High Street

Henley NEWS On-line

Reporting Each Week on Events In and Around
Henley-in-Arden, Warwickshire, England


Masthead picture - Henley Ices, High Street

Edition 186 - 13th December  2007
Warwickshire Village Ventures
Competition Winner 2007
Every Thursday

Henley Market Redevelopment - Latest Update

Gerrie Bruce reports on the plans to form an Action Group

HAGSeven members of our community met Margaret Wilkinson, Head of Projects at the NEIGHBOURHOOD Initiatives Foundation (www.nif.co.uk) on Friday 7th December to learn how the un-empowered members of our community could best support Stratford District Council in meeting the wishes of the residents of Henley-in-Arden, as documented in the VDS and Parish Appraisal (adopted as Supplementary Planning Guidance) and the Parish Plan, in respect of the redevelopment of the cattle market site.

An Action Group is being proposed and it has to complete a Community Statement in time for the District Council's Western Area Planning Committee meeting on 3rd January 2008. The majority of the town’s people I have spoken to are delighted that the JPC has declared their support for the refusal of the Application and hope we can work together with them to bring about the best result for Henley

NIFWhat does all this actually mean and how do we achieve our aims? Primarily we have to provide an opportunity to ensure everyone in the town has a chance to see the latest Development Plans from Woodrow-Wimpy and then record their views. We also need to make a note of the demographics so comments are seen as being truly representative. It will be this record which we will then take to the Stratford District Council as further proof of what we would like to happen on this site.

Whilst the development will take place in my back yard, I am not against the policy of building and, given that the land has been sold, it is obvious that something has to be done with it. However, like many others I would prefer to see a mixed development of affordable housing, starter homes, family homes and some commercial buildings as stated in the original Plan

Some facts for you to consider:

  • If we do nothing the Planning Application could go through unchallenged and the 64 or so affordable houses will be built. It is documented that we need no more than about 20 to satisfy the needs of the town. On completion we will have a large (by Henley standards) new, but wholly one-dimensional, development.
  • There is already a huge traffic problem every day at the crossroads with the High Street and Warwick Road. This development will only add to the problems. There is no available space to improve the road system.
  • We are a small town and enjoy all the benefits that brings. One of those benefits is belonging to a diverse group of people of all ages and backgrounds. There is a place for everyone in Henley and I hope there always will be, but this proposal does not provide a viable way forward. It contravenes the key principles of the Government’s land use policy for England (Planning Policy Statement 1, Office of the Deputy Prime Minister, 2005) and the policy STR2.B of the SDC Local Plan which allows development to be planned at a net density of 30-50 dwellings per hectare only where there is good access to public transport, high quality design and when it is consistent with the character and quality of the local area.
  • Finally the Planning Application for this development may be heard at SDC on the 3rd January. People have the right to ask to speak at that meeting for 3 minutes – we need to co-ordinate our response to the Planning Application in order we get our facts right and therefore have a chance of convincing the Council of the strength of our resolve and the need for them to listen to us.
  • It is understood that Woodrow-Wimpy has employed a QC to appeal against the decision to refuse the £2m Grant the Government put in place for affordable housing. Without the Grant it is understood there is a £2m shortfall on their budget sheet. In addition to all the other actions there is a need to understand the terms of Grant and in order to try and ensure the original decision is upheld.

However, the good news is that Warwickshire County Council have objected (see below) to the recent, and obviously original, planning application for the site and in the letter to Stratford District Council they give reasons which concerns mainly highway movement, safety and vehicle activity issues. Two relevant and important points are:

  1. An independent Stage 1 Safety Audit is required to assess whether the proposed access would be safe and has to be carried out before any planning proposals are agreed. It should also take into account the interaction with the school access for pupils and the on street parking opposite.
  2. A speed survey is required and the findings submitted to the Highway Authority.

What Next?

We don’t have a lot of time but if you are prepared to help then please contact the Action Group via Henley News On-Line to discuss the next stage. There will be a meeting at the White Swan on Wednesday 12th December commencing at 8pm when we hope to begin the process.

Be aware that we don’t have a lot of time before the Planning Meeting with Stratford District Council in January and we need your help if we are mitigate the effect of this revised Plan.

How can you help?

In what ever way you feel able. For example: we need to arrange (without delay) for the Woodrow-Wimpy Plans to be displayed in order we can complete the Community Statement. Could you help us to distribute, gather and maybe analyse the information or perhaps you would like to attend or even speak at the SDC meeting on the 3rd January. You can make a difference!

In addition to all of this it is also proposed we contact the West Midlands Planning Aid and Warwickshire Community Council to seek their views and help.

What is "Planning for Real®"?

Planning for Real"Planning for Real®" is a whole process of community consultation. It begins with contacting the local community networks and reaches a conclusion with the formation of an Action Plan for taking forward the decisions made during the process. Of course, it can be revisited at any point; models are often kept and used many times.

We start by letting everyone know how "Planning for Real®" works, and taking their advice on matters such as which venues would work - often what seems like an ideal venue to an "outsider" turns out to be one that local people know always gets a poor turnout. We look at the option cards with them - are there issues specific to the NEIGHBOURHOOD that need to be covered? Of course, there are always blank cards on the day for people to write themselves.

