Market Redevelopment…. The Next Chapter:
A Report by Mike Faulkner, Prince Harry Road
Having still not received any reply from our District Councillor’s, and just a cursory acknowledgment from our MP, I was anxious for an update from the District Council itself.
When making initial contact with them by e mail on 22 July 2007, I raised 20 points of concern over the South Warwickshire Housing Association (SWHA) proposal. On then learning that there would be a closed meeting between the District Council and SWHA last Friday 3rd August 2007, I wrote again, as follows:
Mr P Reid,
Chief Planning Officer
Stratford –on-Avon District Council
30th July 2007.
RE; SOUTH WARWICKSHIRE HOUSING ASSOCIATION PROPOSAL – HENLEY MARKET DEVELOPMENT
I am reliably informed that the SWHA will be presenting to you this Friday.
I wish to register my grave concern and vehement objection to their proposal.
As you will determine from my address, I will be directly overlooking and therefore be most affected by it.
The meeting they held a couple of weeks ago was a misrepresentation. The design was flawed and determined by, at best, incomplete data.
Last weeks floods (from which I was directly and extensively affected) demonstrated that the current drainage system cannot cope with existing properties let alone another 67 in a condensed area.
Current traffic congestion means that in rush hour periods it can take up to 10 minutes just to turn out of Prince Harry Road. 67 properties with an average of 2 cars (134 vehicles) will add to the chaos.
There is no work in Henley. Businesses have been leaving for years. Do you remember the ice-cream factory?
Public transport is poor and unreliable. There is just 1 bus every 2 hours to Stratford or Solihull.
The medical centre cannot cope with current demand. Tenants will have to travel out of area to get treatment. Yet further damage to the environment by creating more journeys.
3 storey properties are not in keeping with the area. They will blight the area, create shadows over existing gardens and invade people’s privacy.
The market traders will be put out of business thereby damaging the local economy.
There can be no guarantee as to who will occupy the properties, whether originally from the area or placed here, let alone, as suggested by the SWHA from specific trades or professions.
There is a proposed road junction directly opposite my drive. I can only reverse off my drive, so that will create a major traffic hazard, and a risk of injury to others.
To remain in keeping with the area, fewer properties should be erected, with gardens to assist with soaking up rainwater not adding to it by concrete surfaces, but whatever type of housing there is (and why not the promised retail outlets/small business units around the original market office area) there must be significant upgrading of flood defences, storm, sewage drainage, roads, medical facilities, and public transport.
Please do not just “dump” this project on us. What about the well being of the people that already live here. Do we not have a chance to contribute to what will have a major impact upon our lives and livelihood?
SWHA are misleading you if they report that the people of Henley favour this. They have been extremely selective in their canvassing and are greatly mistrusted by the residents. We are being deceived and duped at every opportunity. Even our District Councillors are keeping a low profile. They live far enough away not to be affected by this.
A plea to hear us. We the residents of Henley in Arden object to this proposal.
If you wish at this stage to have letters confirming this, then my neighbours will do so if they haven’t already.
Finally, I attach below my original e mail to you last week, just in case it does not register as a complaint/objection.
CC: P Lankester Chief Executive
In response I received the following e mail on 31st July from a Mr Gordon;
Thank you for your e-mail message of 22 July 2007, to which I have been asked to reply.
I understand your detailed concerns and objections. I cannot comment on points 1-8, 10-12 & 16-17 in your message as these relate to other people/organisations. In relation to your remaining points, it may be helpful if I outline the current position.
As you are probably aware, the site is allocated for mixed-use redevelopment in the Local Plan Review (Proposal HEN.C). Thus the principle of redeveloping the site is settled.
You may also be aware that a moratorium on the granting of planning permission for new open market housing is currently in force. This is because of the current over-supply of such housing relative to strategic requirements and the fact that more open market housing would offer no real benefits to the residents of the District.
Yet, paradoxically, there is a pressing need for more affordable housing, caused by high house prices. For this reason, schemes for solely affordable housing have been exempted from the moratorium. Elected members have decided that the provision of more affordable homes is a key priority for the District Council.
In Henley-in-Arden alone, there are over 100 households who need affordable homes and who have a local connection to the town. Therefore the District Council has been involved in discussions with Taylor Wimpey and South Warwickshire Housing Association (SWHA) concerning the possibility of developing an affordable housing scheme on the site. Such a scheme would provide an ideal opportunity to address the pressing housing needs of Henley's residents and resolve the future of the site.
I must emphasise that at this stage the discussions mentioned above are ongoing and NO formal decisions have been taken by the District Council regarding the approval or funding of a scheme.
