Henley NEWS on-line

Reporting on Events in and around
Henley-in-Arden, Warwickshire
England

 

Masthead picture - Dawn over the lake

Edition 180 - 1st November  2007
Winner of Warwickshire Village Ventures Competition 2007
Every Thursday

Henley JPC Objects to the Market Development

JPC

217 residents filled the High School assembly hall

JPCAt a packed meeting in the High School on Monday evening, 217 residents heard more than 20 speakers voice their genuine concerns about the proposed development of high density housing by Taylor Wimpey on the Market site.

Objections were raised on virtually every aspect of the plans, including major fears over traffic problems, flooding and drainage, further strain on medical facilities and schools, the effect of the loss of the largest employment site in the area and its effect on trade in the town, poor design resulting in a negative effect on the street scene, and concerns over another open space when existing open spaces already have problems with vandalism and intimidation.

Not one of the residents spoke in favour of the proposed application and in a show of hands, requested by Henley NEWS On-line almost 100% of those in the hall voted against the plan.

Not one person spoke against the concept of providing adequate affordable social housing and it could be detected from the atmosphere within the hall that all were in favour of ensuring that there was adequate social housing provision in Henley.

John Stott, speaking on behalf Henley and Beaudesert Society, raised serious concern over the highly questionable accuracy of the modelling in the report on the flood risk, pointing out that no flooding at all was predicted for Prince Harry Road despite an allowance for future effects of climate change that are not yet with us. This, in spite of the fact that areas and properties that were flooded in July 2007 were not predicted to do so by the mathematical model used in the report. The same resident pointed out that there was no proper assessment of traffic flows and that there was no accident and safety audit.

CBCindy Britain (pictured left), owner of Henley’s famous Ice-Cream Parlour, said that the loss of the trade from the market site could result in the closure of her business that has existed in Henley for over 100 years.

Following the public’s participation Councillor Stephen Thirlwell gave the background to the Local Plan Review that resulted in the Local Plan being adopted by the District Council in July 2006. He said that this was the “Bible” as far as planning policy was concerned. He continued by saying that in the Local Plan the Cattle Market site had been allocated for mixed use, being residential, industrial and retail. He said that there was currently a moratorium on housing, because the whole of the District would otherwise exceed its planned supply, the exception being where proposals were for 100% social/affordable housing, but that the moratorium did not override the Local Plan that had been through detailed public consultation. He stood by the Local Plan and would vote against the proposed development.

Councillor Laurence Marshall pointed out that the Parish Plan encouraged social or affordable housing in new developments and believed that second and third generation Henley families had a reasonable expectation to live in the area. He nevertheless believed that the key words in the Parish Plan were “appropriate level of social/ affordable housing in new developments” which he would assume to be a level that satisfied local need. He said a Housing Needs Survey had been commissioned last year by the Parish Council to ensure that any new development receiving consent would be truly need driven. The report identified a requirement for only 19 units, some of which had already been satisfied in other developments in the town. Cllr Marshall said that he believed that the consultation process had been flawed, that he had concerns over many issues and that he would vote against the proposed development.

Cllr George Atkinson stated that the development reminded him of an “institutional barracks” and agreed that the Local Plan should stand. He had major concerns over parking and the road situation in the proposals which needed addressing. He believed that the flood risk could not be brushed aside given that there had been two major floods in the last nine years, and therefore the risk assessment of one in one hundred years was wholly unrealistic.

Councillor Debbie Bassett deplored the developer’s statement that the negative effect of the development on house values was “not a planning issue”. Councillor Sylvia Doyle stressed again that there was justification for only 18 units for social and affordable housing, and that within Stratford District Council Henley-in-Arden was towards the bottom in terms of housing need. She thought that the “visuals” were appalling and that large blocks of housing on the Warwick Road were inappropriate for a small rural town.

A sub-committee of the Parish Council is now preparing a paper which will explain in technical terms the reason for rejecting the proposal. This will be sent to the Stratford on Avon District Council who will make the final decision. It is expected that this process may take three months.

Both Councillors Atkinson and Doyle urged residents to write direct to Pat Reid, Director of Planning at Stratford District Council to register their objections. Members of the Council voted unanimously to object to the proposed development.

