Posts Tagged ‘Farnborough’

Stench of hypocrisy

May 4, 2016
The Tumbledown Dick demolition

The Tumbledown Dick demolition

Nothing like the stench of hypocrisy, especially when from a bunch of local politicians.

36 out of 38 local councillors have signed a letter condemning a decision by the Planning Inspectorate to approve the building of a block of flats in the middle of a roundabout on a busy main road, on the site of which once stood the Ham and Blackbird pub.

Anyone care to name names, who were the two who neglected to sign and why?

Let us pause and reflect here a moment.

These are the same bunch of local councillors who collectively stuck two fingers up to the local community and approved:

  • demolition of half of Farnborough town centre for a supermarket that faces out of the town
  • destroyed social housing at Firgrove Court for a supermarket car park
  • destruction of The Tumbledown Dick for a Drive-Thru McDonald’s
  • destruction of Firgrove Green for a multi-store eyesore Premier Inn
  • are pushing for development of the last remaining green space in Farnborough town centre

And this is not counting the decades of bad planning decisions that have destroyed Aldershot town centre.

The local councillors complain at the lack of local democracy, have whinged to the Local Government Association.

And what of this local democracy? Decisions by local councillors falling over backwards to satisfy the greed of developers, what has that got to do with local democracy?

What of the demos, the people?

There was massive local opposition to destruction of Firgrove Green, destruction  of The Tumbledown Dick. Was this taken into account?

Er, no.

Not only was the views of local people ignored, Keith Holland head of planning, explicitly told members of the planning committee to ignore the views of local people. He also blatantly lied, said health was not a planning issue, asset of community value not a planning issue, that traffic congestion, litter, anti-social behaviour not a problem, that the trees at Firgrove Green were dying.

Gareth Lyon, chair of planning committee, who is bleating about the decision, is unfit to hold any public office. During the discussion on The Tumbledown Dick, his chairing of the meeting was a disgrace, he had the head of planning whispering in his ear, telling what to say.

This is the man who behind closed doors, stitched up a dirty little deal with McDonald’s to destroy The Tumbledown Dick, then later bragged that his committee had approved the deal he had reached with McDonald’s.

The only place for Gareth Lyon, is rotting in a  prison cell.

Prior to it being pushed through, internal e-mails show the council thought to approve the destruction of Firgrove Green would bring the planning system into disrepute. It was pushed through, and yes it did bring the planning system into disrepute.

So why all this bleating about the Planning Inspectorate? All they have done is approve a scheme the local council would normally happily rubber stamp, no matter how bad the scheme for the locality, no matter how strong the local opposition.

Could it be there are local elections tomorrow?

None of this is to argue in favour of the planning decision, far from it. It is merely to highlight the appalling hypocrisy.

Building a block of flats in the middle of a roundabout on a busy main road, it would be difficult to imagine a worse location. At the end of a runway maybe.  It is an accident waiting to happen.

And what of air quality? Doe it meet WHO guidelines? Was this even raised at the Public Inquiry?

The dysfunctional planning department in bed with developers  may be able to lead thick-as-two-short-planks councillors by the nose, but when it comes to Planning Inquiry, they are shown as wanting, useless jobsworth not up to the job. And that is even assuming they did not throw in the towel.

Long before planning application was submitted, the useless councillors failed to do what was needed to safeguard the site and the Ham and Blackbird.

Why was there no TPOs on the trees? When the developer started cutting down the trees, why was no emergency TPOs issued?

Why was the Ham and Blackbird not listed as local building of historical interest? Once known as the Railway Tavern, its construction coincided with the arrival of the railway.

It is now being claimed there will be a legal challenge. More hot air? On what grounds?

The decision cannot be challenged on the grounds you do not like it, no matter how bad the scheme. That was the role of the Public Inquiry.

There are six weeks within which a legal challenge may be mounted. This can only be on a point of law, that correct procedures were not followed. Leave has to be requested from a Judge, to take the case.

No grounds have been shown.

Will this all be quietly forgotten, once local elections are over?

A handful of local councillors do their best to act for the local community. But sadly they are just that,  a handful. The rest are a bunch of carpetbaggers.