At present there is still a considerable amount of work needed to produce a scheme acceptable to all parties. It would therefore be premature to speculate about specific details. But I can confirm that the District Council would only be prepared to support a scheme of high quality design which respects its setting and fully takes into account all environmental and infrastructure considerations. I should also add that the occupancy of all the housing will be restricted by a legal agreement to people with local connections to Henley: this would not, of course, be the case with a scheme for open market housing!
As you know, SWHA organised a public exhibition on 13/14 July specifically to seek the public's views on the principles of a scheme. The views expressed will be taken into account as design work continues. A detailed planning application will be subject to further publicity and consultation, and you will have a further opportunity to comment at this stage.
In conclusion, I appreciate your concerns but hope the above information will help place the ongoing discussions in their proper context. As I mentioned above, the scheme has the potential to make a valuable contribution to meeting Henley's pressing housing needs. I therefore hope that, in due course, you will feel able to support more specific proposals as and when they come forward.
Development & Enabling Officer
Switchboard +44 (0)1789 267575, Direct +44 (0)1789 260843
email: email@example.com, web: www.stratford.gov.uk
To which I replied;
Thank you for replying so promptly Mr Gordon. Whilst I understand the process, and rationale, it serves only to reaffirm my perception that this is a fait accompli. The people most directly affected by it are incidental to the intent. Do you not accept that by your own "pre-selection process" you may be ticking a few boxes, but you are doing so in a condensed and unsuitable area. You will also in effect be stigmatising the tenants by placing their homes all in one confined area rather than integrated throughout the area, thereby adapting to the environment and infra structure restraints.
The Local Plan Review calls for a "mixed-use development". There is nothing mixed by the current SWHA proposal. They are simply looking for a quick fix. The moratorium is self-imposed and some might say rather convenient.
The 13/14 July event highlighted just how ill thought out the proposal is. Even the presenter’s were against it. A gentleman from the SWHA described it as a "ghetto" and I can assure you several people heard him. The Taylor Wimpey representative was against it but told me (they) had to support it. A neighbour was advised by the SWHA representative to "sell now" before the the plan becomes official. This is not hysteria Mr Gordon, simply quotes from official representatives. How can such a proposal have credibility when it brings with it so many problems and so much despair? Answer me honestly, would you, indeed would any of you copied into this, be happy to live in Prince Harry Road or surrounding properties if/when it goes ahead? I think not. I have seen elderly ladies in tears over this and they do not even live adjacent to the market. They fear for the impact upon Henley.
Mr Gordon, I grew up on a council estate in inner city Birmingham. I have worked for charities in that area supporting those less fortunate than others. I need no lectures from anyone on helping people make their lives better. I work in a profession that is all about change and meeting the challenges it creates. I am not therefore conditioned to living how life used to be.
The market site does need to be redeveloped. It does not need, and cannot sustain such condensed housing. It may on the face of it solve one problem but it will create so many more.
I do hope that the decision makers will think again about the current proposition.
Alas, it really does appear as if this deal has been done. The conditions upon which it can be built have been drafted in a way that nothing other than the SWHA proposal will fit. Unless you, the good people of Henley-in-Arden, complain individually to Mr Pat Reid the Chief Planning Officer, and your District Councillor’s, the proposal will go ahead to the detriment, it seems, of everyone living in Henley.
I know I do not represent the people of Henley-in-Arden, but I am voicing the concerns expressed to me on a personal level from many different residents. Some of you may agree with the proposal. That is your right, but if you, and those around you wish to object, then you must make your voice heard now.
Late Breaking News
James Plaskitt MP has just replied enclosing a response from Pat Reid at Stratford District Council. Mr Reid confirms that he has received a number of letters from local residents. Until the plans are officially submitted, he recommends that the Parish Council be approached. James Plaskitt endorses the advice and goes on to say that once plans are submitted to contact our District Councillors with any concerns.The County Council will deal with highway issues.
There we have it; Our MP has passed us back to the Parish and District Councillors to represent our interests in this matter. Neither are forthcoming to date, let alone in support. In the meantime, the Housing Association press on with their proposal. It is time to let them know your views if you wish to have any chance to influence this matter and to call for a public meeting as soon as the plans are published.
Foot and Mouth Disease - Important Information
Following confirmation of Foot and Mouth disease at a farm in Surrey, Animal Health Officers from Warwickshire County Council Trading Standards Service are issuing this advice for the farming community and the general public in Warwickshire.
Foot and Mouth is an infectious viral disease that affects all cloven – hoofed animals, particularly cattle, pigs, sheep, goats, deer & camelids (eg camels, alpacas & llama). Horses are not affected but they can carry the virus and no other livestock are affected. It is also extremely rare for humans to contract the disease. There are no implications for the human food chain. Warwickshire Trading Standards has enacted its animal disease control plan and is working with DEFRA, the Animal Health Service and the National Farmers Union, to help ensure that everything is done to prevent the potential spread of the disease.
