Celebrating Aldershot

The HoBo Co quality coffee in Aldershot

The HoBo Co serving coffee in Aldershot

Yesterday lunchtime in the centre of Farnborough, pools of water and mud, and yet only light rain. Had it been the day before, thunderstorms and torrential rain, a linear lake would have formed, surface water streaming along the surface. The disaster, cheap paving slabs, shoddy workmanship cost £1 million. It is what the imbecile leader of the council calls a success.

Building upon the ‘success’ of Farnborough, the dysfunctional local council decided to do more of the same to Aldershot, only this time spending £4.5 million.

Is this what we are celebrating in Aldershot, spending £4.5 million? To achieve what? Paving slabs relaid in Union Street, widening of the footpath in Grosvenor Road, where the road was only resurfaced last summer, where there is no footfall, no shops, the entrance to Grosvenor now difficult for buses and lorries to negotiate, creation of a lorry bay at the back of 99p Stores that is only the width of a car, an eyesore amphitheatre staircase into the ugly multi-story car park, that the street lights no longer work. Or maybe the lack of a pedestrian crossing connecting Upper Union Street to Union Street.

Or maybe we are celebrating the boarded-up shops, pound shops, an empty shopping centre that would do justice as a film set for a zombie apocalyptic movie, Wastegate, disgusting tacky fast food outlets, charity shops, binge drinking bars, gambling dens. Or maybe we are celebrating that M&S will close at the end of next month, the final death blow to a dead and dying town.

No consultation, no publicity. Local businesses were handed posters. These they binned in disgust.

Those who did hear of the event thought it must be a joke. What is there to celebrate, they asked.

Surely a wake would be more appropriate.

And how was it celebrated?

The pedestrianised centre lined with stalls, mainly tat, a fruit and vegetable stall, a couple of food stalls, half a dozen vintage vehicles including a couple of army vehicles. Oh and a crooner.

More interesting was the park with the bandstand, a theatrical performance of Around the World in 80 Days. Hobo Co with their battered old Citroen van serving quality coffee. Surprisingly the park was packed.

What Around the World in 80 Days shows, if you make the effort to put on quality, it will bring people in. A lesson the dysfunctional council has yet to learn.

It was also VJ Day.

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