Next is the model-making. Starting from a large scale map (usually around 1:300), a three-dimensional model is built. It helps the local "ownership" of the project if this is done locally, either by adults, or more commonly, in the local school. This begins the process of looking at the area as a whole - finding where your house is, tracing your regular journeys, and considering what needs to be done to improve community wellbeing.

The "Planning for Real®" events are held in venues convenient for local people, as many as required. Sometimes an event is arranged for a specific group, perhaps young people, or Asian women. At the events, the model is laid out with cards placed around it. These show options, around 300, which people put on the model to show what they want, and where they want it. There are also blank cards for people to write their own suggestions.

Following on from this, all the options placed on the model are prioritised into Now, Soon, or Later, again using visual hands-on techniques. This can then be developed into a full-scale Action Plan.

Warwickshire County Council Says "OBJECTION"

County Councillor George Atkinson writes on the County's viewGeorge Atkinson

OBJECTION that is the reaction of Warwickshire County Council to the recent, and obviously original, planning application for the market site. In their letter to Stratford District Council, Warwickshire County Council give reasons which are not necessarily related to the number of proposed units, their concerns are about highway movement, safety and vehicle activity issues. What they comment about however is:

  • An independent Stage 1 Safety Audit is required to assess whether the proposed access would be safe and has to be carried out before any planning proposals are agreed. It should also take into account the interaction with the school access for pupils and the on street parking opposite.
  • A speed survey is required and the findings submitted to the Highway Authority. Visibility splays and distances are questioned as well as Stopping Sight Distances
    based on the actual speed of traffic particularly within a residential area.
  • Criticism is made about distances between parking bays being inadequate,inability in width to allow 2 vehicles to pass, insufficient room for manoeuvring in and out of tandem parking and lack of space in the bays for visitor parking. Other problems are cited but in all the comments apply to 38 units.
  • A footpath will be required along the eastern side of Prince Harry Road adjacent to the development if any dwellings front the road.
  • The developer will be required to enter into an agreement to provide parking on site to accommodate any loss of parking on the Warwick Road that maybe lost due to the new entrance.

Should planning permission be given the developer will be required to:

  • Contribute £6k to revoke the market day specific waiting restrictions.
  • Contribute £10k towards improvements to Henley Railway Station.

GEORGE ATKINSON - County Councillor

Annual Rotary Charity Collection

RotaryHenley  Rotary  Club will be shaking their tins ‘for peace and good will‘  in  the High Street on Saturday 15th Dec.’07 and wishing everyone a 'Merry Christmas and A Happy New Year‘. Henley Golf Club, where Rotary meets every Monday night, will again be supporting this event with mulled wine and mince pies. This annual Christmas event co-insides this year with the French Market. Music will be provided by the High School Steel Band. Father Christmas will be at the Fire Station at 10 am.

Last year, the Rotary Club of Henley-in-Arden donated over £8,000 to local, national and international charities.

The next major Rotary event will be the Henley Charity Walk on 4th May 2008. A new feature will be the 'Party by the Canal' at the mid-point at Lowsonford, complete with Jazz Band and Barbecue. The organisers are hoping that many of Henley's clubs, societies, pubs and firms will enter teams.

A unique feature of this fundraising is that 75% of the money raised by each team or walker goes to that team's or walker’s nominated charity, with the remaining 25% going to the Rotary Club's nominated charity, which for the 2008 Walk will be Cure Leukaemia. All finishers will be given a medal supplied by Cure Leukaemia. It you don't want to walk, you are invited to come along to the Party by the Canal.

Rotarian Roger Sutton - Community Services Committee Chairman

The Goose is Cooked!

ClaverdonNo the geese causing problems at Heart of England Farm in Kington Lane, Claverdon haven’t gone because they’ve been given the chop. At least not yet…..

As a follow up to the article two weeks ago regarding the appalling behaviour of a local farmer making his neighbour’s lives a misery with smells and noise I can now report a minor victory. Following the installation of decibel monitors to record noise levels in the garden of Roy Hopkins, the council have assessed the noise to be unacceptable and have issued a Noise Abatement Order.

This will create a no-go boundary of approximately 300 metres within which the farmer cannot keep geese. The war continues though to stop other intrusive and objectionable farming practices. Animal Aid are conducting their own investigation into the farmers game bird rearing operation.

Clive Hanley - Claverdon Correspondent

Afternoon of Remembrance at Henley High

Henley Community Arts and the Henley in Arden High School, a Specialist College for the Performing Arts, recently hosted an afternoon of Remembrance. This featured both High School pupils together with members of the community.

The Royal British Legion opened the programme with the parade of the Standard. The programme of events included the school’s GCSE Drama and Advanced Performing Arts groups performing some devised thematic work based on the poetry of Wilfred Owen together with other pieces expressing their own interpretations of the events of the war years.

Reverend Graham Spicer read a moving piece taken from a soldier’s memoirs and Dr Douglas Bridgewater presented a piece on the heroes of Henley.

Music and poetry led to a final presentation by the Land Girls of Henley who, by way of a video presentation, not only shared memories of the deprivation and hardship suffered but who also, despite this, enjoyably recounted a time interspersed with happier memories of loyalty and comradeship.