Mark Ryder, Head of Warwickshire Trading Standards Service said: “The farming community and the general public should know that our service will do all it can to help prevent the spread of Foot and Mouth. We have already taken steps to cascade information and advice to farmers in the county, and in the coming days will continue to keep farmers as up to date as possible with matters here in Warwickshire.”
A national movement ban is currently in place to help prevent any possible spread of the disease. Cattle, sheep, pigs, goats, deer & camelids cannot be moved, the only exception being the movement of cows along the public highway for milking, and then only to cows moving from one part of a premises to another part of the same premises. The ban does not apply to horses except within a 3km protection zone around the infected premise. All livestock markets and other animal gatherings in Warwickshire have been cancelled for an indefinite period. Henley market is continuing to operate as it is not a market at which susceptible animals are sold.
Trading Standards Animal Health officers are urging all livestock farmers to ensure enhanced biosecurity is maintained on their premises and to minimise visitors to livestock farm premises.
The countryside remains open and rights of way, other than on an infected premise itself are not currently affected. It is hoped that no closures will be required but this matter will remain under review. Apart from the Surrey premises, no other cases have been reported and all other test results to date have been negative. Warwickshire farmers requiring further help or advice are asked to phone 01926 414040.
Warwickshire Trading Standards will investigate any suspected illegal movements of cattle, sheep & pigs etc. and anyone with information should call 01926 414040.
More information is available on our website: www.warwickshire.gov.uk/tradingstandards
Trial of Travel Firm Directors Continues
A Suffolk travel company accused of duping hundreds of holiday makers into paying out for holidays that never materialised was forced to leave its business premises after falling into arrears with its rent, a court has heard.
Karen Bolton, the manager of the Riverside Business Centre in Lowestoft, said a cheque for rent due on a unit leased by Fly By Travel Promotions Ltd, had bounced shortly after she started her job in late 2004 and this followed earlier problems with the payment of rent by the company, experienced by her predecessor. Following a meeting with Fly By director Kevin Tull it was agreed that rent payments would be made in cash and when payments were brought up to date the company was asked to quit the business centre in June 2005.
Giving evidence on the fifth day of the trial of Kevin Tull and fellow Fly By directors Mark Tull and Matthew Rigden, Mrs Bolton said that in 2005 the business centre started receiving complaints from Fly By customers. “They were people who sent some money as a deposit for holidays which they hadn't received. On several occasions people said they had turned up at the airport to find there were no tickets for them,” she said. Mrs Bolton said she told Kevin Tull about the complaints and his reaction was to tell her that she did not understand his business.
Kevin Tull, 28 of Walmer Road, Lowestoft, his brother Mark Tull, also 28, of Henley in Arden, Warwickshire, and Rigden, 22, of Windsor Road, Lowestoft, have denied conspiracy to defraud between January 2003 and July 2005.
The court has heard that the defendants were directors of Fly By which had invited customers to sign up for a platinum option scheme for a subscription fee of £39.99. This entitled them to a seven-day holiday including flights and four star accommodation. However it has been alleged that the majority of people did not get a holiday at all and did not get their money back either. The court heard that of 1,120 holidaymakers only 23 received their holiday and the others were left out of pocket by a total of £140,000.
Asked by defence counsel Stephen Spence if she disliked Kevin Tull, Mrs Bolton said she did not have problem with him until she started getting complaints about his business. “It made my job difficult,” she said. She said that Fly By customers had contacted the business centre directly after they had tried unsuccessfully to get through to Fly By. Mrs Bolton said she tried to put the calls through and when she went to Fly By's office to see what was going on she found that the calls were not being picked up.
She added that Kevin Tull had not left a forwarding address for Fly By when the company left its office at the Riverside Business Centre.
The trial continues.
Henley Library - Flood Update
Warwickshire Library and Information Service regret to announce that Henley-in-Arden Library remains closed until further notice due to flood damage. In the meantime, Henley Library customers can now drop books off at the Function Room at the White Swan Hotel in Henley or return them to any Warwickshire Library.
The clean up at Henley Library continues has begun and the library will re-open as soon as possible.
The White Swan is opposite the library in the High Street and the drop off crates will be in the Function Room. The White Swan staff will not be able to deal with any library enquiries or book renewals. Warwickshire Library and Information Service would like to thank Linda and The White Swan Team for their help at this time.
Customers can also renew their library books online at www.warwickshire.gov.uk/libraries or via the 24hr renewal line 01926 499273.
Warwickshire Library and Information Service would like to assure Henley Library customers that they will not be charged if books go overdue during this time.
Customers awaiting requested books will be contacted by library staff when the books become available. Help and advice can be obtained by ringing Stratford Library on 01789 292209.
