The decision made yesterday to allow hundreds of homes to be built in Warsash can only be condemned in the strongest possible terms. While I am unsure of the background forces that encouraged senior Conservative councillors to vote in favour, one thing we can be certain of – it stinks. One thing we can take from this as a positive, is the inspiration from those who fought so hard against this shambolic decision – we must show them our thanks.
So where do we go from here?
Well first of all we must look within ourselves. We must realise that politics was the reason why this monstrosity and others (such as Welborne) went ahead. Democracy is only as strong as the means to facilitate it – if we shy away from discussion, decisions like this are made on our behalf by people who do not represent us. Politics caused this problem, but politics can also fix it – everything is political whether we like it or not. Secondly, groups that have fought this decision must unite with other groups across the borough. The will and determination of groups across the borough can only be effective if we all work together and unite to defend our communities, our quality of life and our environment.
If nothing else, the decision made last night is a wake up call to residents across Fareham – Get informed, get organised and vote against career politics.
I’m very pleased to announce, in this year’s local elections in Fareham, The Green Party has its highest ever amount of candidates standing. We have five candidates and they are as follows:
Fareham North – David Harrison
Locks Heath – John Burdfield
Park Gate – Anthony Stainer
Titchfield Common – Fiona Harvey
Warsash – Miles Grindey (me)
Some of those people who are standing are doing so for the very first time. I am very proud that we were able to get the signatures very easily, I am impressed about how many people in our area were keen to support the Green Party. After a grueling couple of days walking (and lots of steps, I think I worked off all the chocolate from Easter!) There more than enough signatures and then it was a matter or registering our candidates at Fareham Borough Council. I was very happy to help out with the organisation of this and want to thank them all for being part of the democracy in the area.
We are making history in Fareham, especially since we are fielding more candidates than UKIP.
I’d like to start by thanking every one of you who voted for me and The Green Party. I’d like to also thank the support I have received over this campaign from family, friends, supporters and people within our community. The Greens are a growing force in Fareham. The Green Party has been building on successive local elections to effectively tripling our votes in the general election. Let me give you some perspective:
In 2010 – we received 790 votes. In the early hours of Friday, 8th May 2015 – we received 2129. This is a clear sign that people, nowmore than ever, are going Green. This has laid out a huge foundation for our future campaigns and we are determined to build on this.
As I said at the count, Suella – I wish you well, I hope we will hear from you over your next term. However, this election isn’t the end of our efforts. This isn’t the last you have heard from me or The Green Party, we are here to stay. This is a new era of Fareham’s history.
I urge you reading this, if you have considered joining Green in the past. Do it now. If you have ever considered donating to your local Green Party to help with the production of newsletters, leaflets, badges, banners. Do it now. Because the Green Party will be fighting in next year’s local elections and we will be fighting hard. You have the chance to be part of the team that stands up for Fareham and provides our town with a future we can all be proud of.
Keep voting Green, Fareham deserves better, and so do you.
Today was a first for me, I leafleted Sarisbury Green with a supporter. I’ve never delivered leaflets outside of Warsash/Locks Heath before. It felt good. It felt like we were giving people the chance to look at an alternative to the sheer complacency and arrogance of elected representatives to simply ignore people and just put out a leaflet claiming that they “don’t just stick newsletters out during election time” but in actual fact that’s the only communication between representatives and the people they are meant to represent.
I’ve lived in Sarisbury for 8 years and you are the first candidate for any election to come to my door
(Resident in Sarisbury who spoke to me today)
The fact is that quote above defines what is wrong with Fareham and the way things work here. Our representatives are getting too cosy with their positions that they put each other in. No one has held them to account, until now. It wasn’t until The Green Party campaigned in Fareham that we put the issue of public transport on the table. A resident in Sarisbury was, quite rightfully, appalled that Fareham was named THE MOST CAR DEPENDENT TOWN IN THE UK.
