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Ellisfield Village, Hampshire

Website Contact: Paul Turner, Editor (01256 381269 or email HERE)                                Ellisfield.Org.Uk: Ellisfield’s Community Website

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General Information and News & Events Highlights


If you have news that should be in this column but isn’t, PLEASE inform the website editor
(contact details are at the foot of all pages)

Welcome to Ellisfield

Ellisfield is a village of just under 2,350 acres, tucked away within Hampshire farmland and woodland. It is situated six miles south of Basingstoke centre and two miles west of the A339, the Basingstoke to Alton road.Ellisfield location map

Contains Ordnance Survey data © Crown copyright and database right 2013

As you can see from the map above, Ellisfield is ideally placed within a quiet rural location but with good road and rail links within easy reach. Junction 6 of the M3 is just six miles away (25 miles to the M25) and you can catch fast trains from Basingstoke station (London Waterloo in 45 minutes).

In 1086, the Domesday Book recorded eight villagers, four smallholders and four slaves. Now, 931 years later, there are 250 or so adults (no slaves!) and around 40 children, living in 119 houses. These houses are well distributed along almost ten miles of sometimes single track road and so the village has a feeling of spaciousness about it.One of Ellisfield's lanes

The village of Ellisfield has grown around a number of separate small settlements. The oldest of these (Ellisfield Green, Ellisfield Manor, The Old Manor and Merritt’s Farm) are now in a Conservation Area, within which are eight Grade II listed properties (plus the church, St Martin's, which is Grade II*). To view a map (it's 1.7Mb) of the Conservation Area, click HERE.

Ellisfield has a vibrant community spirit, with residents enjoying and supporting:

Village Amenities

 Church (St. Martin’s), which publishes a monthly magazine called Hill & Dale (which contains adverts for local services and excellent “village news” sections for Ellisfield and the neighbouring villages of Dummer, Cliddesden and Farleigh Wallop).
  Village Hall (the Memorial Hall), which has a committee made up of representatives of all the village organisations. They ensure that the hall is well maintained and also organise events such as the annual Wine Walk, the Christmas Fair and also entertainment evenings. The hall can be hired.
  Pub (The Fox), swiftly regained its reputation following the arrival of new licensees, Graham and Sue Dove, at the beginning of July 2013. They retired and a new tenant, Lucy Tuffs, took over The Fox on April 13, 2015. Strangely, the current management choose not to supply this Community Website with menus, events or news publicity.
  Village owned Parish Land & Assets, such as Lower Common and the Bus Shelters.
  Rights of Way that crisscross the village.

Village Groups (in alphabetical order)

 Bell Ringers, who are currently advertising for new members.
  Horticultural Society (shared with neighbouring villages), which meets monthly, has both a Spring and Summer show and also organises visits to gardens of interest.
  Oil Syndicate, which is a community-based project which exists to allow its members to purchase domestic heating oil at a reduced price.
  Ladies Club, which meets monthly and which also organises trips and events such as the Scarecrow competition (there's a slideshow of all the October 2015 scarecrows at the top of the Ladies Club page).
  Neighbourhood Watch Group, which encompasses the entire village, working closely with our local rural policeman, PC Andrew Reid.
  Recycling Initiative, whereby a number of residents have bins at their front gates for specific types of recyclable materials.
  Village Association, whose remit is to protect, enhance and appreciate our village environment.
  Volunteer Group, made up of 30 or so residents who mow and strim the parish land (Lower Common, Gravel Pits and Burial Ground).

Finally, the Parish Council, with six local residents elected or co-opted as parish councillors. Peter and Sylvia Raine (of Church Cottage, Church Lane) are joint Parish Clerks.

RG25 2QR (01256 381149)

Ellisfield's Memorial Village Hall is available to hire for regular meetings and one-off events at very reasonable hourly charges.


Sat February 24 (7.30pm):
Ellisfield Ladies Club
Quiz Night (with Fish & Chips)
Memorial Hall, Church Lane

Those two marvels Howard and Dan will be hosting a Quiz (for members, partners and friends) to challenge our brainpower. There will teams of eight per table and Prizes will be on offer! There’ll also be a raffle.
The cost per person is £10. There will be a Fish & Chip supper (sauces and bread & butter will be provided) and there will be home-made puddings and cream for dessert. Bring your own drink and glasses, cutlery and bowls for your pudding.
Please book your tickets by emailing Diane Sandeman, and also please drop off the money to her once you get confirmation back.

Thu March 1 (from 7.30pm):
Social & Entertainment Club
Millennium Hall, Cliddesden

Film: Swallows and Amazons (2016) ***

A recent retelling of the classic Arthur Ransom children's story published in 1930.
Swallows and Amazons is a family adventure film directed by Philippa Lowthorpe and written by Andrea Gibb, starring Andrew Scott, Rafe Spall, Kelly Macdonald and Harry Enfield. Geoffrey Macnab of The Independent says, "This new adaptation of Arthur Ransome's novel evokes a long-lost era in which kids didn't spend their days searching for Pokémon or playing Call Of Duty. Instead, they had rip-roaring adventures in sailing boats and camped on remote islands." A few twists from Arthur Ransom's real-life have been added to the plot giving it added interest for the adult viewer.
The bar opens at 7.30pm and the film (which is 96 minutes long) starts at 8pm. There is an intermission half-way through during which ice creams and the bar are available. Admission is only £2 per person, with no membership fee.

Tue March 6 (8.00pm):
Ellisfield Parish Council Meeting
Memorial Hall, Church Lane

See local (non-political) democracy in action! There is an Open Forum (where any resident can speak and ask questions) at 8.00pm, prior to the formal closed session (meaning that residents cannot make comments unless specifically allowed to by the chairman) of the Parish Council meeting (which, typically, lasts for two  hours).
EDITOR: Please note that the meeting’s on a Tuesday evening, not the usual Monday evening.

Tue March 13 (7.30pm):
Ellisfield Ladies Club AGM
Memorial Hall, Church Lane

We'll discuss events past and planned, elect committee members and then indulge in cheese and wine! Nearer the time an email will be sent out to find out who’s coming.

Thu March 29 (7.45pm):
Horticultural Society Talk
Millennium Hall, Cliddesden

At the second meeting of 2018 there will be a talk by Carol Watson entitled “Irish Coast to Coast Walk”.

NEW Thu February 1, 2018:
"In The Fields" Article

The latest Seumas Foster’s "In The Fields" article can be found HERE.

Wed January 18, 2018:
Busheywarren Lane Road Closure

Ellisfield’s parish clerk, Sylvia Raine, yesterday sent out an email giving notice of a road closure, commencing Monday, January 29.
Bushywarren Lane (College Lane) will be closed from the junction with Church Lane to the side of Widmoor Cottages - approximately 36 metres! it is expected the closure will be for 1 week only
EDITOR: The “Temporary Road Closure Notice” gives this reason:
The closure is to allow the installation of a street cabinet and power cables through new ducting.
Could this be for installation of fibre broadband?

Wed January 18, 2018:
Horticultural Society’s 2018 Events

All the 2018 scheduled events have now been added to the Society’s webpage.

Mon December 18, 2017:
High Speed Broadband in Ellisfield
(continued …)

A second leaflet (click link to display PDF) was emailed out to residents today.
A quote is being prepared by Hampshire County Council (HCC) for BT to install fibre to the bottom of the village. This quote (hopefully subsidised by a Government voucher scheme) will be available some time in January.
At a recent meeting with HCC and BT, it was stated that the north of the village is scheduled to have fibre to the cabinet installed before the end of 2018.
EDITOR (Tue December 19): I’ve just received a completely updated version (click link to display PDF) of the above “second leaflet”. Apparently, the one received yesterday was a draft and should not have been released …

Wed December 6, 2017:
"In The Fields" Article

The latest Seumas Foster’s "In The Fields" article can be found HERE.
EDITOR: A little late, my apologies.

Fri December 1, 2017:
This Website's Fifth Birthday!

"My thanks to all the residents who contribute to making sure that the individual sections are kept interesting and informative."

Paul Turner, Editor

Wed November 22, 2017:
High Speed Broadband in Ellisfield

A leaflet (click link to display PDF) was distributed around the village over the weekend, providing information on the current options for residents living in the south of the village to obtain fast broadband (the north are scheduled to have fibre to the cabinet installed next year  - still no date though …).

Thu October 12, 2017:
Latest Horticultural Society Report

This report, by Eddie Rapley, can be found (naturally!) on the Society’s webpage. It’s worth reading to find out how to get a catalogue and to order seeds from Sutton Seeds for half-price (members only, of course).

Wed October 11, 2017:
Neighbourhood Watch Report

Jane Hannah, our Neighbourhood Watch coordinator, has posted her "Jane's Watch" report, viewable on the Neighbourhood Watch page.

EDITOR: Ellisfield residents should read this report (and the one from PC Reid on September 21). The level of “petty” crime is escalating quite alarmingly in our area.

Wed October 11, 2017:
Macmillan Big Coffee Morning

This event, held on Saturday, September 30, was a great success with the total amount being sent to Macmillan Nurses being £601.

Thu October 5, 2017:
Fibre Broadband

Our MP, Ranil Jayawardena, asked the following question of the Department of Culture, Media and Sport:

“What steps are being taken to meet the Universal Service Obligation and provide broadband to the final five per cent of properties in Hampshire?”

The answer given yesterday was:

“The roll out of publicly funded superfast broadband in Hampshire is ongoing. Currently over 92% of premises have access to superfast broadband.
Current contracts will ensure that superfast broadband services will be available to more than 97% of premises by 2019.
“For premises not covered by superfast broadband, the Government will ensure universal broadband access of at least 10Mbps by 2020, so that no home or business is left behind.
We are currently considering two options for delivering this: a regulatory USO and a voluntary offer from BT and Openreach. A consultation on the design of the regulatory USO was published on 30 July and closes on 9 October.
A decision on which route offers the best deal for consumers will be taken once we have considered the responses to the regulatory USO consultation.”

Thu September 21, 2017:
PC Andrew Reid
A Series Of Reported Incidents

Tel: 01256 389050

Mobile: 07768 776844


Between Thursday 7 and Wednesday 20, there’s been a series of incidents in our area. A full report has been put onto the Neighbourhood Watch page.
EDITOR: It’s well worth your time to have a quick look at the incidents reported by Andrew. It’s more than possible that the individuals will appear in Ellisfield in the near future.

Fri September 8, 2017:
PC Andrew Reid - Important Message

Tel: 01256 389050

Mobile: 07768 776844


“In the past month I have had to contact three people on my area to make enquiries about them being subject to theft and criminal damage as none had reported being a victim of crime but I had heard from other sources. This is totally wrong; I should not be calling people and telling them they are a victim of crime because they are not telling me.

“I fully accept there is a belief that the “Police aren’t interested” and/or “They don’t do anything anyway”’ and/or “Can’t get through on 101” and/or “What’s the point?”.

“Well, the point is this, you and I know that rural crime is on the increase and police resources are stretched – BUT (and it is a big BUT) how are rural areas such as ours ever going to keep a strong Police presence if people simply cannot be bothered to report crime on their land or property? If you have an area where no crime is reported, people outside that area look and see no crime records so assume there is no crime, because on paper there is not, and if there is no crime why, when resources are tight, have a Police presence?

“You are lucky you can report crime to me on my numbers direct and, yes, I too may not be able to do anything, but at least I can record that it has happened and show that crime does happen in our area. I am interested in all crime on my patch so, please, if you are a victim of crime ring it in – report ALL crime as often it may well link in with similar crime patterns or your neighbour may have seen something or have CCTV. So again, please, if you are a victim of crime – report it. We may not detect the offender but we need to know what is happening in all our communities.”

Tue June 27, 2017:
Memorial Hall Article In The BazGaz

The Basingstoke Gazette has also picked on the £17,000 grant received by the Memorial Hall (also reported below on June 12). The article is on their website HERE, I’m not sure if it also got into the paper itself.
The BazGaz did a good job of sharpening up the picture of Susie Deane, Tracey Gilvear and Rose Taplin outside the Hall.

Tue June 20, 2017:
Theft and Destruction At St Leonard’s Church, Church Lane, Cliddesden

Vandals/Thieves caused considerable damage to the church some time between 3.00pm Monday and 11.00am Tuesday.
They forced open the safe stealing item of church property AND despicably broke two stained-glass windows.
Police are appealing for witnesses who saw a blue car, possibly the size of a Vauxhall Astra, which was seen parked outside the church and are looking to talk to a woman with blond hair and wearing a white top and sun glasses who was sat on the wall facing towards the road at around 3.45pm on Monday.
If anyone has any information about the incident they are asked to contact the police on
101 quoting 44170235123.

Sun June 18, 2017:
Horticultural Society’s June Report

Eddie Rapley’s latest report can be found on the Horticultural Society’s page.

Sat June 17, 2017:
National Neighbourhood Watch Week

Click to view PDF ...Saturday 17 (today!) to Friday 23 is Neighbourhood Watch Week. A bumper edition of the organisation’s newsletter has been produced with information on scams, security, cyber awareness, etc.
To view a copy, just click on the image (above).

Click to view PDF ...Did you know that 8.7 million households identify as being a member of a Neighbourhood Watch scheme? There is a very useful Member’s Guide and, if you’ve not been given a copy, you can view it by clicking on the image (right).

Wed June 14, 2017:
Reporting Of Parish Council Meetings

EDITOR: I’ve put up an explanation (updated on Monday, June 19) on this website’s Parish Council page as to why there have been no reports published since January.

Mon June 12, 2017:
Memorial Hall Revamp Article

The latest edition of the Basingstoke & Deane Today magazine has an article on the recent £17,000 Local Infrastructure Fund grant.
There is an excellent picture of Susie Deane, Tracey Gilvear and Rose Taplin.
To view the article, click on the picture beloClick image to view the article ...w.

Fri June 9, 2017:
Our Area’s General Election Result

Our sitting Conservative MP, Ranil Jayawardena, has been returned with a 27,772 majority.

Mon June 5, 2017:
Hampshire Constabulary Publishes Their Latest “Rural Times” Magazine

The Spring 2017 edition of the Rural Times magazine has just been produced as a PDF document.
There’s quite a lot of interesting information on rural policing.

Thu May 18, 2017:
Manifestos Available To Read

Please note that as they get released, all the 2017 General Election Manifestos will be available to view on THIS site.

See the JUNE 8 entry in the Events column.

Thu May 11, 2017:
Useful Information To Help Protect Your Property Against Thieves

Hampshire Constabulary have issued a useful checklist to help protect your property, specially angled to rural residents.

Mon April 24, 2017:
Ellisfield Featured On the BBC And In Today’s Daily Telegraph

If you were awake at 5.30am AND you were tuned into Radio 2’s Vanessa Feltz’s show, you will have been bemused to hear her quoting from a newspaper article (click HERE and go to 24:24) about the statue of Archimedes on de Ferranti land.
A copy of the actual Daily Telegraph article can be viewed by clicking HERE.
EDITOR: I was telephoned by BBC South this morning just after 9.00am and asked if I would be available to comment.
I declined …

Mon March 20, 2017:
Parish Council Meeting

The draft Minutes of this meeting have been published.

Sat February 4, 2017:
Hampshire Police Precept Rise

Following the results of a Residents’ Survey, Hampshire’s Police & Crime Commissioner (Michael Lane) has decided to increase their precept by 3.12%, which works out at an extra £5 per annum for a Band D household.
Normally, an increase over 1.99% would have necessitated a referendum (which would have cost up to £1 Million!) but Hampshire is one of ten police forces which have been given dispensation because their cost controls have been proven to be robust.
There is a News Item on the PCC’s website which provides a more detailed explanation.

Mon January 23, 2017:
Tonight’s Parish Council Meeting

Before the meeting started, there was a minute’s silence in memory of the parish clerk, Mick Walker, who very sadly died on January 6.

As to the meeting … The “highlights” were:

The chairman, Cllr Guinness, was appointed unpaid parish clerk.
Mrs Jacqui Matthews (who was taking notes for this meeting) is going to create a Newsletter regarding the position of Clerk, the “Flood Resilience Project” and a few other things.
Cllr Guinness has obtained promises from Highways that they are going to clear out the drains from the bus shelter down to the pond.
Cllr Park-Weir is going to order 50 sandbags, no really he is, he really is!
Cllr Richards is going to repair the bus shelter at the bottom of Green Lane.
Cllr Park-Weir says that Hampshire County Council has stated that the cabinet at the junction of College Lane and Church Lane is scheduled to be upgraded to fibre in the first quarter of next year.
UPDATE (Monday, Feb 6): I’ve been informed that, I quote:  (This was an) “indication from Hants of time scale with a warning that it is a moveable plan”.  So, now we know (or not know, as the case may be …)
There is no commitment to bring fibre to the bottom of the village.
Cllr Cazenove told the council that she and Mr Ray Reed had not yet reviewed the “potential to make EVG’s task of maintaining the burial ground easier”.
Resident April Brown has offered to maintain the telephone box “library”.
The precept for 2017/18 stays the same.
and finally …
There was once again much discussion about a replacement notice board for Lower Common and (guess what?) after months of discussions, the councillors are still wondering whether to have a two or three pane version. Aghhhhh …

There may have been more, but I left at this point.

Mon January 23, 2017:
Police Warning: Cold Callers

PC Andrew Reid has sent out a warning about Cold Callers. You can read this warning by clicking HERE.

Mon January 2, 2017:
Green Lane Flooding

The section of Green Lane between the telephone box and Brocas’s driveway was completely flooded this morning, caused by a blocked drain.
The Parish Council has been notified and has been requested to deal with this problem.
UPDATE on Monday, Jan 16:
Nothing has been done and it’s flooded again today. In addition, the drains at the bus shelter and at the pond are also now blocked.
The chairman of the Parish Council has again been informed.
NEW The chairman has responded as follows:
“Highways have had photos of the flooding and have confirmed  it is on their to do list.”

Thu December 22, 2016:
Memorial Hall Refurbishment

Good news. The Memorial Hall's bid for a grant to improve the heaters, electrics and kitchen has been successful. It’s reported that the Committee is delighted with being able to use the £17,000 to properly update the hall’s facilities.

Thu December 1, 2016:
This Website's Fourth Birthday!

"My thanks to all the residents who contribute to making sure that the individual sections are kept interesting and informative."

Paul Turner, Editor

Tue November 29, 2016:
Saturday’s Christmas Fayre

Susie Deane reports:

The Christmas Fayre on Saturday was a success, with over £2,000 raised, and with a visit from Father Christmas too.
The Hamper was won by P.C. Andrew Reid's sister in law and the fantastic cake baked by Celia Lunn was won by April Carroll, who guessed the weight of 9lb exactly.

Sun November 13, 2016:
Last Monday’s Ellisfield Parish Council Meeting “Highlights”

EDITOR: I spent much of the last week watching and reading about the US Presidential Election run-up, the actual vote and then the subsequent media analysis. The contents of President-elect Trump’s wishlist, as set out in his “100-Day Action Plan To make America Great Again”, is already being watered down but what will remain is still going to have enormous repercussions for the USA, the UK and the rest of the world.
Reading last Monday’s parish council meeting notes, everything looked so inconsequential, petty, banal and even (in some cases) comical. However, what our parish council does (or perhaps more accurately does NOT do) affects this small community and so I still think it worthwhile me spending time reporting on their meetings.
I guess that I’m just doing what they should do and that is to keep you informed. So, here goes - first off, the OPEN FORUM:

Q1: A number of trees have been felled in High Wood (near the bottom of Green Lane). Are these within the parish council’s “Lower Allotments” and, if so, does the council know anything about it?
Answer to Q1: We don’t know but will look into it.

Q2: Has the parish council had a look at the Burial Ground as promised at the last meeting, following the comment by Ellisfield resident Mr Ray Reed of Green Lane that, in his opinion, the Burial Ground was “a mess” and was very difficult to maintain?
Answer to Q2: No. Cllr Cazenove agreed to look at the Burial Ground with Mr Ray Reed and to report back to the council.
EDITOR: Mr Ray Reed admitted that he had not mowed the Burial Ground this year, so it’s not too clear how he can help in this matter. Surely it would be better for the council to liaise with Paul Brown, the Volunteer Group’s coordinator for the Burial Ground?

Q3: Why are the Parish Council Meeting Agendas now not being displayed on the village’s notice boards?
Answer to Q3: The new parish clerk, Mick Walker, stated that he understood that putting up just a “Notice of Meeting” on the Lower Common notice board, plus the actual agenda on the parish council website, was perfectly acceptable and fulfilled the council’s legal obligations.
It was pointed out that Agendas had been put up on ALL village notice boards for at least the last 25 years and that that practice should continue. Mr Walker agreed to put up the Agenda on the Lower Common notice board only.
EDITOR: I informed the council that I would, from now on, print out Agendas (obtained from the parish council website) and put them up on the three other village notice boards.


£250 grant to Preston Candover’s new Community Store:
The parish clerk, as requested by Paul Turner, had asked HALC (Hampshire Association of Local Council) for their advice and that they had responded that:
“They consider that making a donation to an appeal for a project that may not reach fruition is not an acceptable use of public funds.”
EDITOR: Luckily, the £250 had not actually been paid out, otherwise it would have been a real embarrassment …

Lower Common Swings:
Basingstoke & Deane’s weekly inspection has declared that the known faults with the baby seat and with the chains are still regarded as “High Risk”. The parish council agreed to make the necessary repairs.
EDITOR: Good. An accident would be bad for those concerned. There would also then be the risk of litigation if the parish council was seen to have been negligent.

Despite this matter having been raised a number of times, the council has still not organised the ordering sandbags. At this meeting, it was agreed that this should be done and that the sandbags will be stored in the parish council’s lockup.
EDITOR: Would it not be more logical to ensure that the actual households known to be at risk be provided with enough sandbags for their own needs, with perhaps only an emergency supply being held by the council?

Flood Plans and “Lengthsman” recruitment:
Still talking.
The chairman expressed concern about the flood pit behind Lower Common which has “not been cleared in his memory”.
EDITOR: I was permitted to explain that this had been cleared by Steve Brabbin with his digger whilst village volunteers worked on the Green Lane drainage channel back in March 2016. I also pointed out that the flood pit was in a natural dip.
However, I also did stress that the two flood pits on the other side of Furzen Lane
did quickly fill up and overflow and they should definitely be cleared out (but then the council already has known this since the January and February 2016 flash floods).
EDITOR: After yesterday’s rain, the bend at the Green Lane / Church Lane  bus stop was again flooded. I formally warned the parish council at their April 2016 meeting that “… this was dangerous and could lead to an accident.when cars coming from the north move out - on a blind bend - into the middle of the road to avoid the water …”. What more can one do? Do we really have to wait for the accident to happen?

2015/2016 Accounts:
The external auditor repeated an earlier warning that the parish council had failed to have a Risk Assessment.
EDITOR: Pathetic …

New Lower Common Notice Board:
The months go by and there’s still no action. The parish council, despite Cllr Park Weir’s recommendation, are now talking about a two-pane replacement (this would mean that a new version of Susie Deane’s Ellisfield map could not be displayed).
EDITOR: The council have received grants which would cover the cost of a like-for-like three-pane replacement. Why oh why are they still faffing about?

Speed Monitoring on the Axford Road:
Nothing …
EDITOR: Whilst our council has been prevaricating, other nearby parish councils have purchased monitoring and/or electronic speed signs.

Mon November 7, 2016:
Ellisfield Parish Council Meeting

There was a meeting. It went on for two hours. Five members of the public attended (then, as the meeting progressed, there were three and then two).
Highlights(!) of the meeting will be posted here soon(ish) …

Tue November 1, 2016:
"In The Fields" Article

The latest Seumas Foster’s "In The Fields" article can be found HERE.

Thu October 13, 2016:
Horticultural Society Report

Eddie Rapley’s October report has been posted to the Horticultural Society page. The last meeting of the year is the Annual General Meeting at Cliddesden on Thursday, November 24 at 7.45pm.
Some committee members are retiring and volunteers are needed to fill those posts.

Sun October 2, 2016:
Photos Of Scarecrows

All this year’s scarecrows were photographed this afternoon and have now been published on the Ellisfield Ladies Club page (if you see last year’s images, just refresh the page).

Sat October 1, 2016:
2016 Scarecrow Winner

This year, the winner - as chosen by Felicity Edwards, MD of Destination Basingstoke (the half-marathon organiser) - was the Gilvear family; Adam, Tracey, Archie and Basil.
Their creation of “Shaun The Sheep and Farmer” was excellent.

Mandy Lunn and Susie Deane were “Highly Commended” for their scarecrows.
EDITOR: All the scarecrows will be photographed tomorrow afternoon once the runners have left the village. Hopefully, the weather will be better than today!

Wed September 21, 2016:
Memorial Hall’s New Heaters

An image of the new infra red heater that is currently on trial in the Hall has been added to the Memorial Hall page. If their grant application is successful, the Hall will be able to replace all the old heaters that everyone hates.