Flood Information for Businesses
Warwickshire Investment Partnership has published a leaflet outlining the support available for businesses effected by flooding, through Business Link West Midlands.
For further information please contact Business Link West Midlands on the number provided on the leaflet.
Download a copy of the leaflet
Burglaries May Be Connected
Links between a series of burglaries in Hockley Heath, Henley-in-Arden and surrounding villages are being investigated by police.
At 11am on Tuesday July 24, burglars wearing Balaclavas escaped in a blue Audi saloon with a roof rack after attempting to enter a house in Ashford Lane, Hockley Heath. Two, possibly three men with their faces covered, climbed over a garden wall and ran off after being confronted by a resident who shouted at them. They drove off in the Audi in an unknown direction. One of the offenders is described as stockily built wearing beige trousers and a black sleeveless top with some words or lettering on the back. The Audi is believed to be involved in a house burglary in Malthouse Lane, Earlswood on Monday and a recent burglary at Tanners Lane, Burton Green investigated by West Midlands Police.
Stratford detectives are establishing links between the burglaries and two incidents in Henley in Arden, the following day, July 25 when burglars are believed to have targeted a blue Audi car parked on the driveway of a house in Edge Lane, Henley in Arden. Neighbours were alerted by the alarm sounding at around 3pm. The front door was forced open and the house searched but the offenders escaped empty handed.
During the same day there was a further attempted burglary at a house in Tanworth Lane, Henley-in-Arden. Residents returned to the house at 7pm and discovered an attempt to force and kick through the front door.
Anyone with information should contact DC Imran Ghouri from Stratford district CID on 01789 444870.
May District Election Count - Report on Failings
An official report on the failed electronic counting trials in the Stratford District local elections last May, has been published.
As part of a joint project, Stratford and Warwick District councils respectfully attempted to count all ballot papers electronically. However, the scanning equipment and counting software failed, which resulted in only six wards being counted electronically in Stratford and no electronic counting in Warwick. All the remaining wards were counted manually.
Key observations in the report were:
- Ballot papers were delivered late - just the day before polling day in Warwick.
- Tests of the electronic counting system took place the night before polling day in Stratford.
- The poor printing quality of ballot papers and sensitivity of the scanners led to a larger than normal number of ballot papers being sent for interpretation by electoral officials even though in many cases the voting intention was clear.
- In Stratford, some batches of ballot papers had to be rescanned due to low print quality. This happened 423 times in total before the count was eventually abandoned in favour of a manual count.
- Ballot papers in Warwick could not be counted for a number of reasons, including poor print quality and tears in the paper.
- A power cut in Stratford caused some delay to the electronic count.
- Once the count was abandoned in Warwick, it took one hundred staff six hours to declare all the results.
- The overall cost of the pilot scheme provisions was £115,326 in Stratford and £166,179 in Warwick. The majority of costs were met by the Ministry of Justice.
Andrew Scallan, director of electoral administration at the Electoral Commission, said: "For electronic counting to work, there needs to be adequate time for testing the equipment thoroughly - a tight timescale was undoubtedly a contributing factor which led to the abandonment of the electronic count in Stratford and Warwick. We're calling on the Government to end the further piloting of modern electoral techniques such as e-counting, which have already been extensively tested, until it has published a clear strategy for modernising the electoral system."
Twelve pilot schemes were held in 13 local authority areas across England on May 3, trialling different methods such as advance voting, signing for ballot papers, electronic voting and electronic counting.
The Manor of Henley-in-Arden
Court Leet and Court Baron
Published by Authority of the High Bailiff
The task of freshening-up the interior of the Guild Hall was interrupted by the recent floods. Muddy water found its way into the basement and ground floor (including the Library). This meant that everything stored in the lower areas had to be taken out, dried off and adjudicated upon.
In the event the opportunity was taken to have a general clear-out of items no longer of use, including, for example, a few of the now very faded banners made for the Queen’s Silver Jubilee in 1977. Custodian Alan Robson and Carol slogged away to get rid of the film of clay which covered everything, and then to wash out the whole of the lower area and the garden pavings (which were similarly inundated).
Meanwhile, the robing room upstairs – that’s the anteroom to the main Hall - has been attacked by the High and Low Bailiff and their consorts. Every nook and cranny has been visited: a few treasures or possible treasures were turned up, including a fine portrait of John Hannett, High Bailiff from 1873, author, publisher, stationer, printer and postmaster. This is being framed and will appear in the lobby of the robing room in due course. The furniture has been renovated and now looks as shown in the pictures here. The job continues.
In the Hall itself pictures have been added to and re-grouped and visitors will now be met by two splendid Court Leet banners, one shown here with the Low Bailiff, which have been presented by the Low Bailiff and Mrs Molly Sutton.
