Shall We / Shan’t We Defence Policy


The continuing saga of the shall we / shan’t we defense plan.

Apparently this is the plane that the Labour government had ordered but was rejected by the current government. Now, it appears, they have changed their minds on discovering the mind-boggling costs of installing a catapult system to our new carriers.

Personally, I think I would be doing some serious auditing of the costs being put forward here.

A whole carrier can be built for £5.2bn but just one catapult system fitted to one ship will cost £1.8bn !!!

I believe that the shilly-shallying of successive governments has brought the defence of this once great nation to its knees. Yet the government is still committing the support of our forces without the relevent infrastructure being in place.

This is akin to writing cheques on an empty account.

Defence of the nation, protection of the oppressed is not cheap. Face up to it and get on with the job.

Or else, let’s forget about colonialism, worldwide policing, protection of the oppressed and let’s declare ourselves neutral and rely on other nations to protect us.

Royal Navy jet’s future up in the air – Local – Portsmouth News.

Localism Act – Your Chance To Get Involved


For some time I have been getting “unsettled” by the changes that are occurring in my local area, becoming more concerned about the way that planners seem to be taking our local community. Just take a look at some of my other posts to see my thoughts on the matter.

A few days ago I attended a meeting at which there was a presentation on the Localism Act and the Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL). To be quite honest I wasn’t quite sure why I was there. I do know that I have been shooting my mouth of about the lack of involvement there appears to be between the community, meaning  me, and the planners.  In recent times I had seen articles which referred to Community Board meetings. To be more specific the articles typically were referring to meetings that HAD taken place, past tense. Then I saw in the paper that a meeting was to take place at Horndean Technology College so I made a note in my diary and then forgot all about it. That is until the reminder popped up a few days before the due date.

So I took myself along and it soon became clear that I was there, somewhat under false pretenses, as a resident of Waterlooville. You see, this meeting was called by the East Hampshire District Council with focus primarily on Horndean, Cowplain and Rowlands Castle but nothing to do with Waterlooville which comes under Havant Borough Council.

The really sad thing is that there were only, including me, perhaps 3 or 4 members of public in attendance. The bulk of the attendees were local councillors. Yet, the subject of the meeting, The Localism Act, is all about pushing the responsibility for planning decisions away from central government, down to the local community.

Thats you and me folks.

I  really knew nothing of the subject matter prior to the meeting.  I just saw it as a point of entry for my interest in local planning affairs. Also I was hoping that I would be able to identify some contacts and sources of information.

The meeting ran along the usual lines reading of planned agenda, acceptance of previous minutes etc. etc.. Then the presentations began ….

The Localism Act came into being 15 November 2011. The intent of the act is to  shift power from central government back into the hands of individuals, communities and councils.

The act is a recognition that central government has become too big, too interfering, too controlling and too bureaucratic. This has undermined local democracy and individual responsibility, and stifled innovation and enterprise within public services. The intention is  create a shift in the balance of power and to decentralise power as far as possible.

“Localism” isn’t simply about giving power back to local government. Rather it shows the government trusts people to take charge of their lives and is prepared to push power downwards and outwards to the lowest possible level, including individuals, neighbourhoods, professionals and communities as well as local councils and other local institutions.

There are five key measures core this new approach to decentralisation.

  • Community rights
  • Neighbourhood planning
  • Housing
  • General power of competence
  • Empowering cities and other local areas

You can read about the detail behind these bullets here

The other key item presented was CIL.

The Community Infrastructure Levy (Amendment) Regulations 2011 came into force on 6 April 2011 and is a levy on new developments over 100 square metres in size. The money raised by CIL will be ring fenced for local infrastructure.

In other words it is a tax.

Who is supposed to benefit from this tax ? Supposedly the community that has to suffer the new developments is the community that reaps the benefit from the moneys raised by the levy.

The money can be used to support development by funding infrastructure that the council, local community and neighbourhoods want – for example new or safer road schemes, park improvements or a new health centre. The system is very simple. It applies to most new buildings and charges are based on the size and type of the new development.

As I said earlier, he sad thing is that there were only a few members of public at the meeting. The whole point of the Localism Act and CIL is to put power back into the hands of the community.

Unfortunately, the community on the face of it doesn’t seem to care.

Personally I don’t think that is true. I think that people do care but they are not engaged by local council. The local councils don’t, in my opinion, do a very good job of communicating what is going on in their parishes and boroughs. From my own personal experience, when you do try to get involved it is difficult.

There are, apparently, Community Forums where this stuff is discussed. I tried to find out about the local Waterlooville forum and sent emails to the contacts published on the Havant Borough Council website. Either the links are dead or the owners of the email address choose not to respond.

