Saturday, 15 December 2012

Tax Avoiding Phone Company Wants Mast on Recreation Ground

How's Your Signal? 
Hedge End Town Council has been approached by representatives of a mobile phone company who are looking for a site for a new mast to improve their signal in the "Southampton area".  They have suggested that the Town Council's recreation ground at Woodhouse Lane would be a suitable location (at least from their point of view).  Apparently they are willing to negotiate a rental for the land which would be occupied by their new base station.

At the moment the Council has no real information.  We don't know how tall, what it would look like, how much land it would occupy or how much the phone company would be willing to pay.  Although if their recent performance with Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs is typical, we can expect them to drive a hard bargain.

On the down side a mobile phone mast would be an eyesore, would make the recreation ground more cluttered, and might raise concerns amongst the parents of scouts, guides and pre-school children who meet at Baden Powell Lodge.

On the plus side, it would be a new income stream for the Town Council at a time when it is trying to avoid any increase to its council tax precept.  And if you are a customer of a famous tax avoiding multinational mobile phone company based in Newbury, you might get an improved signal.

While the Council is trying to find out a bit more from the company, it would be good to know what people think about whether mobile phones on recs is an appropriate use of public land.

Photo Credit: Tim Parkinson

Wednesday, 12 December 2012

Tories Insist: Land Not For Sale

Farm Land or Concrete? 
Serious doubts remain about whether the Lib Dem master plan for 3,500 houses in Hedge End and Botley is deliverable.  The planning process is currently stalled by unspecified concerns from the Highway Agency according to the Borough Council web site.  And local Tories continue to claim that Hampshire County Council will not sell the land at Woodhouse Lane in Hedge End where the Lib Dems want to build a thousand houses

Hiltingbury Conservative Cllr Grajewski plans to ask this question of Borough Council Leader and Hedge End Town Councillor Keith House at this week's Full Council meeting: "In view of the fact that Hampshire County Council has informed Eastleigh Borough Council that it will not release land at Woodhouse Lane for development within the plan period 2011-2029, what does the future hold for the Draft Local Plan?"

Perhaps the question should also be asked: "In view of the fact that official Conservative policy is to build as many houses on green field land as possible, can Hampshire Tories really stand up against their masters at Westminster?"  Planning minister Nick Boles has this to say: “It’s my job to make the arguments to these people [people who oppose development] that if they carry on writing letters their kids are never going to get a place with a garden to bring up their grandkids"

I've said it before - Who can you believe?

Friday, 7 December 2012

Lib Dems Tree Hypocrisy

How the Trees Looked in July 
Lib Dem controlled Eastleigh Borough Council recently destroyed a number of mature trees in Grange Road, Hedge End.  This despite claiming on their web site that "The Council is committed to protecting, improving and developing the Borough's tree stock in public places."

The Town Council's Highways and Planning Committee to its credit has tried to get to the bottom of this travesty.   In the minutes of its 5th December meeting it was reported that the chain-saw wielding Borough:

Firstly tried to blame local residents for damaging the trees in the first place, despite claiming on its web site that it will "ensure that trees on public land are retained wherever possible and are given appropriate protection from the effects of development and construction activities.."

Secondly revealed that the "works" were approved  by the 100% Lib Dem Hedge End, West End and Botley Local Area Committee.

Thirdly admitted that the trees were not on publicly owned land in the first place.  It's a shame they didn't bother to find that out before they sent in the publicy financed chain saws.

Finally have stated that the trees will not be replaced, despite claiming on their web site that  "A range of species will be selected for new and replacement planting taking into account their suitability to each site."

While they thought the trees were on public land, the Council had the "full intention of making a claim for enforcement and criminal damage against the resident."  But now they find they have destroyed trees on somebody else's land, they are washing their hands of the whole matter.