Outside, the Low Bailiff, who is a flag enthusiast, has restored the Hall’s flagpole and we now have a Court Leet flag, the same design as the banners, which will fly with the Union flag on our high days.
To view the Court Leet website, go to www.henley-in-arden.org/court-leet
High School Govenors Newsletter
In his latest Newsletter, Peter Crathorne, Chairman of the Henley High School Govenors, issues an appeal for two new Govenors.
Read the latest Newsletter
ATAC Summer Fun Evening Raises £1,350
Wroxall Abbey Estate Sonnets Restaurant was the venue for an Evening of Summer Fun to raise more funds for ATAC . 100 people were in attendance for a 3 course meal and entertainment by comedian Malcolm Stent.
Once again, this event was well supported and of particular interest one of the guests was Graham Murrell, Chairman of South Warwickshire General Hospitals Trust who are responsible for Warwick Hospital. It was encouraging to hear from him that our local hospital is in ‘fine fettle’ and he was positive about the future, telling those gathered to support ATAC that the Ambulatory Cancer Unit is to proceed - which will bring more patients back from UCHW at Coventry - and that Charlectoe Ward is currently being re-furbished. Of special interest to the Committee was the fact that he stated that the much needed digital mammogram machine [for which we are raising funds] should be achieved within the coming year. He also added that Warwick are treating more patients than before.
After his interesting and positive report, the guests were well entertained by Malcolm Stent who brought loads of laughter to every table and the evening was concluded with a spectacular raffle, which raised £790.
Beaudesert and Henley-in-Arden JPC - 7th August
At the Joint Parish Council Meeting on Monday 6th August 2007, Members discussed three planning applications received and fifteen items of correspondence and other matters for consideration, as well as its normal procedural business before the meeting concluded.
This being the first meeting of the Council since the floods, Members discussed a report from Cllr Matheou detailing what he had seen and experienced. They accepted that the weather on Friday 20th July 2007 was extraordinary and so devastating that damage was inevitable, and that conditions were so bad that efforts to coordinate and manage the situation were made extremely difficult. However, the report focussed on what could be learnt from observation and feedback from residents. It was determined that there were issues with drains and gullies that were unable to cope or were blocked, and with the storage, availability and distribution of sandbags. In addition it had been observed that water was running much faster by the houses in the High Street than in the road, possibly caused by the raised kerb between the road and the pavement that funnelled the water between the Market Cross and St Nicholas’ Church. As there were no gaps in the raised kerb the water was directed towards the Church door and also down Beaudesert Lane, adding to the problems there. There was a similar situation in front of Barclays Bank where the pavement is at a different level to the road.
Members were also informed that as far as the roads were concerned, plans were being co-ordinated County wide, and that some traffic was being diverted through Henley from Redditch, Birmingham and the motorway network. They supported a Member of the public who had pointed out that the traffic through the town was making matters worse, because of their wake, and they abhorred the practice by some tractor owners of charging upwards from £10 for pulling stranded and distressed motorists out of the floods. Again Members were told that the information updates from the District Council on the situation, whilst extremely informative, were not getting to those who were working on the ground.
Members accepted that Henley was likely to be flooded again, but that they were determined to ensure that lessons were learnt and that everything possible to minimise damage and suffering in the future would be done. They agreed to establish a working party that included the County and District Councillors, and co-opted a Member of the public. They would focus on prevention rather than crisis management and would involve those who have responsibility and technical knowledge at County and District level.
Amongst other items discussed was the responsibility for leaf-sweeping in the town, a problem that had been exposed during last winter when at times the build up of leaves had caused potential danger to members of the public. Members were informed that it was the responsibility of the Stratford District Council and they agreed to make contact to ensure that arrangements would be in place. In addition Members finalised their Manifesto for the period to April 2008, which included the objective of installing CCTV to improve security.
The next meeting of the Joint Parish Council is scheduled for Monday 20th August 2007. Meetings take place in the Baptist Church Hall, High Street, Henley-in-Arden from 7.15pm and, as with all meetings of the Council, members of the public are welcome to attend.
Henley-in-Arden Methodist Church Newsletter
September's high light will be our Harvest Festival on Sunday 30th, with services at 11.00 am and at 6.30 pm.
I write this in the middle of my own cereals harvest, when time is always short, many tasks need my attention, and with so much activity problems, emergencies and tension are all familiar to me. But the harvest is very real, I can assure you all that England need not starve for trhe next year at least, so thanks to God are definitly in order!
Our Coffee Morning will be on Saturday 8thth from 10.00 am till noon. Sunday services, all at 11.00 am are: 2nd, Revd Graham Spicer. 9th Revd Caroline Homan (Sacrament). 16th, Mrs Sheila Brown. 23rd, United Harvest service at Baptist Church. 30th, (Harvest Festival) Revd C Brian Holliday. 6.30 pm Revd Graham Spicer.