A closing prayer by Henley High’s Headteacher, Paul Wright, brought a fitting close to this afternoon of remembrance.

Recognition for the Ex-Land Girls At Last

Last Thursday we heard that the surviving, ex-land girls are to receive a special badge in recognition of the efforts they made during World War 2.

Oldberrow House in Oldberrow, Henley-in Arden was a hostel for them and Jane and David O'Dell have hosted a couple of reunions for them to which I was invited. I took down their stories and recently, got a few of them together in The Heritage Centre because Hayley Pope of Henley High School ask to make a video for a Remembrance Afternoon. The resulting video was delightful and will be available to view when The Heritage Centre opens at Easter.

HADS Christmas Show

Henley-in-Arden Drama Society brings you a Programme of Festive Entertainment served up with mince pies and mulled wine - Friday 21st and Saturday 22nd December at Henley Memorial Hall starting at 7.30 pm.

Tickets £8 available from the Vanity Box or www.hads.org.uk


Pictured above are Carol Robson, Sheena Ison and Kate Castle getting into the Christmas Spirit.

Carol Robson - Henley Drama Society.

Christmas at Stratford

Two photographs of the Christmas decorations in Stratford upon Avon taken by our new Claverdon correspondent Clive Hanley, who ia a very talented photographer.

Christmas at Strtford

The Market Place

Stratford at Christmas

The Civic Hall

Photographs © 2007 Clive Hanley

Credit Card Scam - Update

Credit CardsI read your article on 'credit card scam' with interest and recently, your similar article about Paypal. I have had an account with Paypal for some years now, to receive payments for my website business.

I feel it is worth pointing out that I have received some scams supposedly from Paypal but the important, simple way to know whether it is a scam or not is that- Paypal, when contacting you, ALWAYS address you by your registered name and NEVER ' Dear Paypal customer' or ' Dear Paypal member '. Do not open these, just forward them to Paypal.

I have done this with some success. I hope this is of some help to your readers and the fight against fraud.

Stephen Hunter

Getting to know you!

The Girls

Front row( left to right) Nolwenn Simonneaux & Sarah Felton
Standing Laura Cranmer, Belinda Davis, Janet James & Alison James

Henley NEWS On-line has been impressed with the friendly, caring and efficient service they have received when calling Johnsons coach and Bus and speaking to the front office sales team. We asked Rob Kingscott, Sales and Marketing Manager to tell us more about them.

He commented “We are very proud of our front office team, they are the unsung heroes of the company. In any one day they can field 100’s of calls dealing with bookings for holidays, excursions, theatre trips, answering general queries, advising on holiday insurance, or just reassuring customers, some who perhaps have never been on holiday on their own before. As each brochure is launched they have to gain an in depth knowledge, and fast, on every aspect of all that is on offer. We select the team not just on their commercial ability but also on their personalities.

"Many of our customers treat them as friends and trust the advice they are given, testament to that is the dozens of cards and letters received thanking them for all they have done to help customers The team is headed up by Nolwenn Simonneaux, who hails from Brittany and she is supported by Sarah, Belinda, Janet, Laura and Alison.”

New 'Bliss Wine Bar' opens at The White Swan

It has been almost 14 months now since Steve & Sarah Bennett, Linda Edmonds & Ian Jackson took over The White Swan Hotel and during this time the business has steadily grown and received some very positive feedback from the local community. The Bliss Restaurant at the rear of the hotel was officially opened in February by the High Bailiff Ray Holding and the Town Crier Gordon Trinder. It has now become very popular with the local people and has received excellent reviews for the wonderful food produced by head chef Craig Harpur and his team.

We are now ready to open the last phase of the venture which is the Bliss Wine Bar. It is situated on the right hand side of the archway as you drive in. Many of the local people have informed us that this has been used for various ventures over the years such as a public bar, sports bar, handbag accessory shop, card shop and many more businesses. Steve Bennett who has an interest in fine wines and good food decided it would compliment the restaurant and the pub by opening a prestigious venue focusing on good quality wines from all around the world.

wine bar

The Bliss Wine Bar will not only be serving excellent wines but will also serve ‘Bliss Bites’ which will consist of various tapas snacks to eat alongside the excellent wines as well as being a great place to meet friends for a pre-dinner drink. The official opening night will be on Thursday 13th December @ 6.30pm with the High Bailiff and the Town Crier in attendance. There will be a free glass of sparkling wine and also a sample of the ‘Bliss Bites’ available for all those who attend and everyone will be entered into a prize draw to win a free meal for two people in our restaurant.

Linda Edmonds reporting

Mat Jackson's Plans for 2008

Mat JacksonMat Jackson will race Andy Priaulx’s 2007 World Touring Car title-winning BMW in the 2008 HiQ MSA British Touring Car Championship.

It’s the second year in a row that the Henley-in-Arden based Jacksons MSport team have secured a Priaulx BMW – for their debut BTCC season in 2007 they raced Priaulx’s world title-winning car from 2006.

It was an inspired move as Mat and the team took the fight to the established ‘grandee teams’ at their first attempt with two outright race wins, four more podium results, a fastest race lap, seventh overall in the final drivers’ championship, fifth in the outright teams’ table (as the highest-placed single-car entrant) and narrowly missing out on both the Independent drivers and teams trophies.