Which is how I ended up as an interloper at an East Hampshire Community Forum meeting in Horndean.

My thanks to Cynthia Haveron who took the time to discuss the meeting set up with me, to introduce me to the Horndean representatives during the discussion period and also to send me contact names and email addresses for the Waterlooville Community Forums.

Localism Act will not stop new homes plan – Politics – The News.

Increase use of A3 because of the Hindhead tunnel has made noise worse for East Hampshire residents


And not only for East Hampshire residents

Don’t forget the rest of us along the A3 / A3(M) corridor

This article highlights the impact to residents all the way down to Bedhampton.

Like wind and water, motorists will always take the path of least resistance. Surely it would have been obvious to the planners and the developers what would happen. If they had carried out surveys across the area they would have determined that many vehicles were using the A3 as a quicker route to offset the extra mileage. Once the reason for that diversion was removed then it was a dead cert that the traffic would take the shortest distance once more.

Once again it is the local residents that pay the price for the short sightedness of the planning fraternity.

Increase use of A3 because of the Hindhead tunnel has made noise worse for East Hampshire residents – Transport – Portsmouth News.

Dunsbury Hill Farm – New Development Proposal Affects on Waterlooville


Today I received a letter from HBC (Havant Borough Council) pertaining to the proposed development of the Dunsbury Hill Farm site, adjacent to the A3(M).

The description of the development is as follows:

Site Address: Dunsbury Hill Farm, Park Lane, Cowplain, Waterlooville

Proposed Development: Hybrid planning application comprising a part outline application relating to employment uses and a hotel with conference  facilities and a part detailed application for a new link road with bus gate to Woolston Road; together with landscaping, infrastructure and associated works.

I am sure that they don’t intend to hide what this development really means but on first reading I was quite happy to go along with it. After all a new hotel and conference centre would not increase the daily traffic levels and road traffic noise. The additional employment opportunities that this would bring is also to welcomed.

However, without reading the actual proposal one is not likely to see what this really is. In their own words …

… proposed development of agricultural land at Dunsbury Hill Farm, Havant into a business and technology park with hotel, conference facilities and associated infrastructure

The  development proposal includes the creation of a new roundabout and potential dualling of a section of the Hulbert Road. In addition there are plans to create a new parking area double the area of the current lay-bys this development will replace. All of this is an indication of the increased traffic that the developers are anticipating.
I have lived in this area since 1985. The survey that I had on my house at the time carries a final comment

shame about the noise from the motorway

Over the years  I have become aware of the increasing noise levels and the changing nature of the noise. Waterlooville, specifically Junction 3 (J3), the junction of the B2150 with the A3(M),  has become something of a hub for the emergency services. As a result anyone living near to this junction will have noticed the increased siren activity. If recent news articles are to be believed the newly opened Hindhead Tunnel is also contributing to increased noise levels along the A3(M) due to heavy goods traffic choosing the A3(M) in preference to the M3 now that the Hindhead traffic jams have been eliminated.
The application pack includes  tables indicating noise levels. The constant theme running through the comments section is

A3 constant and dominant.

What is wrong with these tables is that they are taking noise level reading from a point on the centre line of the A3(M) into the development area and on into Calshot Road & Park Lane areas of Leigh Park. No measurements seem to have been taken from the Waterlooville side of the A3(M).

Yet this is the area that will probably be most affected by the additional traffic generated by the new development.

The location of this new development makes total sense when you consider the easy access to the motorway. Allowing traffic to clear the area very quickly.  However, the very fact that all that traffic will be coming and going via J3 of the A3(M) is going to have a negative effect on the area.

Presumably the planners are thinking that this new development will provide jobs for the soon to be residents of the Berewood (ex Newlands) development on the opposite side of Waterlooville. Did they also consider the additional traffic that will inexorably be sucked across the town ? Such traffic will also be using the J3 roundabout.

I also have other questions, ones that I have asked in other of my posts …

  1. Are there any potential tenants who have committed to take up residence of these new units when they are built ?
  2. Has a major hotel chain registered any interest in running this proposed hotel and conference centre ?
  3. Was the land adjacent to Junction 2, Horndean, considered as the site for this development ? If it was, why was it rejected since there is less potential for affecting local residents and the motorway access is just as good ?I am assuming that the answer is that the land comes under East Hampshire District Council rather than Portsmouth City Council.

I am the first to bemoan the fact that the planners don’t seem to have done much to provide employment for the residents of Waterlooville. So I am loath to be totally negative about this proposed development. However, I don’t believe that the planners have got the true measure of the impact that this development will have.

As usual the only people who will truly gain from this are the developers and, for a short while, the folks employed to carry out the construction.