Sunday, 20 April 2008

Hampshire County Council short listed for prestigious MJ award

Hampshire County Council has been short-listed for a prestigious award which recognises outstanding public services.
Competition to become a finalist for an MJ Local Government Achievement award was extremely tough, with local authorities fighting for a short listed place in one of the 16 categories.
The Council won a finalist position in the: Promoting Active Communities Achievement category. It was also commended in two other MJ awards categories: Transforming Public Services Achievement of the Year and Best Use of Resources Achievement of the Year.
The promoting active communities achievement entry tells how Hampshire County Council is encouraging people to be more active and take more responsibility for themselves as they put health and wellbeing at the heart of community life.
Staff are at the forefront of helping deliver this agenda to the public through promoting healthy eating in schools and encouraging more exercise among young and older people. Internally a workplace activities scheme for county council employees has attracted some 21,000 visits in two years to various exercise classes.
Executive Member for Recreation and Heritage, Councillor Margaret Snaith, said: “I was absolutely delighted to find out that the Recreation and Heritage team has been short listed for this accolade of Promoting Active Communities Achievement of the Year award by the MJ.
“Every department in the authority is putting our ‘maximising wellbeing’ policy into action. The feedback from staff has been particularly positive as they see the young, old and disadvantaged in Hampshire get more active with a renewed zest for life.
“Achieving a short listed position at the awards is not only a credit to our staff but also shows how Hampshire County Council is providing the highest possible standard of service to the people of Hampshire.”
Hampshire County Council was also commended in the Transforming Public Service Achievement Award for its innovation, imagination and ambition in transforming the public library service. Embarking on an ambitious programme to regenerate old libraries, deliver Discovery Centre’s, extend opening hours and re-branding the library service were all part of Hampshire’s determination to tackle the decline in library use.
Councillor Snaith added: “You only have to look at our brand new Winchester Discovery Centre to see Hampshire’s dedication to reversing the decline in library use. Since it opened in late November 2007 it has attracted over 175,500 visitors, 60% more than the same period in 2005.Not only is it a fabulous modern library, there is also two galleries, a cafĂ©, learning spaces and numerous computers all under one roof – a real cultural destination in itself, so no wonder the crowds are flocking!”
The Council was also commended in the Best Use of Resources Achievement of the Year award for its savings through modernisation in Adult Services. Through a forward thinking programme of savings which combined spending reduction with modernisation to such effect that the Council has moved from two to three stars for Adult Social Care with excellent prospects for improvement.
Leader of Hampshire County Council, Councillor Ken Thornber CBE said: “Congratulations to everyone who has helped put Hampshire County Council on the MJ map as one of the best performing local authorities.”
The winners will be announced at a gala awards night on June 26 in London, by Channel 4 News presenter Jon Snow.
This is the fifth year the MJ has run the awards.
Other short listed authorities for the Promoting Active Communities Award are: Birmingham City Council, Caradon DC, East Ayshire Council, Lambeth LBC, North Tyneside MBC, North West Leicestershire DC, Walsall MBC.Hampshire County Council owns thousands of acres of beautiful countryside and parks and is using them to promote the benefits of increased levels of exercise and activity.

Thursday, 3 April 2008

Where did the money go?

KEITH House, Eastleigh's Lib. Dem Council leader, stated that income from land disposal in Eastleigh is only used for new facilities for residents (Daily Echo, Thursday March 27). Could he please inform readers of this paper what exactly the reputed £20 million was spent on which was obtained from the sale of South Street Allotments in Eastleigh? Please also tell us exactly how much was received for the sale of these six hectares. The public who live around South Street have a right to know what has happened to this money - so far they have seen no benefits, just noise, mess, pollution and growing traffic problems.

Dr Andrew C Ross, Eastleigh. (As published in Southampton Daily Echo 3/4/08)

Saturday, 29 March 2008

The Scandal of Sid

It has taken me several days to write this blog on Sid, such has been my sadness and anger at our Council for doing such a thing.

Sid’s History
Sid the Sycamore was planted 72 years ago to celebrate Eastleigh becoming a borough. Sycamores are not particularly special trees but because of it’s historical significance and location this one is!

Sadly Sid was cut down by Eastleigh Borough Council on Easter Monday 24th March 2008.

The Point
The Point is Eastleigh’s dance centre. Last year Eastleigh Borough Council put in over £300,000 into the Centre. This year, on February 6th Eastleigh Borough Council Cabinet agreed to pump in a further £2,674,700 over the period of 2008 to 2010 to develop phase 3 of the Point. This development comes at the expense of the taxpayer and the Recreation Ground.