26-year-old Mat says: “These are very exciting times for Jacksons MSport. We’ve had a great first season in the BTCC and with everything we’ve learnt we feel ready to take the next step. We are aiming higher in 2008, the independents title was within our grasp and we intend to pull out all the stops to achieve the very best results we can.

“We have a group of very enthusiastic and determined sponsors behind us who are just as hungry for success. I’d once more like to thank them and all the fans who’ve got behind us in the past 12 months. We look forward to seeing them all again during the 2008 BTCC season.”

In the two months that have passed since this year’s BTCC finale – when Mat memorably ended the season on a high with a second race victory – he has still been in the limelight. Last weekend (December 1st/2nd) Mat was at BMW’s competition headquarters in Munich, Germany for the company’s annual motorsport awards, winning 15,000 Euros for finishing sixth in their Sports Trophy. The trophy is like a league using BMW’s own points-scoring system which ranks the top 25 drivers using their cars in saloon car competition around the world! Some 100 drivers registered for the award initially.

A fortnight before on the weekend of November 17th/18th Mat was interviewed on stage by ITV’s Louise Goodman at the star-studded BTCC Night of Champion’s on London’s Park Lane. In front of 500 guests BTCC Series Director Alan Gow also used Mat’s stunning results from 2007 to highlight just what is possible for an emerging team with the right approach. On the Sunday night Mat featured on BBC2 hit motoring show Top Gear, taking part in a motorhome race with presenters James May and Richard Hammond in front of some 8 million viewers.

Mobile Phone Adverts Are Confusing and Misleading

Mobile PhonesA regional investigation into contract mobile phone advertising has revealed that most are confusing as they don’t allow consumers to work out the real cost of the phone, whilst some are downright misleading!

These were some of the findings in an extensive Central England region-wide survey of mobile phone advertising conducted by Warwickshire County Council Trading Standards and its CEnTSA (Central England Trading Standards Authorities) partners. The sale of mobile phones is a significant area of complaint for Trading Standards Services across the UK. Between January and June 2007, 1167 mobile phone complaints were received across the CEnTSA region.

In response an extensive Central England survey of mobile phone advertising was carried out by CEnTSA (Central England Trading Standards Authorities). 22 officers from 13 different authorities took part with the aim of establishing whether consumers would be able to find out the true cost of both purchasing and using a mobile phone, without any assistance from sales staff.

The survey found that:

  • Nearly 25% of the mobile phone ads examined were misleading.
  • Nearly 2/3rds of the ads failed to state the minimum term contract period and/or the cost of the monthly line rental.
  • Nearly 1/4 failed to state the applicable network and tariff.
  • Information in retail outlets relating to specific advertisements was often unavailable or incomplete.
  • Officers gave a rating of their overall experience of finding out the cost of purchasing and using an advertised mobile phone package, and in nearly 2/3rds of cases, officers rated this as being difficult. The main reasons being that in-store brochures were not user-friendly; information was hard to locate or was contained in very small print; or information was not found at all.

The results of the survey show that it is very difficult, if not impossible, to find information relating to the cost of purchasing and using a mobile phone, without assistance from sales staff in retail outlets. Sales techniques used by the mobile phone industry are confusing, with price schemes and terms and conditions information generally complex and not easy to understand.

The survey also revealed that in a couple of cases officers, posing as a consumer, were approached by sales staff who were pushy and forceful in their attempt to get the officer to sign up to a contract.

Warwickshire County Councillor Richard Hobbs, Portfolio Holder for Community Protection said:

“The advertising of mobile phone packages is generally uninformative and confusing, and does not enable consumers to know exactly what is being advertised. Anyone wishing to buy a mobile phone should be able to make accurate comparisons from the information supplied in advertising and marketing material. They should not have to visit every retail outlet and ask staff directly. It is clear from our investigation that current legislation and codes of practice do not adequately regulate the sale of mobile phone packages.”

The report sets out some recommendations that include:

  • Information contained in advertisements and associated information in retail outlets should be available and presented to consumers in a common format.
  • A paper summarising this project be sent to the Office of Communications and the Office of Fair Trading with a view to adding and amending the recently published code of practice for the sales and marketing of subscriptions to mobile networks.
  • Further and more in-depth research into the advertising and distance selling of mobile phone packages.

Advice for consumers

  1. Prior to purchase, make sure you are fully aware of the full cost of purchasing a mobile phone package. Consumers should look at the cost of the handset, the cost of the monthly line rental, and the length of minimum contract period.
    For example, a free handset on a 12 month contract at a cost of £30 per month, will cost a total of £360. Consider handsets which are not necessarily free as the total cost may work out cheaper. For example, a handset which costs £100 on a 12 month contract at a cost of £18 per month, will cost a total of £316.
  2. If the mobile phone package is part of a cashback deal, look at the cost of the monthly line rental which is required to be paid up-front before any cashback can be obtained. Cashback deals are often tied to mobile phone packages with high priced line rental and there are usually strict terms and conditions attached to obtaining the cashback.
    Make sure that these terms and conditions are available and understood before signing a contract. Many complaints have been received by Trading Standards Authorities across the region relating to cashback deals which have not been honoured, leaving consumers tied to a highly priced contract.
  3. Most mobile phone packages come with a number of free minutes and/or texts per month. If the number of free minutes or texts is exceeded within a month period, call charges will be incurred. Call charges can vary greatly, so it is important to know what they are as this will add up in addition to the total cost of purchasing the mobile phone package.
  4. Look at the service provider contract terms and conditions before purchasing, particularly those relating to the cancellation of agreement.

