Special Report on Market Development
Leaflet describes social housing as a "Ghetto"
A leaflet, which circulated around the town on Sunday evening, claimed that the proposed housing development on the market site would become a "Ghetto". Although this leaflet was similar in style to Henley NEWS On-line, we were not involved in any way in its preparation or circulation. The authors of the leaflet are unknown.
An exhibition, showing the proposed redevelopment of the market site, had been held by the developers in the Baptist Hall during the previous Friday and Saturday. It had been well attended, demonstrating the high level interest by the community to ensure that the new development would be appropriate for our historic town.
The leaflet claimed;
HENLEY-in-ARDEN to build a social housing “Ghetto"
Are you proud to live in Henley because it looks like this and you feel part of an integrated, mixed social community?
You’ve probably had to work hard, pay a huge mortgage and struggle to achieve this, correct?
Do you want to preserve that quality of life for you, your family and generations to come?
Of course you do, so why are you going to allow your local council to build this...........
It’s called social housing. Others may call it a deprived area, or a rough council estate. Is that what you want for Henley?
Some of you will have attended the public viewing of the plans for developing the “Cattle Market” now that it has been sold to Taylor Wimpey. Do you realise that those proposals have already had a devastating effect on the value of your home and investment?
Henley NEWS On-line asked our local councillors to clarify the position and their responses are published below. In addition, we have received press releases from our local MP, the District Council and the Developers.
MP DEPLORES HOUSING DEVELOPMENT HYSTERIA
Warwick and Leamington MP, James Plaskitt, was today shown a copy of an anonymous leaflet which is being distributed to homes in Henley-in-Arden and headed “Henley-in-Arden to build Social Housing Ghetto”.
The leaflet refers to a potential housing development that could take place on the site of the town’s Cattle Market. In language which Mr Plaskitt described as “lurid and sensationalised”, the leaflet talked of the development of ‘a deprived area or a rough council estate’, as well as suggesting that the development will lead to ‘vandalism and abuse’, and that the development would be ‘threatening the inheritance of your children’.
Mr Plaskitt said, “I am shocked by the distribution of lurid and sensationalised propaganda about a proposed development which isn’t yet even subject to a planning application.”
Mr Plaskitt added, “We have pressure for new housing, both for rent and for purchase, throughout our region. If we are to meet the demand, and help sustain our communities, we need to ensure that we can offer an expanded mix of housing. We also want to protect our precious green belt and so the redevelopment of sites like the cattle market is an obvious option.”
Mr Plaskitt added, “In due course their will a formal planning application. That will rightly then be subjected to extensive public consultation in the town. I would hope the public debate that follows will be rational and based on facts rather than prejudices.”
County Councilor George Atkinson, commenting on the proposed development said, "I was away from last Friday but had I been at home a visit to the 'exhibition' about the development would not have occurred. Eventually a planning application will be submitted and come to the Parish Council for an opinion, that will be on the basis of a consulters not a decision taker, but to avoid being accused by anyone of coming to a meeting with a predetermined attitude it is always advised not to attend any form of preplanning application event. To go to such will compromise a Parish Councillor and could raise the question of prejudice by the Standards Board.
"On Monday evening, many residents attended the Parish Council meeting to express their opinions about what was shown at the exhibition at the Baptist Church Hall. I had to go to a different Parish meeting hence my absence. In my responsibilities as County Councillor this is rightly expected but in any event no planning application for The Market was agenda listed therefore it was reasonable to assume no debate would arise. No Parish Council can give an opinion about a planning proposal which has not been submitted, to give one would be considered irrational.
"In Stratford District Council's Local Plan Review 1996-2011 the Cattle Market is allocated for mixed uses which should include:-
- residential(including a proportion of affordable units)
- class B (a) and (b) industrial
- small scale retail use
"If you have any opinion about what was shown at the exhibition compared with the stated policy in the Local Plan Review my suggestion is you write to :-
Paul Lankester, Chief Executive, Stratford on Avon District Council, Stratford on Avon CV 37 6HX.
Send copies to:-
James Plaskiitt, M.P. 2A, Leam Terrace, Leamington Spa, CV 31 1BB.
"Hope you find this of use."
District Councillor Stephen Thirlwell said, "I understand that this exhibition was arranged by the developers as part of their consultation process with residents and would presume that any 'soundings' noted will be incorporated into their official planning application. Currently that planning application has not been lodged with the District Council resulting in no formal plans being available to view and make comment on. The only thing that we do know formally at this stage is that in the Stratford District Local Plan, the Cattle Market is allocated for redevelopment."
District Laurence Marshall said, "We have to deal with the facts as they are. The market shareholders themselves decided to sell their own land – that is their prerogative in much the same way as any land owner is free to sell his own land or house.
In my view, to suggest that fellow residents of our town will turn the area into a housing ghetto is a scandalous accusation that has no place in a civilised society. What we all need to do is channel our energy into making the proposals acceptable to everybody by fully engaging in the democratic processes that allows everybody to influence that outcome. That process has started with Taylor Woodrow Developments & South Warwickshire Housing Association mounting a community engagement exercise PRIOR to submission of a planning application. The purpose of this exercise is to seek the views of the community on the form and content of their initial proposals; so if there are residents who were unable to attend the exhibition and complete one of the questionnaires asking for their views then I would suggest that they contact Andy Jones of South Warwickshire Housing Association on 01789 404501 or by e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org and express your views –that’s your right!