The flats when built, will not be marketed locally. They will be marketed in London.

Banquet at Diwali

August 26, 2015


I had not intended to eat at Diwali, I was actually on my way to the Coop to get something to eat, but as I passed by Diwali, I saw it was banquet night (also Sunday night) and decided to give it a try.

Nicely laid out, starched white table clothes, folded napkins on the tables.

I was shown to a table.

Then began a very long wait.

Eventually my order was taken, then another very long wait.

I was brought a starter, but no appetiser had preceded it. I let them know when they took away my cleaned plate.

It was probably around half past eight when I finally got my main course. I had walked in not long after seven o’clock.

During my long wait, I noticed wrong meals and drinks being delivered to the wrong tables.

Around the time I got my main course, the couple on the next table got their main course (I learnt later they had been there since seven o’clock). The lady had to repeatedly ask for items that were missing that she had ordered or had asked for.

The food was so so, nothing special. Better than the Indian food served at The Queen Hotel in Aldershot which looks disgusting and is disgusting, but not in the same league as Zaffron in Farnborough.

Presentation was fine.

Portion size was large.

When I got my bill, there was something wrong with it. It showed VAT at zero, which could not possibly be correct.

I paid, the bill and my money was taken away. No change was returned to my table. My drinks and the free chocolate that had been delivered with my bill, were also taken away.

Service was unbelievably  bad. It was as though they had only opened that night, as the staff did not have a clue.

Not somewhere I would recommend.

Certificate of Excellence from TripAdvisor is becoming meaningless. Diwali has a Certificate of Excellence from TripAdvisor, which is not deserved.

Ranked No 5 on TripAdvisor. What does that say for the other restaurants in the locality?

Breakfast at The Tilly Shilling

July 20, 2015
traditional English breakfast

traditional English breakfast

OK, but not great.

Wishing no egg, I asked for extra toast, not realising I got toast.

Butter was dumped on the plate in the middle of my breakfast, bacon was dried up.

Maybe I should have gone to The Triangle. But the food there is not great, I did not know what time they finished serving breakfast and if too late, would have been too late for The Tilly Shilling.

£2-99 for breakfast. With a glass of fresh orange and a mug of tea, a little over a fiver.

I was quite surprised at the number of people having breakfast. Or maybe they get in before midday and it is an early lunch. What did shock me, and shocked me some weeks ago when I had breakfast, the number of people late morning drinking alcohol and some already drunk. Should pubs be serving alcohol before midday?

After my breakfast, I tried the filter coffee. Disgusting, undrinkable. I left it after one sip. Then I thought, add milk. I tried, it was even more disgusting.

Breakfast superior at Wetherspoon Gatwick.

Interesting article in Wetherspoon News (summer 2015) by Tim Martin demolishing the euro. Makes a change from his special pleading for VAT exemptions, or his latest on hike in minimum wage. If Wetherspoon cannot afford to pay its staff a decent wage they do not deserve to remain in business.

The Tea Shop Around the Corner

July 18, 2015
The Tea Shop Around the Corner

The Tea Shop Around the Corner

The Tea Shop Around the Corner is located in what was the North Camp Post Office, which was forced to relocate, to the detriment of businesses in North Camp.

From appearance, a tea shop one might expect in a  market town.

I popped in for a coffee.

It did not look too great, and looks generally also indicate deeper problems. It had a rather unpleasant bitter taste.  Why I do not know, but I suspect made too hot, though could also be lack of skill of coffee maker (I would hesitate to call a barista), poor quality coffee, coffee beans not being ground fresh for each coffee.

I had not intended to stay long, but as I was hungry, I had a salmon and cheese sandwich. Choice of bread. I chose wholemeal. Very tasty. I did not though like the unpleasant flavoured crisps.

Ambience pleasant, but very noisy.

Sonos streaming audio from the net a huge mistake. Awful music, interspersed with ads. And how much do the musicians get? Probably as bad as spotify.

Far better, to select music from bandcamp if wish to lives steam music from the net.

Better still silence.

Poor choice of reading. Daily Mail and the magazines you’d expect to find in a waiting room. Or maybe reflects their intellect. By all means have the Daily Mail, but at least compliment with a quality newspaper such as The Independent or The Guardian.