The Green Party and I have had our ears to the ground, listening to what you have to say. We’re not waiting around to get elected to take action for you. We’re already fighting the issues that plague our community. Last year, after many residents in my home village of Warsash raised the issue of yellow lines, I went alongside residents to get rid of them down my street – and WE WON.
As I’ve said many times in this campaign, a vote for the Green Party is a vote for proactive representation.
Well this week has been rather hectic, I think my highlight must have been when I was sat in World Development and my teacher asked me what my thoughts on Scottish Independence were and the whole class froze to listen – that was nice! However much has happened locally that needs to be talked about.
On Wednesday I attended another Warsash Residents’ Association meeting. One thing I feel I must point out is that when Cllr Keith Evans gave his report he spoke about “the top five foreign languages spoken in Hampshire” – I felt rather uncomfortable, because that part of the report just seemed pointless for a WRA meeting and just seemed to be some kind of rhetoric, I don’t know – it was just seem to just be placed there… I reckon it’s to “woo over” potential “kippers”. At the end of the meeting we were given a very interesting talk about “dowsing” (I’ll be frank, I never even heard of it till that day).
At the meeting the current Chair, Chris Bridges announced he will be stepping down in November – I wonder who will replace him?
On Thursday was the day of the Scottish Independence referendum and I had at least 30 people come up to me and ask me my views, it was rather nice of people to ask me. However there were reports of flash flooding in Fareham, and the one alarm bell that rang in my head and I instantly worried about the potential devastation that Welborne will have. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – if you build 6000+ homes you’re taking away potential areas of land that will absorb the rain water. The weakest drizzle could end up having the most devastating of impacts and just think about how much more that could cost local authorities, especially Fareham, in flood defence expenditure!
At my college we have had a fantastic response to our new strategy for this year. So far many people have taken a keen interest in our new committee structure and I’m very grateful for Gregory Smith (the current chair) for his support in setting this up. Our members seem much greater than they ever were last year, we better make sure we don’t let them down by getting lazy and complacent, our work is certainly cut out for us this year – it is indeed a challenge that we shall win. We are getting ever closer to joining the NUS. As my previous blog post about my visit to South Downs suggest – they have been hugely influential for how this year has begun.
And finally the local party earlier on this month began their selection process for candidates for the general election, I’m not saying anything but the thought of standing for Fareham is something that I have pondered since the last election when someone put it forward as an idea!
Well last night I had the pleasure of attending yet another Warsash Residents’ Association (WRA) meeting, this time however I brought along a friend of mine from the Western Wards People’s Voice and resident. After each of the councillors finished speaking, she raised her hand and started asking about the Council’s commitment to cutting carbon emissions and also to increase buses as a vital part of keeping transport links. After this, councillors attempted to appease her frame of mind by saying “there wasn’t enough money” and one councillor said that he would love to “wave a magic wand and get all these services” – quite patronising I felt. A bit like Sir Humphrey Appleby from Yes, Minister saying “oh you can’t do that minister” without a sufficient explanation. After they finished talking, I noticed one councillor say to another “He’s planted her”. When I updated people on Facebook, one said “You’ve been out punned by a Tory!”
After the meeting had finished, and after getting another few signatures for the petition, I went over to one councillor that I’m on good terms with and he seemed most displeased. I was attacked for being “political” and disrupting the “neutrality of the Residents’ Association” and that my friend was a Green Party plant. I called her over and asked her in front of this councillor, “Are you a Green Party member?” she was absolutely shocked that someone people voted for became so scared and threatened that they would go so low as to accuse people of having a different opinion as being a “plant”.
The councillor tried to defend the council’s position of “not our problem” regarding buses, to which I made the following point:
You have been chosen by the people of this ward to represent their interests, their interests are more buses – how do I know this? Because unlike you lot I’ve been out canvassing and instead of pushing issues on them, I’ve asked them what bothers them. You have a position to say to Seán Woodward that people want these buses, so you’re here shrugging your shoulders when in fact you aren’t clearly representing people of this area – don’t tell me you just joined with this lot because it was Blue since time began?
