£4.2m development approved – Ignores Needs Of Locals


https://www.portsmouth.co.uk/news/politics/controversial-ps42m-housing-development-portsmouth-gets-go-ahead-2951117

Yet another development goes ahead, driving rough shod over the needs of, and ignoring the existing issues that plague, the local residents.

Proposals for 16 affordable homes, comprising 7 houses and 9 flats, to be built on the corner of Doyle Avenue and Nothern Parade in Hilsea.

16 homes, but with parking provision for only 12 cars. According to the councils own standards the site should provide 29 parking spaces, yet they approved this much reduced proposal.

Why ? Why have guidelines if you don’t stick to them ?

“The surrounding roads are past saturation point as confirmed by the highways engineer. Evenings and weekends are dire as people are parking illegally” So says Janet Rennell-Smith, a local resident from nearby Westwood Road.

Lib Dem Councillor Lee Hunt, not missing an opportunity for a dig at the current Conservative Government, said “The city council is under huge pressure from the Conservative government to build 12,000 new units of accomodation in or city and that’s what we’re trying to acheive”

Typical blame game from the Lib Dems, sounds like our honorable councillor is saying “It’s not our fault, we were just following orders”

Tory Councillor, Terry Norton, was at least prepared to stand up to all that “pressure” and requested that the proposal be rejected.

This is typical of the local councils, in this area, who crumble and give in to the all powerful developers rather that standing firm and considering the needs of their constituents, the folks that voted them into office in the first place.

Our councillors should be forcing developers to provide adequate parking for any new development and to ensure that any such development does not exacerbate any existing issues.

Portsmouth is an island city so is cannot expand past its coastal border. Any development that provides an increase residential units will always add to the traffic and the need for parking. Portsmouth is already blighted by a lack of available parking. Many folks cannot park outside their own homes, typically ending up several streets away. Portsmoth council has also created further parking issues after closing roads in Southsea, supposedly to protect people exercising during the pandemic lockdown.

This new development will only aggravate an already fractious situaion.

Big Ship !!!


HMS Queen Elizabeth – Seen exiting Portsmouth Harbour

Earlier this month I became aware that HMS Queen Elizabeth was due to sail from Portsmouth Harbour after a short provisioning visit.

The Queen Elizabeth class is a class of two aircraft carriers in the  Royal Navy. The first, HMS Queen Elizabeth, was commissioned on 7 December 2017. The second, HMS Prince of Wales was commissioned on 10 December 2019.

My wife and I took a wander along Southsea sea front to take a look. As we had been in Australia for the previous seven months and had only just recently returned, this was our first opportunity to view this huge vessel.

We found a seat right by Southsea Castle, providing us with the ideal viewpoint to watch HMS Queen Elizabeth and her escorts head out into the Solent.

Here are just a few of the photos that I took on a lovely, sunny afternoon.

Hinton Ampner House


Earlier this year we took a day trip, out into the countryside, with our heavily pregnant granddaughter. We ended in the grounds of the National Trust house, Hinton Ampner.

From the National Trust website ….

This elegant country manor and tranquil garden sit so harmoniously within the landscape that one cannot exist without the other.

The house was lovingly rebuilt by its last owner, Ralph Dutton, after a catastrophic fire in 1960. Enjoy the beautifully proportioned rooms which house his exquisite collection of ceramics and art, each window offering undisturbed views to the tranquil countryside beyond.

Beautifully manicured lawns lead the eye down avenues of sculptured topiary, past borders full of the heady scent of roses, to breathtaking views across the South Downs.

National Trust

We enjoyed walking the grounds and hopefully the following images will give you a flavour of this beautiful property.

Sadly due to my granddaughter not feeling very well we had to cut short our visit. We, therefore, were not able to see the inside of the house.

The good news is that this place is only a short drive away, so we will be back.

Staunton Country Park Farm


A few days ago we spent a cracking day with some of our grand children. We visited Staunton Country Park Farm, a calm oasis just a short distance out-of-town. Calm that is, if you ignore the general hubbub of the excited children feeding the animals or in the play park.

From the Staunton website ….

Our farm, based on the 1830s style ferme ormeé (ornamental farm), is home to many different animals. Ranging from the everyday farm animal, like pigs, sheep, Shetland ponies, and chickens, to a selection of other animals such as llamas, a Poitou donkey and alpacas.

Here are just a few snaps that I took between pushing grandchildren on swings or carrying the youngest. Operating a Canon EOS 7D Mk II single-handed is no mean feat, weighing, as it does, nearly as much as my great-grandson.

So, for your delectation and delight ….

All in all a great place to take young children.

The farm is just part of the greater country park which has walking and cycling trails as well as three permanent orienteering courses. In the past we have hired bikes and explored the park. Sadly they no longer do the bike hire.

Staunton Country Park is a real gem and right on my doorstep.

Still Bloody Cold


Despite the dire warnings of the forecasters, we still don’t have any snow. Well, not strictly true, I guess, as my car does look like it has a bit of a dandruff problem.

My Car Has Dandruff
My Car Has Dandruff

The wind blew a hooley most of last night, so I was expecting snow drifts this morning. Boy was I disappointed and I know my great-granddaughter, Summer, is too. She was hoping for a “snow-day” or two off from school. To be fair the school is closing at lunchtime.

How do I know this ?