Nick Drake Remembered at Tanworth
The Annual Gathering took place last weekend at Tanworth-in-Arden of fans of the late Nick Drake. Many middle-aged people will only remember one Nick Drake song that appeared on a 1970 sampler album issued by Island Records called "Bumpers" but although Nick tragically passed away in 1974 at the age of 26 his music has stood the test of time and is now loved and explored by younger and wider audiences.
The Annual Gathering has been running for 5 years having started in 2003 when Mark Atherton and Suzanne Matthews organised a small get together at Nick's grave at the church in Tanworth-in-Arden and a concert in Redditch.
The 2007 Gathering was a musical feast of performances by amateur and professional musicians culminating in a concert in the St. Mary Magdalene Church at Tanworth on Saturday evening.
The dates have already been set for next year as the first weekend of August 2008. Fans of Nick Drake will not want to miss it.
Photo report of the event by Clive Hanley
Clive Hanley Reporting
To Read Previous Editions Back to 29th October 2004 Click Here
SITE NOW CONTAINS EMERGENCY PLANNING INFORMATION
Rotary Club - Shakespeare Express Excursion
Additional Excursion on 2nd September - BOOK NOW
Vintage Trains have rostered ‘Duchess of Sutherland’ to operate the final ‘Shakespeare Express’ trains of the 2007 season on 2nd September. The Rotary Club is organising a special excursion on this day. This service will depart from Stratford, returning to either Henley or Stratford. The excursion will depart from Stratford to Birmingham, via Claverdon and Hatton, returning to either Henley or Stratford.
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: firstname.lastname@example.org
Please use the form below to reserve your seats for the 2nd September. © Photo right by Clive Hanley
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
Grumpy Old Man Comments
Britons Labelled as the worst tourists
Some may agree and some may not. In my opinion I’ve seen both the worst and the best of UK nationals abroad, and in the UK too.
Both personal and business trips have taken me to many parts of the globe, and I’m amazed that both ends of the spectrum are covered. Not only by UK tourists, but by many European and US tourists too. Whether Brits are the worst is very subjective.
There are good and bad in all visitors. Some show respect and try to master, hello, thank you, goodbye & can I have a beer please. While others think that by shouting louder means locals can translate easier.
Recently in the UK I’ve seen both. I went to a caravan site a few years back in the west country. I could not believe parents could go to the clubhouse and leave their children to do what they wanted all night, some very young.
I’ve seen Europeans who cannot speak English, until I’ve said hello, can I have …..please in their tongue, then they respond in fluent English.
On the other hand I’ve seen UK people who respect others and try to fit in with different cultures and remarkably they get shown respect in return.
In today’s world which is so much smaller than it was 100 or even 50 years ago, we all need to think how we behave towards others, especially in other countries where locals may not have the same opportunities of travel that we have.
Grumpy Old Man
The Nigel Hastilow Column
The pink elephant of West Bromwich
A pink elephant is a white elephant dumped in West Bromwich at a cost of £70 million and counting. Nobody knows what to do with it. It just squats there chewing up our money. The pink elephant in question is the oblong box with melting windows in garish pink frames like a melting Salvador Dali watch. Admittedly, most of the building is black. And as it sucks in more and more money with nothing to show for it, you could just as reasonably describe it as the Black Hole of the Black Country.
Officially it is called The Public. Or, to give it the title dreamed up by some “creative” with far more taxpayers’ money than common sense, THE pUBLIC. This misapplication of our language is presumably intended somehow to compensate for the arid blankness of imagination which dreamed up the name in the first place.
It may be meant to make the place seem trendy, fashionable and NOW. It is the graphic artist’s version of using lots of exclamation marks. Look at me, it screams, I am sooo cooool. That might be more acceptable if the pink elephant actually served any purpose at all. It does not. It is an entirely useless, empty, pointless waste of space.
That’s why the Taxpayers’ Alliance used it as a backdrop to launch the organisation’s campaign in the West Midlands. THE pUBLIC is a perfect symbol of how easy it is to waste the public’s money. It raises a fundamental question – who can spend our money better, the State or the individual? Obviously, sometimes only the Government can harness the resources needed to complete some expensive project. Sadly, the State is a necessary evil – who else would run the army, the police or the prisons?
Yet whenever some local council or Ministry gets its hands on our cash, we know with absolute blinding certainty that it will be wasted. Everything is always more expensive than it should be when they first came up with the idea. It’s like banging your head against the most expensive brick wall ever built. Take the pink elephant itself. According to one veteran of the whole sorry saga, when it was first proposed as a “community arts centre”, the cost was said to be a relatively modest £5 million.