You can then submit your letter on-line to planning.applications@stratford-dc.gov.uk

Vote

The Councillors unanimously vote to object to the planning application

The key points for the Council's objections are:

  • The Local Plan for the District which is referred to as the 'Bible' for local planning, states in HEN.C policy that the site of the Cattle Market in Henley in Arden is allocated for 'mixed use development which include residential, industrial and small-scale retail'. The current development proposals clearly do not follow the Local Plan and indeed are not in harmony with the Parish Plan published in 2004.
  • The erection of 65 residential houses is simply too dense for the site.
  • The design of the proposed houses is not in keeping with the houses of the area.
  • The statement that there is 1% probability for flooding in the area i.e. 1 in 100 years quoted in the proposed plan is based on a forecast model whose results are not supported by evidence.

Social Housing: Does It Work?

As Henley-in-Arden residents debate the approval, or rejection, of the planning application for a housing development exclusively dedicated to social housing, a wider debate could take place on the effectiveness of the entire issue of social housing. Today there are only 4 million social housing units available, but 1.5 million people on waiting lists for social accommodation. It would be logical to say, “build more units”, however, the quantity of units supplied becomes exponentially related to the availability of “tenancies for life” and “tenancies for generations”. The “right to buy” program has been very successful; however, properties are purchased at discounted prices, yet sold at market value, thus removing them from both the social housing stock and the “first time buyer” availability.

In February 2007 Ruth Kelly, Communities Secretary, commissioned a report from the London School of Economics to study the issues surrounding social housing. The findings state a number of weaknesses in the program, one being that isolated social housing estates act as a barrier to social and economic mobility, another being the relationship between social housing and work. Currently over half of working age people living in social housing are not working, generating a culture in which work is not the norm. Where 1 in 8 house moves within the general society are work related, the life long housing security available via social housing generates only 1 in a few thousand moves due to work related situations.
The report suggests linking work schemes to social housing. It suggests that people of working age not be allocated life long social housing, but rather temporary housing that is managed via welfare to work programs, with priority given to work related moves and housing support being allocated through job centres.

Needless to say these are controversial ideas. The reality is that the population is ageing, which will effect the tax base that supports these programs. Change is mandatory, the question is, which is the right direction to take?

Pat Geraghty - Resident of Henley


Henley and Beaudesert Society Submission

The Local Plan (site Hen C in the Stratford District Council Local Plan Review 2006-11 p150) gives the appropriate density for the site of 20 to 25 properties. Not 65.

The site is allocated for mixed-use development. Not solely for social housing.

The Henley Parish Plan Section 7.3. States:-

  • JPC will strive to ensure that new development receiving consent is truly need driven.
  • JPC will encourage an appropriate level of social housing in new developments.

The Beaudesert and Henley Housing Needs Survey of 2006 (Warwks. Rural Housing Assn. in assn. with the JPC) identified the need for 19 properties of mixed size and tenure and not a solely social housing scheme. Thus if 25 were built the site should be mixed.

Therefore the proposed development is inconsistent with the previously defined requirements for development of the site and the needs of the town.

There are also some technical objections to parts of the supporting documentation.

1. Submitted Report 1309/FRA/01
This report analyses the flood risk and concludes that the site does not lie within the 1 in 100 years flood risk zone (p10 pra 4.10). However, the floods in July 07 are amongst the worst on record and areas and properties which flooded were not predicted to do so by the mathematical model used in the report. This can be seen by reference to the diagram in the appendix 1309/FL/501 where no flooding at all is predicted in Prince Harry Rd. This despite an allowance for future effects of climate change which are not yet with us. Therefore, the modeling is of highly questionable accuracy. The model needs to be proven to be accurate before its conclusions can be relied on .

2. Submitted report 1309/IL/01
There is no proper assessment of the impact on traffic flows and the accident and safety audit is missing. These points are admitted on p4 in paras 3.7 & 3.8. The planning submission is seriously deficient without this key information and should be rejected until such information is provided.

