners Hill Road, Farnham.
E: 483846 N: 143327
Case Officer: Major Sites & Implementation Team

Applicant & Agent: A Down, Archplan, 30 Cholmeley Crescent, Highgate, London N6 5HA

WA/2008/0820: 15/04/2008

Proposed Development
Erection of extensions and alterations following demolition of existing extension and garage. 2 Laburnum Cottages, Shortfield Common Road, Frensham.
E: 484282 N: 142249
Case Officer: Neighbourhood Team

Applicant: Mr & Mrs I Lavigne, 2 Laburnum Cottages, Shortfield Common Road, Frensham, Surrey GU10 3BJ
Agent: L Brooks, Brooks & Ware Architects LLP, 54 Tilford Road, Farnham, Surey GU9 8DW

Tuesday, 6 May 2008

Welcome to Waverley - Home of...?

I received an email today eerily similar to the letters page of the Telegraph, where readers have been amusing each other by recalling town signs of the bizarre and unintentionally hilarious.

Well, today, the email I'm referring to asked for councillors' opinions on what the signs that welcome drivers to Waverley might say. There's currently around 50 of them sited on the borders of our borough, and what with Wrecclesham and Rowledge nudging Hampshire, we happen to have one of our own to consider.

All answers on a postcard to...

Monday, 5 May 2008

Planning Appeal Decision

Appeal Ref: APP/R3650/A/08/2061216
Land at the rear of Viners Mead and Colemans, Wrecclesham Road,
Farnham, Surrey GU10 4PT
• The appeal is made under section 78 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990
against a failure to give notice within the prescribed period of a decision on an
application for planning permission.
• The appeal is made by Heronsbrook Homes Ltd against Waverley Borough Council.
• The application Ref WA/2007/2192, is dated 19 September 2007.
• The development proposed is the erection of five x 3-bed two-storey terraced houses
and four x 2-bed flats in a two-storey block with associated car parking and cycle and
refuse stores, following the demolition of a greenhouse and garden shed.


1. I dismiss the appeal and refuse planning permission for the erection of five x 3-bed
two-storey terraced houses and four x 2-bed flats in a two-storey block with associated
car parking and cycle and refuse stores, following the demolition of a greenhouse and
garden shed.

Click here to go to the Planning Inspectorate website, and here for this appeal summary, from where you can access the full documented appeal.
Planning Inspectorate

Sunday, 4 May 2008

Backbenchers, Revolt! Or Win Nothing (aka The Man Called B.R.O.W.N.)

Mr Brown and Mr MarrSimply put, when speaking with Andrew Marr this morning, our Prime Minister's regret at the Labour Party's poor showing in the elections last week was refreshing. However, my surprise and happiness was shortlived, as Mr. Brown continued on to say that he would 'fix the economy'.

FIX THE ECONOMY!! Isn't that what he was supposed to be doing for the past 10 years? In fact, shouldn't he really sack himself for messing it up so spectacularly by creating the conditions within which banks would lend with little restraint, thus building the gigantic (stupendous, horrendous, ridiculous) unsecured debt mountain which now threatens to crumble?

And then to presume that he knew what we (the people) wanted, and what messages we were sending... Didn't he know this beforehand? Why didn't he do anything about it then? Or was it the jaw-dropping, bottom-dropping-out, collapse of the Labour vote, that has made him think that he should do something? Or maybe I'm being cynical.

Saturday, 3 May 2008


Today was a true uninterrupted holiday. 90 minutes of fencing, followed by 90 minutes of coffee and cake outsided at our Farnham Pottery Coffee Shop, followed by the rest of the day finishing the fence. Bliss. Lovely air, hardly any rain, and in fact mostly sunshine, and a great family meal in the evening. Can't ask for more on a May Bank Holiday Saturday.

Friday, 2 May 2008


Today's been a little holiday, erecting a new fence at home. However, it started off with a somewhat (understatement of the year) difficult conversation with a fellow councillor. I'm aware that it doesn't often appear that any kind of meaningful debate occurs in the main council meetings these days, but I assure you, we don't always see eye to eye!

Thursday, 1 May 2008

Good? Bad? Powerless.

Heard some good news about Wrecclesham Road this morning courtesy of a neighbour. Surrey County Council have announced the various road repairs that will be taking place in the next two years.

On that list is Wrecclesham Road, from the roundabout on the A31, to 25 metres north of the railway bridge. [Click here and look near the bottom of page 6] However, I have a question in my mind that I'm going to follow-up: on the 31st March, an appeal was allowed against the decision to refuse planning permission for a scheme of "45 dwellings and 41 bedroom nursing home". The conditions placed on the appeal include the construction of proper access, including an island in the road, and revised pavements. It would be great if these works could be done collaboratively, and I'll ask David Munro (our local Surrey County Councillor and portfolio holder for highways) if there are plans for this.

I didn't support this planning application, and continue to worry about the detrimental effect it may have on the village, especially with regard to traffic. But, as the Highways Agency didn't object, the appeal inspector was fairly powerless to do anything on this basis.