Mon September 19, 2016:
Parish Council Meeting

The parish council meeting lasted two hours with the Open Forum taking up 45 minutes of that time (it did, however, include PC Reid’s 5 minute statement to the council).
This is despite the rule, brought in by the Chairman some time ago and stated clearly on the formal Agenda, that:
“An Open Forum of 15 minutes will be held immediately before the meeting at which residents may ask questions. The Council will go into session at 8.15 or when the Open Forum finishes whichever is the earlier”.

Items raised by the public in the Open Forum included:
A statement by Julian Wright of Bell Lane about broadband at Lasham, about BT’s timescale for installing fibre to the top of the village and about what will possibly happen regarding the lower half of the village.
Mr Wright also brought up for the council’s consideration that a local landowner and, on a separate occasion, the landowner’s gamekeeper had both stopped him when walking on a village Right of Way and had insisted that his dog be put on a lead. Mr Wright wanted the council to note that the law states that a dog has to be “under control” and that the law does not say that the dog has to be on a lead.
Ray Reed of Green Lane informed the council that, in his opinion, the Burial Ground was “a mess” and was very difficult to maintain. He asked the council to inspect the Burial Ground. When asked by another resident, who had mowed the Burial Ground just a week ago and saw nothing wrong, what he meant by “a mess”, Mr Reed replied that he’d already made himself clear and refrained from providing further details!
EDITOR: <joke> I don't see why we cannot just get rid of all the graves and headstones, it would be sooooo much easier to mow. </joke>
There was also some general discussion with PC Reid about asking Hampshire County Council to install some “speed pipes” on the Axford Road to monitor traffic for a week or two. If it is found that the 30 mile per hour limit is being regularly exceeded, the Chairman suggested that ”traffic calming” measures could be considered.

Then, at 8.45pm, the meeting finally started. Points of interest were:
Replacement Lower Common notice board
Two quotes had been received for a 3-pane notice board, both were over £2,000 plus VAT but neither came with a recommendation from Cllr Park-Weir (who was not present at the meeting). There was discussion about changing the specification to a 2-pane version (which means that there would be no room to display Susie Deane’s watercolour map of Ellisfield). Although village notice boards are within the remit of Cllr Park-Weir, the Clerk was asked to investigate further.
Right of Way path by Park View, Green Lane
Cllr Reed informed the council that she was in discussions with Hampshire County Council to erect some kind of barrier.
Council Bank Accounts
Mick Walker, the parish clerk, reported that he still did not have direct access to the bank accounts and, indeed, did not have a cheque book.
Meeting Agendas
The clerk confirmed that he did not put up this Meeting’s Agenda on the Parish Council notice board, because he considered that it was sufficient to post it onto the Parish Council website. He promised to check with HALC (Hampshire Association of Local Councils) that this was satisfactory.
£250 Grant to Preston Candover
The clerk agreed to check with HALC that having, at the last parish council meeting, just two councillors voting for this grant and the other three councillors present abstaining was acceptable and legal for this (somewhat controversial?) grant to be agreed.
EDITOR: Ellisfield residents may (should?) feel that it is perhaps “questionable” for a grant to be made from our parish council funds to another village’s project (especially with the money apparently going towards a planning application that might be rejected), no matter how laudable.
Also, although the Ellisfield Parish Council 2016/17 Budget has a “Grant for community needs” section (presumably intended for our needs?), the amount allocated to that budget heading was, it is believed, ZERO.
Lower Common Swing
The “baby seat” has failed a safety check carried out by Basingstoke & Deane.

Wed September 14, 2016:
Memorial Hall Improvements

The Memorial Hall Committee is applying for a Local Infrastructure Fund grant. This comes from the Government but is handled locally by Basingstoke & Deane Borough Council.
The application will cover improvements to the hall: an upgrade of electrics, lighting and heaters, renewal of the fire safety exit door, renewal of glass panes between kitchen and hall (to be safety glass but will look very similar) and a new kitchen.
The last grant received was in 1999 and it is becoming a ‘Cinderella’ hall compared to our neighbouring villages. The heaters, now 26 years old, make cracking noises as the metal cools or heats and the kitchen is rather dilapidated and in need of an up-date.
It is also proposed to purchase a defibrillator to be sited at the Memorial Hall in the same way as those that can be seen at Preston Candover and Upton Grey.

The Parish Council has stated that it is fully supportive of the grant application.

Fri September 2, 2016:
Warning - Cold Calling In Ellisfield

Residents are warned of a potential rouge trader selling tarmac in the Ellisfield area.

It’s been reported that a man driving a black Land Rover around the village yesterday was offering so-called surplus tarmac for sale at a cheap price. The man, who is described as having dark hair and a northern accent, was seen to be cold calling properties around lunchtime.

PC Andrew Reid is urging residents NOT TO CONSIDER purchasing ANY items from cold calling door-to-door sales people. He said: “If it looks too good to be true, it usually is. If you are subject to cold calling please call Hampshire Trading Standards on 01962 833620.”

He is also encouraging residents to use trading standards' Buy With Confidence booklet, which is a national register of approved businesses run independently by local authority trading standards departments.

Sat August 13, 2016:
Neighbourhood Watch Report

Jane Hannah, our Neighbourhood Watch coordinator, has posted her "Jane's Watch" report, viewable on the Neighbourhood Watch page.
EDITOR: This report has an important message from PC Andrew Reid. He is getting concerned that Ellisfield has had a number of robberies from unlocked sheds, garages and vehicles in the last few months and he urges all residents to ensure that everything is securely locked at all times. He worries that we may be seen as an “easy target” and these criminals may start breaking into houses as well …
He also urges anyone who has been robbed or has seen something suspicious to
always contact him, either directly (contact details are below) or via the 101 police service.
Also, if you feel a robbery is actually taking place, don’t hesitate to ring 999 - you can always then contact Andrew after you’ve spoken to the 999 operator.

Tel: 01256 389050

Mobile: 07768 776844


Thu August 11, 2016:
Hampshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner Launches Consultation

Michael Lane, the Police & Crime Commissioner elected in May of this year, would like to hear residents’ views regarding the development of the Police and Crime Plan for Hampshire & the Isle of Wight for the next five years.

This is an excellent opportunity for you to have your say in local policing. Click on THIS LINK to directly access the survey (which will be available up to September 14).

Wed August 3, 2016:
The Kit Lane Right of Way Byway

Click image to display larger version ...The lower half of the Kit Lane byway (which runs from Bell Lane down to the Axford Road) has become very rutted (click on picture to display a larger image) and in a number of places it’s very hard to walk on, and impossible for two people to walk side by side.

It looks as though there were two causes.
The first is that because it is a byway (strictly speaking it’s a “BOAT”, that is a Byway Open to All Traffic) motorbikes and 4x4s have churned up the top layer of soil, exposing the flint core. Then, secondly, rainwater has carried flints and large stones downhill, thus creating the deep ruts.

Andrew Aitken, our area’s Senior Countryside Access Ranger of the Hampshire Countryside Service, last week walked Kit Lane and agreed that the condition of this byway deserved further investigation, especially as Kit Lane is an important section of the “3 Castles Path” (see News Item below).

Tue August 2, 2016:
The “3 Castles Path” via Ellisfield

A new edition of the 3 Castles Path booklet has just been published and is available from Amazon UK for £7.99. This booklet uses maps, text and photos to fully describe a 60 mile route from Windsor to Winchester, via Odiham and Ellisfield, using mainly Rights of Way paths and byways. There is also a new 3 Castles Path website.

The Ellisfield section starts at the A339, down the “Alley Lane” path which comes out beside the Memorial Hall. It then takes the path from the corner of Furzen Lane to College Lane, then down Bell Lane and then turns right down the Kit Lane byway (see NEWS ITEM above) to the Axford Road. It then leaves Ellisfield, taking the permissive path on the opposite side of the road and then on to Bradley.

Wed July 20, 2016:
A Few Other “Gems” from Monday Evening’s Parish Council Meeting

Footpaths - New Gates on the ZigZag path
It was declared that getting these gates installed, after it having been discussed for so many years, was a “triumph” for the parish council and Cllr Vicky Reed was congratulated for her efforts.
New notice board for Lower Common
Cllr Park Weir has been unable to obtain a quote, although he did estimate that it would cost circa £2,000. The meeting chairman insisted that this matter be dealt with at the next meeting (which Cllr Weir and two other councillors will be unable to attend).
New notice boards for Bus Shelters
Not discussed (despite these being internally in a bad state of repair, especially the one at the top of Green Lane).
Flood Plans - Emergency Sandbags
Cllr Park Weir told the council that he had been unable to contact the person responsible at Basingstoke Council to arrange for these to be delivered.
Broadband Speed
Cllr Park Weir had no new information from Hampshire Council Council regarding fibre installation in the village.
He also said that, although fibre was due to be installed at Farleigh Wallop on June 27, he had no news about the possibility of some in Ellisfield being able to “piggy back” off the proposed Farleigh to Wield broadband link by RedRaw Internet.
Village Defibrillator
Ray Reed, the chairman of the Memorial Hall committee, told the council that the committee was considering the purchase of a defibrillator to be mounted on the outside of the Hall and would possibly be putting a funding proposal to the council in due course.
Home Farm Pond
This pond (which was renovated with a £10,000 lottery grant) is now invisible from the road due to high nettles. The council agreed to look into this.

Mon July 18, 2016:
Ellisfield Parish Council Donates £250 To Preston Candover

At this evening’s parish council meeting, it was decided that the council would donate £250 to the appeal for the new Candover Valley Community Store in Preston Candover.
There were five councillors present, two voted for the £250 donation and the other three abstained.
The donation request and amount were not on the meeting’s Agenda and nor was the £250 budgeted for in the 2016/17 financial year.
EDITOR: Deciding to spend unbudgeted parish council funds on another village’s project, without Ellisfield residents being given advance notice and with the majority of councillor’s present abstaining, is a very unusual occurrence and may even be ultra vires (ie, beyond the council’s legal power or authority).
UPDATE (Monday, July 25): Apparently, our £250 has gone towards offsetting the costs of their planning application.

Fri July 15, 2016:
Overnight Burglaries In The Village

Overnight, between Wednesday evening and Thursday morning, there were four burglaries in Ellisfield. There were thefts from garages and sheds of chainsaws. a strimmer and petrol cans, a tack room was broken into (although nothing was taken) and a “Tom Tom” satnav was taken from a vehicle.

Additionally, in the early hours of Wednesday or Thursday mornings, a man was seen in Green Lane, walking towards Cliddesden. He was wearing a hi-vis jacket and shone a torch into a number of houses and gardens.

If any resident has been subject to crime or witnessed people acting suspiciously we ask you to please give PC Andrew Reid a call directly (details below) as soon as you are able. He will then be able to collate the information, identify any linkages and investigate the crimes holistically.
If PC Reid is out, please just leave a message on the Beat House telephone and he will then call you back or visit you as soon as he is able.
Obviously, if you believe that it’s something very urgent, then dial 999 first.

Tel: 01256 389050

Mobile: 07768 776844


Thu July 14, 2016:
Gates Installed On The ZigZag Path

Two kissing gates are being installed today and tomorrow on the ZigZag path, to replace the existing stiles. From Saturday, walkers who find stiles difficult to climb or those with dogs can now cross the fenced College Farm paddock with ease.
Many thanks to Adrian de Ferranti for giving his permission. Also a grateful thanks to Andrew Aitkken (Senior Countryside Access Ranger of Hampshire County Council’s “Countryside Service”) for arranging the supply of the two gates.

The picture below is of the gate being installed at the College Lane end by Mitch Webb and Beth Webber of the Countryside Service’s installation team.

Wed June 15, 2016:
Horticultural Society Report

Eddie Rapley’s latest report can be found HERE.

Sun June 12, 2016:
Response To “In The Fields” Article

EDITOR: Seumas Foster, in his recent “In The Fields” article, published in June’s Hill & Dale, gave his reasons for wanting to Remain in the EU.
As it is now impossible for another resident to offer an alternative viewpoint in Hill & Dale prior to the Referendum on June 23, I have responded to a number of points in Seumas’s article.
You can read those responses on this website’s In The Fields page.

Wed June 1, 2016:
Important Request For Information From PC Andrew Reid.

At 3.55pm this afternoon (Wednesday) a Gold Nissan Pathfinder (GL13 MPV) was in Bagmore Lane at Herriard offering power washers for sale.
This vehicle is linked and was doing the same in various other parts of the county. It went off towards Ellisfield.
Beware if you wish to buy. Any sightings please call me.
Andrew REID, Police Constable 3746
Rural Beat Officer
Police Office, Preston Candover
DD:   01256:389050
HQ:   101
Mob: 07768:776844
Email: andrew.reid@hampshire.pnn.police.uk

Fri May 6, 2016:
Election Results for Hampshire’s
Police & Crime Commissioner

Michael Lane (Conservative) is the new Police & Crime Commissioner, after he and Robin Price (Labour) went through to the second round (because neither candidate gained 50% or more of the votes in the first round).

The votes were as follows:

Richard Adair (Liberal Democrat) 55,266
Simon Hayes (Independent) 60,743
Don Jerrard (Independent) 14,976
Michael Lane (Conservative) 153,990
Robin Price (Labour) 87,774
Roy Swales (UKIP) 54,115
Steve Watts (Zero Tolerance Policing) 35,989
* including second preference votes:
Michael Lane had 40,273 and Robin Price had 23,997.

The priorities in Mr Lane’s manifesto include protecting and improving front line policing, tackling domestic abuse, putting victims at the heart of the criminal justice system and creating strong partnerships.
He will take the oath of office and then formally start his role on Thursday, May 12.

Fri May 6, 2016:
Borough Council Elections

The Conservatives have held on to Basingstoke & Deane Borough Council. They gained one seat, while Labour gained two. The Lib Dems and UKIP both lost a seat.
After the vote, the make up of the authority is:

    Conservative: 33
    Labour: 19
    Liberal Democrats: 6
    Independent: 2

Tue May 3, 2016:
Residents' Public Meeting on Rural Policing and Community Funding

The church was almost full. The five candidates present were given five minutes each to present themselves and then answered questions from the floor.
The views on Community Funding of the two candidates who were absent, Roy Swales (UKIP) who had a previous engagement and Robin Price (Labour) who had a family emergency this morning, were read out to the meeting.
We now have to wait until Friday to find out which one of the candidates has won Thursday’s election. Whoever that is, he will no doubt be quickly contacted by representatives of this community in order to discuss returning us back to before the April 2015 restructuring, namely where we have a dedicated local beat policeman, living within the beat and having his own police 4x4.

Wed April 27, 2016:
Residents' Public Meeting on Rural Policing and Community Funding
Tuesday, May 3, 7.30pm for 8.00pm
St Mary's Church, Herriard RG25 2PL

Residents will remember that, back in March of last year, sufficient pledges were made (by parish councils, landowners, businesses and residents) for PC Andrew Reid to be reallocated back to his local beat and to be supplied with his own 4x4. However, this "Community Funding" proposal, after much discussion, was turned down by the current Police & Crime Commissioner (Simon Hayes) in October of last year.

Now, with the election coming up next Thursday for the post of Police & Crime Commissioner (PCC) in the Hampshire & Isle of Wight area, a number of residents thought that it would be a good idea to ask all the candidates to come to a meeting to make statements and answer questions on this specific subject of Community Funding.Six of the seven candidates have agreed to attend a Public Meeting next Tuesday evening, 7.30pm for an 8.00pm start, at St Mary's Church in Herriard RG25 2PL (on the A339 opposite the Timber Fencing yard). They are:
  Richard Adair, Liberal Democrat
  Simon Hayes, Independent
  Don Jerrard, Independent
  Michael Lane, Conservative Party
  Robin Price, Labour Party
  Steve Watts, Independent
Roy Swales (UKIP) has sent his apologies as he had a pre-booked meeting in Southampton to attend.
Also, a representative of the NFU (National Farmers Union) will be there.
EDITOR: Because of the subject matter, it is hoped that there will be a large turnout on the evening.
This is our chance to persuade all the above candidates that we, the residents, should have the right to pay into a fund which would enable us to have a rural beat policeman (with his own 4x4) who can use his unique knowledge of our community to help keep us safe.
NOTE: The only candidate to be unable to attend the meeting (Roy Swales of UKIP) has already stated that Community Funding of rural policing is a concept that he agrees with.

Thu April 14, 2016:
Important Request For Information From PC Andrew Reid.

At 1:30am on Wednesday April 13, a silver Subaru old style possibly a 'Y' registration was seen in Tunworth being driven into private wooden gates. The gates thankfully held and the criminals did not managed to get into the grounds of the house.
The same night metal containers were broken into at a farm in Newnham Lane, Old Basing with £1,400 worth of tools stolen. In the same area another three outbuildings were broken into and a tile cutter stolen. A detached garage in Blackstocks Lane at Nately Scures was also opened but no property stolen from within.
If anyone can help in any way, please do not hesitate to contact PC Reid directly (details HERE).

Wed April 13, 2016:
Garage Break-in Attempt at Northgate Cottage, Northgate Lane

This morning (13th April), at approximately 2:00am, two men broke into a garage at Northgate Cottage (Seumas and Debbie Foster’s house at the top of the village) and were disturbed by the alarm. They drove off in a vehicle towards Cliddesden village.
PC Andrew Reid would like to ask if anyone saw or heard anything unusual last night to please contact him directly (details HERE).
ALSO, if anyone has any CCTV that may overlook the roads to see if there was any movement last night in the early hours.

Tue April 12, 2016:
Monday’s Parish Council Meeting

This meeting was held in the Church due to a mix up (not the fault of the council) with Memorial Hall bookings.

Open Forum:
PC Andrew Reid reported on the thefts at Cannon Close garages.
Paul Turner requested that the council carefully analyse the efficacy of each and every one of Green Lane’s road verge drainage channels. Then, to arrange the
filling in of those that either serve no purpose or (worse) actually exacerbate the situation by allowing mud and stones to be carried away down Green Lane by flood water.

Formal Meeting:
Once again, the Minutes of the previous meeting were gone through, with each original action point being discussed.
EDITOR: For the last fifteen years or so, this agenda item was actually “Matters arising from the Minutes (for which no relevant Agenda Item is listed below)”. This was so that the actual meeting could get quickly underway and any “matters arising” could be properly discussed within the appropriate Agenda Item.
This new process (which last night went on for half an hour!) was started by the Chairman four or five meetings ago and is especially frustrating for members of the public to have to sit through, especially if they’ve come to listen to a particular agenda item which is high up on the itinerary.

New Parish Clerk? …
  Mr Mick Walker was introduced as Ellisfield’s prospective new Clerk. Mr Walker moved from Sherfield Park into The Acorns on the Axford Road (the Hopwood’s house) last August. He originates from Reading and served in the Navy up until 1996. After spells at Harwell and AWE, since 2004 he has been an independent Nuclear Radiation Detection Advisor, working from home. It is unknown whether or not he has any experience of the workings of a Parish Council.
Implications of Recent Flooding …
  The parish council will be attending a meeting at the offices of the Highways Department in Hook on Thursday morning.

EDITOR: It was now after 9.00pm and I left them to continue their meeting. However, before I left I urged them to address the issue of the flooding that regularly occurs at the Bus Shelter at the top of Green Lane. I emphasised that I found it astonishing that a serious accident had not happened there, when cars coming from the north move out - on a blind bend - into the middle of the road to avoid the water.

Tue April 5, 2016:
"In The Fields" Article

The latest "In The Fields" article can be found HERE.

Mon March 29, 2016:
Green Lane Drainage Channel

After last night’s storm, most of the “cuttings” made by Hampshire County’s Highway Department have been filled in (by a concerned resident).

Thu March 24, 2016:
Ladies Club’s New Committee

A brand new Committee was voted in at the Ladies Club’s AGM.

Diane Sandeman is now the Chairwoman, Kim Evans becomes the Treasurer and the other committee members are April Carroll and Sue Self. There is still one committee place to fill.

There is a full write-up of the AGM on the Ladies Club page.

Mon March 14, 2016:
New Chief Constable

Hampshire Police has just appointed its new Chief Constable. Olivia Pinkney was Deputy Chief Constable of Sussex Police.
Chairman of the Police and Crime Panel, Councillor David Stewart, said: “The Panel has unanimously agreed that Olivia Pinkney was an outstanding candidate for this position. The way in which she answered each of the questions posed by the Panel has demonstrated her suitability for the role, meaning that Hampshire and the Isle of Wight now have a new Chief Constable of exceptionally high calibre.”
Olivia Pinkney (right) said: “I’m absolutely delighted to hear the Panel’s decision and I look forward to leading the professionals within Hampshire Constabulary and serving the communities across the county and the Isle of Wight.”

Wed March 9, 2016:
Green Lane Drainage Channel Breach
  Light Rain Proves That The Cuttings   Made By Highways Need Restoring

The start of the Green Lane drainage channel (160309) - click for larger image ...Pleasingly, the overnight rain showed that the Drainage Channel takes ALL of the water going down Green Lane (see image right).
However, the parish council had been warned that the dozen of so cuttings made by the County Council Highways workmen to “take water off the road” in fact would probably do the opposite, in other words TAKE WATER
Breach in the Green Lane drainage channel (160309) - click for larger image ...
As you can see from the image on the right, that is exactly what has happened.
Because further down the road it cambers to the right, flood water is then carried down Green Lane and on to Cannon Close and beyond.
The parish council has been made aware of the above.
EDITOR: To view larger versions of the above photos, click on either image.
Other than this breach, the drainage channel is now performing very well, with rainwater carrying on to the Lower Common flood pit.

Mon March 7, 2016:
Parish Council Draft Minutes

Last Monday’s Parish Council meeting’s Draft Minutes  have been released.
EDITOR: In the Any Other Business section of the Minutes, it states that the “Councillors signed off the news letter” (see News Item below).

Mon March 7, 2016:
Parish Council March Newsletter

The March 2016 Newsletter was delivered to all residents over the weekend.
EDITOR: Warning. Warning. Warning.
The blood pressure of the village’s pedants will be dangerously raised if they read this newsletter.

Mon March 7, 2016:
Report to Parish Council regarding
Lower Common Working Party To
Clear Green Lane Drainage Channel

As promised, Paul Turner emailed a report to the Parish Council on Saturday evening. Further to a response from Cllr Guinness, Paul Turner emailed an explanation of why (and how) the council should communicate more with all residents regarding Ellisfield’s drainage.

A PDF document of both emails is available for residents to read.

Sat March 5, 2016:
Lower Common Working Party To
Clear Green Lane Drainage Channel

More than thirty Ellisfield residents turned up at 10.00am, armed with spades, saws (a couple on 10 foot poles!) and a variety of loppers.
One group went up Green Lane and cleared from the start of the Drainage Channel and another group tackled all the overhanging branches in the stretch from the road to the Flood Pit behind Lower Common.
Steve Brabbin, in his digger, managed to get into the Flood Pit from Lower Common itself and started to clear the ditch. Once all the overhanging branches had been cut and removed, Steve was then able to move down towards the road.
At around 11.30am, everyone broke off to have tea and coffee kindly supplied by Jacqui Matthews (Mayfield) and Alix Taylor (Lower Farm) with more coffee and biscuits supplied by Sheila Brabbin. The photo below shows most of the volunteers (some were still up the road working and one was behind the camera …).

After the break a group of a dozen or so then tackled the trees along the roadside, including one large tree which was pushing down the overhead telephone cable. Great care was taken here and, once the overhanging branches were cut, Steve Gould removed the stumps with a chainsaw.
Meanwhile, Steve Brabbin continued with the digger and then, finally, pulled a lot of the top soil down to the road edge and filled in the gap between the Drainage Channel and the road which had breached in the February flash flood and which had then been recently widened (in error!) by the Highways workmenLower Common Work Group on March 5, 2016 (click to enlarge ...).

(click on photo to see enlarged image.)

Many thanks to everyone involved and a very special thanks to Steve Brabbin for all his skilled work with the digger.

Wed March 2, 2016:
Request for Volunteers

Following a request by the Parish Council, Ellisfield residents are being asked to gather at Lower Common on Saturday morning at 10.00am in order to clear out the Green Lane drainage channel.
Please bring work gloves, loppers (five pairs will be provided), saws and shovels/spades.
Once the channel is cleared, recommendations will be made to the parish council for any further work that may be needed to improve this essential defence to avoid Flash Flooding from going on to Cannon Close and beyond..
EDITOR: See March 5 News Item above.

Wed March 2, 2016:
New "Ellisfield Drainage” Web Page

This new Ellisfield Drainage web page has been created so that all the information on the two Flash Floods in January and February and on the remedial work that is ongoing can be found in one place.
There is a new “Ellisfield Drainage” link at the top of the Home Page and all its sub-pages.

Wed March 2, 2016:
Green Lane Pond’s Verge Restored

See the update below (within the February 25 News Item).

Mon February 29, 2016:
Drainage Work In Green Lane Last Week Was Carried Out By Hampshire County Council’s Highways Dept!