It should be emphasised that at present no specific proposals for the redevelopment of the site have been discussed between Taylor Woodrow Developments, South Warwickshire Housing Association, and the District Council or for that matter the Parish Council. The public exhibition was an exercise by Taylor Woodrow and South Warwickshire Housing to seek comment on their initial proposals.
In my opinion, the government’s decisions to abolish mortgage interest tax relief in April 2000, coupled with the illogical and punitive Stamp Duty system have effectively helped to break the rungs on the bottom of the property ladder for a whole generation of people! With the average first time buyer having to stump up over £1,500 in stamp duty before he even starts to save for a deposit on a property, it is hardly surprising that there is a real evidence based need for affordable housing in our town as I said in my election address, I am fully committed to supporting second and third generation Henley families who expect to be able to live in the area where they were born and raised.”
Statement by the South Warwickshire Housing Association
“The Association finds the statements made in this leaflet prejudiced and mean-spirited and we do not believe they represent the views of fair-minded Henley residents.
This development proposal represents an opportunity for people who provide vital services to the town – teachers, emergency and health service workers, cleaners and shop staff – to live in the community they work in.
Furthermore, it helps people with strong Henley connections who would like to live in the town, from being driven out by high property values.
The feedback we received from the consultation event on Saturday was, on the whole, very positive. We look forward to presenting our plans to Stratford District Council, with whom we are working to provide much needed affordable housing across the district, for approval.”
Stratford District Council issues a Special News Release
Stratford-on-Avon District Council is working on proposals to produce much-needed affordable homes in Henley-in-Arden.
Taylor Wimpey has recently completed the purchase of the Cattle Market site in Henley. The site itself is allocated for redevelopment in the Stratford-on-Avon District Local Plan Review and the District Council together with South Warwickshire Housing Association are currently working to produce detailed proposals for the redevelopment of the site.
“There is a substantial unmet housing need in Henley, in excess of 100 households because of high house prices. The Cattle Market site is allocated for redevelopment in our Local Plan Review and the site has been purchased with a view to develop an affordable housing scheme,” says Cllr Gillian Roache, Revenues & Housing Portfolio Holder.
“Very few affordable homes have been developed in Henley in recent years. A housing scheme on the site would provide a unique opportunity to help address local housing needs. Any housing would be developed by Taylor Wimpey and sold to and managed by South Warwickshire Housing Association.
“The District Council is currently involved in negotiations over the nature and form of a possible scheme. Those negotiations are ongoing and will involve the recent public consultation exercise carried out by SWHA.
“As part of the ongoing negotiations, consideration is being given to the possibility of the District Council funding part of the cost of the scheme. This would give the District Council a greater say in how the site is redeveloped and should help attract external funding from the Housing Corporation. I must emphasise that at present no specific proposals for the redevelopment of the site have been discussed and the final decisions on any Council funding and any planning application rests with elected members.”
A Henley Resident Responds
The Public Exhibition held at Henley Baptist Church Hall last weekend was, as I understand it, for the purpose of feedback from the people of Henley. That has been voiced through a leaflet and over 50 residents expressing concern at the first available Parish Council meeting. The fact that it may not have been what the Authorities wanted to hear should not come as a surprise.
This reaction is not about prejudice, but a heartfelt response from the people directly affected by it.
Let’s be quite clear. The site needs to be redeveloped but in keeping with the interests, values and wishes of the people. If the people do not favour the proposal, then we have a right to have those views listened to and accepted.
I personally heard a housing representative at the exhibition refer to this proposal as a “Ghetto”. A Taylor Wimpey spokesperson said that his firm wanted to build homes that blended into the existing environment that would include private homes. What we seem to have in this proposal are the wishes of a Housing Association.
If this is such a theoretical draft proposal then why was a spokesperson informing people that work would begin in January 2008 and market traders have been informed to clear the site by the end of October.
There may be procedures to follow but this concept seems far more advanced than we are being led to believe.
I have sought the attention of the Henley District Councillors but have not had the courtesy of a response.
Henley NEWS On-line has requested the developers to provide full details of their plans with photos and diagrams. We hope to publish this report in next week's edition.
100th Birthday of the Railway Arch
The Millfields Residents held a summer BarBQ under the nearby Railway Arch, not a lot of people know about this piece of railway history but the secret is now out. The Railway Arch, once used as a Blacksmith’s workshop, is 100 years old this month.
This Victorian Railway architectural gem is part of the structure that once carried a branch line over the northern end of the Stratford Road between the two stations of Henley. The structure is now hidden away and the Skill of the Victorian Railway engineers is complimented by nature’s architecture to create a most picturesque and rainproof setting for an outdoor party.
The 100th Birthday Party was organised by the people of Millfields the ladies provided a mouth watering array of salads, pastas and other food, together with all the condiments and sauces and for which there was a very modest charge. Power for lighting and music and barbeque facilities were also laid on, barbequers providing their own raw material and drinks.
Obscured by foliage and adjacent to the arch, welded to a piece of old railway line, is a chunky piece of iron which records when the arch was built – 1907. hence the special birthday party
As darkness fell and the air became a little chilled, the atmosphere of the arch was transformed by the strings of lights and a large wood burning fire, which was also the cue for the Arch’s birthday cake and a rousing chorus of “Happy Birthday,” one candle per 10 years. A young man Dominic Dixon, demonstrating his skills on the electric guitar, provided entertainment and we were all “treated” to John Shelley playing his Country & Western style guitar.
The Arch became a topic of conversation as we marveled at the skill of the builders. The arch is not a regular shape with piers either side, it has a wide sweeping twist and the arch is continuous to the ground on either side. We wondered just how this interesting piece of architecture had been constructed and Ron Newbold together with “Bob the Builder” came up with the intriguing answer.