Admittedly that’s £5 million for a building which is neither use nor ornament. But at least it was a lot less than it’s costing us now. Since then the thing has gone bankrupt, costs have soared, the windows have been broken and repaired at huge expense and £462,000 has gone on salaries for staff who don’t even work there. Apparently nobody is allowed inside to see what it’s like. The building is created with sloping floors all round.
But if we aren’t allowed in to inspect it, how can we tell? Doubtless Sandwell Council is too embarrassed to admit visitors. Sandwell is, of course, cursed with one of the most dubious councils in the country. Yet it is not alone in its skill at squandering money. This week the Government is awarding contracts to create the national identity card scheme. This is a project with “blank cheque” written all over it.
Some smooth-talking con-merchant will explain how this wonderful new mega-database will prevent terrorism, stop benefit fraud, give us quicker access to the NHS and allow us to go shopping. They will not mention that the kind of computer program needed to make all this work properly will never work as advertised. They won’t mention the re-configurations and up-grades needed from now until the end of time, or until the scheme is finally abandoned as a costly waste of money, whichever is the sooner.
They will just take the money – your money and mine – and run.
It’s claimed that the cost will be £5.8 billion. We all know that’s a joke. Some experts estimate it at £19.2 billion. The real price? Who knows? The sky’s the limit, especially when it’s your money not theirs. It’s just like the giant computer blight now swallowing all the money in the National Heath Service. Advertised as costing £6 billion, the prise has now hit £20 billion and will keep on rising. It will come in at over £30 billion if it ever gets finished.
Then there’s the ludicrous con that is the London Olympic Games – opening bid £2.3 billion. Latest price £9 billion, assuming it’s even finished on time. Let’s not forget the original Black Hole itself, the Millennium Dome (estimated cost £400 million; final price well over £1 billion). Wherever we look, the agents of the State are wasting our money. In shedloads. From bonuses for incompetence at organisations like the BBC and the Environment Agency to 50 per cent pay rises for family doctors to do 25 per cent less work.
Why do we tolerate it? Why do heads never roll? Why do we keep on shelling out for it all and telling ourselves the Government knows best? As we were protesting outside the pink elephant, one passer-by commented: “All we ever wanted in was a swimming pool.”
Make Henley Greener
Save Money - Help Save the Planet
Washing clothes at 30 degrees is cool.
Washing powders work OK at 30 degrees C. A recent ‘Which’ test said they were fine at 30 degrees but Penny was sceptical. We bought some Ariel (marked “turn to 30 degrees”) and tried it. Guess what? The clothes came out clean. The estimated reduction in electricity used in the washing machine is 40%. Take a look at www.doagoodturn.co.uk for more info. Some items on this site need broadband but there is much of interest worth looking at even if you do not have broadband. There is also a competition to win a Toyota Prius low footprint familly car by going to:- www.doagoodturn.co.uk/do_good_turn_html/do_good_turn.php or by clicking on “sitemap” near the bottom of the page then on “do a good turn to 30 degrees and win a Toyota Prius”.
For more information about the Make Henley Greener project, click here.
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.
Prior to 26th July 07 unknown offender/s approached a property on Stratford Road, Hockley Heath. They then gained entry by using garden furniture to smash the rear window. Once inside they have conducted a search of the premises.
Incident number 301 of 26th July 07 refers.
Prior to 1430 hours on 2nd August 07 unknown offender/s approached a property on Arden Leys, Tanworth in Arden. They have then used a jemmy to force UPVC double glazed door at rear of property. Once inside they have then removed a large quantity of electrical goods.
Incident number 294 of 2nd August 07 refers.
At approximately 0100 hours on 6th August 07 unknown offender/s approached business premises on Whiteley Hill, Henley in Arden. They have then broken a window to gain entry and removed an amount of cash from an unlocked office.
Incident number 28 of 6th August 07 refers.
At approximately 2200 hours on 7th August 07 unknown offender/s approached a property in Wootton Wawen. They have then made an unsuccessful attempt to gain entry by forcing a window.
Incident number 120 of 8th August 07 refers.
BURGLARY COMMERCIAL AND OTHER BUILDING
Between 20th July and 1030 hours on 30th July 07 unknown offender/s approached a school on Arden Road, Henley in Arden. They have then gained entry to a metal shed and completely trashed it. Not known if anything stolen.
Incident number 207 of 30th July 07 refers.
Between 0900 hours on 21st July and 1000 hours on 5th August 07 unknown offender/s have approached a wooden stable block (used as a garden store) on Broad Lane, Tanworth in Arden. They have then gained access and stolen various garden equipment and gent’s mountain bike.
Incident number 220 of 5th August 07 refers.
