Keep Windlesham in Surrey Heath Parliamentary constituency

The Boundary Commission for England has issued a report on the Revised proposals for new constituency boundaries in the South East.

The recommendation is that the electoral ward of Windlesham should be moved from Surrey Heath parliamentary constituency to a Windsor constituency. See page 4 of the proposals.

Monday 11th December is the closing date for submissions on this proposal. If you consider this change illogical and unreasonable, then please visit  https://www.bce2018.org.uk/, enter your postcode, click on ‘Make a Comment’ and tell the Boundary Commission why Windlesham should stay in Surrey Heath.

I’ll be submitting my comments today. My arguments will be,

  • Fracturing the longstanding cultural and democratic links between Windlesham and it’s nearest neighbours in Surrey Heath will, over time, drive Windlesham residents to focus on the Windsor constituency and its parliamentary activities.
  • By way of example, here a some of the many cultural and logistical things that Windlesham shares with Lightwater, its nearest Surrey Heath neighbour,
    • church diocesan links and heritage
    • annual remembrance day services, where MP’s, would be misaligned to services
    • Lightwater’s large shopping parade
    • Lightwater’s GP practice serves Windlesham, and it’s a member of Surrey Heath Clinical Commissioning Group
    • Small shared cultural organisations, such as Windlesham Country Market who meet in Lightwater, who might want their MP it officiate at significant dates, may be confused as to which MP to invite.
  • The proposed change will create political representational confusion, where,
    • At Parish council level, Windlesham shares a Parish Council with Lightwater and Bagshot.
    • At Borough Council level, Windlesham ward is in Surrey Heath Borough Council
    • The Surrey County Council ward is Bagshot, Windlesham, and Chobham
    • The Parliamentary constituency is proposed to be Windsor – containing, Windsor & Maidenhead, a large unitary authority in Berkshire.
  • Local government services would continue to be provided by Surrey Heath. Therefore, Surrey Heath’s MP might not unreasonably be expected to be engaged in Windlesham affairs, as the Windsor MP would have for borough/unitary councils engage with, and Windlesham would be the smallest of the constituency wards.
  • Difficulty in travel from Windlesham to a Windsor MP’s constituency office.

Al things considered, moving Windlesham ward into Windsor is illogical, as it involves moving a Surrey County ward into a different county, that of Berkshire.

There’s little cultural or democratic synergy between the Windlesham and Windsor, while Surrey Heath is far closer culturally and democratically to Woking and Rushmoor boroughs. Time to rethink the proposal.

One suggestion might be to join all the military lands together by moving Brookwood, from Woking, into Surrey Heath, where there’s a natural barrier in the route of the Basingstoke Canal. Perhaps, with one of the Ash wards in Surrey Heath moving into into Guildford.

Michael Gove seeks to discover Tesco’s intentions for its Lightwater vacant land site

I wrote HERE on July 4th 2013 that the planning inspectorate had approved Tesco’s plans for a Tesco Express in Lightwater. Some building materials were delivered to the site in June 2015. Since then, nothing. [photo taken in June 2015, no change since]

Lightwater is a vibrant village centre, all we’re missing is an eatery and a bank. Oh, sorry, we did have a bank and an Indian restaurant, or was it Chinese. That’s so long ago now, I forget.

I said I’d planned to write to Tesco about their intentions. However, a comment from Speedicus Triplicatum, on THIS article, suggested I speak with our estimable postmaster, Surinder Gandhum.

That I did today. Surinder tells me that he spoke recently with Michael Gove about the situation with Tesco Express, and that he has a copy of the letter that Michael has written to Tesco.

Good on Surinder for his tenacity, and Michael for taking on the issue. Guess we’ll continue to have to wait on Tesco.

Michael Gove’s leadership candidacy brings the press to Surrey Heath

Tom Chivers, a journalist for Buzzfeed, has been seeking the opinion of locals in Windlesham on Michael Gove’s candidacy for the leadership of the Conservative Party.