Council connivance

At the Council Cabinet meeting on March 6th Councillor House announced to the Cabinet that there had been a request for a judicial review on the proposed felling of Sid by a member of the public.
According to Wikipedia a Judicial review is the power of a
court to review the actions of public sector bodies in terms of their legality or constitutionality. In some jurisdictions it is also possible to review the constitutionality of the law itself. A person who feels that an exercise of such power by, say,… the local council …., is unlawful, perhaps because it has violated his or her rights, may apply to the Administrative Court (a division of the High Court) for judicial review of the decision. If the application for judicial review is successful, the Court may set aside (quash) the unlawful act. In certain limited circumstances, the Claimant may be able to obtain damages. A court may also make a mandatory or prohibitory order or an injunction to compel the authority to act lawfully or to stop it from acting unlawfully .It is thus amazing that the Local Councillors of Eastleigh have allowed the felling of this tree given that they could be in contempt of court and referred to the standards committee.
Lib Dems look on
Lib. Dem. Councillor Chris Thomas, chair of the Local Area Committee, claimed that he had no specific knowledge that the tree was going to be cut down on Easter Monday, but strangely, members of the public saw fellow Lib.Dem Councillors Davies-Dear and Wayne Irish sitting in a car in a side street watching the whole process. In the photograph Lib.Dem councillor Andy Moore(left) looks down with shame and embarrasment when challenged by Conservative Robert Quane on the night before Sid's death..

A great loss
What most disappoints me is that part of the pretty Recreational ground is to be lost for a phase 3 extension for a dance centre. Time after time these councilors are chipping away at our green spaces, be they allotments, parks or greens and selling off the land or just building on it. And all the time it costs the Council tax payers more money - £3000 in this case, just for the destruction of one precious and historic tree.
Just as a man betrayed Jesus for 30 pieces of silver and so condemned him to his death I feel betrayed by our Councillors who have unjustly and unlawfully condemned this tree to its death.

Building a vote loser?

I THOROUGHLY agree with Sam Snook's comments of Wednesday March 19 (Daily Echo Letters) about the tremendous amount of construction being permitted by the Liberal Democrat Council in Eastleigh.

Currently, I calculate that there are 1156 new dwellings in the process of construction or planning in the town of Eastleigh, not including smaller building projects of which there are scores. They are

432 new dwellings at South Street

27 flats on Old Service station, Southampton Road

161 flats at 68-96 Twyford Road

43 houses and flats on Magpie Lane

30 flats on Nightingale Avenue

63 flats and Offices in 8 storey building at Earth Night Club site

400 flats and houses on Prysmian site in Passfield Avenue.

Over the last 150 years the number of homes in Eastleigh has grown to around 10,500. In the next two years the numbers of homes are scheduled to grow by over 10 per cent more. However there will be no new main roads or sewers to cope with this demand.

Each dwelling will create an extra six traffic movements, that is another 7000 more traffic movements around Eastleigh a day. Travel will become a nightmare for commuters and the emergency services alike. Yet our Liberal Democrat council persist with this madness. Why? We have the chance to tell them "No more'', this May 1.

Tuesday, 4 March 2008

Referendum results and local views

The views of three Eastleigh people and the BBC.

Maria Hutchings, Eastleigh Conservative Candidate writes:
"The 2nd March 2008 will be recorded in history books as the day people demanded democracy."

"The results of the I Want A Referendum Poll in Eastleigh were announced: "

"20,361 people voted (more people than voted for Eastleigh's MP Chris Huhne, and than voted in the 2007 local elections and the European elections). 18,370 wanted a referendum on the Lisbon Treaty. Over 90% were AGAINST agreeing the Lisbon Treaty which will give us less control over British affairs. "

"Only 10 constituencies in Great Britain were polled and Eastleigh came top in terms of wanting a referendum and not giving away more powers to Brussels. "

"I know that you care as passionately as I do about making sure we keep greater control over British policy. Anybody who says Eastleigh voters aren't that interested in the relationship between the EU and Britain couldn't be more wrong. "

"Chris Huhne promised you a referendum at the last general election but now he believes you should no longer have the right of a referendum. He has broken his promise. I am appalled by this and have urged him in the strongest terms do the honourable thing and vote for a referendum in Parliament."

"I am proud to British, proud of our traditions and of who we are and do NOT want to be controlled by Europe. I will continue the fight for the good of Britain, the people of Eastleigh and our children. "

Chris Rhodes, local Conservative writes:

"Mr Chris Huhne’s dismissal of the ‘I Want a referendum’ result in Eastleigh is breathtakingly arrogant and shows the contempt he has for his electorate. He also insults their intelligence by pretending that the Lisbon Treaty is not the same as the constitution, whilst other European leaders and the Foreign Affairs Committee, believe it to be virtually identical. "

"Mr Huhne quoted percentage of voter responses to justify his position but failed to mention the actual votes received. In the General election he polled 19, 316 votes yet on a pole, of about two thirds of the electorate, calling for a referendum on the Lisbon Treaty (EU Constitution) 20, 361 voted and of these 18, 370 called for a referendum."