I mean it is true, how can you justify denying people you’re supposed to be representing what they want? The funniest thing was that they thought it was most inappropriate that I, a person living in a “free society”, should dare criticise councillors! They need to start listening and taking action rather than giving every excuse not to.
Residents having a different opinion without any political intervention? Perish the thought!
The title explains itself, we need some councillors who will actually listen to us and represent our interests. Unfortunately this is not what we’re getting. Two key issues keep coming up every time I speak to someone in the street, in local pubs or indeed into/from college. Buses and Parking. The major issue in Warsash is that you will find it an absolute pain to get to Whiteley, you will find it an absolute pain to work around those once-every-two-hour buses. If you also needed to get to Fareham Community Hospital from Warsash and you couldn’t get a lift or afford a taxi – there’s no bus service to the hospital. It was cut because it was deemed “not commercially viable”.
I know what we’re fed up with councillors who are just blaming the bus companies for this lack of services. So I know that if I am elected, I will definitely make sure that there’s an improvement in the bus services to Whiteley from Warsash and also Fareham Community Hospital’s route being reinstated. It’s just getting ridiculous!
This Wednesday, just gone,was the first meeting of the Western Wards Community Action Team. On behalf of the WWPV me and my colleague attended – and it seemed rather dead, mainly due to the weather. We were greeted by Mayor Susan Bayford (also Councillor for Locks Heath) who asked us how we found about the meeting, I said that I had been politically active since I can remember – and had been attending these meetings for a year. I seemed to have shocked her through my answers to her questions – she seemed quite shocked when I said MP for Fareham and tried to deter me from aiming for that by telling me I needed “life experience”. Well I guess I should’ve videoed this, I told her exactly what I did – and here is the list:
Member of a Local LitterAction Group, which I appeared on Radio Haslar for last year.
Member of South-East Hampshire Green Party, of which I am the Media Officer and Website Editor.
Member/Committee Member of the Warsash Resident’s Association.
Founder and current Chair of the Western Wards People’s Voice
The meeting proceeded, and there was a very interesting presentation done to update the residents on the situation regarding the weather – which was all well and good until questions from the audience were taken. A man, quite rightfully, asked “Are you proactive or reactive?” and the person (from Fareham Borough Council) replied “To answer your question – We are proactive, and we are reactive” – ironically that didn’t answer his question. There was an update from the police regarding crime in the area and apparently everything has gone down statistically speaking. Despite this the issue regarding parking in Warsash popped up and according to the PCSO the council and police were doing everything the best they could to help with the situation, this was one of two things that was quite common – the other being neighbor disputes.
When it came to planning for flood defences in the area, the long (and I must admit it was rather boring) and necessary meeting seemed to tire the Councillors – whenever I looked over there seemed to be at least 3 awake at any one time, you couldn’t make it up! The important part of “other issues” came up, and one man raised the fact that the council needs to put more cycle lanes in as a way to reduce congestion – I agree with that, to often have I been sat on a college bus stuck in traffic when I and others could cycle in. The other issue was the speculation regarding yellow water coming from the development – something I’m not too sure about but if it was proven I wouldn’t be surprised. There is simply too much development going on, it needs to stop.
How long before Titchfield becomes Atlantis of Fareham, do we have to keep ignoring the devastating amount of development leading to these floods? It is ridiculous now. I opposed the expansion of the Locks Heath Free Church, and I still do – any new major developments being planned now must be made with environmental concerns taken into account first. I was told by one of the goers of the aforementioned church that all I cared about was the environment. I hate to break it to them, but without the environment we live in – there wouldn’t be a church to go to. Is this the current attitude of their church “Forget the environment, as long as we’ve got a big enough space to show Jesus how much we love him”? Maybe if it floods as a result of the development, or the foundations collapse, its a sign from God?