Following on from last Thursday’s news item (see below), we now know that it was HCC’s Highways Department who were responsible!
They were asked, by the Parish Council, to survey Ellisfield and to report back with their findings. With perhaps what could charitably be called “excessive enthusiasm” they decided to also do all the digging explained below rather than let the parish council look at their proposals first. (After all, it’s the Ellisfield residents who know the village and who witnessed the January and February flash floods.)
The Highways “Drainage Map” was produced at this evening’s Parish Council meeting and it’s available to display by clicking HERE. (Note that the work done above Hill Farm is not shown.).

Thu February 25, 2016:
“Interesting” Drainage Work
Carried Out In Green Lane

You can click on any of the images below to view them full sized.

Squares dug out between the Postbox and the Pond (click to enlarge)At the top of Green Lane, between the bus shelter and Hill Farm Pond, squares of earth have been dug out of the verge.
Square dug out above road drain between the Postbox and the Pond (click to enlarge)It is presumed that it’s hoped that the rainwater will soak away into them. However, all the top soil has been cut away, leaving a clay base at road level (including one dug just before a road drain!).

Cutting to left of Pond (click to enlarge)TheCutting to middle of Pond (click to enlarge)re has also been work done at the Pond itself, with run-offs being dug.
Cutting to right of Pond (click to enlarge)The reason is unknown, as the two existing road drains installed during pond renovation work well (providing they are kept cleared of detritus).
These three new run-offs seem to have no purpose other than to destroy the view of the pond from the road.
EDITOR (update on Wed March 2): The rain on Tuesday proved that the run-offs described above were, as expected, useless. It is therefore pleasing to report that an Ellisfield resident (who is highly knowledgeable regarding the Pond drainage) has restored the verge.

Further down Green Lane, 12 or 13 cuttings have been made between the tarmac and the existing drainage channel.
Start of Drainage Channel (click to enlarge)Because of the camber of the road, flood water from the field above Farrier’s Field has always naturally run into this channel (see image right) and on to the flood pit behind Lower Common. It worked successfully during the January flash flood.
One of 12 Cuttings between road and Drainage Channel (click to enlarge)So, these new cuttings (which are only inches higher than the channel itself) will fulfil no other purpose but to allow water running down the channel to go back onto the road, especially if there is a minor blockage in the channel.

Cutting which will result in all water leaving the Drainage Channel (click to enlarge)Lastly, just before Lower Common itself, where the water broke out of the drainage channel during the last flash flood in February, no attempt has been made to repair the breach (it’s actually been massively widened !!!) so flood water will still continue on to Cannon Close.
EDITOR (Mon, Feb 29): Village drainage was discussed at the Parish Council meeting on Monday evening. See Feb 29 News Item for more information).

Tue February 23, 2016:
Ranil Jayawardena, Our Member Of Parliament, Has Decided To Vote To Leave The European Union

Mr Jayawardena today issued a Statement in which he said:

“I am drawn to consider the constitutional arguments over the economic arguments and I am minded that the deal before the country today is not good enough.
“Accordingly, I intend to vote to leave the EU.”

However, he did also say:

“…  should a better deal be put forward now or in the future, I would consider such a proposal on its merits to determine whether I believe it is in the best interests of Britain and the British people. For me, that's what this is about - what is best for Britain.”

Here is a PDF of his detailed Statement.

EDITOR: Maria Miller, our Member of Parliament before the electoral boundary was changed last year, has decided to vote to REMAIN in the EU …

Mon February 22, 2016:
Hare Coursers Convicted

John and Edwin Gregory, both from the Surrey area, were spotted trespassing on private land south of Cliddesden in July 2015. Police quickly attended the area and stopped the two as they returned to their vehicle.
This stop resulted in their vehicle and four lurcher dogs being seized.
The pair were later summoned to appear at court where last Friday they pleaded guilty to an offence under the Hunting Act 2004. They were ordered to pay compensation in excess of £2,200.
EDITOR: An expensive so-called “hobby” …

Thu February 18, 2016:
Bradley Road Closure Next Monday
(February 22) From 9.00am To (approx.) 2.00pm

The road to Moundsmere and Bradley will be closed at the junction with the Axford Road next Monday (February 22) from 9.00am in order for tree felling work to take place.
It will reopen as soon after 2.00pm as possible (or earlier if the work is completed quicker than expected).

Mon February 8, 2016:
Flash Flood Number 2

The heavy rain last night resulted in the bottom of Green Lane and the Axford Road having deeper flood water than that experienced five weeks ago.

Despite all the work that was commissioned by the parish council, this new field runoff showed that there are still weaknesses in our road drainage .
For example, the water flowing from above Farrier’s Field fed very successfully into the channel running alongside Green Lane but, where the water should have turned left to go to the pit behind Lower Common, it instead broke back into the road.
Also, gullies cut into the side of Green Lane simply filled up and the water, now carrying mud, gravel, etc., carried on to the triangle to join up with the flood water which had came down College Lane and onto the Axford Road.

No doubt there will be another postmortem and, hopefully, further action taken before the next downpour.

EDITOR: Unhappily, in Axford, a number of houses were flooded and our thoughts are with the residents affected.
PC Andrew Reid was out at 10.00pm when alerted by Portsmouth Estates’ security officer. As Andrew no longer has a police 4x4 at his disposal in Preston Candover, the security officer took him around.
At 4.39am he sent out an email, detailing the night’s events, to the Ellisfield and Preston Candover parish council chairmen.
We are SO lucky to have such a good “local bobby”…
Update: The runoff from the “ZigZag field” has seriously damaged the surface of Fuzzy Lane.
Update 2: There’s an article on the Basingstoke Gazette website about this event.

Tue January 26, 2016:
Ellisfield Volunteers Group’s AGM

Monday evening’s AGM took 23 minutes to complete the formal business, thus failing to beat last year’s record of 18 minutes
There were a few committee changes. Margaret Evans stepped down as co-ordinator for the Gravel Pits and Graham Simpson moves from co-ordinating the Burial Ground to looking after the Gravel Pits.
Paul Brown has joined the committee and will be taking over the running of the Burial Ground from Graham.
Andy Swanston today released a copy of his Chairman’s Report of 2015 and the latest version of the 2016 Mowing Schedule is also now available.
For further information on the group’s activities, go to the Ellisfield Volunteer Group web page.

Tue January 26, 2016:
Parish Council’s 2016/17 Precept

It has been confirmed today by the parish council chairman, Cllr Tim Guinness, that the Parish Council precept (the total amount of money required for the running of the council) for the April 2016 to March 2017 financial year will be £5,521, this being the same as the previous four years.
Although the actual amount charged per property will depend upon its rateable value, it means that the average cost per Ellisfield household will be £46.40.

Mon January 11, 2016:
Ellisfield Parish Council Meeting

The open forum commenced with the Chairman, Cllr Tim Guinness, providing a highly detailed explanation of last Sunday’s flash flood, what has been done since and also what is being planned to do in the future.
The main action has been that many of the grips and drainage channels were cleared out today using a digger operated by a contractor paid for out of parish funds and another couple of hours of this work is planned for tomorrow.
Hampshire County Council’s Highways Department have been requested to clear the debris still remaining on the Axford Road and to repair the damage to the tarmac. They did not provide a timescale for this work (but they did state that it would be within the next two months!).
In the Open Forum, a resident asked PC Andrew Reid if he would alert the Highways Department to the dangers of the debris and he agreed to do so the following morning. It was pointed out that the area in question is on an official Cycle Route and another resident made it known that he had witnessed a cyclist falling off his bike because of this debris.
All this and the formal discussion on the flash flood when the council went back into session took just under an hour.
Editor: As has happened in the last few meetings, the chairman then proceeded to review the previous meeting’s minutes in detail rather than wait until the relevant Agenda Items came up later in the meeting.
Being in great danger of falling asleep, I decided to leave the meeting rather than embarrass myself …
UPDATE (Jan 31): A second version of the meeting’s Draft Minutes has been released.

Thu January 7, 2016:
Article in the Basingstoke Gazette
reports on Ellisfield’s Flash Flood

A report (with photos by Glen Horgan) of Sunday’s Green Lane and Axford Road flash flood was on the front and second pages of today’s Basingstoke Gazette .
You can also see it on the Gazette’s website.

Mon January 4, 2016:
Volunteers Needed To Help Clear
The Village’s Drainage Channels

The Ellisfield Volunteer Group has put a call out for residents to help clear the drainage channels around the village, following the localised road flooding which took place on Sunday.
Ideally, the work needs to be done during the week but there may still be a need for volunteers over the weekend.
Anyone who has not received the Volunteer Group’s email can volunteer by emailing editor@ellisfield.org.uk and your name will be forwarded on to Andy Swanston, the Group’s chairman.

Mon January 4, 2016:
Flash Road Flooding in Ellisfield

As most residents already know, the flash flooding on Sunday turned Green Lane and College Lane into “rivers”. It was made a lot worse by the runoff from the surrounding fields.
The bottom of Green Lane and the Axford Road suffered the most, with two cars being seriously damaged with water getting into their air intakes (picture below was taken by Glen Horgan).Ellisfield's flash road flood (Jan 3, 2016)

Tue December 29, 2015:
Local Policing Priorities Survey

In Basingstoke District, the Local Community Policing Priorities for each area are set by gathering the views of local residents.
You are urged to spare 5 minutes to complete the
online survey and have your say about what issues matter to you.
EDITOR: Interestingly, most of the listed concerns (except speeding and theft from outbuildings) are far more relevant to Basingstoke’s urban areas.
By selecting the Basingstoke Rural South area and then adding those concerns more affecting us (for example, the need to have a visible police presence, unlicensed door-to-door selling, thefts from farms and farmland damage caused by 4x4 vehicles driven by people poaching game and deer, etc.) you’ll be able to influence the priorities relevant to Andrew Reid’s beat.

Mon December 7, 2015:
Dramatic Planning Application for
Demolishing the Majority of The Old Manor in Church Lane

A planning application has been lodged with Basingstoke & Deane requesting permission to demolish everything but the original 16c section of the Grade 2 listed The Old Manor. It is then proposed to build a totally new “extension” (that’s what it’s called in the planning application!) in its place.
All the planning documents can be viewed on the B&DBC website.
The standard consultancy expiry date is Friday, December 18.
EDITOR: If you’d like to have a quick look at what’s involved, I have created a viewable PDF document which shows the South Elevation (existing and proposed) and the North Elevation (again, existing and proposed). You’ll quickly see why I used the word “dramatic” in this News Item’s title!

Tue December 1, 2015:
This Website's Third Birthday!

"My thanks to all the residents who contribute to making sure that the individual sections are made interesting and informative."

Paul Turner, Editor.

Mon November 30, 2015:
3 Farrier’s Field Available Soon

Under the rules for Ellisfield of section 106 housing, this house is being advertised by Basingstoke & Deane Borough Council on their Homebid website (click to view).
This page gives full details of the property but please note that although the advert runs out today the house will be advertised again from THIS Thursday (December 3).
There are four remaining bidding cycles and families with a connection with Ellisfield have priority. If no such individual or family comes forward, it will then be advertised for another six weeks to those individuals or families with connections to neighbouring parishes.
Please pass this information on to anyone you are aware of who might be interested in this opportunity.

Thu November 12, 2015:
John Lewis  At Home and Waitrose
Stores Both Opened Today

The new John Lewis at Home and Waitrose stores opened in Basing View this morning.
Hundreds of shoppers queued outside from 8.00am to be the first to explore the 46,000 square foot John Lewis and 26,000 square foot Waitrose.
The John Lewis store becomes the retailer’s 12th ‘at home’ shop and Basingstoke’s is the largest co-located John Lewis and Waitrose development in the UK.
The opening times Monday to Saturday are 9.00am to 8.00pm (John Lewis) and 7.30am to 9.00pm (Waitrose). On Sundays they're both open from 11.00am to 5.00pm. (On all days, John Lewis actually opens from 10.30am for "browsing time").
The café is open Monday to Saturday 7.30am to 8.00pm and 10.30am to 4.30pm on Sundays.

Cllr John Izett, cabinet member for finance and resources at Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council, said: “We know the company has made the right decision in choosing Basingstoke as the destination to open its largest combined store and we are delighted it has resulted in 369 new jobs for the borough as well as providing more choice for our residents and attracting new visitors to the town centre. This is a significant step forward in the regeneration of Basing View and will no doubt be the catalyst to more exciting developments in the town centre business district.".

Fri November 6, 2015:
No Village Carol Singing This Year!

Following a committee meeting held yesterday evening, the Ellisfield Ladies Club has announced that "there will, unfortunately, be no Carols around the Village this year in December due to pressure of commitments".

Sun November 1, 2015:
"In The Fields" Article

Seumas Foster's latest "In The Fields" article can be found HERE.

Sat October 31, 2015:
Draft Minutes of the Ellisfield Parish Council's October 20 Meeting

True to her word, Wendy Simson, the new Interim Parish Clerk, has posted Draft Minutes of the council's meeting on October 20.
EDITOR: This is really EXCELLENT. No longer do residents have to wait until after the next meeting (normally at least six weeks) before they can find out what was discussed.

Fri October 30, 2015:
An Invasion of "Night Runners", Late Evening on Tuesday, November 10

Hatchwarren Runners are planning a few evening trail runs around the Farleigh Wallop & Ellisfield 10k route over the next few months.
The next evening will be Tuesday, November 10.
Don't be alarmed by the sudden appearance of about 25+ runners with head-torches and clothed in high-viz colours passing along the footpaths between 7.00pm and 8.30pm.
Here is their planned route.
They plan to run the same route, this time starting and ending at The Fox, in a month or so.
EDITOR: Thanks go to Susie Deane for forwarding on this information.

Wed October 21, 2015:
Superfast Broadband in Ellisfield

At Tuesday's parish council meeting, Cllr Park-Weir was asked if there was any more news about Ellisfield obtaining superfast broadband. He replied that there was not.

The current situation is that properties in the north of the village (those served from the cabinet at the junction of College Lane and Church Lane) ARE scheduled to be upgraded in Hampshire County Council's "Phase 2". The currently proposed installation date (taken from HCC's website) is:
Coming soon - July 2017 to June 2018. So, "soon" is at least 21 months, perhaps as much as 33 months!
Properties linked to the cabinet in Herriard are too far away to make use of that cabinet's Superfast Broadband connection and they are not scheduled to be looked at until all the Phase 2 installations have been completed (currently September 2018).
It should be noted that because the north of the village IS scheduled in Phase 2, a privately funded installation is now not possible.
However, the southern properties ARE still permitted to enter into a community funded installation because they are not included in Phase 2 AND because the Herriard Exchange itself DOES now have fibre connections ...

Wed October 21, 2015:
Ellisfield Parish Council Meeting

Changes, changes ...
The meeting, on a Tuesday because of the hall being pre-booked on the Monday, had our new Clerk, Wendy Simson, in attendance.
Also, the chairman decided to go through the last meeting's Minutes, item by item, at the start of the meeting rather than the traditional method of discussing outstanding issues in the relevant sections of the Agenda. This new session lasted half an hour whereas the "Matters Arising from the Minutes (for which no relevant Agenda Item is listed below)" item which has been in place for at least the last ten years usually took up just a couple of minutes at most.
What didn't change was that there was (again) much discussion about retrieving parish council property from the previous Clerk who resigned, with immediate effect, over three months ago. Hope was expressed that the previous Clerk had actually completed the Minutes of the May 18 parish council meeting and the May 29 Annual Parish Meeting.
The chairman explained what was happening about finding a tenant for the recently vacated Housing Association house in Farrier's Field and the Clerk presented a Financial Report which, because all the accounting records (and cheque book!) are still with the previous Clerk, understandably had a number of gaps in it.
Finally, the previously proposed next meeting date of Tuesday, December 1 was changed to Wednesday, December 2 because the chairman would be celebrating his 25,000th day on earth on the Tuesday ...
The meeting ended at 9.30pm.

Thu October 15, 2015:
Community's Offer to Fund Local Police Officer for the Upton Grey & The Candover Beat REFUSED

EDITOR (4.55pm): The heading says it all. Here is the text of a Basingstoke Gazette article which was posted to their website at 4.30pm this afternoon.

Sat October 10, 2015:
Hampshire Country Watch Alert

Mick Ames, Hampshire Country Watch police officer, has sent out the following alert:
"Seen in the
Farleigh Wallop area in the early hours of the morning of Friday 9th, a dark coloured Jeep 4x4 driving over fields. Dogs were heard with the vehicle but when seen it made off at speed and no registration number was taken.
"Bear this type of vehicle in mind when seen in rural locations and if in any doubt call Police on 101 to report it, including the registration number or even a part number."

Fri October 9, 2015:
Letter From Destination Basingstoke

Theresa Lunn has received a letter from Felicity Edwards, Managing Director of Destination Basingstoke, the organisers of the Half Marathon.

It said:
"I wanted to write to thank you and all your members at the Ellisfield Ladies Club for your magnificent efforts in creating the wonderful array of scarecrows that entertained all the runners on Sunday. It was an unexpected but very welcome addition to the atmosphere of the race and we are so pleased that the people of Ellisfield have so embraced the spirit of the half marathon.
"... We would be very grateful if you could help get the message out to everyone in your area about our gratitude for both their patience with the road closures and (their) enthusiastic support."

Fri October 9, 2015:
Ellisfield Scarecrow Slideshow

All the scarecrows were photographed and these images have now been incorporated into a slideshow which you'll find at the top of the Ladies Club page.
Below is a picture of this year's winner, Pat Gould.

Wed October 7, 2015:
2016 Ellisfield Calendar

"Scenes Around Ellisfield". Our own village calendar, showing some of the beauty in and around Ellisfield, will be on sale from October 22 for £5.
The calendar is A4 in size and has 12 pages with a different view on each page.
It promotes CPRE (Campaign to Protect Rural England) but proceeds are going to a village charity (which one is currently unknown!).
To purchase a copy, please contact Caroline on 381279 or Hannah on 381863.

Tue October 6, 2015:
Update Regarding Upton Grey and The Candovers Police Beat Area

Neil Taylor, the Chairman of Tunworth Parish Council, has sent out an update regarding our Beat Officer, PC Andrew Reid.
This update has been converted to a PDF document which can be displayed by clicking HERE.

Sat October 3, 2015:
Scarecrow Competition Results

1st Place: Worzel Gummidge & Aunt Sally
Pat Gould
2 Park View, Green Lane
Judge's comment: "Well done Pat. Yours stood out. Lots of work, with so much additional decoration with flowers, etc."

2nd Place: The Landscape Architect
Dee and Laura Haas
The Walled Garden, College Lane

3rd Place: The Old Man
Terry Gilvear
4 Cannon Close, Green Lane

The following were also judged to be of very high quality:

Pointing The Way, Woodside
118-118, Homestead
The Fox and Companion, The Fox
Boris the Cyclist, Fair Views
The Shooter, 1 Widmoor Cottages
It’s Your Move & Bear Gould, 3  Park View

Thanks go to Rev. Stephen Mourant for judging this competition. He said:
"Really everyone deserves a prize for taking part, with some incredibly imaginative scarecrows - flying, climbing, cycling, etc. Wow.
"Well done everyone. Thanks for participating and I hope you enjoyed it. The hardest role of all? Trying to make a fair judgement on such great wit, creativity and imagination."

Tue September 22, 2015
Scarecrow Competition Being Held Over The 3rd/4th October Weekend

If you've not received the Entry Form or you've mislaid it, it's been converted to a PDF and can be displayed and printed by clicking HERE.
Completed forms, together with a £1 entry fee, need to be dropped into the roadside letterbox of Dragon's Holt (near the bottom of Green Lane) by Monday, September 28.
PS: All of last year's scarecrows can be viewed at the top of the Ellisfield Ladies Club page.

Mon September 21, 2015:
Message From PC Andrew Reid

Some time between 5.00pm Saturday (19th) and 1:30pm Sunday (20th), thieves stole a large amount of hens, cockerels, feeders and drinkers along with a complete chicken cage from a site in Bagmore Lane, Herriard, having both entered and left the field from the A339 by the old school entrance and the track leading to the old cricket field.

I ask if anyone was in Bagmore Lane between these times, but more so about 9:30pm on Saturday evening when a 'commotion' was heard, or if anyone saw a vehicle going into or out off the entrance (I suspect that it was a large vehicle pulling a trailer). If you can provide any information please call me directly and in strictest confidence.

Andrew REID
Police Constable 3746, Rural Beat Officer
Police Office, Preston Candover
DD:   01256:389050
HQ:   101
Mob: 07768:776844
Email: andrew.reid@hampshire.pnn.police.uk

Wed September 16, 2015:
Parish Council Minutes Published

The minutes of the July 27 parish council meeting, approved at last week's meeting, have been published today.

Wed September 16, 2015:
Ladies Club Naomi House Donation

At the Ladies Club annual general meeting back in March, it was proposed and agreed to donate £100 to Naomi House and Jacks Place (based in Sutton Scotney), the respite and hospice for sick children and young adults.
Maggie and Celia recently visited Naomi House to see the "Giving Tree" and the leaf commemorating the Ladies Club donation.

Wed September 9, 2015:
Long May She Reign ...

Today, Queen Elizabeth II’s reign reached its 23,226th day, surpassing the record set by her great great grandmother Queen Victoria.

Tue September 8, 2015:
Monday's Parish Council Meeting

Monday evening's meeting of the Ellisfield Parish Council started at 8.00pm (this change from the traditional 7.30pm time is now permanent) and lasted for two hours.
The new Interim Parish Clerk, Wendy Simson (see news item below), and the new co-opted councillor, Vicky Reed of Upper Farm Cottage in Green Lane, were both welcomed.
Quite a lot of time was spent discussing the council's progress (or non-progress?) at recovering "parish council property from the outgoing Clerk" (Christina Veasey resigned two months ago) who is currently still in possession of parish council records, printer, cheque book, correspondence, etc. Also discussed was the fact that the council still do not have in their possession Minutes of the parish council meeting held on May 18 or of the resident's Annual Parish Meeting held on May 29.
The rest of the council meeting was a lot less interesting and there was nothing memorable to report.
The dates of the next two meetings were agreed and (in another break with tradition) they are both going to be held on a Tuesday (October 20 and December 1).

Thu September 3, 2015:
New Interim Parish Clerk

Click for larger image ...Wendy Simson (see right), Clerk to Preston Candover & Nutley parish council and Candovers parish council, will start work as Ellisfield's Parish Clerk as from next Monday evening's meeting.
Wendy will remain in post until a permanent Clerk has been recruited and, if necessary, trained.
(Click picture for larger image display.)

Mon August 25, 2015:
New Neighbourhood Watch Area
Coordinator For Scheme 090

Charlie (Charlotte) Hellewell, of Woodside on the Axford Road, has agreed to take over from Peter Hopwood as the Area Coordinator for Scheme 090 (lower Green Lane, Axford Road & lower College Lane).
Her contact details can be found on the Neighbourhood Watch page (her phone number is awaited).

Mon August 17, 2015:
New Neighbourhood Watch Area
Coordinator For Scheme 300

Keith Galbraith, of The Old Stables on College Lane, has agreed to be the new Area Coordinator for Scheme 300 (upper College Lane, Bell Lane & Church Lane).
His contact details can be found on the Neighbourhood Watch page.

Thu August 13, 2015:
Police "Rural Times" Publication

Hampshire Constabulary has launched a new on-line publication.
"Rural Times" will be published every quarter to provide an update on the work that the police and partner organisations are undertaking to deal with rural issues.
The magazine will contain topical information influenced by seasonal trends, as well as crime prevention advice, recent prosecutions and good news stories.
Please click here to view the first edition.

Fri August 7, 2015:
Jane Hannah Takes Over From
Hannah Houstin-Lacey As Ellisfield's
Neighbourhood Watch Coordinator

Jane Hannah of Hill Farm Cottage in Green Lane is now our Neighbourhood Watch coordinator.
If you need to get in touch, her contact details are at the top of the Neighbourhood Watch page.
EDITOR: Thanks and gratitude to Hannah Houstin-Lacey, who has put in 8 years service to the community as a conduit between residents and the police service.
EDITOR UPDATE (Sun Aug 9, 2015):
Hannah and Jane have emailed out a notice explaining the handover.
I have reformatted it and converted it from a Word document to a PDF for this website. To display this PDF, please click HERE.

Wed August 5, 2015:
Parish Council's Missing Minutes

The minutes of the parish council's May 18 meeting have still not been published. These minutes were to have been produced by Christina Veasey who resigned just before the next scheduled meeting.

Then, as the July 13 meeting's Agenda was published too late for the meeting to be legal, the record of that meeting were deemed to be "Notes" and not "Minutes". These "Notes" were approved at the July 27 meeting BUT they also have not (at the time of this News Item) been published on the council's Official Website.

Sat August 1, 2015:
Horticultural Society's Summer Show

A report has been added to the Horticultural Society's page.
Congratulations go to the following Ellisfield residents: Adam & Tracey Gilvear, Seumas & Debbie Foster, Fletcher Cooke and Genna Cooke.