Free wifi. It died whilst I was there, or at least internet access died. It probably needed the router re-booting. But at least Sonos died too, which was a relief.

Seating outside. On top of the rubbish bins.

They need to exercise better control over the seating outside. When I walked by later, mothers with buggies blocking the footpath. I could squeeze past, but it would not have been possible  for a disability scooter.

Though this raises a wider issue.  Is it not long overdue the street was pedestrianised, creating a far better environment?

Curious why the coffee was not good, I popped back a couple of days later. I asked that it not be made hot. I was told that was how they were instructed to make coffee. All that says is someone does not know how to make coffee. My wishes were heeded, and the coffee lacked the unpleasant bitter taste of my visit a couple of days earlier.

You cannot train barsistas, or at least training is not sufficient. If you want to serve quality coffee, you have to employ skilled baristas. And those lacking the skill, learn by working alongside skilled baristas.

Vue Cinema Farnborough signs of desperation

July 9, 2015
Vue Cinema Farnborough flyer

Vue Cinema Farnborough flyer

A couple of years ago a cinema opened in Wastegate in Aldershot. A couple of months ago a Vue Cinema opened in Farnborough.

Anecdotal evidence is the Vue Cinema is failing. It is not attracting the bums on seats. A late night YoYo bus running to serve the cinema, drives around empty. The chain restaurants that were to cluster around the cinema are non-existent (though may be no bad thing as take business away from local restaurants).

The Farnborough cinema empty is of no surprise. There are not enough bums on seats to go round to support a cinema in Aldershot and Farnborough. The best case scenario, it halves the number of bums on seats in Aldershot. The likely scenarios, one or both close, as no longer viable.

Signs of desperation, together with the junk food offers, the estate agents, now a flyer for Vue Cinema Farnborough being pushed through letterboxes.

Special deals, special offers, but looking at the unappealing programme, I would not wish to go even if free.

If this is the best films this summer, I hate to think what rubbish the worst.

There is an alternative cinema in Farnborough and it has far better offerings.

The cinema has not been without cost. The grotty Kingsmead shopping centre has been gutted, retailers kicked out or forced to the dead end, dead being a relative term as the entire shopping centre is dead. Matters made worse by closing one of the entrances.

How much money has the local council ploughed into this cinema?

Yet another example of crass planning decisions by the local council.

Council run markets an outstanding success!

April 13, 2015
Tuesday market an outstanding success

Tuesday market an outstanding success

support sound planning policies

support sound planning policies

redevelop the Civic Quarter

redevelop the so-called Civic Quarter

claim credit for Farnborough Tech

claim credit for Farnborough Tech

One has to ask, what are the local Tories on?

First we had Gerald Howarth claiming he had saved The Tumbledown Dick. At best a sick joke.

Now we have Roland Dibbs claiming council run markets an outstanding success.

Try telling that to stallholders who have seen an increase in their pitch fees.

Try telling that to stallholders who have been forced to buy unwanted gazebos, even though they have their own stalls with their own awnings.

Try telling that to stallholders who have pulled out.

The move of Farnborough market to the town centre, is to be welcome, but why was it not done years ago, not leaving the market to die a slow death? And the only reason it has been moved, has not been for either the good of the market or of the town, but to make the land available for greedy developers to make a fast buck.

Local markets a success are not the only ludicrous claims being made by Roland Dibbs and the local Tories.

It is claimed they support local businesses.

Try telling that to the local businesses destroyed when half Farnborough town centre was destroyed.

Try telling that to the local businesses at Firgrove Parade.

Try telling that to the local businesses driven out of The Arcade.

Try telling that to the local businesses suffering because of Wastegate.

Try telling that to the local businesses kicked out of The Arcade.

Try telling that to stallholders who have seen footfall collapse due to crass planning decisions, who have had their pitch fees hiked,and been forced to buy unwanted gazebos.

They claim to support pubs.

We saw that when the local Tories fell over backwards to destroy The Tumbledown Dick for a Drive-Thru McDonald’s.