The following indicates what such analysis might reveal. Rush hour traffic flows are about 450 per hour (see report Appendix). If one assumes that 65 properties will produce roughly 65 extra traffic movements per rush hour, traffic in Warwick Rd might be increased by about 15%. Although this may be within the capacity of the High St/ Warwick Rd junction, the JPC should look carefully at the traffic and safety information when it is eventually supplied. They should consider not just the capacity of the junction but whether the residents of this part of the town should suffer the amount of increased delays that is predicted by the expert analysis.

Summary
The above indicates that the JPC should recommend rejection the proposed development because:-

The density and mix of housing proposed for this site are in breach of conditions set out in the Local Plan Review 2006-11.
It is inconsistent with the needs of the town and there appear to be serious shortcomings in the technical analysis of flooding and traffic impacts.


Keith Ford – Gentleman of Henley

Keith Ford who died on Friday the 26th of October came to Henley in 1966 with his family when he was appointed technical director of Tubeworkers Ltd. of Claverdon.

KFTrained as a structural engineer he was justly proud of the design and construction contribution his relatively small company made to such iconic engineering projects as the Royal Exchange Theatre in Manchester, the Thames Barrier and Stansted Airport terminals but still found time to take a significant part in the life of the Town.

A lifelong churchgoer he served on the Parochial Church Council as Church Warden using his skills on behalf of the church in a number of reconstruction projects. A founder member of the Rotary Club of Henley in Arden, he served in most of its offices and became President in 1985. Invited to join the Court Leet he was in office as High Bailiff in 1990 when the manorship was sold at Manorial Society auction to Joseph Hardy of Pennsylvania. In 2005, he was appointed an Honorary Burgess for outstanding service to the Town.

After his retirement in 1995, he found time to develop his skills with a pen and his line drawings of many of the best loved buildings in the Town appeared as presents or commissions and on cards of all types.

Asked how he found the time, Keith always said that he couldn`t have done what he did without the support of Pam his wife. She and the family have lost a loving husband, father and grandfather. Henley has lost a gentleman.


SDC Refuses Funding for Market Development

SDCThe Stratford District Council's Executive decided earlier this week not to financially support South Warwickshire Housing Association's affordable housing scheme on the Henley Market site. SWHA had made an application for £ 2 million.

During the discussions, concerns were expressed over the extent of the need for affordable housing in the Henley-in-Arden area. Committing such a significant proportion of the Council’s available resources for affordable housing development to this single scheme was therefore not supported by the Executive Committee.

This decision is still subject to Overview and Scrutiny "call-in" meaning that, if it is called in, it could be over-turned. This call-in period lasts for 5 working days after the day that the Notice of Decision is published, which should be this Friday, therefore the decision (if District Councillors do not call it in) becomes validated after 5pm next Friday.

This may be considered as a major set back to the viability of the whole development and the press offices of both Taylor Wimpey and South Warwickshire Housing Association have been asked for a comment.


Henley's Library Service Rescued by Heritage Centre!

Library LogoRay Holding, High Bailiff and also a trustee of the Joseph Hardy Trust and curator of Henley's Heritage Centre, has told Henley NEWS On-line that agreement has been reached this week with the Library authorities for the provision of a continuing library service in Henley.

Readers will know that the library beneath the Guild Hall suffered badly in the July floods: it will be some time before that can be restored to use.

Meantime, a library service will be provided at the Heritage Centre, 150 High Street, starting in mid-November. The property has passed scrutiny and a license will be signed by the trustees in the next few days.


Travel Tokens Budget Error

imageSeveral outraged and many disappointed pensioners were turned away from The Heritage Centre this week as red faced councillors had to admit they had under budgeted for the annual distribution of travel tokens.

The reason – they had a lot left last year and had to anticipate the demand in advance as they had to allocate an amount from their budget. They were staggered at the amount of people turning up this year.

Personally I am disappointed as my husband and I are both eligible and they are useful for taxis and train fares, and I know we are going to have free travel on buses from April 2008. However – many elderly disappointed residents will not have their tokens for emergency hospital visits and the like. I cannot see why the Parish Council cannot apply for a further supply even if it does mean extra cost.