“A large earth mound was created to the shape of the required arch, finished with sand on which there would have been several layers of the Blue Engineering bricks laid with cement.”
It was particularly noticeable that after a month of rain there was no evidence of any seepage of water from above
PS. As an invited guest and on behalf of everyone that attended, I would like to thank all those Millfields people for making this event so enjoyable, in particular, Pam & John Shelley, Linda Broad and Anne Hall
Long live the Arch!
Bill Rees - Reporting
Note: Access to the arch can only be gained via private property and permission of the residents of Millfield Court must be obtained for access.
Henley and Beaudesert Society Summer Outing
For their annual summer outing this year thirty six members and friends of the Society visited Malmesbury and Rodmarton Manor.
The Market Cross in Malmesbury
Outside Rodmarton Manor
The morning weather was fine and members arrived in the ancient and charming town of Malmesbury just after eleven o’clock. Inevitably the first need of many was coffee and the cafes of the town were well patronised. The inner man (and woman) having been briefly satisfied, and the delights of Malmesbury being many and varied, we went our ways in various directions. Some found the prospects of the many charming retail establishments to be irresistible, whilst others of a more determined persuasion found their way to the ancient abbey and its abbey church. Their enthusiasm was rewarded by finding that they were in time to witness a rehearsal for a music festival due to be held in the church – a bonus indeed!
Several of the party were intrigued by the potential of the magnificent gardens of Abbey House. The visit was spiced by the possibility of meeting the owner who is renowned for gardening in the “noddy”! However during days when the garden is open he is more modestly dressed in a handsome thong, rather to the disappointment of some of the lady members who spotted him in a corner of the garden. The gardens lived up to their reputation as one of the most magnificent in England, and many an aspiring gardener went off for lunch vowing to transform their own gardens in the next few months.
As always on these visits lunch was an important occasion and several members were spotted dining on their posh picnics in the numerous comfortable arbours of the town.
Those who were not so arboreally inclined found refuge in various of the many inns which populate the town. The Old Bell and the strangely named “Smoking Dog” pub found several members enjoying a light lunch in preparation for the rigours of the afternoon.
With uncanny timing the wet summer weather returned just as we boarded the coach for the trip to Rodmarton Manor. Luckily we were scheduled for a conducted tour around the inside of the house in order to enjoy the collection of “arts and crafts” furniture with which the house abounds; indeed a fascinating collection of items, most of which had been made specially for the house by local craftsmen. Described as a Cotswold example of the arts and crafts movement some of the party were surprised by the style which tends to be rather self indulgent, emphasising the skill of the craftsman rather than the elegance of the final design. A strange and rather forbidding house, not helped by the steady summer rain. However our spirits were lifted by an excellent tea with vast quantities of superb home made cakes, and the rain having eased we were able to make a brief tour of the eclectic and somewhat eccentric gardens.
Our photo right shows the Chairman in the garden. An easy run home to Henley provided an opportunity for people to discuss the day and to conclude that a good time had been had by one and all.
The next meeting of the Society will be on Thursday 20th September when the subject will be the “Back to Back” houses owned by the National Trust in Birmingham. This meeting will be followed up with a visit to the houses on Wednesday 3rd October.
Brian Twigg - Reporting
Rotary Club - Shakespeare Express Excursion
Additional Excursion on 2nd September from Henley to Henley - BOOK NOW
The Rotary Club of Henley-in-Arden is organising a second special excursion on the last Shakespeare Express of the season on 2nd September. This service will depart from Henley at 11.15, returning to Henley at 14.42. The route will be Stratford to Birmingham, via Claverdon and Hatton, returning to Henley. Please note this is now a Henley to Henley trip.
© Photo by Clive Hanley
Sue Dalby Catering is offering passengers High Quality Lunch Boxes for both excursions. Orders for lunch boxes should be made direct with Sue Dalby Catering 01564 793746, email: email@example.com
Please use the form below to reserve your seats for the 2nd September.
The High Bailiff, after travelling on the first train, said "If readers have not yet booked to do this trip, they should do so quickly: it is definitely not to be missed."
Download a booking form for the Shakespeare Express
Joint Court Leet & Rotary Meeting
The members of the Court Leet and Henley Rotary Club held a most successful joint meeting on Monday.
It was thought to be the first such meting of its kind. Our picture right shows Honorary Burgess Derek Sharman with High Bailiff Ray Holding and Rotary President David Snell at the reception in the Guild Hall.
The High Bailiff welcomed Rotarians to the Guild Hall where Dawn Leech gave a short but fascinating account of the history of this historic building.
The meeting then re-convened in the White Swan for a meal in the Bliss Restaurant followed by a talk by Warwickshire's Assistant Chief Constable Lewis Benjamin who outlined the most recent moves by the county's force to counter the threats posed by the modern criminal.
Rotary President David Snell wound up the meeting by thanking ACC Lewis Benjamin and expressing the hope that similar joint meetings would take place again in the future.
ATAC Garden Party Raises £2,640
An interesting company of 120 people collected at Blakeland House , Rowington on 8th July for a Summer Garden Party with Disco and Raffle to benefit Action Taken Against Cancer – the local registered Charity raising funds for a digital mammogram machine for the cancer breast care unit at Warwick. It was an unexpected blessing when the weather took a turn for the better and the sunshine just enhanced a most successful occasion. The disco was excellent with music appropriate to the eras of those present, a fantastic array of food on the buffet was provided by Sue Dalby of Henley in Arden and there was a magnificent array of superb raffle prizes.
