Welborne – Affordable homes from £55k – but there’s a catch

Welborne - behind the kite flying and the manicured lawns.

Welborne – behind the kite flying and the manicured lawns.

Fareham Borough Councils’ Camorra representative, Sean Woodchuckio – currently marketing Welborne Garden Village with kites and manicured lawns – today vowed that the controversial development would be all inclusive, with 2,000 new dwellings to be made immediately available at affordable levels. [Read more…]

Share

An Open Letter To Suella Fernandes

Fareham Doesn't Want Any More Of This Sort Of Thing

Fareham Doesn’t Want Any More Of This Sort Of Thing

Dear Suella,

Congratulations on your successful election campaign and we wish you every success in your new position, representing the people of Fareham in parliament over the coming five years and possibly beyond.

Right, that’s the formalities concluded. Now down to business.

It has come to our notice (‘our’ meaning my good lady wife and I, together, the two of us) that within a mere 48 hours of winning the seat, you appear to have certainly hit the ground running with your assertion that most people you have spoken to are in favour of the Welborne development plan, as outlined in an article for The News.

Upon reading this ambiguous statement we were left with a rather uncomfortable feeling deep within our roiling tummies.

How many people did you speak to? How many were against the project?

We ask simply because most people we’ve spoken to appear to be either blissfully unaware of the proposed development, or that they haven’t actually thought through the long term implications. The pro-Welborne stance maintains that the development will be an overall asset to the area, whereas a burgeoning anti-Welborne movement foresee nothing but chaos. The arguments on both sides have been pretty well documented, and we are confident that you will have spent many hours poring over reams of claim and counter-claim in order to familiarise yourself with a comprehensive overview of the contrasting arguments.

(You have my deepest sympathy for having the patience to scan reams of gobbledook and officialise – many years ago I too had to burn the midnight oil studying Thomas Hardy’s ‘Far From The Madding Crowd’ for a GCE O Level English Lit exam, so I am fully aware of what a pain in the posterior intensive cramming can actually be. Heaven alone knows how you barristers cope with all that swotting over masses of complicated books; in my experience Hardy was more than sufficiently challenging.)

All of which leads me to beg the question: What is your personal stance regarding Welborne, based on whatever information you have gleaned?

I ask this because there appear to be grave concerns among the anti-Welborne campaigners (whom the council leader allegedly refers to – somewhat dismissively by all accounts – as ‘keyboard warriors’) that you will, as an individual and a resident, toe the council line and unconditionally support the proposal.

Now, I must admit that I am not a supporter of the development plan, and add that I am not to the best of my knowledge a swivel eyed loon, although this may occasionally be a debatable point on the occasions when I’ve overdone it a bit on the mead. Thus it came about that I actually defended you this morning in our kitchen, to my wife as she was preparing a hearty fried breakfast – cholesterol and fat laden admittedly but you only live once, and a full English is one of life’s finest treats in my humble opinion.

“No,” I told my wife in no uncertain terms. “Suella will NOT be biased towards the local council in the great Welborne debate, because she is the elected representative of all the people of Fareham, and she will represent ALL of us equally – even the anti-Welborne rabble, for that is her duty.”

I Just Want A Normal Breakfast. Is That Too Much To Ask?

I Just Want A Normal Breakfast. Is That Too Much To Ask?

My wife didn’t seem completely convinced by my argument in your favour and as an expression of her disgust with me she subsequently smothered my breakfast in mingingly hot chilli sauce. Undeterred I ate my breakfast anyway and my eyes stopped streaming at about tea-time. Which is when I was moved to type out this message.

Are you for or against Welborne? Against or for? Or are you neutral?

The anti-Welborne movement have a Facebook page which you are cordially invited to join. They really aren’t a fanatical NIMBY type group – they welcome all opinions with an open mind.

https://www.facebook.com/groups/381680855306724/

I hope you can take time out from your busy schedule to confirm your stance on this matter, not least because I don’t think I can stand too many hot chilli smothered fried breakfasts as it’s starting to play havoc with my motions.

Yours Faithfully

Martin Shuttlecock

Share

Welborne, The General Election, And Why We Can’t Trust The Media

Weekly please Mister Woodward.

