Farnborough to hold festival to celebrate wasting £1m of public money

We're gonna squander £1mpublic money, lay waste to the town, then hold a festival to celebrate

We’re gonna squander £1m public money, lay waste to the town, then hold a festival to celebrate

Queensmead digger

Queensmead digger

Queensmead Open for Business as Usual

Queensmead Open for Business as Usual

I had to do a double take. No it was not April the First, though one could be forgiven for thinking it was. The front page news of the Farnborough News today was that a festival is to be held in October to celebrate wasting £1 million of public money.

Queensmead, new paving slabs are being laid, old trees ripped out, new trees planted, new drains for old, a few park benches, and lights in the ground that point skywards.

The new paving slabs look little different to what was there before.

During heavy rain, last week and the week before, pools of water formed along the middle of the street. This is when the drains have only just been laid, before the drains have become silted up and blocked with fallen leaves.

It was obvious this would happen, due to the poor design.

There are no street lights in Queensmead, the old having been ripped out. At night the street is pitch black, or would be, were it not for a spillage of light from shops. A muggers paradise.

New lights are embedded in the ground, and point skywards!

The cost, £1 million. Though it is rumored to be over budget and heading towards £1.5 million.

Retailers are complaining that it is killing trade. What little trade that is there is in Farnborough, the Council having done its best to trash the town.

Retailers are also reporting their customers are not happy with the work and see it as an appalling waste of public money.

But according to the leader of the council, it is exciting news for Farnborough!

To celebrate this monumental disaster, this appalling waste of public money, a festival is to be held in October.

The festival is to be organised by the Farnborough Society with support from Rushmoor.

Support from Rushmoor? More public money down the drain?

Councillor Barbara Hurst, Sec Farnborough Society:

Our aim is ambitious. We hope to persuade people to completely reconsider Farnborough town centre as a venue, as a cultural centre, as a really good place to do businesses and shop.

For many years Farnborough has suffered a negative image but things are changing.

Is this the same Barbara Hurts who wrote on her blog in 2012:

RBC’s Prospectus … I am deeply disappointed. It lacks vision and it lacks boldness, and will do little to reverse the town’s inexorable decline because Farnborough will remain a cultural desert … This simply isn’t good enough. We deserve better. …

I really like the idea of a town square as a focus for activities such as parades, markets and entertainment. But the bottom of Queensmead is entirely the wrong place for it, and misses a unique opportunity to do something truly remarkable to improve the quality of residents’ lives, to raise civic pride and, crucially, to attract inward investment.

[load of turgid bollocks re destroying green space back of library]

I really hope that Farnborough residents will look at the proposals … and ask themselves whether this is what they want. Is it worthy of a town …

I’m actually pretty angry about this and feel that we’re all being made complicit in the further decline of the town because the slick presentation obscures the fundamental flaws in the Prospectus. If we’re not careful, we shall be stuck with a generic town with no character and precious little in the way of amenities, and I’m determined to do all I can to prevent that.

If nothing else, Hurst stands accused of hypocrisy.

Hurst claims the festival will change attitudes, Farnborough is not a cultural desert.

Er, no. Farnborough is a cultural desert.

A one-off festival celebrating new paving slabs does not turn Farnborough into a cultural oasis. Nor will new paving slabs bring the punters into Farnborough, when all it has to offer is tacky chains like Costa and tax dodging Starbucks, boarded-up shops, charity shops. The reason Farnborough has a negative image is because the Council trashed the town. Laying new paving slabs will do nothing to counter the image of a trashed town centre. It will be seen for what it is, an appalling waste of public money.

One has to question what reality Hurst is living in.

Guildford has a music festival, a film festival, a book festival, three theatres. Godalming has Staycation Live Music Festival, all through the summer, May through to September, Music in the Park.

Guildford, Godalming, Farnham, Alton, still retain their heritage, have many small independent businesses, have green space, have a river.

Farnborough has new paving slabs.

The hypocrisy from Hurst is breathtaking.

The town centre has been trashed, that is why it does not attract people.

In June, the Council approved plans to destroy green space and trees at Firgrove Green, to destroy four local businesses at Firgrove Parade. This is called town centre regeneration.

The pathetic Farnborough Society did nothing to oppose these plans, did nothing to stop the cutting down of the trees.

Farnborough used to have a popular live music venue at The Tumbledown Dick. A 1720s pub that predates Farnborough. It lies derelict, holes in the roof, water pouring into the building everytime it rains. The council refuses to enforce repairs. Application has been made by McDonald’s to demolish The Tumbledown Dick and turn it into a Drive-Thru McDonald’s.

The money wasted on Queensmead would have been put to better use, acquiring The Tumbledown Dick and handing it over to the local community.

The pathetic Farnborough Society has done nothing to oppose the destruction of The Tumbledown Dick. Even worse, last year their chairman wrote to the local rag, welcoming its destruction, and saying heritage would be saved by erecting a sign saying The Tumbledown Dick.

The pathetic Farnborough Society is a disgrace as a civic society.

Shame too on the local rag for uncritically reporting what they are spoon fed by the local council.

The idea of a festival to celebrate a waste of public money, that it will change Farnborough from being a cultural desert, that it will bring punters into Farnborough, should seen it for what it is, a sick joke.

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