If you have a consumer complaint regarding a mobile phone, then for clear, practical, consumer advice phone Consumer Direct on 08454 04 05 06.

New Shop in New York

New YorkA shop that sells new husbands has just opened in New York City, where a woman may go to choose a husband. Among the instructions at the entrance is a description of how the store operates: "You may visit this store ONLY ONCE! There are six floors and the value of the products increases as the shopper ascends the flights. The shopper may choose any item from a particular floor, or may choose to go up to the next floor, but you cannot go back down except to exit the building!"

So, a woman goes to the store to find a husband. On the first floor the sign reads: "These men have jobs".

The second floor sign reads: "These men have jobs and love kids".

The third floor sign reads: "These men have jobs, love kids, and are extremely good looking". "Wow," she thinks, but feels compelled to keep going.

At the fourth floor the sign reads: "These men have jobs, love kids, are drop-dead good looking and help with housework". "Oh, mercy me!" she exclaims, "I can hardly stand it!"

Still, she goes to the fifth floor and the sign reads: "These men have jobs, love kids, are drop-dead gorgeous, help with housework, and have a strong romantic streak."

She is so tempted to stay, but she goes to the sixth floor and the sign reads: "You are visitor 31,456,012 to this floor. There are no men on this floor. This floor exists solely as proof that women are impossible to please. Thank you for shopping at the Husband Store".

To avoid gender bias charges, the store's owner opens a New Wives store just across the street. It too has six floors. The first floor has wives that love sex. The second floor has wives that love sex and have money. The third through sixth floors have never been visited.

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


Court Circular

Published by Authority of the High Bailiff


Court LeetRepeating the successful evening in 2006, the High Bailiff and Court Leet hosted the “Jurors’ Christmas Warm-up” party in the Guild Hall on Tuesday 11th December. As before, this was a “drop-in” event and was again well attended. Mulled wine and mince pies were enjoyed, the wine filling the hall with its magical aroma. Molly Sutton, Ann Holding and Carol Robson had decked the hall out for the season. The fire crackled merrily and it all felt properly Christmassy.

The Court Leet Jurors – there are about 70 at present - are people who have volunteered to be on the register of Court electors. Their qualification is that they have been Council Tax payers in Henley for three years or more. Their main duty is to elect the officers of the Court at the Annual Meeting, which was held last month. However, this time the High Bailiff, outlining the programme for the year ahead, asked whether any of those present would like to take part in the organisation and running of the Court’s main event day in 2008 – Court Leet Day, to be held on 7th June. There was an excellent response: many hands make light work.

During the preceding week the High Bailiff and Ann were present at two charity events in Leamington Spa - a performance of Alan Aykbourne’s “Absurd Person Singular” at the Loft Theatre, organised by the Mayor of Leamington Spa David Greenwood, and a Christmas concert given by young people under the Warwickshire Music Service and organised by the Warwick District Council Chairman, Les Caborne. This Monday the High Bailiff and Ann attended Henley Rotary’s Ladies Evening at the Golf Club, where the large and lively party enjoyed further musical entertainment (and joined in).

Entries for the High Street’s Christmas Window Competition are now very much in evidence and judging will take place on the morning of Saturday 22nd December.

Ray Holding - High Bailiff

Thinking of becoming a Parish Councillor

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


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Henley Forest FC

There is no report this week for Henley Forest as our game against Knowle FC was postponed due to a water-logged pitch.   

Karen Parsons

John Garner's Business Column

Working from home

John GarnerHaving dealt with Flexible working in my last article I think perhaps we should look at this, the ultimate form of flexible working. You can of course use your home as an office if you are self-employed as I am or you can try and persuade your employer to let you do your job from home for one or more days per week. Now that broadband internet is almost universal you needn't worry about being out of touch with your office or your customers, but let's look at the advantages and disadvantages.

First the disadvantages:

  1. It can be a very solitary affair. You may well spend the whole day without seeing anyone else and even without speaking to anyone else (I talk to myself a lot!). You may feel isolated from your colleagues, if you have any, and you'll miss the office gossip and the chance to talk about last night's television.
  2. If you live with anyone else who is around at home during the day then you'll get interruptions. Children and pets particularly demand your attention and won't understand that you're actually "at work".

Now the advantages:

  1. It can be a very solitary affair. You can work with far fewer interruptions than you get in an office so you can focus on the job in hand. You can work hours that suit you rather have to adhere to an office routine. You can start and finish when you want and there's no-one looking over your shoulder.
  2. You can fit around your home routine: you can take a short break to put another load of washing in the machine and you can make the odd "private" phone call without anyone overhearing. You can be in when the gas man calls instead of having to take a day off.
  3. You don't have to spend time and money commuting, much kinder to the environment.