We saw that when the local Tories stitched up a dirty little behind closed doors deal with McDonald’s.

We had Roland Dibbs claim a police van was parked every night outside The Tumbledown Dick, that once he met two old ladies and they had found two drunk girls in the street, that someone he knew once had a bad meal in The Tumbledown Dick, and for all these reasons he would be supporting the destruction of The Tumbledown Dick.

We still have a Tory councillor gloating over the destruction of The Tumbledown Dick.

The local Tories support sound planning policies.

Decades of bad planning decisions have led to the destruction of Aldershot and Farnborough town centres.

Bad planning decisions led to the destruction of Firgrove Green, with four local businesses facing destruction at Firgrove Parade.

Bad planning decisions led to the destruction of half of Farnborough town centre.

Bad planning decisions led to Wastegate which has laid waste to Aldershot town centre, that drains money out of the local economy.

Development of the so-called Civic Quarter, the green space by the Public Library,  a foregone conclusion.

Er, was this not put put out to consultation?

Local people wish to see the only green space in the town centre retained, designated as a Village Green.

Local Tories wish to see it developed.

With development, there is always the opportunity for backhanders for corrupt councillors and officials.

It is even claimed success for Farnborough Tech.

Farnborough Tech is an independent bums-on-seats business. Farnborough Tech along with other similar bums-on-seats businesses face a very uncertain future, possibly annihilation, with the drastic cuts Tories are planning for Further and Higher Education.

The usual nonsense about Labour destroyed the economy. No, it was the bankers, although George Osborne with austerity is doing an excellent job destroying the economy. It was not the sick, the poor, the disadvantaged, who destroyed the economy, but is is they who are paying the price.

A headline: Working for You All Year Round.

Er no, working for greedy developers and Big Business and two fingers to the local community and small businesses.

Scandal of Rushmoor running street markets in Aldershot and Farnborough

April 3, 2015
Aldershot and Farnborough Markets

Aldershot and Farnborough Markets

By registering with the UK’s leading market operator Town and Country Markets, to trade at Aldershot market you will be a step ahead of other market traders. — Town and Country Markets

In recent months Rotten Borough of Rushmoor has taken over from Town and Country Markets the running of street markets in Aldershot and Farnborough. Although Town and Country Markets are still advertising that they are running the markets. Having cut out the middle man, the pitch fees should have gone down, but no, it has been used as an excuse to hike fees.

Farnborough used to have a massive market. Of recent years, a ghost of the market it once was. Destroyed by the local council getting into bed with greedy property developers KPI/St Modwen and destroying the town centre. The market, together with many small businesses, destroyed overnight.

In Aldershot, the market destroyed by Wastegate, which has laid waste to the town centre, leaving in its wake boarded-up shops.

These factors, destruction of town centres, loss of footfall, should have led to massive rent reductions.

One stallholder, for Aldershot and Farnborough, is now being forced to pay £450 a week. A shop could be rented for less.

They have been forced to pay for gazebos, which no stallholder wanted as they already have their own awnings.

An advantage if you are a new stallholder, but otherwise no.

For one stallholder, an unnecessary expenditure of £1,000 which has to be paid off through an addition to their weekly rent.

The gazebos are flimsy and lightweight, a danger to stallholders and passers-by in strong winds.

On Tuesday the Farnborough market was cancelled due to strong winds. The council lacked insurance cover (or were not prepared to provide cover). The stallholders all have their own public liability cover, and were covered.

No one has ever heard of the market being cancelled before. A loss of income for stallholders.

The stallholders are being forced to pay the council for bins for their rubbish.

The bins are provided by Veolia. The stallholders could pay direct to Velioa, instead they have to pay a cut to the council over and above what they would have paid had they paid direct .

Strict rules are being applied to when the stallholders pack up at the end of the day.

It is reasonable to have rules that stallholders cannot pack up early (exceptional circumstances permitted) as it causes chaos and destroys a market. This is what was happening in Farnborough, with the market packing up earlier and earlier, until eventually it was packing up at lunchtime.

What is not acceptable is a worthless jobsworth strutting around ordering stalls to pack up at the end of the day, when there are people on the street buying and the stall has produce to sell. And the shops are still open and trading.

