Sunday, May 24, 2009

It has all gone quackers!

I always look forward to elections I lose weight - the endless round of drives to be trood, doors to knocked on and voters to be engaged. I am lucky living in the parish and the ward means that the people you chat to are the ones you talk to everyday. This is a great experience becasue canvassing can take hours as you engage on hot village topics as how are your Jersey Royals doing and would you like to join the allotment society we do not ahve one but that is my latest plan!
Last week whilst out canvassing in the parish I found two builders to give me quotes for our patio which seems to be scaring most builders off and came back with 6 eggs and 1 pot of honey. You know before you knock whether you can rely on their vote, you know what they will say to you, you know their circumstances and you know what services they are likely to offer you.
It is the benefit of living in the community you serve. I could not find anyone who could supply me with a duck house but thanks for the Andover Advertiser I can make my own for just twenty quid. (See link below)
As a Parish Councillor we get paid no expenses, and I for one would never want them because you do it for the service, the chance to engage, the chance to try and make life better for you and those who live with you.
Our voters in Smannell are bemused, angry and shocked with the events at Westminster as I am, however they recognise that the County elections are important. A trawl through the blog diary of this site will show that how Smannell has got a raw deal from County Hall despite the hard work of County Councillor Robin Hughes.

Those who heard Evan Davies chuckling and giggles when reading out the story on Hampshire MP Sir Peter Viggers duck house on the BBC today programme should take heart by following this link you can make your own duck house for just £20.

Click on play on the picture of the Duck Hosue and smile!

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Smannell Oak - Lib Dems working all year round

It was great to see Parish Councillor Phil Duke getting stuck into the "farcical sitution" Andover Advertiser 14th May 2009 that has developed over the Smannell Road closure which is having an effect on the trade at the Smannell Oak.

Our 2 Tory district councillors have been notably quiet over the road closure, you know the one that was sprung on the Parish Council and the County Councillor at the last minute. of course they would be as only 2 weeks ago a government inspector threw out the Tory led TVBC strategy plan and claimed that East Anton development had too many houses on it!

At least the Smannell Lib Dems who happen to live here, liv and breath the area and not 13 miles away have been working hard for the pub.

If we go back to last September we had to fight to get a road sign for the Oak on the A343 and cut through TVBC red tape the trail below just shows how out of touch Test Valley Borough Council really is.

Happy Saturday.

From: nigel.gooding@hotmail.comSubject: Fw: Smannel Oak Pub Tourist SignDate: Tue, 23 Sep 2008 08:38:40 +0100
Phil, Nigel

Confirmation of our discussion yesterday from the TVBC officers.


----- Original Message -----

From: Patel, Mayur
To: Robin Hughes
Sent: Tuesday, September 23, 2008 8:35 AM
Subject: RE: Smannel Oak Pub Tourist Sign
Dear Councillor Hughes,

after discussion with Martin Wiltshire and your discussion with David Wilson I wish to inform you The Oak at Smannell will be invited to apply for brown tourist signing from the nearest 'A' road junction, the A343/C99 north of Icnield Way. The policy has been clarified in this instance to allow brown signage in a rural location that is equal to existing signing to the nearest associated community, i.e. Smannell.

Mayur Patel File Ref S/34/9/1Transportation Engineer Test Valley Borough Council HPSN 991 (8727) Tel 01264 368000

The information in this e-mail is confidential. The content may not be disclosed or used by anyone other than the intended recipient. If you are not the intended recipient, please notify the Council's Data Protection Administrator immediately on 01264 368231. Test Valley Borough Council cannot accept any responsibility for the accuracy or completeness of this message as it has been transmitted over a public network. If you suspect that the message may have been intercepted or amended, please call the Data Protection Administrator on the above phone number.

-----Original Message-----From: Robin Hughes [] Sent: 21 September 2008 15:56To: Wiltshire, Martin; Patel, MayurCc: Wilson, DavidSubject: Smannel Oak Pub Tourist Sign

Dear Martin and Mayur,Further to my email last Friday, I have attached a Google map and a couple of pictures. Having been advised of the policy and then looked at the situation on the ground I can understand why I was approached by the Chair of the Smannell parish council.

