Sunday, 17 May 2015

New Boss for Berry

Hedge End's Berry Theatre is getting a new boss. See Daily Echo Story here:

Let's hope Mr Wright really is Mr Right for our local theatre which has been somewhat neglected by the council in the past:

Friday, 8 May 2015

That's Democracy Folks!

Thursday's elections have affected three of Hedge End's four levels of government. Only at county level have there been no changes.

Mike Thornton was swept away along with 48 other Lib Dem MPs to be replaced by newcomer to Eastleigh, Conservative Mims Davies.

At Eastleigh Borough Council,  Lib Dem Derek Pretty kept his seat in Grange Park and colleague Emma Norman took the Wildern ward seat left vacant by Jenny Hughes' mysterious resignation. Tory Jerry Hall took St Johns ward. With the Lib Dems also losing Hamble-le-Rice and Butlocks Heath ward, their majority at the Borough reduces marginally from 40-4 to 38-6.

Before Thursday Hedge End Town Council comprised 20 Lib Dems and one Independent. It now has 17 Lib Dems and four Conservatives. The Tories' success has forced out some experienced, hard working Lib Dems: Sheila Baynes, Margaret Allingham and Rupert Kyrle all lost their seats and newcomer Antony Marsh failed to win a place on the council.

With Councillors Louise Bloom, Nathan Khan, Richard Effeny, Dan Clarke and Ray Worley opting not to stand for re-election, there are nine new faces on the Council. Conservatives Jerry Hall, Stephanie Arnold, Georgina Jenks and Chris Yates join new Lib Dems Stephen Carr, Michael Lyons, Ian Corben, Connor Burgess and James Mitchell.

Another consequence of the changes is there is no longer a place for me as an Independent on Hedge End Town Council, so I understand a little of what some of our defeated Lib Dems might be feeling. I am grateful to those Hedge Enders who supported my candidacy by signing my nomination papers and voting for me on Thursday. But there were not enough of us, and that's how democracy works.

Hedge End (Wildern) Ward

Name of Candidate
DAY, Keith Philip
HELPS, Andrew
Labour Party
JENKS, Georgina Alice
Conservative Party Candidate
656 E
JUPE, John Malcolm
Liberal Democrat
585 E
MARSH, Antony Charles
Liberal Democrat
NORMAN, Emma Jayne
Liberal Democrat
669 E
  % Poll 67.58% 
The full results are available at

Tuesday, 28 April 2015

Will the Lib Dems Fix their Flooding Path?

The dry weather so far in April has hidden the Lib Dems' embarrassment over their "all weather" cycle path which flooded every time it rains. Eastleigh Council do seem to have improved the problem in Greta Park, but the section between Greta Park and Turnpike Way is still under mud and water after even a moderate shower. With rain in the forecast for later this week there could be an unwanted reminder of this mess in the week leading up to the local elections.

The Council have agreed the extra drainage they put in has not fixed the problem and are investigating what can be done. But there are mutterings about whether there is still any budget, which suggests the Council's contractors have been allowed to get away with substandard work. And highlights the Lib Dems' questionable decision to divert £360,000 away from countryside improvements and donate it to the Ageas Bowl boxing club when some it could have been used to fix this problem for local people.

Disclaimer: Keith Day is standing as an independent candidate for Hedge End Wildern in both Borough and Town Council elections on 7 May.

Sunday, 19 April 2015

Least surprising stakeboard ever?

It would seem that the plush Conservative club in Hedge End are supporting the Conservative candidate. It's nice to see they know who the candidate is at least.

Strong Economy or Fair Society?

The shameful legacy of five years of Lib Dem / Tory government. According to the Trussell Trust, nearly a million people had to rely on charity food handouts last year.

Hedge End has not been immune to this consequence of ideologically driven austerity. Our local food bank is not run by the Trussell Trust, but by Kings Community Church in Upper Northam Road.

Friday, 20 March 2015

General Election Hustings Announced

Hedge End's Kings Community Church have organised general election hustings to take place on 29th April, starting at 7:30.

The Town Council has been told that candidates from "all the major parties" have been invited. It is understood that these are the only hustings to have been announced in Eastleigh for the general election.

A representative of the church came to this week's council meeting and asked us to publicise the event and encourage people to attend.

Hustings are a traditional part of election campaigns dating back to the eighteenth century. Let's hope all the candidates turn up and give Hedge Enders a chance to to question them. Much as I support the use of Twitter, Facebook and other online methods to connect people with their representatives, you can't beat a good face to face once in a while.