The council is also dictating to the stalls who they employ. That they have to have gender, race and age balance. For example a mix of ages on a stall.

Ridiculous conditions. A stall employs whoever is capable of working on a stall. Long hours, antisocial hours, often in atrocious weather conditions. One stall employs junkies and offenders. Probably the only work they can get.

And who is paying for the smart new trailer, and at least two jobsworths in charge of the trailer, and presumably at least another worthless jobsworth to manage and supervise the two running the trailer?

The council has no experience of running a market stall, they could not run a piss-up in a brewery, and as we have seen with one councillor too pissed out of his brain to run a pub, and yet they are now running a market.

A well run market market brings people into a town centre, as can be seen in

  • Winchester – Wednesday and Friday
  • Guildford – Friday and Saturday

The net result of Rushmoor running the market, is that in Aldershot stallholders have already pulled out. Others are considering their position, as with all the additional costs and conditions the council is now imposing, their stalls are no longer viable and they are working as unpaid serfs for the council.

What we are seeing is yet another sickening example of the Rotten Borough of Rushmoor carrying out ethnic cleansing of small businesses.

Gerald Howarth: Who is he acting for?

January 23, 2015
Gerald Howarth not a record to be proud of

Gerald Howarth not a record to be proud of

Gerald Howarth not a record to be proud of

Gerald Howarth not a record to be proud of

Gerald Howarth is Member of Parliament for Aldershot (the constituency also includes Farnborough).

Would people vote for him if they knew who he acts for, that he abuses his position for nice little earners on the side?

Howarth is a long-time supporter of McDonald’s. He compares their service with that which he provides. He appears to saying he provides a junk service. Not a viewpoint many of his constituents would wish to disagree.

He claims to have Saved the Tumbledown Dick, a c 1720s coaching inn, one of the few remaing historical buildings in Farnborough. His claim to have Saved The Tumbledown Dick would surprise and has surprised the local community, as The TumbeDown Dick has been destroyed for a Drive-Thru McDonald’s. Why? Because Howarth did a dirty little back door deal behind the back of the local community with McDonald’s to destroy for a Drive-Thru. The dirty little deal that had been cooked up with McDonald’s, was then rubber-stamped by the local planning committee, pushed through by officials on a pack of lies.

A 2009 local health survey showed a rise in obesity in young children.

Apart from his salary and his nice little earners on the side, Howarth has claimed over £500,000 in expenses in the current parliamentary session.

He has two homes, at taxpayers expense. From Farnborough, it is a 36 minutes commute by train to Waterloo (a little longer from Aldershot), a short pleasant walk along the banks of the River Thames to the Houses of Parliament to his place of work (if you can call the pantomime of Westminster a place of work).

Many of his constituents, have a daily commute into London, there are people who are commuting to Gatwick Airport, working unsociable hours for minimum wage.

MPs recently voted themselves an 11% pay rise when most people have seen their wages frozen or cut and those on benefits have seen a cut. But not satisfied with his salary and expenses, and two homes, all at our expense, Howarth has nice little earners on the side.

Howarth claims a nice little earner from pay day loan sharks. Is it possible to sink any lower than to act for pay day loan sharks? Acting for pay day loan sharks, just one of many nice little earners on the side.

Hospitality from Japan Tobacco International (JPI).

Smoking kills. Howarth regularly opposes any curbs on the tobacco industry.

Howarth receives ‘sponsorship’ from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Bahrain.

Bahrain is one of the most repressive regimes in the world. They recently brutally repressed pro-democracy activists with the help of another brutally repressive regime, Saudi Arabia. The Saudis bastardise women, recently held down and beheaded a woman in the street, a blogger who established a forum to discuss political issues, has been sentenced to 1,000 lashes and has already received 50 lashes.

Should a member of the British Parliament be receiving money from a foreign power, let alone a repressive regime like Bahrain?

Howarth acts for McDonald’s, pay day loan companies, defence contractors, tobacco industry, repressive foreign regimes. Is this really the sort of person we wish to see in parliament, irrespective of the party they belong to?