Annette Walker reporting


Fawlty Towers by HADS

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HADS (Henley-in-Arden Drama Society) finished their run of Fawlty Towers last Saturday. They presented three episodes of the much loved TV comedy:

      • Hotel Inspectors
      • Communication Problems
      • Waldorf Salad

imageThe run was extremely well attended, with all but the first night completely sold out. Those who came were treated to a magnificent production with very slick performances by both cast and crew. Special mention must be given to the four main characters: Rob Ison as Basil, Rosie Hammond as Sybil, Anna Austin as Polly, and Phil Walker as Manuel. They got the characters down to a tee and produced several side splitting moments.

However, a production like this involves a lot of very hard work by a number of people, many of whom are never seen. This production was no exception, and I would like to pay tribute to Marje Earnshaw (props – must have seemed like she was running a restaurant!), Sue Tootill (Stage Manager) and Brian Hammond (Front of House). Finally, Ray Evans who directed the show (and adapted it for Stage) along with Sue Evans who seemed to do everything else (Décor, Food, Make-up, Props – you name it).

It is a trait of the series that no matter how much you see them (and most people know the scripts backwards) they are still funny and never seem to go stale. If you came I am sure you will agree. If you didn’t, you missed a rare treat. Congratulations to all concerned.

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HADS next production will be ‘More Christmas Crackers’ on Friday 21st and Saturday 22nd December (at 7.30 pm in the Memorial Hall). More details on tickets will be available soon, and will be available on the Group’s website www.hads.org.uk

Tony Capps - Drama Correspondent


Warks College Sports Shed Plan Approved

Warwickshire College has been given the go-ahead to build a £1.9 million sports hall at its Henley-in-Arden Centre.

Stratford District Council Planning Committee yesterday (October 25) approved the exciting new plans.

Director of estates projects Chris Paget said: “This is a fantastic opportunity to improve the quality of the sporting facilities at the Henley-in-Arden Centre for our students, and build on our relations with the local community. The sports hall has been carefully designed to fit in with the beautiful landscape around Henley. We are very pleased with the emphasis placed on sustainability at the committee meeting. We are hoping to incorporate measures within the building to save energy, reclaim heat, and harvest rainwater to use within the changing facilities.”

The college will now move forward with a detailed design and the project will be put out to tender within the next few months.


The Manor of Henley-in-Arden
Court Leet and Court Baron

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Court Circular

Published by Authority of the High Bailiff

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The High Bailiff Ray Holding, who is a trustee of the Joseph Hardy Trust and curator of Henley's Heritage Centre, has reached agreement with the Library authorities for the provision of a continuing library service in Henley. The library beneath the Guild Hall suffered badly in the July floods: it will be some time before that can be restored to use.

Meantime, a library service will be provided at the Heritage Centre, 150 High Street, starting in mid-November. The property has passed scrutiny and a license will be signed by the trustees in the next few days: more details soon.


On the evening of Wednesday 14th November 2007, the Steward will summon members of the Court, the Court’s Jurors and members of the public to attend the Court Leet’s Annual Meeting in the Guild Hall. Reports of the various officers of the Court and the annual elections for the Court officers will be held.

To register as a Juror (Voter) at the Court Leet elections - Click here

Ray Holding - High Bailiff


To view the Court Leet website, go to www.henley-in-arden.org/court-leet


Thinking of becoming a Parish Councillor

Election of 12 Councillors on 1st May 2008 - Information on the Henley Gateway website

www.henley-in-arden.org/jpc

imageHenley Primary

imageHenley teachers visit China!

Two members of staff from Henley Primary School had a fantastic visit to its partnership school in Shenzhen last week.

Mrs Pam Hayes (Assistant Head Teacher) and Miss Alison Payne (Year 6 teacher) flew out to Dongai Primary School in China to learn about the Chinese education system.

The visit continued to strengthen the partnership between the two schools, although Henley teachers were glad to come back to their small class sizes of 20, as the class sizes in China range between 40 and 50 children per class!

Elaine Field - Assistant Headteacher

To Read Previous Editions Back to 29th October 2004       Click Here

For the most Comprehensive Information
about Henley-in-Arden

Visit Henley-in-Arden's Gateway Website at:

www.henley-in-arden.org

 

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Henley Forest FC

Match Report     Earlswood Town Reserves                                   

Cup/League                 Challenge Urn Round One

Date                            27 October 07

Final Score                  4-2 HENLEY (aet)

Man of the Match         Jon Grandfield (Captain)

A very pleasing performance from the Forest Lads in Round One of the Challenge Urn Cup.