Thu July 30, 2015:
Ranil Jayawardena, MP

Our MP, Ranil Jayawardena, has been appointed as a member of the Home Affairs Select Committee.

Wed July 29, 2015:
Residents' Meeting With Simon Hayes, The Hampshire Police & Crime Commissioner, Reported On In This Evening's BBC "South Today"

This meeting, with Edward Belcher (of Tunworth) and our Borough Councillor Mark Ruffell, to discuss the proposal for the Community Funding of our local beat officer, was reported on by the South Today news programme this evening.

In the programme, Simon Hayes (see right) said "What we have been talking about, and we haven't concluded this afternoon and we will meet again, is how communities perhaps can support policing in different and more innovative ways, and we need to think about that in more detail".

The programme also quoted a statement by the Hampshire Police Federation, as follows:
"The idea of communities funding policing privately could create an unfair two tier system of the haves and the have nots".

EDITOR: The BBC Red Button's "Around the UK" text news channel has an article headed up (rather stupidly, I'd say) "Residents try to buy their own bobby". It contained the statement "Residents have offered to pay £60,000 a year to keep him".
There is also an article on the BBC website which mistakenly talks about "Upton Grey and Candovers Parish Council". No such council exists! There are actually 14 parish councils and parish meetings within the Upton Grey and Candovers beat area but, it must be said, most pledges are from individual residents.
UPDATE (Thu, July 30):
Basingstoke Gazette posted an article too.

Wed July 29, 2015:
Lower Common Swings Are Still Out of Action ...

The swings on Lower Common have been out of action for six weeks now (see June 9 News Item below). It was reported at Monday's parish council meeting that parts have now arrived BUT they are the wrong parts.
Cllr Richards is chasing the suppliers and hopes that the situation can be resolved soon.

Tue July 28, 2015:
Parish Council Meeting

This meeting took place on Monday evening. Unusually, it is just two weeks since the Parish Council last met, on July 13 (see News item below).
Despite the Agenda stating that the Open Forum would take place
before the meeting started (see July 21 News Item below), it was actually held within the meeting  ...


Wendy Simson (Clerk to both Preston Candover & Nutley and Candovers parish councils, was introduced to councillors. Wendy has offered to become a locum Clerk to Ellisfield until a suitable replacement for Mrs Veasey can be found.
After Wendy had left, the Council agreed to ask her to start her temporary role as from the September meeting. They then discussed what to do about getting back all the Council property (including the cheque book!) from Mrs Veasey.

A replacement for Cllr Wright was then discussed and it was agreed to co-opt Vicky Reed of Upper Common Cottage, Green Lane.

EDITOR: I then left so cannot comment on the rest of the meeting. There were no other residents present.

Tue July 21, 2015:
Parish Council Meeting's Open Forum To Change Its Format

The parish council have decided to alter the format of the Open Forum.
It is now going to be held before the meeting starts and is going to be limited to a maximum of 15 minutes, irrespective of how many residents wish to speak, irrespective of the urgency of the matter that they wish discussed and irrespective of the time it takes for an answer to be provided by the council.

Tue July 14, 2015:
Parish Council Meeting

There was an Ellisfield Parish Council meeting on Monday evening. Because Christina Veasey had resigned (see News Item dated July 11 below), Edna Chilton (who retired as Parish Clerk in 2003) attended the meeting and took the notes.
The minutes of the previous meeting on May 19 were not in the parish council's possession and so (obviously!) they could not be signed or discussed.
It was agreed that another meeting will be held in two weeks time (Monday, July 27 at 8.00pm, not 7.30pm as is usual).
EDITOR: Based on my experiences of being a parish clerk, councillor and chairman, in the Open Forum I asked questions and offered my advice on a number of matters, some of which I felt were serious and needed addressing. My warnings were ignored.
As for the meeting itself, I'm going to refrain from reporting what happened.
The meeting was held in the church and I could not stop images of parish meetings in episodes of The Vicar of Dibley from going through my mind. I didn't know whether to laugh or cry ...

Sun July 12, 2015:
Community Funding for PC Reid

Despite the lack of formal announcements, negotiations to strike an acceptable deal to allow us in the Upton Grey & The Candovers area to keep our own beat officer are still ongoing.
Holidays have caused a few delays but it is hoped that we will hear something positive by the end of the month.
In the meantime, of course, PC Andrew Reid remains in post and is as active as ever on our behalf.

Sat July 11, 2015:
Parish Council Clerk Resigns

Mrs Christina Veasey, who was appointed Parish Clerk just six months ago (on January 26), has tendered her resignation.
Monday meeting's Agenda went up today on the Parish Council's village notice board and on the Parish Council website.
Editor: I don't know who created the Agenda, it certainly was not Mrs Veasey. Anyway, item 4 is "Actions required following resignation of Clerk" and item 13 is "Closed Session to agree outstanding issues, if any, arising from resignation of Clerk".

UPDATE: The following has appeared on the Parish Council website today:
“Sadly Christina Veasey resigned as Clerk on Monday. We are now urgently considering how best to replace her.
Tim Guinness, Ellisfield Parish Council

Sat July 11, 2015:
Parish Council 2014/15 Accounts

At the beginning of this week, all the various accounts documents for the 2014/15 year were uploaded to a new Audit and Accounts page on the Parish Council website.
EDITOR: Congratulations go to Christina Veasey, the new Parish Clerk, for all the hard work getting all the documentation ready for auditing and then uploading everything onto the council website.
Ellisfield residents should especially read the Auditors' Report which contains a list of matters arising from the audit. For example, I'm certain that the comment that:
"The reserves of the council are significantly higher than best practice. Parish Councils do not have the power to hold savings."
"Projects that will benefit all of the residents of the parish should be brought forward to bring the reserves to a more appropriate level."
will invoke some interesting discussion between councillors and amongst Ellisfield residents.

Sat July 4, 2015:
Horticultural Society's "Best Garden Competition" Results

Congratulations to the following Ellisfield residents:

Debbie and Seumas Foster for gaining a 1st place in the Combined class, a 2nd in the Vegetable class and a 3rd in the Flower Class.
Adam Gilvear for gaining a 1st place in the Flower class.
Jacqui and Tony Matthews for gaining a 2nd place in the Flower class and a 3rd place in the Pots & Baskets class.

All results can be found on the Horticultural Society's page.

Wed July 1, 2015:
"In The Fields" Article

The latest "In The Fields" article can be found HERE. This month, it is written by a guest contributor, David Miller, who is the Farm Manager for Wheatsheaf Farming Company at Folly Farm, North Waltham.
David has been putting much effort into improving the soils that they farm, and the article is an insight into the work and philosophy of his drive towards sustainability.

Thu June 25, 2015:
Ellisfield's MP Meets BT Director

Ranil Jayawardena (right), our Member of Parliament, met with BT director Tim O’Sullivan last Wednesday to discuss ways to improve better access to fast broadband for the almost 30,000 homes and businesses across north east Hampshire that do not have access to superfast broadband
As reported in the Basingstoke Gazette, Mr Jayawardena said: “In the 21st century, all residents should be able to access fast broadband, even in rural areas such as Mattingley, Stratfield Turgis
and Ellisfield."

EDITOR: It's good to hear that our MP is aware that Ellisfield needs superfast broadband.

Mon June 22, 2015:
Hampshire Hospitals NHS Trust Are Looking for "Befriending" Volunteers

As a volunteer befriender your role will be to provide social companionship to patients who have a chronic or life limiting illness and who are isolated or lonely. Becoming a friend and visiting a patient in their own homes will help to restore emotional well-being, confidence and feelings of self-worth.
Committing to just 2 hours a week (or even less), you can make a real difference to a patient living in your local community.
All relevant training will be given, as well as regular and on-going support.
For further information please contact Caroline Nash, Befriending Coordinator, by phone on 01264 835293 or email her at caroline.nash@hhft.nhs.uk.

Mon June 22, 2015:
Ellisfield's Wine Walk

From Joanne Thomas and Susie Deane:

This year, we had a beautiful summer's evening and there was a great mix of residents walking around the village.
Each host had made a huge (and generous) effort to bring to life the country associated with their wine.
Ali & Andy (South Africa) had Simba napkins (from the Jungle Book), Caroline & Bernard had books, paintings and played music from New Zealand and Dee & Richard (Argentina) had the music and spicy food.
Sue & Phil Self (hosting for Australia) had a crocodile in their pond (!) and visitors were serenaded by Phil playing the didgeridoo ...

EDITOR: Joanne will be announcing the takings soon.

Tue June 9, 2015:
Lower Common Swings Out of Action

Whilst awaiting some replacement parts, the swings cannot be used.

Fri June 5, 2015:
Parish Council Endorses The Fox

Ellisfield Parish Council has decided to formally endorse The Fox public house and its new landlord. The official council website says:

"Be assured of a warm welcome, often with a crackling open fire, at The Fox by its new landlord; Lucy Tuffs ..."
"With over 15 years experience in the ‘pub and catering’ world, Lucy has extended the opening hours creating great freshly cooked menus."
"All are assured of a well-honed enthusiastic reception at The Fox, so why not give it a try and meet many of the regulars and visitors ..."

Wed June 3, 2015:
PC Andrew Reid's Alerts

I'd like to make you aware of nearby crimes.
First, the theft of a spare wheel from a vehicle parked in Little Hoddington at Upton Grey. Then, between 1.00pm and 6.30pm yesterday (June 2), a hand bag was stolen from a parked car in Glebe Close, Dummer.
Lastly, there's been an increase in burglary to outhouses and sheds across the Basingstoke rural area, predominately in the border area with Berkshire. However we know that criminals will travel and no doubt will pass through our area. Please photograph and record serial numbers of garden equipment and tools and please make sure sheds and outbuildings are kept secure.
As always, please report any suspicious activity, people, vehicles etc.

Tue June 2, 2015
Parish Council Vacancy

The following notice has been posted on the Ellisfield Parish Council website:

The Council has just been notified by Julian Wright that he has decided to step down. This leaves a casual vacancy and, if 10 members of the electorate call for an election, one will be held. Otherwise the vacancy will be filled by co-option.
Any resident who would like to be considered for co-option is requested to let one of the Councillors or the Clerk know by email via clerk@ellisfield.gov.uk.
Julian was on the Council for three years and the Chairman, Councillor Tim Guinness, comments;
“Julian’s decision will leave a big hole. He worked tirelessly on your Council’s behalf on several important issues; most recently on trying to get BT to bring superfast broadband to Ellisfield.”

UPDATE: The official notification, dated June 4, has just been released.

EDITOR: Of course, it's always best for a parish councillor to be elected by the residents of the village, rather than be co-opted.

So, if you want to put yourself forward to be a parish councillor, you've two choices:

Fri May 29, 2015
Residents' Annual Parish Meeting

Although the Parish Council has still not elected its chairman, Cllr Tim Guinness chaired Friday evening's Ellisfield Residents' Annual Parish Meeting. He outlined the work of the parish council and that was followed by reports from:

Bernard Casenove, Educational Trust
PC Andrew Reid, Local Beat Officer
Dee Haas, Village Association
Bernard Casenove, St Martin's Church
Ray Reid, Memorial Hall
Edna Chilton, Hill & Dale Magazine
Celia Lunn, Ladies Club
Theresa Webb, Belles of St Martin's
Andy Swanston, Volunteer Group
Meg Freeman, Horticultural Society

There were also written reports on the Neighbourhood Watch (from Hannah Houstin-Lacey), the Oil Syndicate (from Ted Dowson) and the Ellisfield Allotment Gardeners Association.

The meeting was followed by food and wine.

EDITOR: The meeting chairman seemed to be a little confused whether this website was the "Ellisfield Community Website" or "Paul Turner's Website". For the avoidance of doubt, it IS our Community Website, with all village organisations (except St Martin's Church and the Parish Council) being fully active in contributing to the News and Events columns and, of course, providing material for their own sections of this website. I, Paul Turner, am merely the (sometimes opinionated) Editor.

Thu May 28, 2015
Latest Broadband Update from Hampshire County Council

Those residents who have signed up for email updates from Hampshire County Council in regards to the roll-out of superfast fibre broadband will have received THIS email today.
There's nothing new to report, except the following paragraph:

"The Government has set out plans to offer improved services to all of those currently experiencing under 2 Mbps of broadband. BT is working on this solution at the moment and we will be able to offer this by the end of 2015."

EDITOR: Note the words "we will" ...

Wed May 27, 2015:
National Rural Crime Survey

In response to concerns from people living and working in rural areas, the National Rural Crime Network is launching the biggest ever survey of rural policing and crime.

In the face of shrinking budgets, it is important for the National Rural Crime Network to better understand your experiences of policing and crime in your area. Have you suffered financial loss, been concerned or worried about safety or feel the focus is generally on urban areas? You can complete this survey anonymously.

The aim is for the National Rural Crime Network to use the results of the survey to improve awareness of crime in rural areas and encourage crime prevention, inform government policy and help ensure funding is not disproportionately lost from rural areas.

The results from the survey will inform the police and their partners in their work, helping to ensure the right services and resources are available to rural communities.

Start the survey

For the 10-15 minutes it will take, your response will make a difference to policing, crime and community safety in rural areas.

Tue May 26, 2015:
Farleigh Church Vandalised

Some time between Sunday (24th) and Monday (25th), windows at St Andrew's Church in Farleigh Wallop were broken.
If you have any information please contact the police on 101 quoting reference number 44150176115.

Sat May 23, 2015:
College Lane Notice Board Moved

The parish council contracted Timberwise Fencing to move the new notice board in College Lane (near the Bell Lane junction) to a new position.

Tue May 19, 2015:
Parish Council Meeting

The parish council met yesterday evening. If they followed their Meeting Agenda, a Parish Council Chairman has not been elected.

Thu May 14, 2015:
Allotments Available for Residents

If you are interested in taking one or more allotment plots, contact the Parish Clerk, Christina Veasey, on 01256 397125 or email her.

Tue May 12, 2015:
Recording of Parish Council Meetings

A notice has gone up in the village informing us all that future Ellisfield Parish Council meetings may be "recorded".

Sun May 10, 2015:
Parish Council Election Results

Here are the number of votes cast on Thursday, May 7, for each of the seven Ellisfield residents who were nominated to stand for election to Ellisfield Parish Council:

Caroline J. CAZENOVE ........  166 (elected)
Timothy W. N. GUINNESS ...  148 (elected)
Gavin J. PARK WEIR ............  148 (elected)
David G. RICHARDS ............  129 (elected)
Rosemary A. TAPLIN ...........  156 (elected)
Paul T. M. TURNER ..............    71
Julian P. WRIGHT ................. 113 (elected)

EDITOR (Monday, May 11):
"I would like to thank all the 71 residents who voted for me."
(Thursday, May 14: "Having got something off my chest, I've removed the remainder of my statement ...")

Fri May 8, 2015:
Election Results

As was expected, the Conservative candidate, Ranil Jayawardena, won the Hampshire North East parliamentary seat (with 35,573 votes, 65.9% of all votes cast).

The other party's votes were as follows:

Liberal Democrats - 5,657 (10.5%)
Labour - 5,290 (9.8%)
UKIP - 4,732 (8.8%)
Green - 2,364 (4.4%)
Monster Raving Loony Party - 384 (0.7%)

There was a 72.9% turnout.

In Basingstoke, Maria Miller (Conservative) won with 25,769 votes (48.6%). The turnout was 66.6%.

Mark Ruffell, Conservative, won the Upton Grey & The Candovers seat on Basingstoke Borough Council with 1,565 votes. Labour's Alice James had 217 votes. The turnout was 1,803 (there were 21 spoilt votes) which was 77% of an electorate of 2,331.

The Ellisfield Parish Council result will not be available until Sunday afternoon (the count starts at 2.00pm).

Tue May 5, 2015:
Busheywarren Lane Deer Poaching

Last Friday evening (May 1), at about 9.00pm, a deer was shot and killed on land off of Bushywarren Lane. The deer was shot from the road and a vehicle was heard to leave the scene. It is suspected that this was poaching activity.
If anyone has information regarding this incident, please telephone the police on 101.

Tue May 5, 2015:
Green Lane Congregational Chapel

Do you have any memories and/or photographs of the Congregational Chapel that was built opposite Pullens Cottage in 1912 and which was pulled down in the early 60s and replaced by the present Foxhill House?
If you do, please email Paul Turner (this website's editor) or phone him on 381269.

Thu April 30, 2015:
Funding for Dedicated Beat Officer Draft Agreement

IMPORTANT: It must be emphasised that this Agreement is a DRAFT document for discussion only. It has NOT been agreed or signed by either party.

From Daphne Taylor
Chairman, Tunworth Parish Meeting

"Cllr Mark Ruffell and Edward Belcher have been in discussions with Hampshire Constabulary and an Agreement has been drafted for submission to the Police and Crime Commissioner. Both parties wished for all pledged donors (individuals and Parish Councils) and potential donors to see the wording prior to its submission.
"Please can you respond to me individually by 5.00pm on Tuesday 5 May, 2015 if you have any comment to make. If you would like to speak directly with Mark or Edward, then please can you email me your telephone number.
"As you will know, there has been a three stage process in these discussions.
"The first stage was whether an agreement could be reached in principle. The answer was ‘yes’ and PC Reid has continued as the dedicated beat officer past the initial deadline of 1 April whilst the detail of the agreement is discussed.
"The second stage has been discussing the detail which is now at an end and we are hopefully moving to the third stage which is implementation. We will be discussing with Hampshire Constabulary the best method for payment and this may include setting up a charitable trust.
"There will be a renewed request for funding once these matters have been resolved. The detail of the agreement proposal is set out below.
"Thank you for your continued support."
Daphne Taylor
Chairman, Tunworth Parish Meeting

EDITOR: Here is the Draft Agreement.

Thu April 23, 2015:
Police Search For Man Who Escaped From Winchfield Hospital

UPDATE: Mr Munden contacted police in the Milton Keynes area in the early hours of Sunday, April 26. He was detained and transferred to hospital.

Police are still searching for missing man Stephen Munden and are continuing to appeal for your help.
The 54-year-old left Mildmay Oaks independent hospital in Winchfield, near Hook, at about 6.15pm on Tuesday, April 21, and hasn’t been seen since. It is believed he climbed over a fence and left the hospital grounds on foot.
Officers have been carrying out extensive searches, including using the police helicopter, and making other enquiries. They have also been following up on many calls from members of the public.
Mr Munden is described as about 5ft 8ins tall, of a heavy build, and has dark hair. He did have a very full beard, but it is believed he may have shaved it off prior to leaving the hospital.
Mr Munden was detained at the facility under a hospital order after being sentenced for sexual offences in 2014. These were possessing, making, and attempting to make indecent images of children and sexual assault on child under 13.
Detective Chief Inspector Tim Rowlandson said: “We would like to say a huge thank you to those people who have already phoned in with possible sightings and information in relation to this investigation. Please be reassured that we’re following up on all lines of enquiry.
"If you see him, know where he is or have any information which could help us locate him, please call us on 101."

Fri April 17, 2015:
Message From Sue Dove

"I would like to thank all customers and friends who came into The Fox on Thursday and Friday evenings to say goodbye to us.
"Both Graham and I were deeply touched by their kindness."

Sun April 11, 2015:
1953 Commemorative Plaque

Commemorative Plaque (click to view larger image)When a new seat was installed at the Gravel Pits a week ago, a plaque was transferred from the old seat. To view a larger version of this plaque, just click on the image above.

Fri April 10, 2015:
Ellisfield To Have An Election For Parish Councillors on May 7

The following Ellisfield residents have been nominated to stand for election to the Parish Council on May 7.

Caroline J. CAZENOVE
Timothy W. N. GUINNESS
Rosemary A. TAPLIN
Julian P. WRIGHT

(Full details are on the Statement of Persons Nominated and Notice of Poll document, issued by Basingstoke & Deane's Returning Officer.)

An election is taking place in Ellisfield because there are 7 nominations for the 6 places on the Council.
Of the 36 parish councils in the Basingstoke & Deane area, 30 had the same number of nominations as there were places to fill and so an election will not be taking place.
Surprisingly, 2 parishes (Newfound and Nutley) had no nominations for the two places each had to fill.
As well as Ellisfield, 3 other parishes (Chineham, Steventon and Upton Grey) will be having elections.

Fri April 10, 2015:
Ellisfield Parish Council Releases
Draft Minutes for March 16 Meeting

During the council's last meeting on March 16, the Parish Clerk proposed "that draft parish council minutes be posted on our new website as soon as possible after each meeting".
Here are those promised Draft Minutes.
These minutes will be formally approved at the parish council's next meeting on Monday, May 18.
EDITOR: As previously stated by me, what an excellent idea.

Wed April 8, 2015:
New Tenant for The Fox as From
Next Tuesday, April 14 at 5.30pm

Graham and Sue Dove have released the following statement:

“A new Tenant is taking over at The Fox and the official hand-over date will be Monday 13th April. Lucy is a local young woman who has many years experience in running pubs. She has the help of her family who will be providing support in all areas of the pub. Lucy is keen to keep The Fox as a 'Proper Country Pub' and she is full of enthusiasm to ensure its success.
"Graham and Sue wish Lucy every success in her venture and hope she will be very happy here for many years ahead.
"In order to prepare for stocktaking, brokerage, hand over procedures and maintenance checks, The Fox will be open Thursday (9th April) and Friday (10th April) evenings only, from 5.30pm (no food). It will then be necessary to close until Lucy re-opens the pub at 5.30pm on Tuesday 14th April.
"Once again Graham and Sue thank all friends and customers for their continued support and loyalty. We have greatly enjoyed being part of this lovely village.”
EDITOR: The Dove's pulled The Fox back from the brink, for which we are all very grateful. I wish Sue and Graham a happy retirement.

Wed April 8, 2015:
Volunteer Required To Become New
Neighbourhood Watch Coordinator

Cllr Caroline Cazenove recently emailed out the responsibilities of the Village Coordinator of Ellisfield's Neighbourhood Watch, asking if any Ellisfield resident is willing to take over from Hannah Houstin-Lacey (who is stepping down from the role). To view this email, click HERE.
EDITOR: The email appears to have gone out via the Ladies Club email list, that's why it's taken 10 or 11 days to appear on this website.

Wed April 8, 2015:
Tarmac Scam Alert

A group of people are visiting farms pretending to be from the Highways Agency and offering a load of tarmac for an agreed price of £20/£30.
They then state that their truck is damaged and they need to off load it before it goes off. Once the tarmac is laid they then charge the resident/farmer in the region of £10,000, stating that it was £20/£30 a square metre. When challenged they have become threatening and intimidating.
Please contact the police immediately should you have any such callers to your property.

Fri April 3, 2015:
New Seat at the Gravel Pits

Congratulations to Cllr David Richards for treating and then trolleying a new seat to the Gravel Pits at the bottom of Green Lane, fixing a new lock and then hauling the old seat (which was falling apart) off for disposal.
The old seat was originally at the Burial Ground and its commemorative plaque was removed by David who then installed it onto the new seat.

Thu April 2, 2015
College Lane Notice Board

Councillor Gavin Park-Weir has ensured that everyone can now access the new notice board on College Lane.
New hand-turnable fixings have been attached to the doors to allow new postings to be made as and when required!

Wed April 1, 2015:
Proposal To Retain Our Beat Officer Through Community Funding
       ------ LATEST UPDATE ------

A proposal for a dedicated beat officer for the existing Upton Grey and Candovers beat, paid for through voluntary contributions amounting to £60,000 per annum for the next 3 years, is being seriously considered by the Police.
The deadline of 1 April 2015 for the imposition of the previous proposed changes to the Upton Grey and Candovers beat has been extended. Time has been allowed for the details to be agreed and for the funding to be pledged.
The existing Police structure for the beat will remain in place until these matters are resolved. An indicative deadline of 1 May 2015 for agreement has been suggested.
PC Reid has been briefed about the proposal and revised timescales.
EDITOR: Here is the original email (sent out by Zani Roseveare and Joanne Thomas at the request of Basingstoke Cllr Mark Ruffell) asking residents to pledge an annual contribution towards the cost of retaining our Beat Officer.

Wed April 1, 2015:
"In The Fields" Article

The latest "In The Fields" article by Seumas Foster can be found HERE.

Thu March 26, 2015:
Hampshire Constabulary Launches Rural Crime Initiative

Hampshire police have issued a press release about Operation Falcon, a new initiative to target criminals operating in rural areas.
To receive the latest information about crime in their area, rural residents can sign up to Hampshire Alert.

Thu March 26, 2015:
Message from PC Andrew Reid -
Stolen Land Rover Defenders

"May I make you aware of a continued increase in the theft of Land Rover Defenders from all across the northern and central Hampshire area. Recently in the Alresford area alone two were stolen in one day.
"They are also being stolen from Railway Stations and at Micheldever one was stolen from a man from Northington, and at Winchester Railway Station one was stolen. This is not the first L/R Defender to have been stolen from Micheldever Railway Station.
"I urge all Land Rover Defender owners to please increase their security for their vehicles or park them (if possible) in locations where it is extremely difficult for thieves to drive them away."