Weekly please Mister Woodward.

On the subject of the proposed Welborne development – 6,000 new dwellings to be constructed on a greenfield site – this will be Café Spike’s final eve-of-election foray into this territory. We have a few things we’d like to say before we close the book on this subject and get back to posting a mix of comedy and articles which we think you may find interesting. We hope that as you read this article you’ll consider having a look at the other material our site has to offer. We mainly set out to entertain and amuse, but being based in Fareham we feel it appropriate to express our opinion over Welborne and local politics.

It’s pretty much a given that the Conservative party will take Fareham’s seat in Westminster, with Suella Fernandes as our representative in Westminster. Ergo, as surely as night follows day Welborne will become a stark reality Along with that will come the increasing burden on our infrastructure, with additional pressure being piled on our NHS, traffic chaos, agency jobs, a less than vibrant town centre, and essentially a future not as a community in our own right; just a dormitory community for London and other large centres in our area.

Which begs one to pose the question: Why is Fareham such a safe Conservative parliamentary seat?

We can afford Welborne, we can afford nonsensical traffic “solutions,” we can afford to do things like install pedestrian crossings a few yards away from an existing crossing, (Think Highlands Road) we can afford to charge extortionate parking fees, we can afford to have our town centre homogenised into a clone of every other town centre, totally devoid of any trace of local character, populated my multinational chains that most of us have no interest in using…and on and on.

But we can’t afford to keep our roads in good shape, we can’t afford to have weekly bin collections, and we can’t afford to fully inform our own people about proposed developments which will have far reaching effects on the lives of the people in our community.

Surely there’s something wrong somewhere? So how does this happen?

In fairness, most people who vote in general elections vote in order to influence the bigger picture – the national picture. People vote for the government they want because they feel that by doing so they’re doing what’s best for the country as a whole. Which is what makes this election crucial in our constituency, because the bottom line is that a Conservative vote will deliver Welborne. Thus local and national issues become inextricably entwined.

There are going to be people from this borough torn between their local and national political overviews, which is an unhappy situation.

Which is where I come clean and nail my underpants (stains and all) to the mast.

I was brought up in a safe Labour seat, and I could never see the sense in that either. People would vote Labour in spite of the evidence that their town was spinning into freefall decline everywhere they looked, but they seemed insanely oblivious to what was going on around them. So why do we vote blindly? Why do we take the safe option?

The media. That’s the simple answer.

Readers of the Times, Sun, Mail, Express, Telegraph and viewers of Sky News tend to vote Conservative. Readers of the Mirror tend to vote Labour. Guardian readers tend to be left of centre but seem to be too busy plucking fluff out of their navels to be arsed even voting at all. My point is that voting trends are heavily influenced by the media, whether we like it or not. Even the Independent is supporting a Conservative/Liberal Democrat coalition. So it isn’t actually as Independent as it would like to think.

Media owners have a vested interest in whoever may be incumbent in Number Ten, because they want to protect their wealth, maintain their power and influence, retain their virtually zero tax responsibilities and drop the odd crumb here and there to make Joe Public feel like he’s getting a fair crack of the whip.

If you think that’s a biased assumption, it might pay to remember how Ed Miliband was relentlessly ridiculed, how the media twisted the public perception of the Labour party into one of a paedophile/grooming gang sympathising nest of vipers, how Nick Clegg has been castigated for selling his party down the river, when the reality is that having entered into a coalition agreement he had little say in the matter. And what of UKIP and the Scottish Nationalists? I’m no lover of UKIP – I detest extreme right wing politics as much as I detest extreme left wing politics, but the smear campaigns against Nigel Farage and Nicola Sturgeon carried out by the media have reached pantomime proportions. It’s out of control, and people can’t seem to see beyond that.

Yet the Conservatives – despite having the worst record of any government in a century – are somehow looked upon as our saviours?

What we’d advise is that when you vote, you vote for the candidate best equipped to do the job you want them to do. Matters not if that be Conservative, Lib-Dem, Labour, UKIP, or Independent. What we’d say is to go with your heart and mind and vote for what you truly believe in, the candidate who wants to work for the community, and not what Rupert Murdoch or any other media mogul tells you to do, because they don’t give a damn about you, or your loved ones. It’s all about the money, the power, the megalomania.