Between 2300 hours on 26th July and 1025 hours on 27th July 07 unknown offender/s approached a property on The Green, Claverdon. They have then used a crowbar to force front door and stolen money and a laptop computer.
Incident number 188 of 27th July 07 refers.
Between 0700 hours and 1330 hours on 25th July 07 unknown offender/s approached a VW pickup truck parked in Dunnington. They have then stolen an under-and-over ‘Baretta’ double barrelled shotgun from the vehicle.
Incident number 231 of 26th July 07 refers.
Between 2230 hours on 31st July and 0600 hours on 1st August 07 unknown offender/s approached a motor vehicle parked on Bates Lane, Tanworth in Arden. They have then stolen ‘JVC’ stereo system and speakers, together with both front seat covers (large footprint design on rear).
Incident number 84 of 1st August 07 refers.
Between 1100 hours and 1500 hours on 4th August 07 unknown offender/s approached a blue Volvo parked in car park at Bearley Aquaduct. They have then punched a hole in front door and stolen a beige handbag from within.
Incident number 413 of 4th August 07 refers.
Prior to 5th August 07 offender/s have approached the Guild Hall on High Street, Henley in Arden and ripped the CCTV camera from its mounting.
Incident number 290 of 5th August 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! The next surgery date will be:
Wednesday 22nd Aug between 1100 hours and 1300 hours
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
District Council Information
There are currently a number of significant planning proposals, two of which some residents believe will lead to a considerable change to the character of Henley.
Residents, particularly in the Prince Harry Road area, remain very concerned. Henley NEWS On-line again requests that the developers disclose their plans as part of a continued public consultation before the plans are submitted for planning approval.
Trevor Hughes, who is Executive Director of South Warwickshire Housing Association and responsibe for the project, has been asked to hold a public meeting.
The District Council's website does not show that an application has been lodged.
Warks College's "Sports Shed"
The TIC (Town Improvement Committee) has indicated that it will object to the proposed new sports hall, which is approximately twice the height of a double deck bus, if the roof height is not reduced. A local architect considers it would be possible to reduce the roof height by about 12 ft without any loss of facilities. Development Director Chris Pagett continues to ignore requests from residents for the 2nd meting, which he promised to review the artist's impressions and to discuss the removal of the existing sports hall once the new building has been completed.
The District Council's website still shows this scheme as "Application Invalid On Receipt".
Mobile Telephone Aerials
The installation of 3 combined 2G/3G antennas at a mean height of 11.5m and the provision of 3 no.small equipment cabinet at the Telephone Exchange, Station Road, Henley-in-Arden for T-Mobile Ltd.
The District Council's website still shows this scheme as "Pending Consideration".
Alerts from Trading Standards
Bogus lottery promotion email
Email users are warned to beware of the latest bogus lottery email. The email claims that the recipient is one of five ‘lucky’ winners, of £500,000 and is asked to contact the sender either by email or via an international number. Those who do are very likely to be asked for money to help the transfer of their non existent winnings.
Door to door gardners
Better weather has brought out the door to door gardners in the Kenilworth area. One elderly resident reported receiving an unsolicited visit from a man who said he could ‘sort’ her garden for £140. The trader refused to supply any written contact details and left empty handed. He was driving a plain white van with no markings.
And always remember - if it looks too good to be true, it probably is!
Senior Information Officer
Warwickshire County Council Trading Standards Service
The Henley-in-Arden Notice Board
Printed copies of Henley NEWS On-line are placed in the Library and the Heritage Centre each week. This service is sponsored by the Henley & Beaudesert Civic Society.
Click on poster for booking form
Henley Diary Dates
Articles and news stories for Henley NEWS on-line should be sent to the email@example.com at any time. Future diary dates should be notified to The Rector.
ULLENHALL GARDENING CLUB
Saturday 18th August – day visit by coach to RHS Garden at Wisley – cost only £15.00. Visitors welcome. A few seats still left. Contact 793903 for details.
SHAKESPEARE EXPRESS ROTARY OUTING
Sunday 2nd September - details from firstname.lastname@example.org
HENLEY AND BEAUDESERT SOCIETY meets on the third Thursday of the month, 8.00 p.m. at the Baptist Church Hall from September to April. Visitors and new members welcome. Further details from Maggie Twigg 793373.
Next meeting 20th September “The Back to Backs in Birmingham” by Derek Clarke followed by a visit to the Back to Backs on 3rd October.
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
From our own Correspondents
Henley NEWS on-line is looking for additional correspondents to send in stories and pictures. Why don't you become one of our correspondents and send in stories about your area, your club, your school or events you have witnessed. Please always try to include a photo in jpg or png format. Letters, articles, pictures to the Editor are always welcome. Please do not use the following file formats 'Publisher" or 'Serif'. 'Microsoft Word' is the preferred format. Please send to email@example.com
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