Click on this link to read this article – This Is What Michael Gove’s Constituents Think Of The Crazy Times In The Tory Party, or click on image below.

Buzzfeed

Michael Gove’s statement on his voting intention in the EU Referendum

On 20 February 2016, Surrey Heath MP Michael Gove, Secretary of State for Justice, gave a detailed statement on his position regarding the EU Referendum

Vote LeveFor weeks now I have been wrestling with the most difficult decision of my political life. But taking difficult decisions is what politicians are paid to do. No-one is forced to stand for Parliament, no-one is compelled to become a minister. If you take on those roles, which are great privileges, you also take on big responsibilities.
I was encouraged to stand for Parliament by David Cameron and he has given me the opportunity to serve in what I believe is a great, reforming Government. I think he is an outstanding Prime Minister. There is, as far as I can see, only one significant issue on which we have differed.

And that is the future of the UK in the European Union. It pains me to have to disagree with the Prime Minister on any issue. My instinct is to support him through good times and bad.

But I cannot duck the choice which the Prime Minister has given every one of us. In a few months time we will all have the opportunity to decide whether Britain should stay in the European Union or leave. I believe our country would be freer, fairer and better off outside the EU. And if, at this moment of decision, I didn’t say what I believe I would not be true to my convictions or my country.

Continue reading

Michael Gove visits Lightwater & the villages in the east of the Surrey Heath

Coming from visits to Bagshot and Chobham, and then to Lightwater’s village centre before going off to Windlesham, Michael Gove met some Lightwater residents, and followed up with some canvassing in streets near the village centre. I know all readers won’t be fascinated by my photo brief blog of the event. But here they are anyway,

 

Michael Gove MP presses Barclays Bank to retain Lightwater bank branch

The Lightwater Business Association requested Michael Gove’s help in pressing Barclays Bank to retain their branch in Lightwater. Here’s Michael’s letter to Tim Salter, chairman of the LBA.

If Barclays retain their ATM in the village, that will be a small and worthwhile victory.

If it’s secret or confidential secure it from view

It was career ending for Met Police Assistant Commissioner Bob Quick, when he openly carried a confidential briefing document in Downing Street.

I’ve railed against such unprofessional conduct before, even recently asking our MP Rt. Hon Michael Gove why it continues to happen. His ever courteous reply, that the riot act is read out to ministers and civil servants about avoiding compromising security.

Yet again it’s happened. Reported by the Daily Telegraph last night, in their Ukraine Crisis Live column

19.41 A secret briefing document held by an individual walking into Downing Street has been photographed. It suggests the UK will oppose trade sanctions against Russia following the country’s invasion of Ukraine.

Freelance photographer Steve Back of Political Pictures snapped the document.

The document also suggests that the UK will not try and restrict Russian trade through the City of London.

It does, however, suggest that Britain may place visa restrictions on some Russians.

The odious sense of entitlement of the quangocracy

Like many I’ve long held a sceptical view of the politicisation of quangos [quasi-autonomous non-governmental organisation].

Quangos are established by government as an executive agencies, though sharing goals, they’re independent of each other. In principle they are free from direct government control, and free from party politics. Well, that’s the aim. In practice an appointment to a quango has been a political reward.

Yes, yes, get to the point please.

Well, the bleating of Baroness Morgan – the head of OFSTED – about not being reappointed exhibits two things; an odious sense of entitlement that it’s my right to carry on, and exhibiting the base party politics that she apparently so deplores.

Here are some facts for your consideration,

  • Ofsted was set up by John Major’s government in 1992. It says about itself, “Ofsted is the Office for Standards in Education, Children’s Services and Skills. We report directly to Parliament and we are independent and impartial”. Note impartial.
  • On 8th Feb 2011 Education Secretary Michael Gove appoints Baroness Morgan of Huyton to post of Ofsted chairman.
  • Wikipedia entry for Baroness Morgan, recording a lifetime of political activism for the Labour Party.
  • Baroness Morgan was Director of Government Relations working in Tony Blair’s office at No.10.
  • On Friday 31st January 2014 Michael Gove announces that Baroness Morgan will not be reappointed OFSTED chair when her term ends in February 2014. So that’s simply she’s not being renewed as chair, that’s not the same as being sacked.