Solid effort from all players and at half time with a nil-nil score, Manager John Colby was feeling most confident about the next 45 minutes.  However his confidence was taken aback as Earlswood scored from an awarded penalty 5 minutes into the second half. 

20 minutes into the second half Substitutions were made to the Forest team with the energized Sam Churchley and Chris Key first to come from the Bench, true to recent form within 5 minutes the nifty Key got his boot on the end of a well taken free kick.  Sides continued to battle although at 90 Minutes the whistle blew - an equal score of 1-1, extra time was called.

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Centre Half Martin Skulte!

Six minutes of extra time played and Chris Key superbly netted another for Forest, 15 minutes on Sam Churchley scored a cracker.  Earlswood managed to get the ball between the woodwork for a second time although it was Ian Bell, Forests third substitution made at the start of extra time who put the lid well and truly on it for forest with the last kick of the game bedding itself into Earlswood goal.  4-2 to Forest!

Smiles all round for Forest, a great & pleasing effort and lads buoyant from a second straight win.

John Colby jubilantly remarked “I’m absolutely chuffed for the lads, they played tremendously, we knew it was going to be a hard fought game and we came out on top – delighted and looking forward to the next round.  My Man of the match goes to the industrious Jonny Grandfield (Captain), he worked really hard in midfield up against a good quality opponent” 

Forest travel to Shipston Excelsior for their first league meet on Saturday 3 November 2pm Kick Off.

Karen Parsons
Secretary
HENLEY FOREST FC


Grumpy Old Man Comments

JPC Monday meetingimage

I attended a JOC meeting on Monday evening at the High School, along with another 216 residents from Henley and surrounding areas.

As protocol dictates, the meeting started with an open forum for residents to state their concerns and arguments whichever side of the fence they were sitting on. During this time, the JPC were at the front listening to the arguments.

The atmosphere was tense as the residents started stating their cases. These ranged from hard factual arguments and the more subjective ones. Mentioned amongst others were :

  • Parking - not only for the new development but the residents of surrounding roads, especially Warwick Rd
  • Traffic - the traffic light problem was mentioned more than once, but with the addition of another 30 – 65 cars would make matters worse.
  • Schooling - where are the children going to be educated
  • High Density - plans in the past have stated the area could sustain 25-30 houses not 65
  • 100% social houses even Government recommendations are for around 35% social housing.
  • Employment for the families
  • Another park/play area to be abused by vandals
  • Style of the development was not in keeping

One resident even asked for a show of hands to see how many were opposed or for the proposal, the result was 100% opposition.

When everyone had their say, around 20 – 25 people had made comments, the JPC started their discussion.

The discussions started by a councillor quoting the local plan (excuse me if I get the terminology wrong) 1996 – 2011. The 1.2 Hectare site could be used for mixed development only, consisting of industrial, retail and residential properties (a proportion of which should be social). Within the district, there has been too many houses built (according to the plan) so there is a moratorium in place which states only social housing can be built. However, it does not overrule the plan, or "Bible" as it was called. He then stated he opposed the development.

Another then added the local parish plan showed a need for 19 social units (houses) to be built in Henley, not 65. There are already 11 units being built at the North end of the town. He also opposed the plans.

County Councillor George Atkinson said the development looked like ‘Institutionalised Barracks’ and ‘bad’ design should not be tolerated. He also mentioned the Local Plan must stand. On the site, there should be a maximum of 20 – 25 units, of mixed type. He would take the following arguments to County Council; Parking, Flooding and the road situation. He also confirmed he was rejecting the proposal.

Some one added the development was opposite a large school on the Warwick Rd. This situation, with the traffic, is a disaster waiting to happen. He was going to reject the proposal.

One of the lady councillors then stated the argument of house prices in the area will go down was not really a planning issue but the flood maps showed the development area was going to flood. She was going to oppose the proposal.

The most interesting comment from a councillor then came out, the JPC were powerless in the debate and it was down to the district council to decide. But he was also rejecting the proposal.

