Posts Tagged ‘Farnborough’

The Swan

July 17, 2016
Red Arrows fly past over The Swan

Red Arrows fly past over The Swan

How to screw people, charge to sit in the garden during Farnborough Airshow.

Once the Airshow had finished, it was possible to walk into the garden.

The Swan used to be a rough pub. It was refurbished, an excellent job done, barely recognisable.

Then it closed, was refurbished again.  The second refurbishment has destroyed The Swan.

Prices are extortionate. £4-50 for a pint of beer. The barman admitted, complaints all day about the high prices.

No sooner had I sat down in the garden, asked to move please sit at another table.

Later asked to move yet again.

A burger, was quite good.

A second beer.

Now asked to leave the garden, a private party.

The private party did not use the garden.

A small terrace, used to be decking. It too has been destroyed.

Sitting on the terrace, smell of cooking food drifts across the terrace.

All the time I was there, the terrace almost empty, the pub empty, the garden all but empty.

Gurkha Palace

July 17, 2016
buffet lunch at Gurkha Palace

buffet lunch at Gurkha Palace

A Nepalese restaurant, Sunday buffet, food variable, best just after lunchtime peak, otherwise food is sitting there all day.

I walked in around half past two to be told I only had half an hour.

Half an hour for what?

To eat, we close at three.

Since when?

Since beginning of year.

At least explained why it was nearly empty.

But with Farnborough Airshow on, would have thought would be open all day.

I would have sat inside, by the window, but a lady who was sitting outside, asked would I tell her what the planes were, I sat outside.

She invited me to join her, but as the tables were tiny , I grabbed an empty table.

Food was ok, but nothing special. I also noted that had jacked up their prices, charging evening prices for lunchtime buffet.

Farnborough International Airshow 2016

July 17, 2016
Red Arrows

Red Arrows

Every two years, a jamboree for arms dealers, a showcase for the world’s most lethal killing machines, but portrayed as a fun day out for the family.

Try telling that to families in Syria.

For the local people and businesses in Farnborough, two weeks of noise, one week of gridlocked roads.

F -35 peaked at 112 dBs.

Day 1, a heavy downpour, nothing exceptional to what we have seen this year, but the Airshow could not cope. Exhibition halls flooded, loss of power, mass evacuation from the halls, Airshow closed early.

Irony, aviation fastest growing source of greenhouse gases, airshow shut down by inclement weather.

Those expecting lots of flying, would have been gravely disappointed. Very little flying, long gaps between.

Red Arrows did a fly past, and that was it.

No Lancaster or Battle of Britain fly pass.

There was a flying fortress, it did a fly pass, and that was it.

Normally, on Saturday and Sunday, it is packed outside The Swan at the end of the runway, best place for viewing, but this year few people.

Airshow organisers showed their usual contempt for local people. No compensation for nuisances caused, but they could buy one ticket and get one half price.

Buffet lunch at Gurkha Palace. I was surprised to find closes at three o’clock.

The Swan once again ripping people off during Farnborough Airshow. A fiver to sit in the garden, £4-50 for a pint of beer.

Destruction of Farnborough town centre

May 13, 2016
not only Farnborough trashed in Aldershot board-up shops

not only Farnborough trashed in Aldershot board-up shops

Aldershot recently re-paved streets being dug up

Aldershot recently re-paved streets being dug up

More hypocrisy from Gareth Lyon, wringing of hands, shedding of crocodile tears that Farnborough town centre has been trashed by KPI/St Modwen.

Gareth Lyon is one of the local councillors responsible for the destruction of The Tumbledown Dick for a Drive-Thru McDonald’s.

Lyon met behind closed doors with McDonald’s and stitched up a dirty little deal to destroy the pub. He then, as chair of the planning committee, had the stupidity to brag that the planning committee had approved the deal he had struck with McDonald’s

The destruction of Farnborough town centre did not just happen. It happened because useless councillors like Gareth Lyon  gave it the go ahead.

They rubber-stamped demolition of half the town centre for a Sainsbury’s supermarket.

Many small businesses were destroyed. Not only loss of livelihood,  in many cases loss of house if used as collateral for the businesses.

When retailers refused to vacate their premises, they were threatened with Compulsory Purchase Orders.

Families living at Firgrove Court, social housing, saw their homes destroyed for a car park for the supermarket.

The supermarket faces out of the town centre, to discourage leakage into the rest of the town centre. It is a trolley shop, empty into the boot of the car, drive home.

The supermarket it replaced in Kingsmead, was a basket shop, little and often, wander around the town. When it closed, Kinsgmead emptied of shoppers and retailers.

No one is surprised at the destruction of the town centre. That is the track record of St Modwen, they destroy town centres.

Destruction of Farnborough town centre approved by local councillors and never once questioned by the sycophantic local press. Indeed the local press simply year on year regurgitated press releases from the local developer and councillor more or less verbatim, and applauded the regeneration that was taking place. Only there was no regeneration, what was taking place was the trashing of a town centre.

One million pounds squandered repaving Queensmead. Shoddy workmanship, shoddy materials, and  now Queensmead floods every time there is a downpour of rain. And it did not even need repaving. The runway lights that lined the street,  are now being drilled out and the holes plugged with a dollop of tarmac.

To put the £1 million in context, that is the cost of relaying the setts in Guildford High Street.

Why therefore the Queensmead job so expensive? Incompetence? Backhanders?

This time of year people would be enjoying the flowering cherry trees at Firgrove Green. Not any more. Now we have an eyesore Premier Inn hotel on what was green space.

The other area of green space behind the Library, the council wish to see developed. More profit for greedy developers, more money sloshing around, more opportunity for palms to be greased.

And it is not only Farnborough the local council has destroyed.  They have done an excellent job destroying Aldershot Boarded-up shops, disgusting fast food outlets, binge drinking bars, gambling joints. The remaining shops are one by one pulling out, even the charity shops. The expensive repaving of the streets which was supposed to pull people in (only it did not) is already being dug up.

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
Diwali

Diwali

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.