Friday, 6 February 2015

Developer blocks tribute to Town Councillor

Foreman Homes have said no to the Town Council's plan to recognise Cllr Raymond Hicks' service to the community. Asked to suggest street names for a new development between St John's Road and Dodwell Lane, councillors suggested Hicks Avenue along with Hellyar Drive, Blyth Gardens and Maidman Place.

Raymond Hicks was a long standing town councillor, chair of the council in 1994, chair of the community services committee, and campaigner for people with disabilities. But Foreman Homes reckon potential buyers of their "good quality, affordable homes" might be put off because "hick" is a term for poor white people in the United States.

As you can see in the screen grab from Zoopla, it hasn't stopped properties in Hicks Avenue, Greenford, changing hands for in excess of £400,000.

And Foreman Homes have been marketing "Larchfield" in Totton as "a beautiful development of stylish 4 bedroom detached family homes on the edge of the New Forest". Yet "larch" according to the urban dictionary is a synonym for human faeces in the US. Have they "done a larch" on Hedge End in turning down our request to honour a local stalwart?

Oh, and by the way, James Hellyar was the first district councillor for the parish of Hedge End in 1894, Joyce Blyth wrote a two-part history of Hedge End in 1979 and 1981, and Charles Maidman was parish clerk during the Great War.

Friday, 30 January 2015

Litter bugs caused floods

Flooding in Wildern Lane earlier this month was caused by a drain blocked by a plastic bottle. See Daily Echo story here.

Hedge End Town Council has learned from County Councillor Rupert Kyrle that the bottle - which could have been recycled - caused a build up of leaves in a critical drain. The subsequent flooding caused traffic chaos in Hedge End and forced Wildern school pupils to use a makeshift bridge made from crates to cross the flood waters. Other drains have subsequently been found by the County Council to be partly blocked by tree roots.

It's a shame the County waited until the disruption had been caused before they acted because Cllr Norman and I reported last November that the drains in Wildern Lane were not working. A quicker response might have saved Hedge Enders a lot of inconvenience and some wet shoes.

Thursday, 8 January 2015

"Contractors" to investigate flooded path

Hedge End's unintentional pond
Following my report on the state of the new footpath and cycle way through Greta Park which floods every time it rains, things might be moving. (See Lib Dems' New Path is a Wash Out)

The Town Council Recreation and Amenities Committee has it on their agenda for next week.

Previous questions about the path have been addressed by the Highways and Planning Committee, and I planned to raise the flooding under "Highway matters" at last night's meeting. However the deputy clerk got in first with news about the partly submerged cycle path. Apparently the Borough Council's contractors have been asked to do something about it and will be back on site next week.

I hope they bring their wellies.

This is an extract from the minutes of Highways and Planning containing the response to my question about the contradictory signs on the path:

Gavin Bourn, Construction Manager, Transportation & Engineering, EBC responds with regard to the signed route of Greta Park cycle/pathway. Although the route is off highway, it has been signed as a normal shared use cycle route with cycle symbols and the corresponding upright signs indicating mixed cycle/pedestrian use. This is a quirk of the sign regulation just to clarify that cyclists can also use the route as there is no corresponding symbol for pedestrians for display on the surface. Flooding issues are to be addressed by the Contractor next week.

Sunday, 4 January 2015

Lib Dems' New Path is a Wash Out

Things they won't tell you in Standpoint and Focus
Proudly boasted as an "all weather" path, the Lib Dems' latest attempt to encourage people to walk in Hedge End floods every time it rains.
Extract from recent Local Area Committee minutes

The combined footpath / cycle way through Greta Park to Turnpike Way is an excellent idea, and was positively received by people living nearby.  It is also a much better use of contributions from housing developers than the Lib Dems' recent decision to invest £360,000 in the Rose Bowl boxing club.

However pedestrians hoping to walk from Turnpike Way to the centre of Hedge End without getting wet and muddy shoes, have been disappointed.

The slightest rain sees the path flood in a number of places, leaving slimy, slippery mud on the new tarmac surface, and on winter mornings dangerous ice.

Saturday, 3 January 2015

Lib Dems increase travel costs

News you won't find in Standpoint or Focus
As rail season tickets go up by 2.5% local Lib Dems have piled on the misery for travellers at Hedge End station. From the beginning of February, it will cost £3.20 to park at the council-run car park.

The Lib Dems justify the increase as "only" 20p per day, but the fact remains that is an increase of nearly 7%, way above inflation. It comes at a time when people have been bludgeoned by four and a half years of Lib Dem and Conservative austerity measures.

Related blog post: Lib Dems 1 Countryside 0