Don McLean was a guest and kindly agreed to draw the raffle adding his humour to the occasion and a bottle of House of Commons whisky signed by David Cameron sold for £50 and a lovely ladies showerproof jacket which had been donated sold for £150.
All in all everyone had a wonderful time in a lovely garden setting and a total of £2,640 was raised for ATAC.
I have a Bushman burner in the garden and a multi-fuel stove in the living room. I burn various things in both ranging from coal, smokeless fuel and wood. However recently I heard about a log maker which makes ‘logs’ from newspaper.
Well after a bit of investigation and around £20, I now have this contraption which uses brute strength and ignorance to change wet newspaper in to solid ‘logs’.
I’ve also found that any un-glossy paper or cardboard works well too, but may need soaking for longer.
Now I know some people out there may wish to re-cycle newspaper, to burn in the winter but don’t have the strength to work the machine. So for a cup of tea, I can turn your old newspaper into logs for fuel, if you need it. If you do possess the required strength I can let you know where to buy a log maker.
The one big advantage is the black box does not overflow quite so much (there is more room for empty beer bottles).
Watch out Becks, Tom from Henley is also in USA
A young footballer from Solihull playing for Warwickshire College is following in the footsteps of David Beckham as he prepares to travel to the USA to play 'soccer'.
Goalkeeper Tom Heath from Shirley is making the 3,000 mile journey to fulfil a four-year academic/football scholarship at Louisburg College in North Carolina. "I am absolutely delighted," said Tom. "It's quite scary as well though as it is so far away from home, but I am still excited about the opportunity."
The 17-year-old was selected after impressing scouts whilst playing for Warwickshire College in Henley-in-Arden. He moves on August 7, just as the USA is gripped by Beckham fever after his move to LA Galaxy earlier this year.
"It will be a good chance for me over there then," said Tom. "Football is an English game and I am prepared to work hard so I hope to impress."
As part of the scholarship Tom will be studying a health and fitness degree which he believes will help him if he does not make it as a professional footballer.
"I hope to play full-time but if that doesn't materialise you have to have a back up plan so I chose something I enjoyed."
John Earle & Son auction 10th July 2007
John Earle & Son held there July land and property auction at their well established venue, Henley Golf and Country Club on the 10th of this month. The results of this month’s auction was a clear indication that there is still a strong demand in the property market, most particularly for interesting, unusual pieces of property and land throughout Warwickshire and the West Midlands.
Richard Abbey's talent as an auctioneer ensured a very successful evening with spirited bidding and some extraordinary results were achieved.
Benton Lane Farm
St Mary's Church Hall
The first lot to go under the hammer was a rare find, a one acre building plot surrounded by greenbelt land betwixt Morton Bagot and Studley. The plot has planning permission for a 1,470 sq. ft. dwelling house with a four bay Dutch barn and paddock. The bidding went off without hesitation and the gavel finally coming down at £324,000.
Following on from the building plot was another interesting property. St Mary’s Church Hall, Wythall is an old school hall and premises, it has planning consent for office conversion and refurbishment, in all some 1,580 sq. ft. Again, John Earle’s extensive marketing campaign of their auction properties shone through with another very pleasing result, the church hall made £250,000, a very comfortable £50,000 over the guide price.
Next to go was a small plot of pastureland, 3.42 acres in Barston, with two enclosures and pond. Following the recent trend in land prices that John Earle has noticed over the last few auctions, the land made an excellent price of over £12,000 per acre, the bidding reaching £42,000.
An extraordinary result came with the following lot, although somewhat expected by Richard Abbey, due it is potential. 4.3 acres of pasture land in the heart of Welford on Avon Village, surrounded by housing and having a long-term possibility of gaining planning permission for development. Without a doubt this land was in high demand, £194,000 was the price on the gavel as it finally came down at an exceptional £94,000 over the guide price, equating to £45,000 per acre.
Lot number five, Innellan House, a four bedroom house with a 2 bedroom annexe, 2 stable blocks, large workshops and office together with garaging and laundry as well as over 6 acres of pastureland, was sold prior to auction following an exceptional pre auction bid.
The final lot to be offered was Benton Lane farm. A lovely old period part timbered farmhouse, that in recent years has been beautifully renovated and extended with a wealth of oak floors and doors throughout. Unfortunately, this property did not achieve the reserve price and is now on the market at £725,000.
Mr Abbey announced before the close of proceedings last night, that the next auction will be held at Henley in Arden Golf and Country Club on 18th September, and already includes a house for renovation and two or three separate parcels of pastureland.
Sports "Shed" Comment
Having just read the latest edition of Henley NEWS On-Line, I see that you are having another bash at the college for its proposed sports hall. At a time that the country is in the process of getting ready for the London Olympics surely it is the responsibility of the college to provide the state af the art facilities to help our up and coming atheletes, let us not lose the sight that it is supposed to be a sporting college.
As a nation we are being bombarded from all sides that the nation is heading for an obesity epidemic and are all being encouraged to take more exercise, as soon as more facilities are being proposed they are denounced as being inappropriate
and not required, according to yourselves the college has perfectly good facilities and doesn't warrant any more. These extra facilities will also be open to the population of Henley,
sorry I forgot that we are over whelmed with other sporting facilities in the town.