Baroness Morgan is displaying politics that she so disparages. “There is an absolutely determined effort from Number 10 that Conservative supporters will be appointed to public bodies,” said Baroness Morgan. Completely forgetting that she was appointed by the Coalition government.

She complains about the politicisation of quango appointments by Conservatives, conveniently ignoring that facts, as Fraser Nelson in The Spectator neatly discounts. It strikes me that there’s politics in play here from Baroness Morgan, if I can’t keep my job, I’ll be like Elizabeth Bolt in the Just William stories, “I’ll scream and scream until I’m sick”.

UPDATE: Excellent chart in Peter Hoskin’s article, again completely disproving her argument.

A popular subject: The way I voted on the Deepcut application

Last week the Full council of Surrey Heath Borough Council sat as a planning applications meeting to consider the Deepcut hybrid planning application from the Defence Infrastructure Organisation [DIO].

With 24 votes for, 10 against and 1 abstention, the planning application was approved. Two councillors, Paul Deach, and David Allen and HERE too, have blog posts explaining why they voted against. The Rt Hon Michael Gove MP supported residents concerns in his LETTER to Surrey Heath planners.

I’ll hope to be brief. Residents key concerns are, insufficient mitigation of expected traffic volumes, the supermarket being too large, rejection of need for travellers pitches, need for community facilities, and the need for viable sustainable travel alternatives.

  1. Traffic mitigation. This is my key concern too. While it will be years before the traffic volume increase is seen on local roads, mitigation needs to occur prior to the completion of the development.
    • Much discussion prior to and during the meeting covered traffic survey data results. Traffic surveys count vehicle movements. They do not record the vehicle’s destination or the purpose of the journey. Therefore, conflicting interpretations can be applied to traffic data.
    • At this stage we cannot know the travel plans of residents of a future housing development. Therefore, all nearby road junctions are considered in need of mitigation.
    • I understand the development provides £10.5million budget for traffic mitigation, and this sum is allocated to eight junctions [sadly not on Red Road in Lightwater, nor the Jolly Farmer roundabout]. In my calculations this is a contribution of £8333 from each property. The only way to get more money is to have more houses. A rotten choice to have to make. My next blog post looks at two of the key junctions.
  2. Supermarket size. In the DIO’s presentation at the council meeting they stated that the supermarket size had been reduced to meet resident concerns. The good news is that the meeting further limited its size by limiting it to no greater than 2,000m².
  3. Traveller and Gypsy Pitches. More good news here. To meet resident objections the DIO’s application expressly excluded provision for Gypsy and traveller pitches.
  4. Community facilities. Just by listing the facilities to be included in the development demonstrates the excellence of the provision, with a sports hub [cricket pitch, football pitches, tennis courts, outdoor gym and a pavilion], library/police desk, church, new church hall, primary school, health centre, public house, and extensive public open space.
  5. Sustainable Travel.  It’s surely good news that a developer contribution of £4.08 million will support new bus routes. The provision of cycle paths in the development, and to Tomlinscote School and Brookwood via an upgraded Basingstoke Canal towpath is also excellent news.

Additionally the developer will look help the Basingstoke Canal overcome its shortage of water through surface water drainage an a £50,000 contribution to a borehole. Finally, the developer has also agreed to fund pieces of public art.

Much credit for all this is due to the sustained hard work of the Deepcut community groups in influencing the design of the development.

While the prospective growth of the traffic volume is a serious concern. It wasn’t sufficient for me to vote against the application. Over time, I see these traffic issues being resolved.