A proposal was tabled and seconded, to reject the proposed development of 65 social housed. This was carried unanimously.

Stephen Thirlwell then added the process that was now going to happen. It will be discussed at District Council level, then potentially West Area Planning Committee (planning and regulation committee). Then the Government Offices of the West Midlands. This process could take 10-12 weeks.

Stephen encouraged all residents to write to Mr Pat Reid at the Stratford District Council Office. He is the Director of planning.

The one frustrating thing above everything was that the meeting started very hostile. Members of the public had the impression the proposal was a done deal, and not surprisingly started at the JPC. The councillors are not allowed to comment until the public have finished. Then there is no right of reply. How strange is that. I feel that if at the start of the meeting the councillors said what their views were, then the public argued their case, then the JPC could discuss further and vote.

If this was the case the hostile views of the public would not have happened and the meeting could have been more constructive in its approach. But democracy is shackled by policy and procedure.

Regards

Grumpy Old Man


John Garner's Business Column

Paternity

John GarnerLast time I wrote about the current Maternity regulations for employers and the difficulties they can pose for a small business. So this time let's look at how paternity rights fit into the picture.

Rights to take time off are no longer confined to the mother-to-be. An employee can qualify for Statutory Paternity Pay if he:

  • is the biological father or adopter of the child or is the mother's (or adopter's) husband, partner or civil partner or has or expect to have responsibility for the child's upbringing
  • has continued to work for the same employer without a break for at least 26 weeks by the 15th week before the baby is due, or (if we're talking adoption) has been employed up to and including the week his wife, partner or civil partner is matched with a child
  • continues to work for that employer without a break up to the date the child is born or placed for adoption
  • is earning an average of at least £87 a week (before tax).

I've used the word "he" here for clarity but this regulation also applies to a mother's civil partner.
You will note that the rules are very similar to those for a mother-to-be. He has the right to take either one or two weeks Statutory Paternity Leave but he must take the leave as one block, not in odd days.
To qualify for paternity leave, he must tell his employer in writing at least 15 weeks before the beginning of the week when the baby is due:

  • the date when the baby is due
  • whether he wants one or two weeks leave
  • when he wants the leave to start

During his paternity leave he has the right to Statutory Paternity Pay. This is £112.75 per week or 90% of actual earnings, whichever is less.

A word of warning: none of the above should be confused with "Parental Leave" which is additional to the above and which I'll deal with next time.

Yes, employment regulations continue to multiply and place an ever increasing burden on small employers. Will it never end?

John Garner
www.yourbookkeeping.co.uk


The Nigel Hastilow Column

Is Wolverhampton really abstinence city?

Nigel HastilowThe news Wolverhampton is officially the most sober city in England comes as a surprise, it has to be said. Middle-class boozers of Woking and Guildford may knock back more than their fair share of Chardonnay. But the claim Wolverhampton has fewer “hazardous drinkers” than anywhere else is worthy of investigation. Alas, Abstinence City, as Wolverhampton may now be known, has yet to have a sobering effect on me. It seems I’m a “hazardous drinker”.

Last week I consumed a shameful 23 units of alcohol. “Red” Dawn Primarolo, the Chief of the Health Police, says it’s got to stop. It’s bad for me, she nags. It’ll cost the NHS trillions, shorten my life and get me into trouble. I blame the boozing on the fact that the Health Police finally forced me to quit smoking. So my alcohol consumption is up. I also eat more.

Any day now the Health Police will break down my door in the dead of night and remove all those Mars Bars from the fridge. There’s no pleasure is so innocent the Health Police aren’t issuing words of warning, official “advice” or proposals to ban it. Soon, bottles of plonk will carry health warnings. We’ll pay “fat tax” on fish and chips. Smoking cigarettes, even in the privacy of your own shed at the bottom of the garden, will be an offence punishable by not less than six months imprisonment.

Soon it will be against the law to have sex until your proposed partner can produce a Certificate of Clean Living from the Health Police (unless they have AIDS, of course, in which case you get a free condom and official understanding). The attack on our modest pleasures is allegedly “a wake-up call to older drinkers who don't binge drink, but instead regularly come home after work and open a bottle of wine”. Of course, after all that vino most of us have fallen asleep in front of the telly so the warning may fall on deaf ears.