Tue March 24, 2015:
Community Funding for Beat Officer?

Ellisfield residents Zani Roseveare and Joanne Thomas (at the request of Basingstoke Cllr Mark Ruffell) have forwarded an email from Daphne Taylor, Chairman of Tunworth Parish Meeting, asking if Ellisfield residents are prepared to pledge an annual amount towards community funding of a dedicated beat officer.
Here is the email, in PDF format.
EDITOR: Hampshire Constabulary has faced £55m cuts since 2010 and further reductions of £25m between 2015/16 and 2016/17.
In the past five years, Hampshire Constabulary has lost 647 officers, a reduction from 3,748 to 3,101. It is expected that by 2017 we will have lost almost 1,000 police officers.

Tue March 24, 2015:
Letter from the Chairman of Tunworth Parish Meeting, sent to all Parish Councils in PC Reid's Current Beat

Daphne Taylor, Chairman of Tunworth Parish Meeting, has sent a letter to Ellisfield Parish Council asking if they would help provide funding of a dedicated beat officer.
Here is the letter, in PDF format.
EDITOR: Ellisfield Parish Council was asked to comment.
Their response (from Christina Veasey, Parish Clerk) was:
"Today’s email on local Hampshire policing currently has, quote, ‘no answer'. Cllr Guinness is/has been involved with on-going and extensive debate, with other interested local parties, on this subject. Any conclusions will be reported/published as and when."

Mon March 23, 2015:
Ellisfield Parish Council Releases Estimated Fibre Broadband Speeds

Last week's posting on Ellisfield Parish Council's website has been added to this website's Fast Broadband? page.
The sequence in which houses have been listed has been changed from the table released by Ellisfield Parish Council. This amended list gives households who did not request estimated speeds the ability to "guess" at what THEIR speed may be.
EDITOR: In his posting, Cllr Wright mentioned that "BT have at last now supplied indicative speeds for most of the selected Ellisfield North properties".
Ellisfield Parish Council was asked which households in the Ellisfield North area were calculated by Cllr Wright, not by BT.
Their response (from Christina Veasey, Parish Clerk) was:
"Understandably the email regarding Broadband needed forwarding for advice and/or any specialist comments which, if forthcoming, will be relayed to you, and/or published, as appropriate."

Fri March 20, 2015:
Parish Council Minutes (Jan 26)

The minutes for the Parish Council's January 26 meeting are now available to view.

Thu March 19, 2015:
Planning Application to Double Vehicle Movements for Anaerobic Digester

Hampshire County Council’s Regulatory Committee voted to accept Barfoot Energy’s planning application to double HGV traffic and increase input to the AD site on Bushywarren Lane. The vote was close, seven Councillors for and seven Councillors against. The decision depended upon the Chairman’s casting vote.
EDITOR: Further details can be found on the Ellisfield Village Association page.

Thu March 19, 2015:
PC Andrew Reid's Report

PC Reid's latest report has been added to the Neighbourhood Watch page.

Mon March 16, 2015:
Parish Council Meeting Highlights

This meeting was the last to be held before the Parish Council elections on May 7.
In the Open Forum:

Highlights of the formal meeting (which recommenced at 8.15pm) are as follows:

Thu March 12, 2015:
Ladies Club 2015/16 Programme

Following their AGM, the 2015/16 Programme of Events can now be found on the Ladies Club page.
EDITOR: It was a stroke of genius to have come up with the idea of repeating last year's highly successful Scarecrow Festival and having it coincide with the Half Marathon on Saturday, October 3. Great publicity for the village.

Tue March 10, 2015:
"New Look" Parish Council Website

The contents (text, images, Minutes, Newsletters, etc.) of the original Parish Council website, created by Paul Turner, have been ported to a new "skin". The layout and look of the new Parish Council website is so different from the original that there will now no longer be confusion between it and THIS Community Website.
EDITOR: The theme of this WordPress site has a very clean, bright and uncluttered design. I like that it's variable width and "responsive". It will allow the Parish Clerk to amend and update content without having to deal with the complexities of the coding.
Well done Charlie Hellewell, a great job.

Tue March 10, 2015:
Recruitment Poster for Ellisfield Bell Ringers

click to view larger image ...Notices have been put up on all Ellisfield notice boards stating that "An Ellisfield tradition for over 100 years needs your support to survive".
It asks:
Could you spare some time to keep this village soundscape alive for future generations?"
To view the notice, click on the above image. Further information and contact details can be found on the Ellisfield Bellringers web page.

Mon March 2, 2015:
The Fox - Sue and Graham Dove's
Message to all their Customers

“After 18 very happy months running The Fox, we have decided to retire. We have really enjoyed our time in Ellisfield and have met and made friends with some truly lovely people.

"It has been a great privilege to be part of this community but the time has come to hand over to perhaps some younger Tenants with more energy!  Sadly the last of our popular Quiz Nights was held yesterday evening.  However, we are hopeful that new Tenants will carry on this format.

"Currently there are two younger candidates who have shown interest in The Fox. Also, the Landlord has asked whether the Ellisfield community may wish to buy the Freehold as a community led venture, the price would be around £500k.

"We would like to thank all customers and friends for their most valued and loyal support. We are going to Malaysia on holiday for two months and then will be doing as little as possible!!! (On a serious note we both intend doing charity/voluntary work.)”

Mon March 2, 2015:
The Fox - Sue and Graham Dove to Relinquish their Tenancy

Sue and Graham Dove announced yesterday evening, during the Monthly Quiz Night, that they will be leaving Ellisfield by the end of April (earlier if a new tenant is found by the owners, Mentor Inns).
The Dove's took on the tenancy in July 2013 and brought stability back to The Fox, after a number of "roller coaster" years.

Mon March 2, 2015:
Ellisfield Village Association (EVA) -
Email Regarding
Revised Planning
Application for Anaerobic Digester

This email was sent out on Sunday urging Ellisfield residents to object by THURSDAY (March 5).

Many residents objected to the original planning application to increase lorry movements to/from the Anaerobic Digester in Bushywarren Lane. This application to increase daily permitted vehicle movements from 16 (8 in and 8 out) to 40 (20 in and 20 out) per day was refused.

Another (revised) application is coming before the County Council soon. The maximum number of vehicle movements has been amended from 40 (20 in and 20 out) to 32 (16 in and 16 out). However, the maximum requested tonnage of deliveries has NOT been altered (it's still 40,000 tonnes of food waste and 12,500 tonnes of crop feedstock).
Also, they now want to widen Bushywarren Lane near the entrance to the plant.

EVA's email explains who to send objections to but THIS EMAIL TEMPLATE can also be used (the text can be modified and/or added to - don't forget to add your name and address to the bottom of the email ...).

Sun March 1, 2015:
"In The Fields" Article

The latest "In The Fields" article can be found HERE. This month, the article is mainly about the "Gout Fly" and a little about "2015 - International Year of Soils".

Thu February 26, 2015:
New Notice Board Still Locked

The "shiny-new" notice board installed at the junction of College Lane and Bell Lane is still locked and residents are unable to post their notices. This problem was reported by Roger Graham at the Parish Council's open forum a month ago (January 26),

Tue February 17, 2015:
Axford Road Fingerpost (at College Lane junction) Restored!

click on image to view a larger version ...It is really pleasing to see the fingerpost restored and back in place at the junction of Axford Road and College Lane. Thanks go to Cllr David Richards for storing the fingerpost safely in his garage prior to it being picked up by the Highways Department's contractor who replaced the damaged pole and cleaned everything before reinstalling it in its original position.
(Click on the above image to view a larger version.)

Mon February 16, 2015:
Message from PC Andrew Reid

Yesterday at 4:45 pm in Up Nately, a blue VW Golf SE 5 door saloon registration RV13 JYC was seen on a private driveway and made off at speed when spotted. The owner is a convicted rural thief from Surrey who stole property from an Upton Grey farm in 2013 and was sent to Prison.
He is an opportunist and will visit homes as well as farms, please be vigilant as he has a good knowledge of all parts of our area. Any sightings please call.

Andrew REID, Police Constable 3746
Rural Beat Officer
Police Office, Preston Candover
DD: 01256:389050
HQ: 101
Mobile: 07768 776844

Fri February 6, 2015:
Memorial Hall £5,000 Bequest

Susie Deane reports:
"The Memorial Hall has received a generous bequest of £5,000 from the estate of Sally Adams. The committee is very grateful for her kindness and will use the bequest in a way to reflect Sal's great contribution to and love of Ellisfield."
EDITOR: For the interest of newcomers to the village, Sally (who died last May) lived at her parents' house Wyckens, an original Ellisfield bungalow, now redeveloped, on the corner of the Axford Road and College Lane.
Although she spent time at her house in Clapham, Sally was always in Ellisfield as much as possible and was one of the prominent residents of this village. If a village event did not have Sally present, her absence was always felt and remarked upon!

Tue February 2, 2015:
Missing Cat Still Missing

Posters have been up in the village and flyers delivered to residents about a cat which went missing from North Waltham and which was last sighted in Dummer in the middle of November.
The owner says that the cat, which looks Persian but isn't, is still missing. Unusually, It's chipped so if taken to a vet or the RSPCA then it can be reunited with its family.
Their contact number is 01256 391363.

Thu January 29, 2015:
Tunworth Lurcher Found

Zani Robinson reports that the missing 12 month old Lurcher pup from Tunworth was found by a postman and has since been returned to its owners. The dog is showing signs of having been stolen and was either no use for coursing or most likely, as she was a bit nervy, simply ran away when released from the thieves' vehicle.

Wed January 28, 2015:
Parish Council Meeting Highlights

After the Open Forum, all but 4 residents left the Hall. Highlights of the formal meeting (which recommenced at 9.05pm) are as follows:

The formal meeting closed at 10.20pm.

Tue January 27, 2015:
Parish Council Minutes For The
November 24, 2014 Meeting

The minutes for the above meeting were approved and signed last night.
To display the Minutes PDF, click here.

Mon January 26, 2015:
Parish Council Meeting

This meeting, which went on until 10.20pm, was dominated by the Open Forum (more information below). In fact, the main council business didn't start until 9.05pm.

click for larger version ...First thing to report is the appointment of the new Parish Clerk who is Mrs Christina Veasey (the "s" is pronounced as a "z"). Mrs Veasey (see right - click on picture to display larger version) was an RAF Squadron Leader and is from Dummer. She has never been a Parish Clerk or Councillor but was heavily involved with Dummer's Village Design Statement (which was adopted by Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council as supplementary planning guidance for the parish in February 2004).

click for larger version ...Jacqui Matthews, retiring Parish Clerk, was thanked for her ten and a half years service and presented with a shrub for her garden (see right - click on picture to display larger version)..

The Open Forum, after some discussions about the planning application for the Anaerobic Digester site (see NEWS item below) and problems with lorries delivering to the Viola site, was - as expected - devoted to a report from Cllr Julian Wright regarding fast broadband which was followed by quite intense participation from the Ellisfield residents present (numbering around 40!).

After the Open Forum, all but 4 residents left the Hall. Highlights of the formal meeting can be found in the January 28 NEWS Item above.

Mon January 26, 2015:
Planning Application for an Increase in Vehicle Movements and Waste Tonnage at the Anaerobic Digester site in Bushywarren Lane

UPDATE: Both Basingstoke Council and the Highways Department of Hampshire Council Council have recommended that this Planning Application be refused. The history of this application is as follows:
Herriard Bio Power Ltd, the operator of the Bushywarren Lane Anaerobic Digester, filed a planning application with Hampshire County Council for "amendment to condition 8 (vehicle movements) and condition 12 (annual throughput) to planning permission BDB/76332".
This application was for a net increase of 23,000 tonnes of food waste (from 17,000 tonnes to 40,000 tonnes) and an increase in vehicle movements from 16 per day to 40 a day (20 in and 20 out).
EDITOR: Quite a lot of Ellisfield residents formally objected and this must have helped.
Zani Robinson has stated "Barfoots are doing a re-think and will change their application" and has offered to keep Ellisfield residents "in the loop".

Mon January 26, 2015:
Lurcher Lost/Stolen from Tunworth

A grey brindle lurcher bitch who is 12 months old has been reported as missing from the Tunworth area between 11.30am and 2.10pm yesterday (Sunday January 25th).
If you have seen this dog or anyone acting suspiciously in Tunworth between these times on this date, or have any information that you feel may be able to assist, please call:
   Constable Andrew REID
   01256 389050 or 07768 776844

Sun January 25, 2015:
Ellisfield's Postman Retires

Michael Leonard, our postman who went part-time a little while ago, has decided to retire. Monday is going to be his last round.
His efficiency and good humour will be missed by those of us living and/or working from home during the week.

Sat January 24, 2015:
New Notice Board in College Lane

A very "shiny-new" notice board has recently been installed at the junction of College Lane and Bell Lane.
This replaces the old metal one that was suffering badly from damp. This new one looks as though it's been installed on the existing posts and has a distinct "lean" towards the road, giving it an amusingly aggressive look!
It is very grandly topped with engraved "Ellisfield Parish Council" lettering. Currently unknown is its cost and whether or not that cost has been offset by a grant.
EDITOR (Sunday 25): The parish council minutes for October 6, 2014 (the latest signed and released minutes) show a 50% payment to Arien Design Ltd for £538.80, so it's presumed that the notice board cost the council (ie, Ellisfield residents) £1,077.60.
If VAT was included in that sum, then that can be claimed back.

Thu January 22, 2015:
Axford Road Fingerpost (at College Lane junction) Collapsed!

Luckily, this fingerpost has fallen backwards and not into the road! The bottom of the post has rusted through.
The parish council has been informed (Ellisfield Parish Council took over formal responsibility for the maintenance of this fingerpost from the Highways Department at least twelve years ago).

Fri January 16, 2015:
Ellisfield Volunteer Group's AGM

Another record broken!
EVG's well attended annual general meeting lasted just 18 minutes. (Perhaps if the committee hid the wine and food during the meeting it might last longer?)
As expected, the group voted to continue the maintenance of the Lower Common, Burial Ground and Gravel Pit for another year. It was also decided to not increase the charge made to the Parish Council for the work. The committee members remain unchanged.
The revised 2015 Cutting Schedule can be found at the top of EVG's web page.

Sat January 11, 2015:
"Fast" Broadband in Ellisfield
Hampshire County Council Update
from Ellisfield Parish Council

Hampshire County Council has signed a contract with BT Openreach for the second stage of their Superfast Broadband programme.
The northern section of Ellisfield (all houses served by the cabinet at the top of College Lane) IS "included in the later stages of this programme". However, the bottom half of the village (houses served by the cabinet at Herriard) is NOT included.
For the full statement by Ellisfield Parish Council, see the News item at the top of the Fast Broadband? Page.
EDITOR: It'll be good to find out the timescale for the installation of fibre to the top of the village and to hear what the parish council proposes for the rest of Ellisfield.

Thu January 8, 2015:
Basingstoke Hospital Crisis

As reported in the Basingstoke Gazette:
Staff at Basingstoke hospital are battling to keep on top of a crisis situation as they face “unprecedented challenges”.
The Emergency Department at the hospital has been flooded with record numbers of patients over recent weeks, while beds are blocked by those who cannot be discharged from hospital.
Some planned operations have had to be cancelled and there has been a huge increase in patients waiting on trolleys after arriving by ambulance.

Wed January 7, 2015:
Parish Council Clerk - Announcement

Tim Guinness, chairman of the Ellisfield Parish Council, has announced the following:

“As reported in the September Newsletter Jacqui Matthews indicated she would like to step down by the end of 2014 after 10 years of unstinting effort on your behalf. We have since then been operating a process to identify a suitable successor.

"I am pleased to report that the process of advertising the vacancy has resulted in an excellent successor being identified.

"Currently a handover plan is being worked on and resolutions approving that and the appointment of the potential successor to Jacqui will be put to the Parish Council at the next Ellisfield Parish Council meeting on 26th January 2015.

"I have received some queries as to whether Jacqui Matthews is still today your clerk. I am pleased to report that Jacqui has agreed to continue in that capacity until her successor and the exact handover day is formally approved.“

Tim Guinness, Chairman.

Sun January 4, 2015:
"Fast" Broadband in Ellisfield

It is now exactly two months since the Parish Council emailed residents regarding the "pledges" made (and required) to raise the money for fibre cable to be installed in Ellisfield.
In the Q&A PDF document attached to that email it was stated that BT had been asked to provide estimated speeds to the 12 households that had requested this information.
Those 12 Ellisfield households are still waiting ...

Sun December 21, 2014:
The Fox
Message from Graham and Sue Dove

“We would like to wish all Customers, Guests and Friends a Very Happy Christmas and Healthy and Happy New Year.
"Thanks to everyone for their continued support of this little pub and it has been our pleasure to be part of this fabulous community.”
EDITOR: Christmas and New Year opening times can be found on The Fox web page and in the Events column opposite.

Sun December 21, 2014:
The Fox

The Fox has been granted a 5 star rating (the highest possible) from the Environmental Health Services, for cleanliness, hygiene and food safety standards.

Sat December 20, 2014:
Statement Following Meeting of Parish Councils in Herriard to discuss Police Operational Changes

"The 'Chairs' of the 13 Parish Councils/Meetings within Upton Grey & Candovers Beat met on Mon 15 Dec to consider several proposals and how they may be resourced; it was agreed that more analysis was required and this will be carried out in the New Year."
EDITOR: Oh, that's OK then ...

Sat December 20, 2014:
The 2015/16 Police Precept

Simon Hayes, Police and Crime Commissioner for Hampshire, is inviting members of the public across Hampshire and Isle of Wight to have their say on the level of council tax precept for the policing budget in 2015/16. The Commissioner is proposing a nominal increase of 1.99 percent. For an average Band D household, this equates to a rise of just £3.07 per annum (or 26p per month, or 6p per week) from £154.26 to £157.33. This increase would generate an additional £2 million for 2015/16, which is the cost of employing 43 police officers.

The increase proposed is within the 2% cap that has been placed on precept rises by central Government. To exceed this cap would require the conduct of a referendum, the costs of which would divert funding from front line policing, and this is not therefore something that the Commissioner is proposing. However, the Commissioner is still interested to hear from the people of Hampshire and the Isle of Wight as to whether, in principle, you would support an increase which was greater than the 2% cap, in the event that it were to be possible to invest all of this in front line policing. For example, if the precept was increased by 2.99%, the additional £1m generated would equate to around an additional 20 police officers. The Government cap on precept rises in recent years has left a significant shortfall in funding. With 33 percent of the total policing budget coming from the council tax precept, and with Government continuing to dramatically reduce police funding, the proposed increase will help to partially address that shortfall.

Mr Hayes comments: “With Hampshire Constabulary currently making significant changes to the way it operates, to enable it to make £80m in savings, due to Government imposed cuts that have already been imposed, it has never been more important to consult with the public over the policing element of the council tax precept.
“HMIC (Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabulary for England and Wales) recently announced that Hampshire Constabulary remains a low cost, well performing force and I question whether the Constabulary can-withstand any further cuts without it impacting on the level of neighbourhood policing people expect. If we are to continue delivering the highest possible levels of service, and honour my commitment to protect neighbourhood policing across the communities of Hampshire and Isle of Wight, we must have the funding in place to do so. I am therefore left with no option but to propose a precept increase.
"I am inviting the residents of Hampshire and the Isle of Wight to play their part in this decision-making process by sharing your views with me. I am encouraging everyone to register their opinion by 5pm on Tuesday, 20 January 2015. My message is clear: ‘Hampshire Constabulary is your police force, it’s your choice – so have your say’. Public opinion plays a vital role in helping me make an informed decision.”

EDITOR: If you want to have your say, here is the link to the Commissioner's Survey.

Thu December 18, 2014:
Message from PC Andrew Reid

Dear Residents,

First may I wish you all a very Happy New Year.
In January, I will provide my usual look at crimes that have been reported in your Parish during 2014 with comparable figures for the years previous to that.
Having had a brief look, it appears that crime generally rose during the year across the whole beat area, certainly we had several reports of criminal damage to growing crops where 4x4 vehicles were driven over fields as a result of an illegal ‘Hare Coursing’ competition which brought people down from as far as Lincolnshire and Wales to take part for a very high prize money. The object being to course hares with dogs, an act banned under The Hunting Act.
It has to be said that 2014 was an interesting year concerning the local policing of your area and I can see 2015 being similar. That said, I am aware of the hard work being undertaken by your Parish Council to ensure a dedicated regular police presence in your area and know they will keep you updated.
I am pleased to report that (up to the time of writing) there have been no reported crimes in this area, however slightly further afield I am appealing for any information concerning a unit broken into in Station Road at Cliddesden between November 28 and 30. We suspect the thieves parked a vehicle along Hackwood Lane between the junction of Station Road and towards the school. If anyone has any information please do give me a call direct.
Once again many thanks for your continued support and I wish you all a prosperous and safe 2015.

Andrew REID
Police Constable 3746
Rural Beat Officer
Police Office, Preston Candover
DD: 01256:389050
HQ: 101
Mobile: 07768 776844

Mon December 15, 2014:
Basingstoke Police Proposed Operational Changes

A meeting is taking place this evening at Herriard of all the chairmen (or their representatives) of the Parish Councils within PC Andrew Reid's beat. They will be reviewing discussions which have taken place with David Pryde (Hampshire Assistant Chief Constable) and Inspector Simon Dodds (Basingstoke District Commander) since the public meeting on November 8.

Thu December 11, 2014:
Foodbank Donations

In today's Basingstoke Gazette, Jacqui Matthews announced that there are Foodbank collection baskets at St Martin’s Church and at The Fox.
Please donate tinned and dried goods, sauces, biscuits, toiletries, etc.

Thu December 4, 2014:
Parish Council Minutes for the Meeting held on October 6, 2014

The October 6 Meeting Minutes (which were approved at the November 24 meeting) have now been published.
The next meeting of the council will be on January 26, 2015. The parish council precept for 2015/16 will be decided upon during that meeting.

Mon December 1, 2014:
This Website's Second Birthday!

"My thanks to all the residents who contribute to making sure that the individual sections are made interesting and informative."

Paul Turner, Editor.

Mon December 1, 2014:
"In The Fields" Article

The latest article from Seumas Foster, agronomist and Ellisfield resident, can be found HERE.

Thu November 27, 2014:
Basingstoke Borough Council News

Despite reduced government funding and rising costs, the council's draft budget proposes a freeze of the 2015/16 council tax bill at the 2010/11 level, £104.44 for a band D property.
For us in Ellisfield, the parish council's precept will need to be added to that. If the parish precept remains as 2014/15, then it will cost a resident in a band D property an
additional £38.02 (we will not know if this is true until the parish council next meets on January 26).

The draft Basingstoke & Deane Local Plan has been submitted to an independent planning inspector.
This examination is the last stage of the process for producing a local plan, which sets out the policies on what development will or will not be permitted and where, including homes, business space and other facilities. A public enquiry is likely to take place in the next three months, probably in early 2015.
Our borough councillor, Mark Ruffell, is the Cabinet Member for Planning.

The work to improve the A30 / M3 Junction 6 Roundabout in order to reduce congestion for commuters, businesses and visitors, will run until June 2015.

Hampshire Constabulary is moving some officers and civilian staff across the road from Basingstoke Police Station to the Parklands building in the Civic Offices in London Road.

Although not strictly council related, they have announced that the new combined John Lewis At Home and Waitrose 6,800 square metre store is making good progress for a Christmas 2015 opening.

Mon November 24, 2014:
Parish Council Meeting

The "highlights" of the Open Forum were:

Unexpectedly, a decision was made to defer setting the 2015/16 precept until the next meeting which will be held in two months time on January 26, just five days before Basingstoke Council's cut-off date for sending in precept requests.

There have been three applications for the post of Parish Clerk to take over from Jacqui Matthews who will be retiring at the end of December. All applications are from people who reside outside of the village. The parish council held a closed meeting to discuss these applicants.

Sat November 8, 2014:
Public Meeting with Hampshire's
Police & Crime Commissioner

click to view larger image ...Over 300 residents packed St Mary's Church in Herriard on Saturday morning to hear about the proposed changes to rural policing due to come into effect next April. All pews were full, people were standing shoulder to shoulder at the back of the church, and even the main aisle was full with folding chairs and people standing!

The meeting's chairman, Jonathan Moseley (Candovers Parish Council), spoke briefly and was then followed by Simon Hayes, Hampshire's Police & Crime Commissioner.

click to view larger image ...Mr Hayes (right) outlined the problems that have been caused by the savings that have been forced on police forces nationally and how Hampshire was trying to continue to provide satisfactory policing with a reduced number of police officers and support staff.

click to view larger image ...Chief Inspector Simon Dodds, the Basingstoke District Commander, (right) then explained that although he currently has 32 neighbourhood police officers (21 town and 11 rural) he's faced with having to reduce those numbers to only 14 town and 8 rural, hence the proposed reorganisation.

click to view larger image ...There then followed a very intensive Question and Answer session, with questions and comments coming from local farmers, gamekeepers, an estate security employee, a retired Chief Superintendent of the MET, a special constable from Alton, quite a few residents, click to view larger image ...Mark Ruffell (above left), Borough Councillor for Upton Grey & The Candovers, and Onnalee Cubitt (right), Borough Councillor for Basing and a resident of Up Nately.

click to view larger image ...Simon Hayes, CI Simon Dodds and David Pryde (right), the Assistant Chief Constable who is responsible for the strategic management of the force's three Areas and Call Management, responded.