I changed from working in an office to working at home about 4 years ago. I asked the advice of a friend who has worked from home for years as a translator.

He said, "You must put your desk in another room so that you can separate work from normal living. When you start work in the morning just go into your work room and your brain is then in work mode."

"Strangely enough," he said, "I never have a problem starting work but I do have trouble finishing for the day. 6.00pm arrives and I think oh I'll just do this before I stop and then, before you know it, it's 7.30!

"But the best bit is: every morning I listen to the traffic reports on the radio – and have a really good laugh!"

John Garner

Grumpy Old Man Comments

GOMChristmas shopping is here again.

Take a trip to Stratford, Touchwood, Merry Hill etc and tell me the economy is slowing down! People are going mad to spend, spend, spend. On the TV we are told the economy is straining, but not from where I was standing last weekend. I drove round the car park at a large Shopping Mall for 20-30 minutes before getting a space. Then hit the shops! 6 hours later with aching legs and arms I left. The children saw Santa, had a burger for lunch and spent all of my money as well as my wife’s money too.

Same as last year hardly anyone smiled, people rushed from shop to shop. Cash changed hands (or credit cards anyway) People were stuck in their own small world.

Please take time this December to think of what it’s all for. Is it an excuse to spend and over indulge? Or is it an opportunity to spend time with the family (or friends) ? Difficult I know, and I find it hard, but try we must. Please remember smile when shopping! People do smile back!

Grumpy Old Man

The Nigel Hastilow Column

The sleazy underbelly of "New" Labour

Nigel HastilowGood to see Peter Hain exposing the sleazy underbelly of New Labour…

When the dust dies down on the latest Labour sleaze allegations we can be sure the scandal will be used as yet another excuse to force the taxpayer to fund political parties. With the row still at its height, some of our leaders already argue the only way to stop bribery and corruption in the political system is to make the rest of us pay for it. These demands for public funding of political parties are nothing better than a confession that politicians don’t trust themselves to behave honestly and openly.

Our politics costs us a fortune already. Politicians find it impossible to avoid wasting money. But if they want to spend it, let them raise it. That, though, places them at risk of dipping their delicate toes into murky waters. Instead they want to run a self-protection racket: give us more taxpayers’ money and we promise we won’t go round breaking the law, taking backhanders or flogging off honours. Not, of course, that any such thing has ever happened anyway. On the contrary, everyone has behaved most honourably.

Labour’s Friend in the North, David Abrahams, is an honourable man. So why would an honourable man be willing to give £5,000 to each of two candidates for Labour’s deputy leadership? Then again, why would such an honourable man hand over £600,000 without allowing his own name to be associated with such gifts? Why would this honourable, but plainly very shy, man use the names of friends, employees, lawyers and even Conservative Party supporters to front-up his generosity?

Gordon Brown is an honourable man. So is Tony Blair. Deputy Labour leader Harriet Harman, her husband the party Treasurer Jack Dromey, chief fund-raiser Jon Mendelson, ex-Chief Executive Peter Watt, Baroness Jay – they are all honourable people. It’s just a mistake, a misunderstanding, a misfortune that they find themselves up to their necks in sleaze. Many of them were unaware of what was going on. Even if it might have been mentioned to them, once, in passing, it never occurred to anyone it might be against the law.

How could it? After all, they wrote the law. They’re hardly likely to break their own anti-corruption legislation are they?

It’s just jolly bad luck all round. Especially after the loans-for-peerages scandal came to nothing despite that lengthy police investigation. No prosecution is as good as a clean bill of health. Isn’t it? But to avoid this sort of unseemly difficulty in the future, there is an easy answer which appeals to all three of our main political parties. They all think the taxpayer cough up.

If the system is corrupt, they reason, we have to pay to take away temptation. Unfortunately political parties squander money.

Their dedicated members faithfully attend coffee mornings, lunches and dinners, buy raffle tickets, pay subscriptions, “invest” in the summer draw and respond to appeals at election time. For a local branch, a few hundred quid is riches – for someone at HQ it’s chicken feed.

When David Cameron appointed ex-“News of the World” editor Andy Coulson as the Conservatives’ new head of media, he did so without reference to the people who hold the purse-strings. They just had to find his rumoured £485,000-a-year salary. That’s an awful lot of raffle tickets. So it’s not surprising the parties look for rich friends like David Abrahams. The parties in Westminster have little idea of real life out in the sticks. That’s why they waste money. Yet they already get a fortune from the taxpayer.

It depends how you do the sums, but one way or another the Labour, Conservative and Liberal Democrat parties receive about £50 million a year from the taxpayer. At the 2005 General Election, the two main parties spent £36 million between them. The Conservatives paid out £450,000 to just one consultant. State funding for political parties has soared 430 per cent since 1997 and that doesn’t include money MPs spend out of their generous expenses.

But every time there is a row about where one of the parties gets its money from, our leaders end up speaking with a united voice. It would make their lives so much easier if they didn’t have to worry about how to pay for their next campaign. But political parties need to demonstrate popular support. Not just at the ballot box but throughout the electoral cycle. Raising money from people who part with it willingly is one positive way of proving our political system still connects with the voters and retains some vitality and relevance. Taxpayer-funded politics would shut out minority parties, entrench vested interests and make politicians even less interested in their voters than they are now.