The school, much to my surprise, sent me a text message early this morning. Unbeknownst to me, my granddaughter had provided my number as one of the emergency contact numbers. They, exercising due diligence, had informed the parents and emergency contacts.

Anyway, the forecasters are still warning of imminent snowmageddon so, Summer may still get her wish.

So, until “The Beast From The East” puts in an appearance this is what I’ll have to put up with, looking out of my lounge window …..

Snow - No Show
The Beast from the East still hasn’t put in an appearance

Although we haven’t been inundated with snow it is still cold, bloody cold. It is -4 outside and there is still that biting wind to contend with. Not sure what the windchill factor is but all I know is, I am staying inside to keep nice and cosy.

My thoughts are with all those in the UK who are having to contend with conditions much worse than we are experiencing down here in southern Hampshire.

 

Petersfield Heath Lake


Petersfield Heath Lake
Petersfield Heath Lake

Petersfield is a market town in Hampshire, England. It is 17 miles north of Portsmouth.

Petersfield Heath Lake is a popular spot for mums and their kids as there are playgrounds and a cafe along with nice walks around the shoreline. Boats can be hired and the lake is also popular with fishermen.

A November Afternoon


A short while ago, I had the great pleasure of going for a walk with my granddaughter Becky. We chose to visit Emsworth, a short drive from home. Becky is 21 and, as with all my grand children, always perks up this grumpy 66 year old.

Emsworth is a small town in Hampshire on the south coast of England. Driving along the A27, Emsworth forms the border with West Sussex and lies at the north end of an arm of Chichester Harbour.

Here are a couple of snaps, taken during our stroll on a brisk November afternoon.

 

View From The Conservatory


I was both astounded and disappointed to discover that my last “View” was posted just over a year ago. I know that we have been busy and there have been other more recent posts.

Admittedly, the conservatory has been rebuilt and we did take off to Australia for three months followed by a month in France and a fortnight in Antigua. There have been several lesser UK based jaunts. However, we have also spent time at home and I have had my camera to hand. So, feeling suitably ashamed, here is a compilation of pictures taken over the last few weeks. We are now into the UK summer season and the garden plants are growing like crazy.

First up then is a regular subject, squirrels. Once again we are being visited by the albino variety.

Albino
Albino Squirrel

As you can see they do have the requisite pink eyes.

Albino1
Albino Squirrel

Here in the UK squirrels are sometimes referred to as tree rats. The example above is the most rat-like squirrel I have ever seen.

Of course we do have an abundance of the grey variety. Just a few days ago there were four greys in the garden. Of course my camera was out of reach and since these guys were raiding the bird feeders, any movement on my part just scared them away.

I thought that the pure grey squirrels would have attacked the albino, but apparently not. Judging by the shenanigans going on, high up in the trees, I believe the albino may have found a partner. Maybe we’ll see some piebald babes around this year.

As I mentioned earlier, there are many flowers on show already. So, just a few snaps ….

Iris_Flag
Iris

This Iris was discovered in a shady overgrown area of the garden. It was not planted by us and, as we are the only owners of this property since it was built, we have no idea how the Iris arrived. Pretty though.

We have a few rose bushes, which we did plant….

…… and a few other plants that we bought as plugs for potting on ….

And finally, for now ….

Lilac1

We don’t know what this is. The plant is a climber and for the moment it is in a pot on our deck and is entwining itself around the handrail.

Retirement Lunch


Just to upset you folks out there that haven’t retired yet …… tee hee !

Hopping Hare
Hopping Hare

It’s beer o’clock …. Since the temperatures are rising here in the UK. 30 degC in my conservatory and that’s with the doors and roof windows open.

Great To See My Taxes At Work


For some days now we have been warned that our road is to be closed for two days. Presumably to fix the surface which has been abysmal for getting on for thirty plus years.5j7a7715-1

Along with several neighbours, I moved my car off my driveway the night before so that we wouldn’t be stranded during the upcoming works.

The picture was taken around lunchtime. By sunset this evening there was still no sign of any activity.

The yellow sign is the only notification we, the residents, received that any works were planned.

sign

I rang the number shown, only to be informed that the number had been replaced by a new number !!!

For those interested the new number is 0300 555 1388

Eventually I spoke to a very pleasant young lady and  I had explained that I have a delivery scheduled. That schedule had taken into account their published road closure. And, since their work schedule seems to be something of a moveable feast, I was concerned that my delivery could be jeopardised. Especially, if the carrier cannot get access to my house driveway. I suspect the carrier may baulk at having to carry my goods a couple of hundred yards. Especially as the multiple packages will be a two-man lift.

I also queried why no leaflet drop had been made informing the residents that they would be stranded for two days. The lady that lives opposite does not go out often and would likely not have seen the sign. Apparently, leaflet drops aren’t always made, but had there been any businesses in our road then there probably would have been one.

So, let’s worry about the businesses but not individuals.

Another thing I was told during the call is that they often allow a day either side of a project schedule and when she checked her system she informed me that the works were actually due to start yesterday. So, in essence, they are two days behind schedule.

Aforementioned pleasant lady informed me that my query/ concern would be forwarded to the engineer responsible for these works. Presumably to come back to me with their plans.

At the time of writing I have received only an acknowledgment email along with a reference number.

Let’s see what tomorrow brings.