The meeting ended at 11.45am with Police & Crime Commissioner Hayes promising that if a "Local Working Party" is created he would be happy to meet them to discuss this matter further.

(Click on any of the images to view a larger version.)

EDITOR: For Ellisfield residents wondering what I was doing there scribbling away and taking photos: I had been asked in advance by the Meeting Chairman to document the meeting so that the various points raised could be discussed at a later time by parish representatives and local landowners.

Thu November 6, 2014:
Public Meeting with Hampshire's
   Police & Crime Commissioner on
Saturday, November 8 (10.00am)
NEW VENUE – St Mary’s Church, Herriard, RG25 2PL (on the A339 opposite Herriard Saw Mills)

The police officers who will also be at this meeting are Assistant Chief Constable David Pryde and Chief Inspector Simon Dodds, Basingstoke & Deane District Commander.

The proposed agenda is now as follows:

10.00  Introduction by Meeting Chairman

10.05  Presentation by Simon Hayes, Hampshire Police & Crime Commissioner: "Rural Strategy 2013-2017"

10.20  Presentation by Assistant Chief Constable David Pryde: "County Operational Overview"

10.30  Presentation by Chief Inspector Dodds: "Operational Change Programme as it relates to Upton Grey & The Candovers"

10.40  Questions and Answers

Wed November 5, 2014
New Planning Application for an Increase in Vehicle Movements and Waste Tonnage at the Anaerobic Digester site in Bushywarren Lane

Herriard Bio Power Ltd, the operator of the Bushywarren Lane Anaerobic Digester, have filed a planning application with Hampshire County Council for "amendment to condition 8 (vehicle movements) and condition 12 (annual throughput) to planning permission BDB/76332".
This application is for a net increase of 23,000 tonnes of food waste (from 17,000 tonnes to 40,000 tonnes) and an increase in vehicle movements from 16 per day to 40 a day (20 in and 20 out).
The public consultation period expires in just 24 days time (November 28).

Tue November 4, 2014:
"Fast" Broadband - Email and PDF
of Frequently Asked Questions

Ellisfield Parish Council has sent out an email announcing that 38% of Ellisfield households (ie, approximately 45 out of 120) have "pledged" the sum of £34,136 (ie, more than half of the quoted £66,329) towards a Community Funded installation of fibre in two existing underground ducts from the Herriard exchange to cabinets at the top of Church Lane and at the bottom of College Lane. The full email text can be found on the Fast Broadband? page.

A Q&A PDF document was attached to the email. Rather surprisingly (seeing as the whole project is about attaining faster broadband), it transpires that only 12 households have asked for a formal statement from BT as to what speed they would get if they were able to upgrade to fibre to cabinet broadband. BT have still not yet provided this information.

EDITOR: Interestingly, there is a statement in the Q&A document that says that "unused underground cable ducting" running between Herriard and College Lane has "been discovered". However, I believe (and I'm happy to be proved wrong) that this ducting actually carries BT's 100 core copper cable which connects all the houses in the south of Ellisfield to the Herriard exchange. If that's true, why were BT surprised to find it?
See the October 25 News Item below for a few other questions not addressed in the Q&A PDF document.

Sat November  1, 2014:
"In The Fields" Article

The latest article from Seumas Foster, agronomist and Ellisfield resident, can be found HERE.

Tue October 28, 2014:
Change to The Fox's Opening Times

The Fox will now be closed Tuesday lunchtimes, as well as all day Monday. All other times are as before.

Sun October 26, 2014:
Online Petition to Register Your
Concern about the Proposed Changes
To Ellisfield's Rural Policing

Whether or not you can make the meeting at Herriard on November 8 (see News Item dated October 22 below), you can now sign an online petition sponsored by Herriard Parish Council.
This petition states:
"Mr Hayes.
"Please halt the planned reorganisation of Rural policing in our area so that proper consultation with the communities affected can be undertaken."

Sat October 25, 2014:
Ellisfield Broadband Fundraising
Team to Meet This Weekend

The Ellisfield Broadband Fundraising team (the names of the residents on this "Team" are unknown) are meeting this weekend. An email went out from the Parish Clerk saying that "if you haven’t yet but would like to make a pledge, perhaps I could ask you to reply to this email by Saturday evening".

EDITOR: If you have "pledged" money (or plan to or are thinking about it) without knowing what speed you're likely to attain when fibre is installed, then it's strongly advised that you email your phone number to Ellisfield Parish Council as requested (see October 13 News Item below).


Questions, questions ...

Wed October 22, 2014:
Public Meeting with Hampshire's
   Police & Crime Commissioner on
   Saturday, November 8 (10.00am)
Herriard Royal British Legion Hall

As previously publicised (see News Item dated October 12 below), Hampshire Constabulary intends, with effect April 2015, to reorganise the coverage of all Basingstoke's rural policing.
The 10 Parish Councils within our Upton Grey & The Candovers Beat area have made direct representation to Simon Hayes, Hampshire Police & Crime Commissioner. As a result he has agreed to attend a Public Meeting to hear the communities concerns. He will be accompanied by a senior Police Officer, whose details are still to be confirmed.
This is an opportunity to hear the rationale for the reorganisation and make your feelings known.

Mon October 20, 2014:
Installation of Fibre Broadband at the Herriard Exchange

This is still scheduled for next month.

Mon October 13, 2014:
Email From Ellisfield Parish Council Regarding "Community Funded" Installation of BT's Fibre to Cabinet Broadband

The email sent out by Ellisfield Parish Council explaining BT's quotation for installing fibre to the existing College/Church Lane cabinet and for installing fibre to a new cabinet at the bottom of College Lane has been converted to a PDF document (click on link to display).
This PDF also contains, on the last page, the map showing distances from each cabinet to Ellisfield properties (display the PDF in Full Page mode to view the map's details).
Estimated speeds following installation of fibre to cabinet range from 80Mbps (for properties close to a cabinet) down to little more than 10Mbps.
EDITOR: It is therefore important that residents who are interested in what speed they may attain email their phone number to Ellisfield Parish Council as requested.

Sun October 12, 2014:
Email From EVA (Ellisfield Village Association) Regarding Proposed Changes To PC Andrew Reid's Duties

The email sent out by EVA explaining proposed changes to policing in our area has been converted to a single page PDF document (click on link to display).
In summary, if the proposals go ahead, PC Andrew Reid (see picture above) will no longer be officially based locally (he will, however, retain his house in Preston Candover) but will be required to work out of Tadley, covering 4 (four!) of the Basingstoke rural beats instead of the current 1 (one). He will also lose his police car.
There is a plan to recruit six rural PCSOs (Police Community Support Officers) but they will also be based out of Tadley!
Have a read of EVA's email. They are asking that residents write to both the Hampshire Police & Crime Commissioner and to the Chief Constable.

Sat October 11 2014:
Hack, Slash, Rake, Cut, Chop, Saw, Carry, Heave, Chuck and Barrow ...

click for larger image ...All the above (and more) took place on Saturday morning at Hill Farm Pond.
The transformation was remarkable. Thanks go to the following Ellisfield volunteers (in first name order):

Bernard Cazenove, Gary Evans, Glen Shaw, Graham Simpson, Michael Hosford-Tanner, Neil Popkin, Paul Brown, Paul Turner, Phil Self, Rose Taplin (and JCB) and Steve Brown.

Thanks also to Jane Popkin for the tea, coffee and biscuits and to Jane Evans for the very welcome Jam Doughnuts!
(Click on picture of Rose carrying away saplings to view a larger image.)

Wed October 8, 2014:
Parish Council Minutes for the
1st of September Meeting

Here are the Parish Council's Minutes for the meeting held on September 1.

Wed October 8, 2014:
The Parish Council Website, Created by Paul Turner, Has Now Been Ported To The "ellisfield.gov.uk" Domain

Considering what was said after Monday evening's Parish Council meeting (see NEWS item below), Paul Turner was somewhat surprised when Mrs Charlie Hellewell informed him this afternoon that she had successfully ported the "ellisfield-pc.org.uk" website to the "ellisfield.gov.uk" domain.
The website is exactly as handed to the Parish Council by Paul Turner on July 16, except that it's been updated with the 1st of September's Minutes.
As before, you'll find the Parish Council website displayed on THIS website's Parish Council page.
EDITOR: Wonderful. Almost a year of anguish and we're back to square one! The only difference is the domain name and the fact that the Parish Council (ie, Ellisfield residents) are now paying for the website to be hosted.

Mon October 6, 2014:
Parish Council Website

This evening's Parish Council meeting did not follow the Meeting's published Agenda and a number of Agenda items were not discussed. One of them was Agenda Item 7.iii (Web Site).

So, after the meeting had closed, Paul Turner asked the council's Chairman when the parish council's new "ellisfield.gov.uk" website was going live. The Chairman stated that this was unknown. When asked how long he wanted Paul Turner to continue his free hosting of the current "ellisfield-pc.org.uk" Parish Council website (which has not been updated since the website's source code was handed over to the Parish Council on July 16), the Chairman replied "As far as I'm concerned you can close it down tonight". Paul Turner agreed to comply.

Mon October 6, 2014:
BT's "Fast Broadband" Presentation
at the Parish Council Meeting

The village was well represented by many Ellisfield residents eager to hear more about BT's quotation of £66,329 (excluding VAT) for providing "Fibre to Cabinet" broadband to the whole of Ellisfield (excluding 4 houses on the extreme outskirts of the parish).

Currently, there are two BT cabinets in Ellisfield, one at the junction of College Lane and Church Lane (serving the top of the village) and one at The Fox (serving the rest of the village).

BT's quotation outlines two separate costs. The first is for installing fibre to a replacement College/Church Lane cabinet. The second is to provide fibre to a brand new cabinet at the bottom of College Lane.

After the BT presentation, the Parish Council confirmed that it would communicate with all residents (and local businesses) in regards to obtaining pledges sufficient for placing a "Community Funded Contract" with BT. If an order can then be placed with BT by the end of this month, BT have committed to having everything installed by next August.

(The Parish Council will also be talking to Hampshire County Council regarding a "per property grant" which would be used to reduce residents' contributions.)

Sat October 4, 2014:
Neighbourhood Watch News Item -
House Burglary Alert

PC Reid: "Just to make you aware of two house burglaries not far from our area, one North Waltham and the other not far away. Both happened as a result of a ground floor window or door being left insecure and both between midnight and 5:30am.
"I ask all residents to please make sure their homes and outbuildings are secured, especially at night or when the residents are out. Sadly this may become part of a series, especially having two in one night and within close proximity.
"The burglars may be local but alternatively may be from Basingstoke or afar and out in the early hours just looking to see who has left windows or doors open. Whoever they are they may well come to visit us in due course.
"Please remain vigilant."

Thu October 2, 2014:
Ladies Club Coffee Morning

This event, held on Saturday morning, raised £610 for Macmillan Cancer Support. The winner of the "Guess The Number Of 100s and 1000s On The Cake" was Jayne Nason and the winner of "Spot the Double Shot" game was Jane Park-Weir.
EDITOR: Congratulations to Celia Lunn and Pat Gould for organising this marvellous event, to Theresa Webb and Tracey Gilvear for organising the games and raffle and to all the members of the Ladies Club who made the cakes and helped out on the day.

Wed October 1, 2014:
"In The Fields" Article

The latest article from Seumas Foster, agronomist and Ellisfield resident, can be found HERE.

Tue September 30, 2014:
Parish Council - Meeting Agenda

Here is the Agenda for the Parish Council meeting next Monday evening (October 6).

Tue September 30, 2014:
Parish Council Email Regarding
Bringing Fast Broadband to Ellisfield
(BT Quotation obtained by Parish Council to Install "Fibre To Cabinet" is circa £80,000 ...)

EDITOR: I have highlighted in bold the items of most interest.
Also, please note that
the purpose of the working party proposed by the Parish Council is purely to "assist with fund raising for the recommended village-wide solution, specifically BT Infinity 2".
It is NOT about sharing knowledge or discussing alternatives
Cllr Wright informs me that "we all need to act in a selfless manner in the best interests of the village and that’s a pre-requisite for anyone engaging in the working party".

For those Ellisfield residents not on the Parish Council email list, here is what was sent out yesterday evening:



"IT COULD BE ACHIEVED IN SHORT ORDER IF BT BRING “fibre to the cabinet” to the cabinet at the College Lane/Church Lane junction and put a new cabinet at the Axford Road end of College Lane. This would enable “superfast broadband” to be delivered by existing copper wire to houses in the village. The resulting download speed would be dramatically increased from the current 1.0/1.5 Mbps to 80 Mbps for those living near the new cabinets (speed will be less for those further away). In the longer-term “fibre to the cabinet” opens up the possibility of “fibre to the home” and speeds up to 300 Mbps.

"Right now the EPC, thanks to Julian Wright’s considerable efforts, has obtained a design and quotation from BT Openreach to do this. The sum is quite large but we want to explore the possibility of obtaining the funds in part from residents; in part from Hampshire County Council and in part from businesses in the parish.  At this stage we are anxious to ascertain the appetite among villagers for putting their hands in their pockets to support the project. The total project cost is c£80,000. For example if 25 owner occupier households (no business) were willing to contribute £500 each; If 15 owner occupiers running part/all of their business from home contributed £750 each and the owners of rental properties (approx 8) another £750 each that would raise  £29,000 in total or 36% of it which might be enough to persuade Hampshire to grant us £300 per house – say £36,000 or £65,000 in total and we are a reasonable way to the total. Whether this would be possible depends on the interest within Ellisfield in trying to do this collectively.

"Whether BT Openreach would offer a discount for a period to reward those who participate is naturally another area we want to explore; as is the possibility of a discount being negotiable on the cabinet project cost if enough people sign up.

"Monday’s EPC meeting offers an opportunity for villagers to let us know their feelings and hear more from BT about their perspective. In addition if you cannot come but might be prepared to participate, it would be terrific if you could let Jacqui know that. If you would be prepared to be part of a working party to try and make it happen that would be really good to know too."

Sat September 27, 2014:
Residents' Meeting at Hill Farm Pond

There was a meeting, organised by Cllr Caroline Cazenove, on Saturday afternoon at Hill Farm Pond for all interested Ellisfield residents to discuss what can be done to improve this village amenity.
An action plan was agreed upon and a date fixed for a working party of volunteers to cut and clear away saplings, fallen branches, etc.
This working party (see Event opposite) will be on Saturday, October 11, starting at 9.30am and finishing around 12.30pm.
Depending upon how well it goes, there may be another working party organised for late October.

Fri September 19, 2014:
Scottish Independence Referendum

Article 1 of the Acts of Union:
"That the two Kingdoms of Scotland and England shall upon the first day of May, 1707, and for ever after, be united into One Kingdom by the name of Great Britain; And that the Ensigns Armorial of the said United Kingdom be such as Her Majesty shall appoint and the Crosses of St Andrew and St George be conjoined in such manner as Her Majesty shall think fit and used in all Flags Banners Standards and Ensigns both at Sea and Land."

Still united, under one flag!

Mon September 8, 2014:
2014 Scarecrow Festival Slideshow

This has now been taken off this website's HOME page but can still be viewed at the top of the Ladies Club page.

Mon September 8, 2014:
Parish Council Minutes

The minutes of the Parish Council's meeting on June 30, 2014 have just been published.

Mon September 8, 2014:
Parish Council Newsletter

The parish council released its September 2014 Newsletter this morning. There are three items:
The first is the Parish Clerk's job description and a
request for interested parties to contact the parish council chairman.
The second is an announcement that BT will attend the next Parish Council meeting on October 6 to "present their solution for Superfast Broadband for Ellisfield" and a
request for volunteers to "help organise and drive the fundraising process over the coming weeks" (although there is no mention of what funding is required).
Lastly, there is a
request for a resident to take on the responsibility of Neighbourhood Watch Co-ordinator as from January 1st.

Sun September 7, 2014:
Neighbourhood Watch News Item -
Car Theft in Herriard

PC Reid: I would like to make everyone aware that a garage in Back Lane, Herriard was broken into overnight and a black VW 'Fox' hatchback car (registration RF59 URD) was stolen. Also taken were two petrol hedge cutters and an old metal green Jerry can.
It is believed that this crime took place after 4.00am this morning (Sunday).
If anyone can assist or spots this vehicle please do let us know as soon as possible.
EDITOR: PC Andrew Reid's direct line is 01256 389050 and his mobile number is 07768 776844. His email address is:

Mon September 1, 2014:
Ellisfield's Parish Clerk Resigns

It has been announced that Jacqui Matthews has handed in her resignation letter to the parish council's chairman, Cllr Tim Guinness.
Jacqui has told the council that she will stay until the end of the year, giving the council a more than reasonable four months to look for her replacement.

Mon September 1, 2014:
New Parish Council Website

It's been confirmed that the contract for a new parish council website will go to E-mango Business Solutions, based in Bournemouth. The contract details are unknown but at a previous Parish Council meeting a 3-year contract was mentioned at an annual cost of £350 to Ellisfield residents. Mrs Charlie Hellewell has agreed to handle this transfer for the parish council.
In the meantime, Ellisfield resident Paul Turner continues (stupidly?) to host the council's current website (the source code of which was handed over to the parish council on July 16) free of charge.
(Background information can be found on the Website News page).

Mon September 1, 2014:
Changes to Policing in Ellisfield

Changes driven primarily by Hampshire Constabulary budget cuts (£25 million over the next two years) means that from April 1st - that's April Fools Day, by the way - our existing rural beat will have a Police Community Support Officer (PCSO) allocated to it, instead of us having a dedicated Police Officer.
It is understood (and this needs to be confirmed!) that there will be only TWO police constables covering Basingstoke's rural parishes and when off duty they will NOT be contactable ...
PC Andrew Reid is, everyone must agree, a superb "local bobby" and is very much part of our community. Although he currently covers 22 parishes (78 square miles) south of the M3/A30, just about everyone knows, respects and trusts him. It is hoped that he retains his position as a rural policeman, a job that he has more than proved himself to excel at.

Sun August 31, 2014:
"In The Fields" Article

The latest article from Seumas Foster, agronomist and Ellisfield resident, can be found HERE.

Sat August 30, 2014:
Feedback Reports following the TAG
Farnborough Airspace Consultation

Two versions of their "Part A" report (in PDF format) have just been released. Both provide an analysis of the numbers and types of responses to the proposed expansion of controlled airspace.
The first report is an Overview Summary (500Kb) and the other is a more detailed Full Version (4.8Mb).
2,669 "stakeholders" responded with 13,177 comments. 711 documents were submitted.
EDITOR: 99% of responses to the specific areas of concern (such as Safety, Environment, etc.) were negative!

Sun August 24, 2014:
Ellisfield Scarecrow Festival
Slideshow of all Scarecrows

The slideshow is on your right. It'll stay there for a week or two and then it'll be moved to the Ladies Club page.
EDITOR: Congratulations to all who created such wonderful scarecrows and a big thank you to Theresa for organising this superb event.

Sat August 23, 2014:
Ellisfield Scarecrow Festival
Winner and Runners Up

At 5.00pm, residents gathered on Lower Common to hear the result of the judging performed by PC Andrew Reid and the Rev. David Chattell. Theresa Webb (below) made the announcement (because of PC Reid's work commitmentTheresa announcing the results of the 2014 Ellisfield Scarecrow Festivals):

The overall winners were Paul and April Brown of 1 Widmoor Cottages. This is their scarecrow:The winner of the 2014 Ellisfield Scarecrow Festival

The runners up were Amanda Lunn & Sharon Rudd of Freeman's Cottage and Richard & Dee Haas of The Walled Garden.

Tue August 5, 2014:
Horticultural Society's Summer
Show Results

The winners list of all the Trophies and Cups awarded at Saturday's Summer Show has been added to the Horticultural Society's website page.
Congratulations to Ellisfield's Cooke family, with mother Claire Cooke (née Gould) winning two classes (Best Rose and Best Flower Exhibit) and daughter Genna winning the Children's Challenge Cup (Best Children's Exhibit - Under 7).
Also congratulations to Oliver, son of Andy and Theresa (née Lunn) Webb, for winning the Elsie Prince Challenge Cup (Best Children's Exhibit - 7 & Over).

Mon August 4, 2014:
100 Years Ago,
Britain Declared a State
of War with Germany

Following Germany's invasion of Belgium, at 11.00pm on August 4, 1914, Britain declared a state of war with Germany.
UPDATE (Aug 18): Ellisfield's remembrance plaque, which was displayed on this website's Home page for two weeks, can still be viewed on the Memorial Village Hall page.

Tue July 29, 2014:
Sunday's Village Barbecue

Report by Susie Deane:
The weather was perfect and it was a happy occasion, 88 people came! Phil Self co-ordinated a great team - thanks go to Phil, Howard Nason, Tony Matthews, Seumas Foster and David Cross.
The butterfly leg of lamb seems to have been the most popular item from the barbecue. It was blisteringly hot by the barbecue but the cooking team were very good humoured. Meg Freeman and Tracey Gilvear were sterling workers in the kitchen. Joanne Thomas organised a brilliant raffle which raised £219.
Graham Simpson arrived late (after a bicycle race) and propped his fine red racing bike rather too near the table of raffle prizes ... so the first prize drawn from the tombola drum was A Red Racing Bike - quickly claimed by Diane Sandeman!

Tue July 29, 2014:
Saturday's Croquet and Tennis

Report by Bernard Cazenove:
Ted Dowson was the master of ceremonies at Brocas, organising and instructing the individual croquet competitors, and Tim Guinness got together a good group of mixed doubles players for the tennis.
Tea, excellent and high quality cakes, provided by members of the District Church Council (DCC), were available at Brocas, together with soft drinks and, for a donation, glasses of Pimms. The latter was consumed in quantity as the weather heated up as the rounds of croquet were completed. A very good number of members of the village came, either for refreshments or to play. The swimming pool at Brocas was well used, mainly by the younger visitors.
The winner of the croquet was Michael Courage who had won the trophy a number of years before. Mark Duncan came a close second. The fine trophy (made by John Hamilton, our Rector for five years up to 1999) of a miniature croquet ball, hoop and mallet, was presented by Stephen Mourant, the assistant Rector of the Parish.
The tennis competitors then descended on Brocas and there was a hard fought final between Phil & Sue Self and Stephen & Mini Loftus. It was the Loftus pair that emerged as the winners and they were presented with a bottle of champagne by Tim Guinness.
It was an enjoyable afternoon, blessed with occasional sunshine and a gentle breeze. £200 was raised, with half being donated to St Martin’s and half to the Memorial Hall.

Tue July 29, 2014:
Saturday's Memorial Service for
Sally Adams

Report by Susie Deane:
Sally's service was well attended, a full church.
John Hamilton gave a thoughtful address, describing Sal's many interests and her lifelong curiosity (My Father's House has many rooms - just like Sal's mind!). John spoke of Sal not putting up with injustice (apparently she led a revolt  at the YWCA hostel in South Ken where she lived in her younger days) and of the magazines she had edited such as Mother & Baby (her advice to John whenever he was presented with a big, ugly baby was the phrase "Now that's what I call a baby!").  She also edited She Magazine (fairly racy for its time) and wrote several indispensable books on journalism. She edited Hill & Dale as a thank you to the village for looking after her mother during her mother's latter years.
Ted Dowson spoke of Sal being Madame Palmolive at the Christmas Fair, her contributions to the community and the privilege of being her friend. Roger Graham spoke about Sal producing the booklet There'll Always Be An Ellisfield and Shirley Maunder spoke of their great friendship and shared love of music and also how Shirley acted the part of an awkward, rude person to be interviewed by Sal's journalism students.
Poignantly, Sal's great friend David Goddard who came down from London for the service and stayed at Mapledurwell on Saturday night, died in his sleep. They had known each other for 50 years ...

Wed July 16, 2014:
Parish Council Website Files handed
over to the Parish Council today

Now that the Minutes of the two May 12 Parish Council meetings have been received and the Parish Council website updated, Paul Turner has handed over to the Parish Council their website's source file and all associated folders (PDFs, images, etc.).
The current website does not now need to be updated until the September 1 Agenda is published.
It is presumed that the Parish Council will, at some stage, republish the website using their original ellisfield.gov.uk domain.
In the meantime, Paul Turner has agreed to continue to provide free hosting of their current website (which will also be available to view via this website's Parish Council page). Apart from this, he has now ceased his involvement with their website.

Wed July 16, 2014:
Parish Council Minutes for the Two Meetings held on May 12, 2014

These minutes, which were signed off two weeks ago at the June 30 meeting, are now available to view HERE.