So why not encourage the parties to sell honours? About £1 million for a peerage is the going rate. Give each party the right to flog, say, five peerages and a dozen knighthoods a year to the highest bidders. Everybody thinks they’ve been doing it for years. Now’s the chance for a bit of openness and honesty. It won’t cost the taxpayer a bean. And it would make a few rich men very happy.

Nigel Hastilow      

Surgeons on Patients

OperationFive surgeons are discussing the best patients on whom to operate.

The first surgeon says, "I like to see accountants on my operating table because when you open them up, everything inside is numbered."

The second responds, "Yeah, but you should try electricians! Everything inside them is colour coded."

The third surgeon says, "No, I really think librarians are the best, everything inside them is in alphabetical order."

The fourth surgeon chimes in: "You know, I like construction workers. Those guys always understand when you have a few parts left over at the end, and when the job takes longer than you said it would."

But the fifth surgeon shuts them all up when he observed: "You're all wrong. Politicians are the easiest to operate on. There's no guts, no heart, no brains and no spine, and the head and the rear end are interchangeable."

For the most Comprehensive Information about Henley-in-Arden

Visit Henley-in-Arden's Gateway Website at www.henley-in-arden.org

Make Henley Greener
Save Money - Help Save the Planet

Books for Christmas?

All of these are excellent and easy reading and all but ‘One Planet Living’ were in stock at Waterstone’s Solihull when I rang them. Also at www.Amazon.co.uk at reduced prices:

i count. Penguin. ISBN 0-141-03025-9.   At just  £3 this is excellent value. Shows in an easy and humorous style how the actions of every one of us can count in reducing climate change.
One Planet Living.  Alistair Sawday Publishing.  ISBN 1-901970 85-X.  £4.99. To quote from the foreword, it’s about “incorporating affordable, small but meaningful strategies into your life that improve the quality of your life” whilst doing the right thing for the planet. Enjoyable. Nice colour pictures.
The Global Warming Survival Handbook.   Virgin Books Ltd.  ISBN 978-0-7535-1330-9.  £7.99
10 easy steps on how to help fight Climate Change and many more informative suggestions. Also has sections on how to live with effects that are already inevitable.
The New Green Consumer Guide.  Simon & Schuster UK  ISBN-13: 978-0-7432-9530-7.  £14.99
Really excellent value if you want information on a wide range of topics. Well indexed and has lots of web addresses for further info.

John Stott

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.

Between 2000 hours on 28th November and 0700 hours on 29th November 07 unknown offender/s approached a property on Earlswood Common, Earlswood and removed a boiler and some copper piping.
Incident 319 of 4th December 07 refers.

Between 1200 hours and 2030 hours on 8th December 07 unknown offender/s approached a property on Meadow Road, Henley in Arden. They then gained entry through the front door and carried out a search of the property.
Incident 497 of 8th December 07 refers.

Between midday and 1545 hours on 9th December 07 unknown offender/s approached a property on Mayswood Road, Wootton Wawen. They then gained entry through a utility room at the rear and removed a 32” LCD TV, laptop computer, mobile phone and Christmas presents.
Incident 355 of 9th December 07 refers.

Some time prior to 10th December 07 unknown offender/s approached a property on Earlswood Common and removed the seal to a rear window in an attempt to gain entry.
Incident 376 of 10th December 07 refers.

Between 1100 hours on 25th October and 0930 hours on 1st December unknown offender/s approached a property on Alderhanger Lane, Beoley. They then gained entry to the garage and conducted an untidy search of the interior.
Incident 209 of 1st December 07 refers.

Between 1200 hours on 28th November and 1100 hours on 29th November 07 unknown offender/s approached business premises in Ullenhall. They have then used a vehicle to force the locked gate at the front of the premises.
Incident 170 of 29th November 07 refers.

Between 1130 hours on 3rd December and 1245 hours on 5th December unknown offender/s have removed a green Land Rover from a property in Preston Bagot.
Incident 256 of 5th December 07 refers.

Between 1000 hours and 1100 hours on 5th December 07 unknown offender/s approached premises in Aston Cantlow and removed a blue Fiat Punto.
Incident 313 of 6th December 07 refers.

At around 1035 hours on 11th December 07 unknown offender/s approached a property on Poolhead Lane, Tanworth in Arden. They have then stolen a grey Lexus motor vehicle from the driveway. The owner had started the vehicle up and gone back inside for a moment, leaving the keys in the ignition.
Incident 183 of 11th December 07 refers.

Between 1930 hours on 30th November and 0915 hours on 1st December 07 unknown offender/s approached a BMW parked on Camp Lane, Henley in Arden. They have then gained access and removed an Alpine CD/Radio from within.
Incident 469 of 1st December 07 refers.

Between 2100 hours on 4th December and 0720 hours on 5th December 07 unknown offender/s approached a white Ford Transit van on Mayswood Road, Wootton Wawen. They have then removed the driver’s door, carried out a search of the glove box and removed a De Walt chopsaw and Stihl garden vacuum from the rear.
Incident 74 of 5th December 07 refers.