I was also intrigued to read in last weeks edition that you were delighted that the High School had been given the go ahead to build a state of the art performance theatre. As this site is even more central to the town have you been given assurances that the proposed building will fit in with its surroundings and will not be visible from the roads into town. I also assume, using your logic regarding the demolition of the old gym at the college being a condition of any new build ,that all parts of the school that are being used to hold any theatrical or other performances at the moment will need to be demolished as they will be deemed to be surplus to requirements.
Your main objections seem to be that the building is to large and that the college hasn't consulted with you about it's proposals. Having seen the proposed elevations I personally cannot see to much of a problem as the site can
be landscaped to conceal some of the building. As for the fact that you say the college isn't consulting with the town may be they thought that following the last consultation meeting
and the reaction that it created in your publication that what ever they proposed would be denounced and not a true reflection on the actual proposal.
I am a life long resident of Henley and do not think that the building of the gym will have such a devestating effect on the town that you seem to think it will in fact there have been and there are on going building developments that
will have a far more detrimental effect on the town.
Derek Ambler, 41 Meadow Road.
The District Council's website still shows this scheme as "Application Invalid On Receipt".
The college continues to ignore requests from residents for the promised meeting to discuss their proposal to build a massive structure alongside the Stratford Road.
By contrast, it is pleasing to see the developers at the Market site are launching a proper public consultation.
To Read Previous Editions Back to 29th October 2004 Click Here
The Manor of Henley-in-Arden
Court Leet and Court Baron
Published by Authority of the High Bailiff
Eleven members of the Court Leet, together with the Steward of the Manor David Lodder, joined members of the Rotary Club of Henley-in-Arden on Monday 16th for the joint meeting which is reported elsewhere in this edition. The Court welcomes this sort of opportunity to link with another of Henley’s organisations and has had a fair degree of success in doing so over the past six months.
Dawn Leech gave the assembled party a short and lively potted history of the Guild of St John, a social and religious order which undertook charitable work. The Guild’s full name was the “Gild of the Holy Trinity, St John the Evangelist and St John the Baptist” and it was required to offer prayers for the souls of departed members. The Guild Hall was its “home”, up to the time of the Guild’s dissolution, at the Reformation.
Fifty years ago this year, the Hall was transferred into a newly created trust, the Guild Hall Trust, for the benefit of the people of Henley, by the then Lord of the Manor Mrs Olive Nancy Barnard. She was the granddaughter of William Fieldhouse who in 1915 restored the Hall to its present glory.
This being a relatively quiet period for the Court Leet itself, the High and Low Bailiffs and their consorts, assisted by the Guild Hall custodian Former High Bailiff Alan Robson and Carol, have seized the opportunity to have a much needed review of the inventory of the Guild Hall. In their capacity as managing trustees of the Guild Hall the members of the Court Leet have responsibility for the care and maintenance of the Hall and its contents, many of which are unique and have historic links to Henley’s past. The Hall doesn’t “belong to” the Court Leet, contrary to what some people believe: it belongs to the town and the Court just has the care and control of it.
Among the many artefacts in the main hall, the newly refurbished 18th century long case clock now ticks solemnly away, chiming the hours. It is good to have this fine old instrument brought back to life.
To view the Court Leet website, go to www.henley-in-arden.org/court-leet
Review of Polling Districts and Polling Places
Stratford-on-Avon District Council is currently undertaking a review of polling districts and polling places for parliamentary elections within ‘Stratford-on-Avon’ and ‘Warwick and Leamington’.
Details of the existing electoral arrangements are available for inspection on week days between 10am and 4pm at the District Council offices and any voter registered in the area of Stratford-on-Avon District Council may make representations.
All representations should be made in writing to Stratford-on-Avon District Council’s Electoral Services office by 31 July.
Fixing Our Broken Society
There has been widespread coverage of and reaction to the publication of Breakthrough Britain over the past week. Fighting poverty and advancing social justice has been placed at the centre of the political agenda. Thousands of people have visited the Poverty Debate site to download sections of the report, whilst the national press have devoted many column inches to discussing it. The report, entitled Breakthrough Britain, is available online at www.povertydebate.com
“Fixing our broken society is the pivotal aim of the modern, reformed Conservative Party, just as in the eighties when they turned Britain from being the ‘Sick Man of Europe’ as we were then known, into one of the world’s strongest economies.
"It’s a fact that under Labour, the poor have got poorer and we have now got more young people out of work than ever there were back in 1997 – call that progress?
"I call it a complete waste of skill. If you haven’t got the time to read the complete report please read the key messages”
John Garner's Business Column
Your Phone Bill
I've just received a business phone bill from British Telecom. Yes, that's bad enough but this contains an additional charge of £4.50.
"What on earth is this?" I thought. On reading the small print on the bill I found the statement "This charge has been made by BT Payment Services Ltd for processing your payment." In other words, they charge you extra for allowing you to pay them! Can you believe it?
We've been used to Gordon Brown's devious stealth taxes for the past 10 years so I suppose BT thinks we're nicely softened up by now. I don't recall them advising me that this charge would be applied; apparently it was introduced from 1st July. I wonder if anyone has challenged its legality yet.
Of course, what it's all about is getting all businesses to pay by their phone bills by Direct Debit. The effect it will have on me is to change phone supplier. You'll note I said "businesses". As far as I can see this additional charge doesn't apply to domestic phone bills. I haven't been with BT for years for my home phone and, looking at their website, they don't seem to be making this charge on domestic lines. Only a matter of time though I suspect.
In spite of what they say, BT is the most expensive phone provider in the UK. It's easy now to switch to a supplier which is not only cheaper but gives better service. At one time you still had to use the BT telephone lines (unless you went on to cable) and pay them a rental, although you could use another provider for cheaper calls – you had to dial a 4 digit prefix on any number you dialled. This is known as your "access code". You keep your existing phone number.