As I said earlier, as of Friday our elected parliamentary representative will be Suella Fernandes – that’s a given. Some will be unhappy about this, and many won’t even realise what it actually is that they’re voting for. They’re just going to put the cross where they always have done. Which is precisely why we have safe seats. People don’t know any better. They aren’t thinking for themselves. They’re letting the media do their thinking for them because it’s easier that way.

And with that, Café Spike will back off with the serious stuff and get back to doing what we usually do – which is quite frankly just silly. But no sillier than the lies we’re all drip-fed on a daily basis.

Use your vote wisely.

Martin Shuttlecock.

Share

Furore In Fareham As ‘Outsider’ Conservative Candidate Backs Controversial Development Plan

Fareham says 'No' to this sort of thing.

Fareham says ‘No’ to this sort of thing.

One doesn’t normally expect political controversy in what is regarded as one of the safest Conservative seats in the country, yet somehow the Conservative party, aided and abetted by the local council seemed to have successfully achieved the political equivalent of poking the proverbial hornets’ nest with a sharp stick.

The current furore has historical roots in an ambitious development plan to the north of the town, known locally as Welborne; a plan embracing some 6,000 additional dwellings, which has been embraced by the council and vehemently opposed by residents of the borough. As Café Spike’s head office is in Fareham, and given that we have the right to express an opinion, our Editor In Chief, Martin Shuttlecock today issued a statement.

“There’s been a long-running dispute about this development proposal,” he told us. “On balance it appears that the local council have a vested interest in proceeding with the plan, whereas local residents have expressed deep – and quite reasonable concerns – over associated infrastructure problems. Whilst I accept that our country needs additional housing to meet the requirements stipulated by the government, it’s also quite reasonable to take into account the concerns of existing residents. These people are distinctly not NIMBY types; they’re concerned about a lack of affordable housing in the area, the destruction of a vast area of greenfield designated land in pursuit of further urbanisation, the provision of schools, the availability of medical treatment on a system which is already horrendously overstretched, endless traffic jams on already gridlocked roads and fears of becoming swallowed up by an endless urban sprawl.

“The furore, which was already blazing as a result of a lack of transparency by the local council – who appear to have a vision of a megalithic conurbation tentatively branded Solent City – was further inflamed when the Conservative party “parachuted” in out-of-towner candidate, Suella Fernandes to contest the seat at the forthcoming general election.

“Suella Fernandes is a Conservative candidate who has unsuccessfully contested seats in other constituencies in the past. According to reports she is a property lawyer who has been ‘parachuted’ in by the Conservative party at both local and national level with a mission to seal the Welborne deal, come what may, as evidenced by her immediate support for the Welborne project, despite not being in full possession of the relevant details.

“Some voters have expressed concerns that Fernandes has been conducting a below-the-belt campaign by claiming to be a local person who has the interests of local people at heart, and the voters don’t seem to be buying that.

“The bottom line is that she’ll be elected by a landslide, as Conservative candidates tend to be in this constituency, but I have to at least question her motivation in all this. The people of Fareham are good people, and my feeling is that they deserve the truth from the Conservatives at both national and council levels, and they aren’t getting that in my opinion.

“Of course, nobody would ever come out and make an honest statement to the effect of: We stand to make a fortune out of this, and so do the developers, so just kindly shut up and go away.

“Which is a shame, because the people deserve honesty, and they aren’t getting it at all. At least in my opinion.”

*The anti-Welborne/development group have a Facebook page – Fareham – Countryside Or More Housing – The Big Debate. Contributors to the page aren’t by any means fanatical; they’re actually quite accommodating and friendly on both sides of the argument. If you join the page your views will be respected and the participants are willing to discuss the issue without going overboard or being unreasonable. Unlike the prospective Member Of Parliament, who by all accounts has embraced the Welborne project yet blocked anyone from her Twitter feed with the temerity to question her claims.

Café Spike has no vested interest in the argument and acts purely as an independent observational entity.

Martin Shuttlecock and Paddy Berzinski

Share