Election to Parliament, is not the opportunity to climb aboard a gravy train, to get snouts in the trough, to act for Big Business. But for some it clearly is.

It is time to get dirty money out of politics.

We need more Members of Parliament like Caroline Lucas (Green Party Member for Brighton), who actually acts for the people who elected her, not acts for Big Businesses, who do not see a parliamentary seat as an opportunity to climb aboard a gravy train, to get snouts in the trough.

Howarth voted against the Right of Recall. It is easy to see why. He considered it to be step too far for democracy, illustrating once again the contempt he has for the local electorate.

There are homeless people sleeping in abandoned shop doorways in Aldershot town centre. Has Howarth ever popped by for a chat, enquired about their circumstances, offered to help, offered to pop in Caffe Macchiato and bring back a few coffees, maybe something to eat?

Special thanks to Watching Rushmoor for their excellent research into the unsavoury activities of Gerald Howarth.

Gerald Howarth Saves The Tumbledown Dick

January 14, 2015
Gerald Howarth serves a Big Whopper

Gerald Howarth serves a Big Whopper

The Tumbledown Dick demolition

The Tumbledown Dick demolition

Gerald Howarth must think the local community stupid if his latest Big Whopper is anything to go by.

What can only be seen as an insult to the intelligence of local people, Gerald Howarth claims to have Saved The Tumbledown Dick.

Really, in that case it must be an illusion that it has been demolished, the oldest part demolished, the internals gutted, leaving only most but not all of the front façade intact.

And for what, a Drive-Thru McDonald’s, when there is a Drive Thru only a mile up the road.

The stomach churning stench from McDonald’s is not the only stomach churning stench coming from The Tumbledown Dick.

This is the same Gerald Howarth who did a dirty behind closed doors deal with McDonald’s to destroy Tumbledown Dick, then blatantly lied he had saved.

First he made much of the historic importance of The Tumbledown Dick. The same Gerald Howarth whose track record was to back all the way the destruction of Farnborough town centre, even going so far as to call one retailer whose livelihood was at stake to tell him he could not understand what he was complaining about. Then having emphasised the historic importance of The Tumbledown Dick, he does a dirty little back-door deal with McDonald’s to destroy The Tumbledown Dick. Then having bragged at the rubber-stamping of his sleazy little deal, he has the gall to blatantly lie that he Saved The Tumbledown Dick. You could not make it up if you tried.

Far from Saving The Tumbledown Dick, Gerald Howarth was instrumental in its destruction. Without any consultation with the local community, Howarth engaged in a sleazy back door deal with McDonald’s to destroy a c 1720s coaching inn.

What else doe Howarth get up to?

Serving up a Big Mac and fries. Serving Big Whoppers seems to be a bad habit.

Howarth compares the service he provides with that of McDonald’s:

I myself have 75,000 constituents who I serve and I do that in a similar that McDonald’s approaches its customers.

In the infamous McLibel trial more than a decade ago, the barrister acting for McDonald’s admitted in court they serve junk food.

Is this an implicit admission by Howarth that he provides a junk service? The local community that fought hard to save The Tumbledown would not wish to disagree.

It takes a low life specimen of humanity to act for a pay day loan shark.

Howarth did however have his five minutes of fame, acting as handbag carrier for the Iron Lady.

Howarth opposed the Right of Recall, the right of constituents to dismiss their Member of Parliament. It is easy to see why, turkeys do not vote for Christmas.

Gerald Howarth is a prime example of why people have nothing but contempt for politicians.

It is time to get dirty money out of politics.

Not though only Gerald Howarth.

Vile local trolls did their best to sabotage the campaign, one persistent troll, a public disgrace as a county councillor, posted misinformation, displayed ignorance of planning matters, posted abuse and eventually had to be blocked from posting comments.

Gerald Howarth serves a whopper

Gerald Howarth serves a whopper

Dysfunctional South West Trains

December 22, 2014

1200 Farnborough to Waterloo, four coaches, packed, standing room only.

Totally unacceptable service.

Why not eight coaches?

Dysfunctional South West Trains are owned by Stagecoach, who also run a dysfunctional local bus service.

Stagecoach, together with Richard Branson, have just been handed the East Coast Mainline


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