Now though you can transfer your line rental to one of several companies who will do it cheaper than BT. They will programme in your access code so you don't have to dial a prefix every time you make a call. This doesn't stop you manually dialling in another company's access code if you want to use an alternative supplier (perhaps for overseas calls). You can usually keep the same services as with BT such as caller ID or the1571 messaging service.
I will admit one thing though. Such companies will usually insist that you pay by Direct Debit (and usually monthly) but at least they are up front about it, there are no sneaky hidden charges and they can be an awful lot cheaper. Of course it's not always simple to choose the right one, and it will depend on the type of calls you make: lots of overseas calls or lots of calls to mobiles will make a difference.
However, help is at hand. You may already have used websites such as:
to help you choose a cheaper supplier for your domestic electricity or gas.
These three don't deal with business phone switching but there are others who do such as:
Good luck, it's usually worth switching supplier for all your utilities. I find it's a good idea to review each supplier every 12 months to make sure you're still getting competitive rates.
Grumpy Old Man Comments
Holiday time again!
We are well into the standard British summer now and as normal, we are all looking forward to 1, 2 or 3 weeks off work (unless you are a teacher and you can have 6 weeks). But what about the pricing strategy of the holiday firms, property owners and travel agents.
Just look on any holiday website for a holiday this week, and then compare the price for the same holiday next week when the children have finished. While your there, look too at the same holiday after Sept 5th!
So can you blame parents for taking their children out of school for a week ? There is talk of fines for parents, but what about the low income families? The choice : expensive holiday or a fine from the school authorities. Even for the better off, we all still have to look after the pennies.
And then just look at what the schools are doing in the last week of term. Yes, there are certain years which may work until the bitter end, mainly exam years (GCSE’s A Levels etc) but year 8 and below ? Would they really miss a week or two?
Another solution would be for local authorities to communicate, and Solihull, Staffordshire, Birmingham, Warwickshire etc stagger the holidays by 2 or 3 weeks. Or maybe this would lead to more profiteering by the Travel agents etc.
No wonder outside the school holidays, all the resorts are full of more senior members of our society and those with out school age children. I’m jealous, too many years since I could do it and too many left before I can do it again ! Good luck to all who can.
Grumpy Old Man
The Nigel Hastilow Column
Flying is the new smoking
Flying is the new smoking. The ban on smoking in a public place is bound to result in fewer sales. That means less money for the Treasury. So they’ve got to find the money somewhere else. The tax take from smokers is £9.5 billion but as they cost the NHS £1.7 billion, the Government’s net income is £7.8 billion. That will now start to disappear.
Government needs a new source of revenue to make up the shortfall. That’s why Gordon Brown doubled the duty on flying. He is not interested in saving the planet any more than he were bothered about the health of the nation when he kept putting up taxes on fags. He just wants the money. And what with flooding, bishops, God and Bono on his side, nobody is likely to complain except Ryanair, the new Great Satan. In the past, Governments have played along with the idea that smoking is a bad habit which should be discouraged. They didn’t really mean it.
Instead, they rubbed their hands with glee at the huge income they could generate from a tax nobody could object to. Now the ban on smoking in public places, plus the holier-than-thou crusade against smokers, is likely to have a real impact. Fewer people, smoking fewer fags, means less money for the Treasury. And while the Government can carry on increasing the tax on smokers, more and more people will be priced out of the market. Never mind the health risks, who can afford a 20-a-day habit nowadays?
So the Government’s got to find the money somewhere else. And where better than another tax which looks highly virtuous?
Gordon Brown caused a furore when he doubled Air Passenger Duty earlier this year. It means a holiday tax of £10 per flight for short-haul; up to £80 if you’re going round the world business class. Thanks to global warming, it’s a tax we can’t object to. As we jet away this summer to escape the rain, our bishops accuse us of incurring the wrath of God. So a £10 “green” air passenger tax is a small price to pay to make up for it.
Church of England bishops say the foul weather is God’s punishment for years of environmental neglect. A spokesman says God isn’t especially unhappy with the people of Hull and Sheffield, though they seem to be playing the role of soaking wet Sodom and Gomorrah. The Bishop of Liverpool says “we are reaping what we have sown. If we live in a profligate way then there are going to be consequences”. The Bishop of Carlisle goes further, blaming the floods not just on the harm we do to the environment but on God’s wrath over the “moral degradation” of gay marriages. Our bishops are now firmly atop the green bandwagon just as last weekend we can enjoyed another of those extravaganzas where rock stars save the world. Last year it was from poverty, this year it’s from global warming.
Live Earth staged concerts at Wembley and in New York, Sydney, Rio de Janeiro, Johannesburg, Tokyo, Shanghai and Hamburg featuring everyone from Damien Rice and James Blunt to Madonna and Genesis. It’s difficult to see quite how this will stop the ice caps from melting. But at a time when every change in the weather is a sign of imminent destruction, it’s probably enough to “raise awareness”.
Twenty years ago loony left local councils declared themselves nuclear-free. Now it’s perfectly respectable to be carbon-free instead. And not, apparently, in the least bit loony or leftie to do so. The environment is not just the new rock-and-roll, it’s the new CND and the new religion as well.
So paying holiday tax is the least we can do. Even if this year’s increase does mean Gordon Brown stands to receive up to £2 billion compared with less than £1 billion last year. The Bishops say flying is a terrible sin. Much worse than adultery or coveting thy neighbour’s ox.