Even so, does Wolverhampton really have fewer “hazardous drinkers” than anywhere else?

The researchers say only 16 per cent of people in Wolverhampton are guilty of hazardous drinking compared with, say, the 26 per cent in posh Runnymede near where Elton John lives. The Department of Health number-crunchers have other news as well. They suggest a link between Wolverhampton’s abstemiousness and the way petty criminals are dealt with.

In Wolverhampton, 24 Anti-Social Behaviour Orders are issued per 1,000 people. That compares with a national average of just 7.7 per 1,000 people (a booze centre like Harrogate is down there at 6.4). Does that mean the answer to “hazardous drinking” is ASBOs to keep boozers off the streets?

Unfortunately, no. In Wolverhampton, 12 alcohol-related crimes are committed for every 1,000 people in the city. In Harrogate, it’s only four crimes per 1,000. Worse still, “hazardous drinking” isn’t really terribly hazardous. The figures show Wolverhampton men die 13 months and two weeks early because of the booze. The city’s women lose six months of life.

Thanks to the drink, the average West Midland man dies 11 months early; the average woman five months too soon. Nationally the figures are ten months and four months respectively. But in the “hazard drink” capital of the South East all that wine only takes eight months and two weeks from a man’s life and three months three weeks off a woman’s. Which only goes to show you can prove just about anything with statistics. Meanwhile home-boozers like me will carry on exceeding the recommended dose.

There is, though, a fundamental question which Red Dawn and the Health Police tend to avoid. That is whether the warnings mean anything anyway.

The Health Police say we’re guilty of “hazardous drinking” if a man exceeds 21 units of alcohol a week. A woman can only “safely” have 14 units. A unit is half a pint of beer or lager while a small glass of wine is 1.5 units. It turns out, though, that these limits are made-up. They have zero scientific credibility. One who knows is Richard Smith. He was on the Royal College of Physicians' working party responsible 20 years ago for this work of fiction.

He admits: “Those limits were really plucked out of the air. They were not based on any firm evidence at all. It was a sort of intelligent guess by a committee.” How can anyone use the words “intelligent” and “committee” in the same sentence and retain a shred of credibility?

Of course too much drink is bad for us. So are too many Big Macs. That shouldn’t put us off them completely. The Government should mind its own business. Every drinker thinks he knows when he’s had enough. I rely on my ability to say “the Leith police dismisseth us” without slurring the words as infallible proof that I am as sober as Red Dawn herself.

Perhaps I should amend it to: “The health police arresteth us.” It’s almost as much of a tongue-twister and, alas, closer to the truth.

Nigel Hastilow      
http://nigelhastilow.blogspot.com/

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Energy in the Home Part 2

Following last weeks item about heating, here are a some more points about energy in the home. As mentioned in last weeks item, it appears that some of these are not well known but my apologies if you are already in the know. This week it’s mainly about electricity:

  • About 27% of the UK contribution to climate change comes from use of energy in the home.
  • Energy is used by switching on anything electrical.
  • Power stations contribute to climate change and our homes cause them to do this by using the electricity they make. The moment anything is switched on to mains electricity, a power station somewhere increases the amount of fuel it is burning to make the required extra amount of electricity. It continues to do so until the item is turned off. The increased fuel burned makes extra CO2 emissions contributing to climate change.

Top tips for reducing home electricity contribution to climate change:-

  • Turn it off at the mains when not in use rather than leave it on. Costs nothing and can save a lot of money.
  • Use low energy light bulbs wherever possible. They pay for themselves in a couple of months and then save about £80 over their lifetime. (Next week I plan to give you information about the best low energy light bulbs to use so watch this space).

John Stott


District Council Information

Planning Applications - Search on-line at Stratford District Council
When you are on the Planning Dept site. Select 'APPLICATION SEARCH' from menu on left.
On the next page, enter the Parish as 'Henley' and put in the date range the last two months and press 'Search'

Stratford on Avon District Council Website

SDC


Alerts from Trading Standards

And always remember - if it looks too good to be true, it probably is!

Trading Standards

Simon Cripwell
Senior Information Officer
Warwickshire County Council Trading Standards Service