The policy looks to be inconsistently applied. May I ask you to deliberate on the request again. Please take into consideration the effect the East Anton Major Development Area is likely to have on the local road network and access along the Smannell road from Andover. The road is to be re-routed through the development which for some years will be a very large building site. During this period traffic to Little London, Finkley and Smannell may be reduced along this road which may have a detrimental effect on local amenities such as the village pub. I believe that we need to do all we can to ensure the MDA does not have a detrimental effect on the local village pub.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Tories are so green they are even re-cycling old stories

I returned home after a short break to see a copy the latest propaganda sheet from our Tory Councillors. It was great to see them pointing at pot holes. What my fellow politicians failed to tell me was that the road surface is the responsibility of County Hall which happens to be Tory led!

I loved the paradoxical nature of their leaflets which funnily enough conicided with a press release from the £4.5 million County Hall spin machine, which includes branded mints and pens, not to mention first class rail travel for an Andover Tory Councillor. In fact the press release made it out to be the best things since Stephenson's Rocket!

The Tories are desparate they have to resort to Pothole Busters because they've let the roads get into such a dreadful state. The recent bad weather had a dreadful effect on the roads for this very reason.

We proposed a £4m boost to highway and footway maintenance a year ago, because it was so badly needed, but the Tories said no.

They then brought in Pothole Busters in the Autumn to deal with the problem they denied existed. This year we proposed a £5m boost, but again they said no - and once again here come Pothole Busters!

Alas this story is the same story that was released in September and a trawl through this blog, which I know my Tory colleagues frequently do will show a suitable response.

Ok I will make it a little easier.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Andover Lib Dems brand Tory led Hampshire Highways launch of “Pothole” busters as an election gimmick
Andover Lib Dems have today denounced plans by Hampshire County Council to introduce a new team of “pothole” busters as a blatant gimmick in an attempt to cover up years of under spending on the County’s roads. Speaking on Andover Sound Tory Councillor Mel Kendel admitted that Hampshire roads were not in good condition.Andover Lib Dems have had it confirmed from many internal sources that Hampshire Highways will not undertake “proactive” management of the highways and only deal with a problem when it is reported.Andover Lib Dems spokesman N.J Gooding said today “The people of Andover will not be fooled by “pothole” busters. In April this year Tory led Hampshire County Council raised our Council tax by an inflation busting 4.5% then hey presto found another £1 million for pot holing filling.

In 2009 the year of County elections they will be capping Council Tax rise to just 3%. In essence all of us who pay council tax have had our charge increase to pay for years of underfunding for Hampshire roads. It is not extra money it is money we have been caned with this year in our Council Tax. It is a cynical attempt to paint a picture of good highways financial management which sadly has backfired. In essence we are all paying for the lack of a proper proactive highways maintenance strategy and will pay for years to come because pot hole repairs are dealing with the effect and not the cause”

In April of this Andover Lib Dems uncovered an example of highways underfunding using the freedom of information act. In Smannell Parish which sits in the Andover North County Division, Lib Dems uncovered that just £6000 had been spent on Smannell roads in 2 years (2006/07) whilst the Hampshire County Council raked in over £300000 from Council Tax payers in the Parish!

Andover North County Councillor Robin Hughes said today. “Tory led Hampshire County Council is now finally admitting that their lack of cyclical and proactive investment in the maintenance of our highways is causing serious problems that alas “pot hole” busters do not resolve in the long term. Andover residents are currently feeling the pain of the massive £43.38 Hampshire council tax hike this year, plus rises in fuel, food and utilities. The rise in Council tax is particularly harsh impact on people on fixed incomes, such as pensioners, who can do little about it but pay up and cut back on other things such as heating and food….people will see through this election gimmick”

Same old, same old news !

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Smannell Lib Dems through their weight behind Nick Cleggs campaign to allow ex Gurkhas to remain in the UK

There are times in your life when you have to use the word "disgraceful" and every supporter of Gordon Brown and the Labour Party should hang their heads in shame after yesterday cowardly decision to discriminate against ex Gurkhas.
The Gurkhas who fought alongside my grandfather and father, (a life long labour supporter) in the First and Second World Wars would be turning in their graves if they heard the news. Smannell Liberal Democrats today threw its weight behind the brave Gurkhas right to settle in the UK despite attempts by Gordon Brown's "morally bankrupt" Labour government imposing punitive conditions on these brave ex servicemen.

In yesterdays government ruling imposed 6 tests on ex Gurkhas who despite fighting for King, Queen and Country and currently fighting in Afghanistan for the last 200 years were almost impossible to meet unless you were an officer with 20 years service. Ordinary privates excluded from serving more than 14 years can never make the 20 year qualification.

The Gurkhas have a lasting link with Hampshire and the Gurkha museum is based at Peninsular Barracks in Winchester.