Yet if the Government really believed the planet was dying because of aircraft emissions, it would scarcely stop at a tax of £10 per flight. That won’t deter anyone. Flying, even with Gordon’s green tax, is still cheaper than going by road or rail. If he was serious about using the tax to save the planet he’d set it so high it left us all grounded. He won’t do that unless a consensus on climate change allows him to.
It will take a lot more flooding before we overcome our natural scepticism enough to support punitive taxes on polluters. It will be years before flying becomes as socially unacceptable as smoking. By then the remaining addicts will be paying a fortune for the privilege of taking to the skies. They will be almost universally despised. They will gather round in make-shift terminals discussing how difficult life has become, how persecuted they feel and how there is no such thing as passive flying anyway.
By then, the tax will be ten times what it is today and most of the cut-price airlines will have long gone out of business. Happy holidays.
Make Henley Greener
Save Money - Help Save the Planet
Excess Baggage Charges?
Not on your holiday flight but in your car. Every 45 kg (100 lb) of extra weight in a typical car increases fuel consumption by about 2% so leave the excess baggage behind except
when you need it. Low tyre pressures also increase fuel consumption so check them regularly.
For more information about the Make Henley Greener project, click here.
District Council Information
Alerts from Trading Standards
Atherstone: residents are warned to beware of doorstep gardeners after an elderly man was approached at his home. He was offered gardening work but told the gardner that what he really needed was a shed erecting. The man offered to do the work and took £125. He then disappeared and has not returned. The man gave his address as a farm in the Bedworth area, but this later turned out to be false.
Nuneaton: Reports have been received concerning the activities of several men door stepping residents in the Hill Top area of Nuneaton. The men are reported to be offering residents a £110 Argos 'credit' card to be paid back £5 per week. They are asking for personal/financial details (e.g. DoB). Argos have confirmed that this approach has nothing to do with them. The men are reported to have been abusive when challenged. Trading standards believe this may be an attempt elicit information for identity theft.
Warwickshire: Householders are warned to beware of callers falsely claiming to be working on behalf of Warwickshire Fire and rescue Service, offering to fit free burglar alarms. This is a scam and those that agree to the fitting of an alarm are likely to be asked for payment for installation and pressured in to signing a contract for a long and potentially very expensive alarm monitored service.
Warwickshire: Consumers are again warned to beware of email that purport to come from bank or building societies or similar. An email falsely claiming to be from the nationwide has been circulating recently . The email asks the recipient to up date their account as a way of stealing personal and financial information.
Warwickshire: Businesses have reported receiving telephone calls from a trader proposing to do an article about their respective services and requesting an interview. When it became apparent to one business that the approach was really selling they declined to participate further, but then received a series of requests from the trader for payment of an invoice of £169.00 + VAT which they have declined to pay.
Henley in Arden: A local business has reported receiving invoices from a Lancashire based trader regarding sponsorship for a drugs awareness book. The business had never had any contact with the Lancashire trader previously, but the letters were titled 'OVERDUE STATEMENT!!!'.
And always remember - if it looks too good to be true, it probably is!
Senior Information Officer
Warwickshire County Council Trading Standards Service
Henley Crime Report
This crime summary is a look at the crimes of public interest that occurred on the Henley, Snitterfield and Tanworth policing area over the last 14 days. We do not as normal practice include crimes of shoplifting, bilking, domestic violence or fraud.
BURGLARY COMMERCIAL AND OTHER BUILDING
During the evening of 23rd June 07 unknown offender/s approached business premises on Bear Lane, Henley in Arden. They have then forced the front door and conducted a search of the garage. Nothing believed stolen.
Incident number 322 of 28th June 07 refers.
Between lunch time on 25th June and 1845 hours on 26th June 07 unknown offender/s approached premises on Ullenhall Lane, Beoley. They have then smashed two doors to gain entry and removed a compressor.
Incident number 455 of 26th June 07 refers.
Overnight between 27th and 28th June 07 unknown offender/s have approached business premises on High Street, Henley in Arden and stolen a quantity of lead from the roof.
Incident number 117 of 28th June 07 refers.
Between 1200 hours and 1400 hours on 28th June 07 unknown offender/s approached a property on Manor Lane, Claverdon. They have then gained entry to a barn and stolen a red Honda 300CC quad bike.
Incident number 457 of 28th June 07 refers.
At some time on 1st July 07 unknown offender/s approached a property on Stratford Road, Hockley Heath. They have then gained entry to the rear garden and stolen a quantity of metal.
Incident number 567 of 1st July 07 refers.
During the afternoon of 3rd July 07 unknown offender/s approached a motor vehicle parked at Earlswood Lakes. They have then gained entry and stolen the fitted car stereo.
Incident number 127 of 4th July 07 refers.
At approximately 1040 hours on 10th July 07 a female pulled onto the driveway of her property on Langley Road, Claverdon. Two offenders have then threatened her and stolen her red Golf GTI motor vehicle. Offenders described as males, both wearing hoodies.
Incident number 147 of 10th July 07 refers.
HENLEY POLICE SURGERY
Henley In Arden Police will be holding a ‘drop in’ facility at Henley Police Station for you to come and discuss any issues or problems, within the community, with your local policing team!
Please note due to renovation work at Henley Police Station there will be limited ‘police surgeries’. Should any members of the community have issues they wish to raise during this period they can contact PCSO Jelfs on 0771 7236118 or PC Bennett on 07920 531450. Surgeries will be as follows:-
Wednesday 8th Aug between 11 am – 1 pm
Wednesday 22nd Aug between 11 am – 1 pm
If you did have information regarding the displayed incidents, but for whatever reason do not wish to contact the police directly, then you can ring 0800 555 111 and give the information to the Crimestoppers Charity. Crimestoppers will then pass the information to the Police without revealing any details of the caller. You may also receive a reward.