Tue July 15, 2014:
Woodmancott Solar Farm Refusal

Here is B&DBC's detailed refusal letter.
Their reasons might be very useful to note if another planning application rears its head!

Tue July 15, 2014:
Vintage Tea Party at Tanglewood

Suzanne Light reports that 60 guests attended the Tea Party yesterday afternoon and £602 was raised for Naomi House, the children's hospice in Sutton Scotney, near Winchester.

Friday July 11, 2014:
Review of Ladies Club Appearance
at the "Festival of Choirs"

Celia Lunn has written up a review of the Belles of St Martin's appearance at the Anvil last Sunday evening. This can be found on the Ladies Club page.
Celia also sent in a photo of the "Belles" and it's so good it's been reproduced below (click on picture to see a larger versionBelles of St Martins, Ellisfield. (Click to see larger image ...)).

Sun July 6, 2014:
Parish Council Website's Hosting Reinstated This Morning

For the last five weeks, the Ellisfield Parish Council website has been unavailable to view (either directly or via the Parish Council page on this website) because its hosting account had been automatically suspended.
This situation could not continue and so the free hosting has been reinstated. The parish council has been informed.
For further information, see the latest News item on the Website News page.

Mon June 30, 2014:
Presentation by BELECTRIC Solar Ltd
at Parish Council Open Forum

Seven Ellisfield residents (and one Herriard resident) were in the audience when Raoul Tufney gave a presentation of BELECTRIC's plans for the construction of a 19 megawatt solar "farm" at Manor Farm, Farleigh Wallop. The highlights were:

There followed a Q&A session with questions ranging from screening, noise, delivery route for construction vehicles, assurances that the site will revert to agricultural use after 25 years, etc., etc.

The meeting's Open Forum ended at 9.00pm at which time all those in the audience left and the normal business of the Parish Council continued.

EDITOR: To provide an idea of what the panels will look like, the image below is of an installation that BELECTRIC constructed in the North Cotswolds. This site produces 3.8 megawatts so the proposed number of panels in Farleigh Wallop will be 5 times larger. (The actual site is 23 acres, compared to the 128 acres at Farleigh.)

Fri June 27, 2014:
Parish Council Website's Hosting Suspended since June 1, 2014

It is now four weeks that the Ellisfield Parish Council website has been unavailable to view (either directly or via the Parish Council page on this website).

For further information, see the latest News item on the Website News page.

UPDATE (Fri July 4, 2014): With the Parish Council website still being unavailable to view, Councillor and Clerk Details have been added to THIS website's Parish Council page.

Thu June 26, 2014:
Ellisfield Listed Properties for Sale

Two of the eight Grade II listed houses in Ellisfield have just come up for sale.
The very attractive 8- bedroom 850sqm Old Manor in Church Lane is on the market for offers over £5,750,000 and it comes with 5.2 acres of garden and grounds, 27.4 acres of pasture and 45.98 acres of woodland.
The other property for sale is the pretty 137sqm Thatched Cottage in Ellisfield Green. For a more modest £525,000 this 4-bedroom cottage sits on a 0.2 acre plot.

Thu June 26, 2014:
Woodmancott Wind "Farm" Proposal Turned Down!

After a 4 hour session last night, Basingstoke & Deane Borough Council's planning committee turned down this planning application for 6 massive 130 metre wind turbines at Woodmancott Common.

Wed June 25, 2014:
Horticultural Society's 3 Villages
Garden Competition Results

The winners of this competition are as follows:

Combined Vegetable & Flower Garden
  Julia & Steve Ayscough of Farleigh Wallop
Flower Garden
  Janette Palmer of Cliddesden
Vegetable Garden
  Dan Cleeve of Ellisfield
Garden Feature
  Hilda & Andy Small of Cliddesden
Pots & Baskets
  Debbie & Seumas Foster of Ellisfield

Mon June 23, 2014:
UPDATE: Woodmancott Wind "Farm"

The B&DBC Case Officer has issued her report and recommended to the Planning Committee that the application be REFUSED.
This planning application will be discussed and decided upon by the Planning Committee this Wednesday (June 25).

Tue June 17, 2014:

UPDATE: The spaniel which had been "on the loose" has now returned back to its owner (Mick Frankham of The Patches, Green Lane).

Mon June 16, 2014:
Bullington Cross Wind "Farm" Proposal Turned Down!

The planning officers at all three councils (Winchester, Basingstoke and Test Valley) had recommended refusal. This evening (6.50pm) at Winchester Guildhall the elected councillors on the planning committees agreed with their officers and turned down the planning application.

Mon June 16, 2014:
Magda Brownrigg

More sad news ...
Magda Brownrigg of Church Cottage, Church Lane has died.
Her funeral will be at 1.30pm next Monday (June 23).

Thu June 12, 2014:
Woodmancott Wind Farm Update

Hannah Houstin-Lacey has pointed out that this proposal to build 6 massive 130 metre (that's 420 foot) wind turbines at Woodmancott Common (which is just 4 miles from our parish border!) will be discussed and decided upon by Basingstoke & Deane's Planning Committee on Wednesday, June 25.
UPDATE (Tue June 17): As the Bullington Cross proposal has now been rejected, that may provide hope for all those (including many Ellisfield residents) who have objected to this wind farm being built.

Tue June 10, 2014:
Bullington Cross Wind Farm Update

The planning officers at all three councils (Winchester, Basingstoke and Test Valley) have recommended refusal. However, the final decision will be made by the elected councillors on the planning committees. The planning hearing will be on Monday, June 16 from 10.00am at the Guildhall, Winchester.
UPDATE (Mon June 17): This evening (6.50pm) at Winchester Guildhall the elected councillors on the planning committees agreed with their officers and turned down the planning application.

Thu June 5, 2014:
Memorial Service for Sally Adams

Sally, looking very quizzical (click to view larger image ...)Sally's memorial service at St Martin's Church, and interment of her ashes in her parent's grave in Ellisfield's Burial Ground, will be on Saturday, July 26 at 11.00am.

Mon June 2, 2014:
Peter Chilton

It was sad to hear of the death last Thursday of Peter Chilton, Churchwarden of Ellisfield's St Martin's Church. The funeral (at St Martin's) will be this coming Friday (June 6) at 2pm.
UPDATE (Fri, June 6):
Donations to:
St. Martin’s Church. Please make cheques payable to FARLEIGH PCC (and mentioning that it's a donation in Memory of Peter Chilton) and send to:
Farleigh PCC Treasurer,
4 Railway Cottages, Station Road,
Cliddesden RG25 2NL

Mon May 26, 2014:
European Election Results for the
South East Region

At 12.45am, the results of our region finally came in. The votes (of the parties that gained seats) were as follows:

751,439 - UKIP (32.14%)
723,571 - Conservative (30.95%)
342,775 - Labour (14.66%)
211,706 - Green (9.05%)
187,876 - Liberal Democrat (8.04%)

Under the proportional system, the 10 elected MEPs are now as follows:
4 - UKIP (Nigel Farage, Janice Atkinson,
      Diane James and Ray Finch)
3 - Conservative (Dan Hannan, Nirj Deva
     and Richard Ashworth)
1 - Labour (Anneliese Dodds)
1 - Green (Keith Taylor)
1 - Liberal Democrat (Catherine Bearder)

UKIP gained two MEPS, the Conservatives lost one and the Liberal Democrats also lost one.

Nationwide, only 34.19% of registered voters actually voted! Is it apathy, an unawareness of the EU issues, an assumption that democracy and freedom no longer need to be fought for? When people in some countries are risking their lives to vote, a 34.19% turnout in the UK (just over half the 65% turnout for the 2010 General Election) is shameful.
Would having compulsory voting (Luxemburg and Belgium had 90% turnouts), weekend voting (making it easier for working people to get to the polls) and being able to vote for "None of the Above" (to separate protest votes from ballot papers spoilt by accident or ignorance) make any difference? Discuss...

Sat May 24, 2014:
"In The Fields" Article

The latest article from Seumas Foster, agronomist and Ellisfield resident, can be found HERE.

Thu May 22, 2014:
Parish Council Minutes for the Meeting held on March 24, 2014

These minutes are available to view HERE.

Mon May 19, 2014:
Parish Council Newsletter

Here is a PDF of the latest Parish Council Newsletter.

Sat May 17, 2014:
Latest Neighbourhood Watch Report

Hannah Houstin-Lacey’s latest report has been posted on the Neighbourhood Watch page.

Wed May 14, 2014:
Woodland Trust Campaign
"Save our Ancient Woodlands"

Hannah Houstin-Lacey has asked that a link be published to the relevant Woodland Trust web page where you can read about the campaign.

Tue May 13, 2014:
Sally Adams - UPDATE

Sally, looking very quizzical (click to view larger image ...)Sally's cremation will be held at Putney Vale Crematorium on Thursday, May 22 at 11.40am.
The date of the memorial service and interment in the Ellisfield Burial Ground has not yet been finalised.
If you missed the original News item on Friday the 9th, it is HERE.
NEW UPDATE (May 24): The memories of Sally as expressed by Edna Chilton, Susie Deane and Shirley Maunder in the latest issue of Hill & Dale were so moving that a PDF copy was produced and sent to Sally's friends in London.

Tue May 13, 2014:
Grammarsham Lane closed this Sunday and Monday (May 18/19)?

So far, the road has been open with traffic control.

Mon May 12, 2014:
Parish Council Vote Unanimously to
Cancel the Residents' Open Forum
held at the End of every Meeting

At Monday evening's Parish Council meeting, ALL councillors voted to stop having the Open Forum that, for at least the last twelve years, has been held at the end of each meeting.
In the first Open Forum, resident Paul Turner (editor of this Community Website) stated that the second Open Forum was the only opportunity for residents to ask for confirmation of what was discussed and decided upon in the meeting's Closed Session (during which residents CANNOT speak), whilst all councillors are still present.
He went on to say that the alternative, of writing to the parish council with comments and questions, would take up far more time, for both the resident and for the clerk who would have to respond.
When asked if the parish council had analysed how many comments and questions had actually been asked in the second Open Forum, the reply was NO. Paul Turner then provided the parish council with an analysis (available HERE) which showed that, for the last 22 meetings, there was an average of
one comment and one question per meeting. For the last 8 meetings, the average number of comments doubled to two and the number of questions remained at one.
Paul Turner then pointed out that the typical time spent in the second Open Forum was two or three
minutes, not much compared to the average parish council meeting taking just over two and a half hours on average!
When the council then formally discussed this matter in session, the chairman (Tim Guinness) stated that there had been email correspondence between him and Paul Turner about the second Open Forum. He then proceeded to read out aloud everything that he had said in HIS email but neglected to mention ANY of Paul Turner's responses (which included the statement that it was a
Residents' Open Forum and that surely the matter should be discussed at the Resident's Annual Parish Meeting on May 23 for residents to vote on it by a show of hands).
All councillors then voted and the vote was unanimous, there would no longer be a second Open Forum.

It's ironic that the councillors discussed how they could encourage more residents to attend meetings, whilst at the same time taking away the only method for residents to provide feedback on a meeting that they'd just spent the previous two and a half hours sitting through!

Fri May 9, 2014:
Sally Adams

There will be many in the village who will be saddened to hear of the death last Friday of Sally Adams who (mentioned only for the interest of newcomers to the village) lived at her parents' house Wyckens, an original Ellisfield bungalow, now redeveloped, on the corner of the Axford Road and College Lane. Although she spent time at her house in Clapham, Sally was always in Ellisfield as much as possible and was one of the prominent residents of this village. If a village event did not have Sally present, her absence was always felt and remarked upon!

Sally Adams, EllisfieldFor many years Sally wrote the Ellisfield entry in the Gazette's community news, a task that came very easily to her as journalism was her profession and indeed she taught hundreds of "would be hacks" in London. (EDITOR: In the picture above, it looks as though Sally is saying "what's that idiot saying about me?". Click the image to see a larger version.)

Sally is being cremated in London but her remains are going to be interred in her parents' grave in the Burial Ground. The date and time has not been decided yet but will be publicised here as soon as it's known.

Edna Chilton will be doing a piece about Sally in the June edition of Hill & Dale and has requested that residents contact her (by Wednesday the 14th please) with any details of Sally's life that they'd like to share.

Fri May 2, 2014:
Neighbourhood Watch News Item -
Property Register Scheme

PC Reid would like to raise awareness and encourage residents to consider using IMMOBILISE, the Nationwide Property Register scheme, at www.immobilise.com.
Residents can register their valuables for FREE and then the Police can check the register from anywhere in the UK if they impound items they think might have been stolen.
Why not consider registering your mobile phone, bicycle, computer, camera and any other valuables?

Wed April 29, 2014:
Farnborough Airport's Proposed Enlargement of Air Space to Affect Ellisfield - Consultation Closing Date
extended by 10 Days (now May 12)

The ability to send in feedback regarding the proposed enlargement to Farnborough Airport's air space (an air corridor which would be TWICE the size of Gatwick's which deals with over 34 million passengers each year!) has been extended to May 12.

As mentioned in the March 24 News item outlining the Parish Council meeting that evening, TAG Farnborough Airport wish to extend their incoming and departure airspace in order to handle a doubling of aircraft movements (from 23,000 per year to 50,000 per year).
If this is allowed to go ahead, all other aircraft would be squeezed to the side or beneath this new air corridor, which would affect Ellisfield. The primary impact would be noise, either from airborne traffic in general or the noise from the Lasham tugs unable to operate east of the Golden Pot and therefore biasing all aero-tows to the remaining permitted airspace (ie, over Ellisfield).
In addition, due to the pinch points which would be created in the new airspace regime, it is felt that there could be an increased risk of collisions.

UPDATE (May 13): The consultation period has now closed.

Mon April 28, 2014:
May 22 European Parliament Election
Parties and Candidates for the UK's
South East Region (10 MEPs)

A list of the Parties and Candidates for the South East Region has now been published.
For those interested in knowing how the votes are subsequently split after you've put your ONE cross against your chosen party, HERE is an explanation (happy reading!)
(Currently, the political split is as follows: 5 Conservative, 2 Liberal, 1 Labour, 1 UKIP and 1 Green.)
EDITOR: The outcome of this particular European Parliament Election may be quite interesting! As soon as the South East area results are available (late on Sunday, May 25 because other EU countries vote over the weekend!), they'll be posted in the News column.

Thu April 24, 2014:
Notification of proposed Solar Farm
at Manor Farm, Farleigh Wallop

First reported on August 10, 2013 in this News column, Belectric Solar Ltd have now begun developing plans for a solar "farm" on land at Manor Farm, Farleigh Lane, Farleigh Wallop, RG25 2HR. The scheme is likely to consist of an up to 19MW solar "farm" on a 52 hectare (128 acre) site at Manor Farm in Farleigh Wallop (click on map below to see a larger image - the solid red area is a temporary construction compound) and will be submitted to Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council in summer 201click to view larger image ...4.

Belectric Solar Ltd have written to Ellisfield Parish Council offering to attend the next parish council meeting. In the meantime, Ellisfield residents may wish to go to an open Public Consultation Event being held in the Hatch Warren Community Centre (Youth Wing), Longcross Lane, Hatch Warren, RG22 4XF next Wednesday (April 30) between 3.00pm and 8.00pm to learn more about this proposal.

Wed April 23, 2014:
St George's Day
Sat April 19, 2014:
Farnborough Airport's Proposed Enlargement of Air Space to Affect Ellisfield

Following on from their meeting on March 24, the Parish Council has today released a letter sent to them on March 10 from the Lasham Gliding Society. It can be viewed HERE.

The letter outlines the proposed enlargement to Farnborough Airport's air space and highlights that Ellisfield will most probably be affected if these changes are made.

There are now only 13 days left to send in feedback before the consultation ends on May 2. More details can be found on the Farnborough Airport's website and feedback on the area relevant to Ellisfield (Part B) can be entered HERE.

Fri April 4, 2014:
Maria Miller, Basingstoke MP

EDITOR: I know that we were thrown out of the Basingstoke constituency, but here is an article about Mrs Miller's appearance in the Commons yesterday.
The first three paragraphs are very funny, the rest are not.

Fri April 4, 2014:
Stocks on Lower Common?

EDITOR: Following on from the March 30 News item, Andy Trotter has informed me that Bentworth already have stocks (Wikipedia tells me that, strictly speaking, it's a "pillory") installed on their Village Green! (Click on the picture to view larger imag... click to view larger imagee.)

Thu April 3, 2014:
Basingstoke to Alton and Alresford
Cycle Route through Ellisfield

A description of this route together with a link to Hampshire County Council's route booklet have been added to the Local Information page.

Tue April 1, 2014:
"In The Fields" Article

The latest In the Fields ... article can be found HERE.
This month there is a Guest Report by Ben Licence entitled "From Farleigh Wallop fields to the Great Plains of America".

Mon March 31, 2014:
Parish Council Minutes for the Meeting held on February 3, 2014

These minutes are available to view HERE.

Sun March 30, 2014:
"Your Majesty, please grant us a new Magna Carta" (Telegraph Article)

EDITOR: This article, by David Thomas (a journalist at The Telegraph), is so interesting that I thought I'd share it.
I wonder if we could get a grant to purchase and install stocks on Lower Common? Perhaps we could ask the Parish Council to discuss this at their next meeting ...

Sat March 29, 2014:
Civil War Soldiers seen in Ellisfield!

On this day, 370 years ago in 1644, the Battle of Cheriton was an important Parliamentarian victory in the English Civil War. It resulted in the defeat of a Royalist army, which threw King Charles I onto the defensive for the remainder of the year.
click to view larger image ...Just before mid-day today, anyone outdoors at the top of the village would have been bemused to witness a squad of pikemen, musketeers and a drummer marching down Green Lane and then turning off up the path to Bedlam Bottom wood on their way from Basing House cross country to Cheriton.
They will be arriving at Cheriton to coincide with the start of the Memorial service on Sunday at 2.15pm and will be joined by members of the British Legion for the final approach to the Memorial Site. At 3.15pm there will be a reenactment skirmishclick to view larger image ....
(Click on a picture to view a larger image.)

Thu March 27, 2014:
The Fallen Tree in Church Lane which brought down a Telephone Pole

Most residents who had been without their landline and broadband for at least a month (and some for longer) have had their service restored.
Engineers were able to swop around wires which had (presumably) been damaged when a tree in Church Lane came down, pulling a telephone pole over and trapping the telephone cable (see picture below).
There is some confusion as to who will remove this tree. Obviously, one presumes that BT's Open Reach will want to restore its pole and cable but will they clear the tree as well?
The exposed roots (right) are almost encroaching the highway, but if the County Council clears just the root, that leaves the trunk and branches.
This matter was discussed at Monday's parish council meeting (see March 24 News item below). However, it's unknown whether anyone is coordinating a solution.

Thu March 27, 2014:
AGM of the Village Association (EVA)

Wednesday evening's AGM of the Ellisfield Village Association (EVA) went well, with all the formalities being tackled at a decent speed!
Dee Haas was re-elected as Chairman, Hannah Houstin-Lacey as Secretary and Tony Simons as Treasurer. Alison Swanston was appointed as EVA's representative on the Memorial Hall Committee and both Susie Deane and Katie Spraggs were re-appointed as committee members.
In her report, Dee (see right) proposed investigating the possibility of opening up the old Basingstoke to Alton railway line as a bridleway and cycle path. She also suggested that EVA conduct a survey of village trees lost in the recent storms with the aim of replanting where possible.
Under "Any Other Business" there was a suggestion by Nicky Palmer that residents still displaying Waste Not Wanted signs be asked to take them down as that campaign had finished, with EVA now taking on a consultative role with the operator of the Anaerobic Digester plant.

Wed March 5, 2014:
Telephone Scam Call to an Ellisfield Resident

On Wednesday evening, PC Andrew Reid received calls from an Ellisfield resident and a Tunworth resident, reporting that they had been called by a man proclaiming to be a Detective Constable from the Metropolitan Police who stated that he had a man in custody who had the resident's bank details on him.

Thankfully, both residents rang off without providing their bank details to him.

PC Reid says that, with this kind on scam telephone call, the story changes as does the name of the officer, his station, etc.  However what is always there is the fact that the caller will advise you to call a number that he provides.

DO NOT CALL THIS NUMBER. Also, make absolutely certain that your telephone line is still not open.

Sat March 1, 2014:
"In The Fields" Article

The latest article from Seumas Foster, agronomist and Ellisfield resident, can be found HERE.

FLASH NEWS: Seumas reports that he has just noticed, for the first time, that there is frog spawn in Hill Farm Pond.
WARNING TO CHILDREN: Don't try to look for it as the pond is full and the sides are steep and dangerous ...

Fri February 21, 2014:
From the Ellisfield Village Association regarding a Planning Application for the Veolia Composting Site

UPDATE: EVA sent out an email informing residents that they were objecting to a proposal by Veolia (the composting company at the junction of Bushywarren Lane and the A339) to extend their remit to include animal bedding (particularly from Marwell Zoo) containing straw and animal bi-product.

Now that the deadline for objections has passed, the original News Item has been moved to the Village Association page.

Thu February 20, 2014:
Latest Neighbourhood Watch Report

Hannah Houstin-Lacey’s latest report has been posted on the Neighbourhood Watch page.

Wed February 19, 2014:
Statement by the Chairman of the
Memorial Hall Committee

"The Ellisfield Memorial Hall Management Committee would like to announce the retirement of two key members who have together served an astonishing 43 years.

"Jane Evans has served 27 years as Bookings Officer, a title which does not do justice to the many and varied tasks she undertook. The village owe her a great deal for her hard work and devoted service over all these years.

"Christine Turner has served 16 years as Treasurer. She always produced detailed accounts for each Committee Meeting, which even the numerically challenged could easily comprehend. The Hall is in good financial health, due largely to Christine's careful management of our finances.

"On behalf of all those who use and enjoy our Hall, a big thank you to Jane and Christine."

Ray Reed, Chairman

Tue February 4, 2014:
Volunteer Group's Cutting Schedule

The 2014 Cutting Schedule has been released by Andy Swanston, chairman of the Ellisfield Volunteer Group.

Tue February 4, 2014:
Parish Council Meeting in Church

The parish council meeting last night was held in St Martin's Church due to a prior booking of the hall.
The picture above records this unusual event and shows Jacqui Matthews (Clerk) and Cllr Tim Guinness (Chairman) facing the three other councillors present; Cllr Gavin Park Weir, Cllr David Richards and Cllr Caroline Cazenove.
Also at the meeting were residents Tracey Gilvear, Meg Freeman and (on the right) Dee Haas who came to represent the Village Association. The fourth resident present, Paul Turner, was behind the camera!

Wed January 29, 2014:
Two Resignations from the Ellisfield Memorial Hall Committee

Jane Evans and Christine Turner have resigned from the Memorial Hall Committee.
Jane has served as the hall's Bookings Secretary for 27 years and Christine for 16 years as Treasurer.
Tony Matthews (381149) has agreed to take on the role of Bookings Secretary.
Susie Deane (381261) will become the Treasurer, with (presumably) another Ellisfield Village Association representative to be nominated to take her place on the Committee.

Tue January 28, 2014:
Veolia Recycling Planning Application

Veolia Environmental Services, who run the Green Waste recycling centre at the top of Busheywarren Lane, have applied to Hampshire County Council (HCC) for permission to "allow a wider range of wastes" on the site.

Their application letter to HCC is available HERE. You'll notice that they mention "animal wastes, such (as) animal faeces, urine and manure which are often collected with animal bedding". The application can be viewed on the HCC website HERE.

This will be discussed at the Parish Council meeting next Monday (Feb 3) evening.

Tue January 28, 2014:
Borough Councillors Overruled

Eric Pickles, Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, has given Wates go-ahead for 310 homes on Kennel Farm (see right), off the A30 Winchester Road, after overruling the wishes of Basingstoke and Deane borough councillors.
EDITOR: The Localism Bill was unveiled in December 2010. The Bill was supposed to contain a package of reforms devolving greater powers to local authorities and their communities. Yet here's another example of "we know best" government.

Tue January 28, 2014:
"In The Fields" Article

The latest article from Seumas Foster, agronomist and Ellisfield resident, can be found HERE.

Sun January 26, 2014:
Ladies Club Burn's Night Supper

The supper held at The Fox last night for Ladies Club members and their partners was a resounding success.

The "Country Bar" was packed and there was even an overflow area in the raised section of the main dinning room. Despite the power only coming back on at 6.45pm, Sue Dove was able to serve the dinner - including (optional) haggis - with only the smallest of delay.

Sue Self was awarded 1st Prize and Alison Swanston 2nd Prize for their Scottish themed attire.

Sat January 25, 2014:
Ellisfield Volunteer Group (EVG) AGM

The well attended (25 residents including the 5 committee members) Annual General Meeting of the Volunteer Group took place yesterday evening (Friday, January 24). As usual, it was held at the Memorial Hall, Church Lane.