Reacting to the Government announcement on the number of Gurkhas that will be allowed to settle in the UK.Liberal Democrat Leader Nick Clegg asked "Are there any moral principles left in this hollowed-out Government?""

People who are prepared to fight and die for this country should be entitled to live in this country. Yet even this basic principle is broken by a Government desperate to cover its back and wriggle out of its commitments."This is the week Labour lost its last principles: dishonest with the nation about the state of our finances; cheating taxpayers by making MPs' expenses even murkier; and now turning its back on brave and loyal soldiers who simply want to live in the country they love and served."

Monday, April 20, 2009

Lib Dems pledge to freeze Council Tax

Lib Dem County Councillors have committed to freeze council tax if they win control of the County Council on June 4th. "When times are hard, the county council shouldn't be increasing council tax unless it's unavoidable," commented leading Lib Dem County Councillor Robin Hughes."With the huge reserves that the council have stashed away and the low rate of inflation, there's no need to put up the County's Council Tax this year or next year. The Conservatives always hike up council tax the year after an election." It's time for a change. Tory run Hampshire County Council has put £83 million in extra reserves since 2006. This money could be used to improve services and freeze council tax in the current difficult times, rather than sit in the bank"

Friday, April 17, 2009

Tory fat cats first class rail scandal

It is interesting to read David Cameron in last Sunday's Times castigating his own MPs on "feathering their own nests" when in Hampshire Tory County Councillors are sitting "comfy cosy" in first class carriages whilst the rest of us are struggling.

Perhaps David Cameron should "have a word" with his local Tories who are certainly wasting tax payers money! Scratch the surface and it is the same old Tories underneath. Cameron said this weekend: “All week I’ve been receiving letters from people saying the same thing: how can MPs claim they’re helping people through the recession when so many of them seem to be feathering their own nests? “They are right to be angry. We need to sort this out immediately. But restoring trust in politics goes beyond expenses and allowances. At a time when families and businesses are being forced to cut back, politicians should be asking how they can help bring down the cost of politics across the board - it is taxpayers’ money after all.”Andover Liberal Democrats have used the Freedom of Information Act to expose how leading Hampshire Tory County Councillors are travelling First Class to London at Council Tax payers expense.
Hampshire Tories already under fire for spending over £4.5 million on spin and publicity which includes branded mints and pens, and millions on refurbishment of County Hall were caught out wasting tax payers money when Andover South Councillor Kirk was spotted travelling to London on the 23rd Jan 2009.
Councillor Kirk travelling on the 1004 from Andover to London was spotted sitting in the first class carriage on a off peak train not busying himself with the affairs of his Education portfolio but mulling over Andrew Marr’s political history of Britain. The off peak standard class return on what was a quiet train that day would have cost the residents of Hampshire £26.30 rather than the whooping “fat cat” price of £93.20.An angry fellow traveller identified Councillor Kirk as he was wearing his County Council identity badge and asked Andover Lib Dems to investigate. A freedom of information act request followed and Hampshire County Council admitted that they had provided Councillor Kirk the warrant to buy the first class ticket and for good measure threw in a expenses claim for 4 miles mileage and a £12.50 taxi fare.
Andover South Lib Dem candidate Vince McGarry said “This is typical of the waste we are seeing at County Hall, Councillor Kirk could have travelled standard class that day but choose to ride in first class which cost the hard up Council Tax payers of Hampshire an additional £66. He had the choice. It is a scandal of the highest order when you consider the Tories are cutting jobs at Test Valley and spending £4.5 million on spin, including branded mints and pens, £40 million on doing up their HQ. Tory councillors should be leading from the front and setting an example rather than wasting Council Tax payers cash”
For more information please contact Vince McGarry on 07517 212000

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Smannell Rd closure - Cllr Hughes concern over signing‏

----- Original Message -----
From: Wilson, David
To: Alborough, Ray
Cc: Robin Hughes
Sent: Wednesday, April 08, 2009 4:52 PM
Subject: Smannell Rd closure - cllr hughes concern over signing


Councillor Hughes raised concern about the signing of the Smannell Rd closure. The main problem is the signing near Little London which states Smannell Rd closed suggesting to drivers that they cannot gain access to Smannell. It may be more appropriate to say “Road to Andover closed after Smannell”. In addition we need signs to say that the businesses (pub/s?) are open for business as usual.

I would appreciate if you could get the contractor to amend the signing ASAP and keep councillor Hughes informed of progress



David Wilson

Engineering and Transport Manager

Planning Policy and Transport Service

Test Valley Borough Council

HPSN 991 (8702)
Tel 01264 368702