If you have any information or have witnessed the above incidents, please can you contact Alcester Police on 01789 762207. Thank you.
HENLEY, SNITTERFIELD AND TANWORTH COMMUNITY POLICING TEAM
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Henley Diary Dates
The following diary dates have been notified to Diane Bayley at 6 St John's Close. All diary dates for the next Henley Diary Dates should be sent to Diane at: firstname.lastname@example.org. Articles and news stories for Henley NEWS on-line should be sent to the email@example.com at any time.
WOOTTON WAWEN PRIMARY SCHOOL
School Fete Friday 20th July at 5.00 p.m. Please note change of date.ATAC (Action Taken Against Cancer) Annual Charity Golf Day.
HENLEY-IN-ARDEN FLOWER CLUB
Friday 27th July – preparation for Competition Day which is on Saturday 28th July, 2.00 – 5.00 p.m. in the Memorial Hall only £1 admission.
MIKADO IN TANWORTH
20th & 21st July. The series of Gilbert and Sullivan concerts in Tanworth comes to a grand finale this year. Singers are reminded that full chorus rehearsals start on Tuesday 5th June at 7.45 p.m. in Tanworth village hall. Tickets at £8.50 each will be on sale in The Bell on 25th and 26th June from 10.00 a.m. to 12 noon. Cheques payable to ‘The Tanworth Singers’. For ticket availability after these dates, please phone Mrs. Quentin on 742424.
JAZZ IN THE GARDEN
Saturday 21st July - Sold out.
SHAKESPEARE EXPRESS ROTARY OUTING
Sunday 2nd September - details from firstname.lastname@example.org
BARN DANCE ABD SUPPER
Saturday 20th October - Information from Marijana or Duncan Bainbridge 793539/794987.
HENLEY AND WOOTTON SCOUTS - BONFIRE NIGHT
Saturday 3rd November 2007 - Further details from John Johnson 792073.
HENLEY IN ARDEN TENNIS CLUB
Open to members (juniors and adults) of any standard. Full time coach. 7 courts open throughout the year mean that there is always a court available. No need to book. Club and American Tournaments held during summer months. League matches summer and winter. For details of membership please contact Judith Mathias 01564 792378
HENLEY-IN-ARDEN EVERGREEN CLUB
Meetings are held on the first Wednesday of the month in the Parish Hall, Beaudesert Lane at 2.15 p.m. The Club has around 80 members and organises a varied programme together with various outings. If you are interested in joining, please contact Gordon Trinder
HENLEY-IN-ARDEN FLOWER CLUB
Arc you interested in gardening and flowers or just spending a pleasant evening watching a demonstrator arrange foliage and flowers? We meet on the second Tuesday each month at 7.30pm in The Memorial Hal, Station Road, Henley-in-Arden so why not come along and see for yourself. Visitors are always welcome £3.00. You do not have to be an active flower arranger to enjoy watching our demonstrators but if you do feel you would like to 'have a go' we hold occasional workshops. For further information, Contact Secretary - Annette Walker - 01564 792837
HENLEY IN ARDEN BADMINTON CLUB
Meets Friday and Sunday from September to May in the Memorial Hall. Details contact Alan Barber on 793320. Thursday evenings from 7.30 –9.30 pm at Henley Community Primary School. Details please ring Pauline Barber on 793320.
HENLEY CRICKET CLUB
Henley Cricket Club fields two teams in the Cotswold Hills League on a Saturday, and two teams in friendly fixtures on Sundays, from mid-April to mid-September. We are always on the lookout for new players, irrespective of age or ability. Anyone interested in joining our club should contact Kevin O'Brien on 01564-794903.
HENLEY-in-ARDEN BOWLS CLUB
meets on Monday evenings from April to September at 6.30pm and plays until it is dark. The club is situated next to the Tennis Courts at the Sports and Social club ground on the A34 just outside Henley. The Club welcome new members, whether beginners or established players. For further information contact John Townson 01564 792407.
There are still vacancies in some areas of Henley-in-Arden for NEIGHBOURHOOD WATCH Co-ordinators. If you are aware that you are not covered in your area or are willing to be a co-ordinator. Please contact Annette Walker on 792837
THE WARWICKSHIRE BUSINESS CLUB
Holds its monthly lunchtime meeting on third Thursday of each month from 11.30am to 2.15pm at the Henley Golf Club. There is a one hour networking session followed by a quality lunch and a informative speaker on a business topic. Full details at www.swbc.co.uk
THE ROTARY CLUB of HENLEY-in-ARDEN
Meets at the Golf Club on Monday evenings at 7pm.
New members are always welcome.
Please call: Robin Freeman on 01789 765411 or email email@example.com
HENLEY-in-ARDEN BRIDGE CLUB
Plays Duplicate Bridge of intermediate standard on Tuesday evenings at the the White Swan Hotel and usually find time for a tipple, which may or may not improve our play!!. Play commences at 7.15 promptly. There are normally 5 - 8 tables and the club does not issue master points.
For further information please contact the Secretary - Christine Whitehouse on 01564 792993.
Please tell all your friends about The Henley Diary. Events for future Henley Diary Dates should be sent to Diane Bayley at 6 St John's Close marked ‘Henley Diary’ email: firstname.lastname@example.org
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