"Huhne should remember that he is a servant of the people – not the other way round. His, apparent, intention to ignore this vote is yet another reason why politicians are so often held in contempt by their electorate."

The BBC website says:

"MPs have overwhelmingly rejected a Liberal Democrat attempt to force a debate on Britain's EU membership. MPs voted by 471 to 68 not to allow the debate. "

"The government and the Lib Dems say the treaty does not have constitutional implications, so a referendum on it is not needed."

"But the Conservatives, some Labour and Lib Dem MPs and the UK Independence Party, all say that it is effectively the constitution under a different name - so there should be a referendum.
Wednesday's vote in the House of Commons - expected in the early evening - is seen as the key vote in the EU treaty's progress through the UK Parliament. "

Conservative leader David Cameron says he hopes they can win - but said "a lot depends" on support from rebel Lib Dem MPs.

Kate Ross says:

"Chris Huhne and the other Liberal Democrats promised the electorate a referendum on the European Constitution. Tomorrow the debate on the Lisbon treaty concludes with a vote. Lib Dems should take the opportunity afforded to them at the end of the debate to vote with the Conservatives and others for a referendum on the Lisbon treaty."

What do you think? Send us your blog - see below.

Monday, 25 February 2008

Referendum or no referendum?

At the last general election in 2005 all three main parties promised a referendum on the planned European Constitution. Where is that referendum? Well it is being held in 10 constituencies across the UK but sadly without all party Parliamentary support.
Our Parliament is currently debating whether we should accept the Lisbon treaty or not. When will Parliament give us a referendum on that? If, at a referendum, the United Kingdom rejects the Lisbon treaty then we should have Mr Clegg's referendum on whether we should be in or out of Europe. Step by step our country can make decisions. The people: Parliament: The People. Simple!

Sunday, 24 February 2008

Lib Dem Councillors vote to destroy part of Recreation ground

At last week's meeting of the Local area committee (Monday 18th February) six Lib Dem councillors voted to extend the Point, Eastleigh's Community dance centre further into the Recreation Ground, Eastleigh’s Protected urban green space.
The proposals will allow for the creation of new dance studios, a link building and alterations to existing buildings. 150 square metres of land is to be lost including Sid the Sycamore tree which has been the subject of a major conservation effort by people from Eastleigh.(see

Sid is now a famous tree having featured on Meridian tonight and being available to view on Youtube

Although Planning regulation 58 BE Urban Greenspace states "The Council will not permit development on a greenspace which is identified on the proposals map, unless as part of a comprehensive redevelopment it is replaced by a greenspace of equal and improved amount, quality and accessibility," the Councillors plan to completely disregard this regulation. The planning proposals also admit that this proposal is "technically not according with the requirements of PPG 17 to retain all public open space." Elsewhere the planning application states "Strictly speaking in accordance with PPG 17 this policy should be applied to all sports and recreational uses such as The Point," but the report goes on to state, "it is not considered that the open space being lost is significant." Currently there are no proposals to give back any land to the people of Eastleigh to replace these 150 square metres because they say that they are improving the area.

So not only have they broken their own planning rules under 58BE, they have twisted national planning policy PPG 17 to their own ends and, if this was not enough, they have broken major planning rules under PPS 9. This states that trees should not be removed if they “enhance biodiversity in green spaces and among developments so that they are used by wildlife and valued by people, recognising that healthy functional ecosystems can contribute to a better quality of life and add to people’s sense of well being.”
PPS 9 also states that “developments must take account of the role and value of biodiversity in supporting economic diversification and contributing to a high quality environment” and that “if significant harm cannot be prevented to such tree’s, then planning permission should be REFUSED.”

So our Liberal Democrat Councillors are continuing to break the planning laws of this town They did it on a much bigger scale when they allowed the Pavilion in the park to be built on the green fields of the Fleming Park Golf course and they got away with it then. This allowed the Council to sell off the site of the Nightingale Centre for another 30 odd flats and 10 houses. You would think that the miillions of pounds that the council make from selling land (it is reputed to be around £10m for the sale of South Street allotments) would allow them to reduce Council tax and local charges, not put them up further. These Lib. Dem councillors are slowly destroying our town and they must be stopped.

If you are concerned about these issues please contact me asap. See more about Sid on :

Pictures of Matthew Myatt and his son in front of Sid and
the six Lib Dem councillors who voted for this plan. Their names are (from top to bottom)
Councillor Peter Wall (Lib Dem)
Councillor Glynn Davies-Dear (Lib Dem)
Councillor Andy Moore (Lib Dem)
Councillor Wayne Irish (Lib Dem)
Councillor Chris Thomas (Lib Dem)
Councillor Jenny Head (Lib Dem)