Between 0900 hours on 6th December and 0930 hours on 7th December 07 unknown offender/s approached a property on Stratford Road, Wootton Wawen. They have then entered the rear of the property and removed a chain saw.
Incident 486 of 7th December 07 refers.

Between 1130 hours on 8th December and 0945 hours on 9th December 07 unknown offender/s approached a motor vehicle parked on The Green, Claverdon and removed both front and rear number plates.
Incident 190 of 9th December 07 refers.

The Trading Standards Service has recently received a number of reports concerning the following credit card telephone scam. This is not a new scam, but one that emerges from time to time.

The scam works like this: the person calling says, “This is (name) and I’m calling from the Security and Fraud Department at VISA. My badge number is 12460. Your card has been flagged for an unusual purchase pattern and I’m calling to verify. This would be on your VISA card which was issued by (name of bank) did you purchase an Anti-Telemarketing Device for £497.99 from a Marketing company based in London?”. When you say “no”, the caller continues with “Then we will be issuing a credit to your account. This is a company we have been watching and the charges range from £297 to £497, just under the £500 purchase pattern that flags most cards. Before your next statement, the credit will be sent to (gives you your address), is that correct?”

You say “yes”. The caller continues – “I will be starting a fraud investigation. If you have any questions, you should call the 0800 number listed on the back of your card (0800-VISA) and ask for Security. You will need to refer to this Control Number. The caller then gives you a 6 digit number. “Do you need me to read it again?”

Here’s the IMPORTANT part on how the scam works, the caller then says, “I need to verify you are in possession of your card.” He’ll ask you to “turn your card over and look for some numbers.”. There are 7 numbers; the first 4 are part of your card number, the next 3 are the security numbers that verify you are the possessor of the card. These are the numbers you sometimes use to make Internet purchases to prove you have the card. The caller will ask you to read the 3 numbers to him. After you tell the caller the 3 numbers, he’ll say, “That is correct, I just needed to verify that the card has not been lost or stolen, and that you still have your card. Do you have any other questions?” After you say, “no”, the caller then thanks you and states, “don’t hesitate to call back if you do”, and hangs up.

You actually say very little and they never ask for or tell you the card number.

What the scammers want is the 3 digit PIN number on the back of the card. They get it by using enough information about you as an individual to convince you that you are talking to a bona fide person. They then use the number to make online purchases which are charged to your credit card.

Never provide personal or financial information, or confirm same, to anyone over the phone who you don’t know or trust and in particular where you receive, rather than make the call (as you would do when purchasing goods or services over the phone). If you receive a call and think it is a genuine request, ask to phone back using a publically accessible number (for example one that appears in a telephone directory or on a trusted website), and remember real card issuers won’t need to ask you any information about your card – they already have it!

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!

Wednesday 9th January 2008 between 11am – 1pm
Wednesday 23rd January between 11am – 1pm
Wednesday 6th February between 11am – 1pm

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.


Alerts from Trading Standards

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


Tradind StandardSimon Cripwell
Senior Information Officer
Warwickshire County Council Trading Standards Service


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Henley Diary Dates

Articles and news stories for Henley NEWS on-line should be sent to the editor@henleynews.co.uk at any time. Future diary dates should be notified to Diane Bayley at 6 Nightingale Close, Great Alne, B49 6PE. Email: henleyparishnews@btinternet.com

Tuesday 18th December is our AGM and Christmas Social.

HENLEY AND BEAUDESERT SOCIETY Thursday 13th December 7.30 p.m. (NOT 8.00 p.m.) Christmas Party and entertainment by The Shakespeare Mummers. Tickets - Members £6, Non-Members - £8 includes a light buffet supper and a glass of wine. Contact Iris Birch 792955. Now SOLD OUT.

Beaudesert and Henley JPC present “A Christmas Normandy Market” on Saturday 15th December. Plenty of interesting gift ideas and live street music. Rotary Club Charity Collection.

Saturday, 22 March 2008 – The Guild Hall Garden Committee are presenting a concert by the Bulava Chorus, an exceptional Ukrainian Choir.  This will be held in Henley High School and will include supper.   Tickets are £15 each and can be obtained from Sue Bridgewater (793633) or Marijana Bainbridge (794987).

Saturday and Sunday, 21 and 22 June 2008 – After a very successful day in 2006, Henley’s Hidden Gardens will again be open, on this occasion over two days.  If you would like your garden to be included, please contact Sue Bridgewater (793633) or Marijana Bainbridge (794987).

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
Evergreen ClubMeetings 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.

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

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 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.
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 Coordinators. If you are aware that  you are not covered in your area or are willing to be a coordinator. Please contact Annette Walker on 792837
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
Meets at the Golf Club on Monday evenings at 7pm.
New members are always welcome.
Please call: Robin Freeman on 01789 765411 or email robinf@ribi.org

The Claverdon based charity now has capacity to give more help to local youth initiatives. If you have a youth project (or even just an idea for one) and would appreciate some professional help with strategic planning, financial matters, marketing or fundraising then please contact martin@rightangles.co.uk for further information.

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: stjohnnews@btinternet.com

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Henley NewsHenley 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 editor@henleynews.co.uk

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