The formal proceedings (including Any Other Business discussions at the end of the meeting) took just 32 minutes. An excellent example of the efficiency of the Group (and, it was pointed out, three minutes faster than last year!).

All current committee members were voted back on except for Steve Brown who had decided to stand down after a number of years of service to the Group. Graham Simpson was elected as coordinator for the Burial Ground and Ray Reed as EVG's representative on the Memorial Hall Committee.

The formal proposal that “EVG shall continue operations in 2014” was passed unanimously.

The meeting was followed by refreshments. A PDF of the Chairman’s Report is HERE.

Fri January 24, 2014:
Basingstoke Draft Local Plan

On January 30, borough councillors will be debating how many new houses are to be built between now and 2029 at a meeting of the Planning and Infrastructure Overview & Scrutiny Committee.

The maximum number now being proposed is 807 per year, up from the 748 set out in the original Draft Plan.

To put this in perspective, using the lower 748 figure, there would be at least another 13,464 houses built in the borough by 2029. Based on 2011 census data, we can therefore expect the borough population to increase from around 170,000 to over 200,000.

Mon January 20, 2014:
Horticultural Society Programme

The website page for the Horticultural Society has been updated with their 2014 Programme of Events.

Sat January 18, 2014:
Neighbourhood Watch Alert

Hannah Houstin-Lacey has sent out an email from PC Andrew Reid with detailed warnings regarding:

Basingstoke burglaries
An increase in thefts from vans
Scam HMRC emails
Attempted horse thefts

If you are not receiving Neighbourhood Watch emails and would like to be included on the distribution list, please phone Hannah on 381863 or email her by clicking HERE.

Fri January 17, 2014:
Ellisfield Resident Appointed Chairman of Hampshire Branch of the Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE).

Dee Haas, chairman of the Ellisfield Village Association (EVA), has been appointed as chairman of CPRE's Hampshire branch.
In a Basingstoke Gazette news article on Thursday, Dee was reported as saying:
“I have been very taken with the wealth of expertise existing in our voluntary and paid members and the way that they can respond quickly to help people in their campaigns.
“The supportive, educational planning workshops are very helpful, and I love the programme of visits and activities. The Countryside Awards scheme is a great asset to the charity and its corporate supporters, so I would like to see that developing in the future.”

Wed January 8, 2014:
Neighbourhood Watch Alert

From PC Andrew Reid:

May I please make you aware that we are experiencing a spate of thefts from motor vehicles during the nights both in the town and rural areas. In Basingstoke over 30 cars were targeted in one night and, although two men have been arrested, we are now having similar thefts from within the rural area. On Monday night four cars were broken into Oakley and a further one in Kingsclere.

We are aware that one or two (possibly more) men are trying the door handles of parked cars in these areas and if anything such as the sat nav, laptop, etc. has been left in the vehicle it is being broken into and the items are stolen.

I ask if residents could please take ALL sat navs and other valuables out of the vehicles at night. PLEASE DO NOT JUST PUT THEM IN THE GLOVE COMPARTMENT.

Tue January 7, 2014:
The Fox

Graham & Sue Dove wish all their customers a "Very Happy and Healthy New Year” and also want to express their grateful thanks for all the support the village has shown them over the last six months.

Fri January 3, 2014:
No News Must Be Good News?

Editor: "I could blame BT for there being no new News items posted recently (my ADSL broadband line has been dead since December 23!) but that would be untrue.
It seems that the village is just very quiet at the moment, perhaps that's no bad thing ..."

Fri December 20, 2013:
Christmas Fayre Record Takings

Although it's been almost two weeks since the Ellisfield Christmas Fayre, monies only stopped coming in a few days ago! After a few expenses, the final sum raised (to be shared between the Memorial Hall and St Martin's Church) can be confirmed as £2,041.18. Congratulations to Caroline Cazenove and all the Ellisfield residents who worked so hard at making this event such a success.

Tue December 10, 2013:
Neighbourhood Watch Alert

Following intelligence that an illegal "rave" may have been planned for this coming weekend at Upton Grey, PC Reid is warning all residents in his area to be on the lookout in case the location is switched to a nearby village!

He is asking all residents to please be extra vigilant and to contact the Police on either 101 or 999 if you see:
Large amounts of vehicles being driven around in the early hours of either Saturday or Sunday morning, and/or
Lots of people who appear not to know where they are going (!), and/or
Bits of torn ribbon attached to trees, hedgerows or sign posts.
These are all signs and markers to indicate that an unlawful gathering might be in progress.

Sat December 6, 2013:
Neighbourhood Watch Alert

On Friday afternoon at about 3.00pm a white Ford Transit van AF13 NWC was seen in the grounds of a large house in Greywell. When approached by a member of staff the vehicle drove away despite having the opportunity to stop and speak to the man.

The van comes from Slough and a person linked to it has links with rogue trading such as tarmacing of drives. If seen, please give Police or Hampshire Trading Standards a call and think very carefully before allowing them to do any work at your home.

Thu December 5, 2013:
Christmas Security Advice from the
Police and Crimestoppers

The security advice given by Hampshire Police (with additional advice from Crimestoppers) last December in the run-up to Christmas is, of course, still valid. The website page can be displayed HERE.

Sun December 1, 2013:
This Website's First Birthday!

"It seems astonishing that 15 months have passed since work started on this website.

"I was asked recently what I feel is the most successful and useful element of the website and my answer was the News and Events columns which I try to keep as up to date and accurate as possible.

"My thanks go to all the residents who contribute to making sure that the individual sections are made interesting and informative."

Paul Turner, Editor.

Thu November 28, 2013:
New Parish Council Website

A separate Parish Council website has been created at www.ellisfield-pc.org.uk and its contents are currently identical to the pages that were on this site.
As well as going to www.ellisfield-pc.org.uk, you can also view it by clicking the main Parish Council navigation button on this site.

Tue November 26, 2013:
Parish Council Meeting

2014/15 Precept:
At Monday evening's meeting, the Parish Council went through the 2014/15 Budget and decided to keep next year’s precept (the total amount of money required for the running of the council) at £5,521, this being the same as the previous two years. Although the actual amount charged per property will depend upon its rateable value, it means that the
average cost per Ellisfield household will be £46.40.

Closed Meeting:
Whilst discussing the Agenda Item 7iii (Web Site), the Parish Council made the unusual decision to discuss the Ellisfield Community Website (ellisfield.org.uk) in private, after the formal minuted meeting had closed and the public had left. The reason given was that of confidentiality.

Mon November 25, 2013:
Ellisfield Neighbourhood Watch

Hannah Houstin-Lacey has agreed to stay on as the Ellisfield Neighbourhood Watch co-ordinator for another year.

Mon November 25, 2013:
Hilary de Ferranti

It is with regret that we (belatedly) announce that Hilary de Ferranti died peacefully at home on November 16, 2013. Much loved widow of Basil de Ferranti.
A Funeral and Thanksgiving Service will take place at St Martin's Church, Ellisfield this Saturday (November 30), at 11am.
Donations, if desired, to St Michael's Hospice in Basingstoke. Hilary was a director of this hospice from 1992 until October, 2011.
EDITOR: Profound apologies for not putting this News item up on the website sooner. I was unaware of Hilary's death until it was mentioned at this evening's Parish Council meeting.

Sun November 24, 2013:
New Neighbourhood Watch Area Co-ordinator

Caroline Cazenove has agreed to be the new area co-ordinator for Ellisfield Scheme 263 which is Northgate Lane, The Green & Green Lane down to Sylven Lee.
Scheme 263 is one of four Neighbourhood Watch areas in Ellisfield, all described on this website's Neighbourhood Watch page.

Sat November 23, 2013:
Neighbourhood Watch Alert

It has been reported that a white male with grey hair (approximately 6' height, in his late 50s and driving a black car) is doing the rounds in Hampshire posing as a buyer of antiques.

This man drives around scouting at properties then knocks on doors hoping the owners have antiques to sell. He will happily come in to your property and walk around offering cash for items such as clocks, walking sticks, books, jewellery, furniture, ivory, pictures, etc., all well below the estimated value. The man will offer a leaflet with an East Sussex address and contact details.
EDITOR: If he says his name is Lovejoy be especially cautious!
UPDATE: Hannah has just informed me that he also steals things whilst the householder is distracted ...

Fri November 15, 2013:
The Fox - Food Bank Collection Point

Graham and Sue Dove have placed a basket just inside the pub's front door where you can donate non perishable foods for the needy in Basingstoke.
All items donated will be collected weekly.

Fri November 15, 2013:
The Fox - £309 Raised for Charity

The "Race Night" Event held at The Fox on Wednesday evening raised £309 for the Dreams Come True national charity for terminally and seriously ill children.

Thu November 14, 2013:
Christmas Fayre Contributions

Requests have gone out for contributions for both the Produce Stall and the Tombola Stall. Details are in the Events column (see HERE).
EDITOR: Those Ellisfield residents running the stalls at the Christmas Fayre on Saturday, 7th December are deserving of our support.

Wed November 13, 2013:
Latest Neighbourhood Watch Report

Hannah Houstin-Lacey’s latest report has been posted on the Neighbourhood Watch page.
EDITOR: Do read it. Worryingly, there have been three burglaries in Ellisfield within the last month so we all need to be vigilant.

Wed November 6, 2013:
The Fox - Christmas Menu

The Fox has just released its Christmas Menu (incorporating a Booking Form). This menu starts on Tuesday, December 3 but bookings can be made now.

Wed November 6, 2013:
Fast Broadband - Statement by
Ellisfield Parish Council

On Monday, October 14, this website ran a News item (see below) regarding the Hampshire County Council (HCC) Big Picture Map which showed the proposed roll-out of superfast broadband throughout Hampshire.
Those who looked at the map will have seen that it showed the Herriard exchange being upgraded before the end of 2015. It also showed the southern part of Ellisfield as being in the 2015 roll-out.
This map was discussed at the Ellisfield Parish Council (EPC) meeting that evening and Cllr Julian Wright promised to investigate and report back - here is his statement (emailed out this morning):

  "A meeting was held on the 23rd October between EPC, HCC and BT to discuss the provision of superfast broadband in Ellisfield. The following clarification was agreed:
   "BT will be providing superfast broadband (VDSL) via the Herriard cabinet (located near the Fur and Feathers). Regrettably the VDSL technology is currently short-range and will not support superfast broadband over long copper connections. In some cases lines in Ellisfield are up to 7 km long in the lower part of Ellisfield (some of the area marked in green on the map). The existing ADSL broadband service will however remain in place.
   "The rest of Ellisfield is served by the cabinet at the junction of Church Lane and College Lane and is not currently included in the 2015 superfast programme
   "All of Ellisfield is eligible for some form of broadband upgrade by the end of 2015 owing to the slow, sub 2 Mb, download speeds. Ellisfield is also eligible for consideration as part of the 2017 superfast roll-out.
   "BT, HCC and EPC are now working together on how to best address Ellisfield’s broadband needs. The first step in the process is for BT to conduct a detailed survey to inform a second meeting to be held in a few months’ time."

Sun October 27, 2013:
Borough Council's £500K budget for "Marketing" Basingstoke

Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council’s decision-making Cabinet has earmarked spending £200,000 in the next financial year, followed by an annual £100,000 until April 2018 for "marketing Basingstoke" to business decision makers.

Council leader Cllr Clive Sanders stated that successful marketing of the town goes hand in hand with the administration’s ambition to improve the Leisure Park, revamp the Top of The Town and regenerate the Basing View business park. It would also build on the recent successes of bringing Airkix to the Leisure Park, Network Rail’s new regional hub to Basing View, and the new combined Waitrose and John Lewis At Home store to Basing View.

Before April 2013, all business rates collected by councils were sent to Government which redistributed the money back to local authorities using an extremely complicated formula. Under the new scheme, the borough council will keep 40 per cent of business tax.

Sun October 20, 2013:
Attempted Break-In, Friday at 2pm

There was an attempted break-in at 2pm on Friday (October 18) at The Conifers in Green Lane.
(Going down Green Lane and passing Lower Common on your left, The Conifers is the last house on your right.)

A youth wearing black clothing attempted to gain access via the back of the property. He tried to kick down the back door and, on failing, then smashed a bedroom window.

The owner disturbed the intruder who made off over the garden fence into the wood behind.

If you heard or saw anything, please contact PC Andrew Reid (right) on 07768 776844.

Note: If you’re involved in or witness this type of incident, always telephone 999 immediately.

Thu October 17, 2013:
Willis Museum Exhibitions

There are a few interesting exhibitions being held at the Willis Museum (Market Square, Basingstoke) in the coming months which appear worthy of adding to the Events column.

Tue October 15, 2013:
Memorial Hall - Lower Hourly Rates

It was decided at the meeting of the Memorial Hall Committee that the Hire Charges would be reduced to £9 per hour for Ellisfield Residents’ personal use, Village Groups and Regular Users, with all other hirers being charged £15 per hour (it was £20 per hour).

To book the Hall for a party or event, contact Jane Evans on 01256 381470.

Mon October 14, 2013:
Fast Broadband - Area Map Published
by Hampshire County Council

Hampshire County Council (HCC) have published what they call "The Big Picture Map" (click to display the relevant HCC page in a new tab) showing the areas in Hampshire that will benefit from superfast broadband coverage in a countywide scheme to provide a high speed network.

The map shows planned coverage by the end of 2015 and HCC will be publishing more detailed maps as each phase enters deployment.

This map was passed on to Ellisfield’s Cllr Julian Wright last Friday and, at this evening’s Parish Council Meeting, he promised to investigate the ramifications for Ellisfield residents and pass on his findings to this website.

Fri October 4, 2013:
Bushywarren Lane Traffic Disruption
From Wednesday 9 (for 3 days)
(Anaerobic Digester Deliveries)

Deliveries of silage to the Anaerobic Digester (see News item, dated September 12, below) will take place next week, as follows:=

Wednesday, 9th:  9.30am to 9.00pm
Thursday, 10th:    7.30am to 9.00pm
Friday, 11th:          7.30am to 9.00pm

It is hoped to have completed the deliveries by the end of Friday. However, if it runs over into Saturday then it should be for only 2-4 hours.

During the operations, the mud on roads will be monitored and washing trucks brought in as necessary
Village residents and visitors may like to take an alternative route and avoid Bushywarren Lane during these times.

Wed October 2, 2013:
Preston Candover Shop

With the owners of the village shop in Preston Candover (pictured right) thinking of closing down, Ellisfield residents are being asked by Preston Candover Parish Council to complete a Survey regarding their possible use of a proposed new “community shop”.
If you would prefer to complete the Survey online, click HERE.
For those who are interested, the Plunkett Foundation published a very informative PDF Report in May, entitled “A Better Form of Business; Community-owned village shops.“

Tue September 24, 2013:
Neighbourhood Watch Coordinator

After many years of sterling service as our Neighbourhood Watch Coordinator, Hannah Houstin-Lacey has decided to stand down and hand the job on to someone new.
As well as being the village coordinator, Hannah is also the area coordinator for two of the four village area schemes, namely “Ellisfield Green” and “Lower Common” (Roger Graham handles the “Upper College Lane, Bell Lane & Church Lane” scheme and Peter Hopwood handles the “Axford Road” scheme).
If you’d like to know more, have a look at the Neighbourhood Watch page on this website.
Anyone interested should, without obligation, have a chat with Hannah (381863) or the parish clerk, Jacqui Matthews (381149).

Sun September 22, 2013:
£1,000 Contribution to Parish Funds

It came as a pleasant surprise to read in the Parish Council newsletter that Barfoots (the operator of the Anaerobic Digester) have offered to make an annual contribution of £1,000 to Ellisfield’s Parish Funds, starting from when the Plant is commissioned in December.

Sun September 22, 2013:
Parish Council Newsletter

The newsletter has been (or will be very soon) delivered to all Ellisfield houses.
Those on the Parish Council email list received it this (Sunday) evening and it’s on this website’s Parish Council Newsletter page.

Mon September 16, 2013:
Harvest Festival Supper Cancelled

Statement by Debbie Scholey:
We have had to take the decision today to cancel the Ellisfield Harvest Supper planned for Sept 28, due unfortunately to insufficient ticket sales so close to the event. Thank you to those who had paid (we will provide a refund) and to those who had offered to provide food, etc.
EDITOR: I am reminded of the time when you had to get in quick to buy tickets for this event.
This cancellation and the recent death of Rev. Tom Kime brought back memories of his highly popular Harvest Festival Supper poetry performances, especially the one that managed to include every Ellisfield house and its occupants.
There was also the memorable occasion when, dressed as a cowboy complete with stetson in hand, he hesitated for a second, looked down and carried on with his poem. He then had to endure Chris Lonergan shouting out “He’s reading from his hat!”. As, indeed, he was …

Thu September 12, 2013:
Bushywarren Lane traffic disruption
at end of September or early October
(Anaerobic Digester Deliveries)

Statement by Cllr Julian Wright:
“At the end of September (or possibly early October) there will be, over a period of 3 days, 300 deliveries of Maize crop to the new Anaerobic Digester site.
“Approximately 5,000 tonnes of Maize (silage variety) from farms on the Herriard Estate will be transported via farm road and track utilising tractor/trailer combinations. When they meet the crossing point of Bushywarren Lane (opposite the entrance to the Solar Park) they will cross the road and follow a purpose built farm track.
“Due to ongoing construction works with site traffic and maintaining good site safety, as a one off event for this year only, Ellisfield Parish Council have agreed to Barfoots sending the empty tractor/trailers back off site and down Bushywarren Lane (approximately 320 metres distance) before they re-enter the farm road/track network.
“Ellisfield Parish Council have requested that no farm traffic enters the road network heading towards Ellisfield before 8:30am on working days to minimise conflict with local traffic.”
EDITOR: As soon as the actual dates are announced, a notice will be put up on this website.
To summarise the above statement, 100 large farm vehicles will (probably starting
before 8.30am) be crossing over Bushywarren Lane every day for three days. After delivering their load of Maize, the same 100 vehicles will then travel down Bushywarren Lane towards Ellisfield in order to get back onto the same farm track. So, 200 vehicle movements per day!
How will this affect Ellisfield residents? Well, hardly at all if (although very inconvenient for some) we stay well away from Bushywarren Lane for the three days in question (although there will probably be a fair amount of noise which may affect those living in Winslade Lane, College Lane and Bell Lane).
Those residents who choose to still use Bushywarren Lane will, obviously, need to be very careful, especially if it rains because then one would presume that the farm vehicles will deposit a LOT of mud on the road!

Mon September 2, 2013:
Rev. Tom Kime

There will be many in the village who will be saddened to hear of the death of The Rev. Thomas Kime, Rector of what was “Cliddesden and Ellisfield with Farleigh Wallop and Dummer (Winchester)”, who retired at the end of November 1994.
He died, aged 85, last Tuesday afternoon (August 27), very peacefully according to his wife Julia (her address is 6 Morley Close, Market Street, Winchester, SO23 9LF).
The funeral is 2.15pm on Friday, September 13 at St. Lawrence Church, Winchester.

Sun September 1, 2013:
Reviews of The Fox Required

A website for The Fox is being created and a section entitled “What our customers say about us …” will feature on the home page.
If YOU would like to help Graham and Sue Dove in their quest to make The Fox a success, please email your review to thefox@ellisfield.org.uk.
All emails will be acknowledged.
It is hoped that the new website will be launched within the next 10 days.

Thu August 22, 2013:
Bell Ringers Wanted!

A few years ago there were quite a few Ellisfield residents learning how to ring the St. Martin’s bells. There is now only one, Steve Brown of Penny Cottage, Green Lane.
Peter Willis (who lives in Basingstoke) is the tower master and he would very much like to hear from anyone who is already proficient or who might be interested in learning (practice sessions are most Fridays starting at 7:30pm, and Saturday mornings are also being considered).
For more information, do have a look at the Ellisfield Bell Ringers page on this website.
If YOU are interested in knowing more, without any obligation, please contact Peter (either email him HERE or phone him on 01256 472505) or have a word with Steve Brown (381420).

Sat August 10, 2013:
Solar Farm in Farleigh Wallop?

A planning opinion request which is currently “under consideration” by Basingstoke Council will be of interest to Ellisfield residents:
13/01246/ENS - Request for scoping opinion for proposed solar park at Manor Farm, Farleigh Lane, Farleigh Wallop.
This comes after another planning application, which is now closed (13/00419/ENSC), in May requesting a “screening opinion for proposed solar park”.
EDITOR: In the spirit of chicken and egg, which comes first, the Anaerobic Digester or the Solar Farm? Answers on a postcard to …

Thu August 8, 2013:
Horticultural Society Summer Show
(Report by Jacqui Matthews)

HORTICULTURAL dynasties in the making:
Last Saturday’s summer show had more than 250 entries (100 more than last year) and four local families did particularly well.
Emma Ilsley won the Elsie Price Challenge Cup for Best Entry in the children’s class for aged seven and over, producing the most beautiful necklace made from vegetables, and mum Michelle won first prize for the best hanging baskets in the ‘best gardens’ competition.
Oliver Webb won first prize in the under-sevens class for his beautiful pot of marigolds and dad Andy won the Barker Challenge Trophy for best rose bloom.
The Gilvear family will be busy polishing silver trophies all winter – Adam won cups for best vegetable garden, best large onion, longest runner bean, and highest number of points in vegetable classes and the whole show, while sons Archie and Basil won second prizes in the children’s classes for their age group.
Fletcher Cooke won the Children’s Challenge Cup for his display of grasses in a jar, while sister Dariah and granny Pat Gould must be given first prize for delicious refreshments, enjoyed by all visitors.
The above is the Ellisfield & Farleigh Wallop report by Jacqui Matthews for the Basingstoke Gazette, published Thursday, August 8.

Thu August 1, 2013:
New Fixed Price Lunch Menu at
The Fox Inn, Green Lane, Ellisfield

Sue Dove, landlady of The Fox public house, has announced that a Fixed Price Lunch Menu will be introduced as from Wednesday, August 7 and will be available between 12 noon and 2.30pm on Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays.
The daily changing menu will have a choice of four starters, four main courses and four puddings. These menus will be set at £8.50 for either a main course and pudding or a starter and main course.
To see an example of a lunch menu, go to The Fox web page.

Sat July 27, 2013:
Cyclists on “Big Wheel 21” Event

On Sunday (July 28), cyclists on the 63 mile circular route of the Big Wheel 21 event (raising funds for Basingstoke’s St. Michael’s Hospice) will be coming up Green Lane from around 12.00am (riders who belt around the route) through to possibly 4.00pm (riders who stop at every pub on the way!).
(Timings kindly provided by an Ellisfield resident who has experience of such things.)

Sat July 27, 2013:
Planning Application for 6 x 130m Wind Turbines at Woodmancott

click for larger version ...Objections to the proposed development of 6 x 130m wind turbines under 5 miles away from Ellisfield at Woodmancott (click on map to see how close they’ll be) need to be with Basingstoke Council by August 14.
Full details of how to object can be found on the Save Our Scenic Hampshire Downs website (where there is also a very comprehensive overview of this proposed development).
Numbers of objections are very important now that new government planning guidance states: “
opinions of local communities on proposed windfarms should be taken into consideration”.
See the Events column for details of meetings being held in Preston Candover (August 5), Dummer (August 7) and Lower Wield (August 8).

Tue July 23, 2013:
The Fox - Publicity On This Page

A number of very positive reviews have been received by this website’s editor following the re-opening of the Fox Inn by the new licensees, Graham and Sue Dove.
The pub is a vital village amenity and it’s important that the Doves are successful.
So, to assist them (albeit in a small way), publicity information (opening times, a link to their menus and The Fox’s location) has now been incorporated on this Home page, above the Events column..

Sat July 20, 2013
(and updated Mon July 22, 2013):
Another Successful Wine Walk

Jane Evans has calculated that 75 residents were on Friday evening’s Wine Walk. After expenses, the event raised £330 which will go towards the upkeep of the Memorial Hall.

Congratulations to all the hosts:

Ed and Laura (Mulberry House)
Howard and Jayne (Woodfalls)
Graham and Diane (Foxhill House)

for making everyone feel so welcome and a big thank you to the Memorial Hall committee members for organising this event::

Jane Evans for storing the wine, laminating
  notices and putting them up in the village
  notice boards, distributing the wine and soft
  drinks to the hosts and picking up and
  returning the glasses to Sainsbury’s.
Christine Turner for buying the wine,
  distributing (with Jane) the wine and soft
  drinks to the hosts, organising floats for the
  hosts and counting/banking the takings.
Susie Deane for creating the flyer.
Ray Reed for organising the printing of the
Joanne Thomas, Travey Gilvear and Meg
(also non-committee members
  Alison Swanston and Ted Dowson) for
  delivering the flyers and selling tickets.

EDITOR: Events such as this strengthen the community spirit of our village, as evidenced by the number of residents “walking the Walk”, the hosts who opened their gardens (and generously supplied excellent “nibbles”) and the nine (see above) who all did their part in organising this event.

Mon July 15, 2013:
Mobile Phone Found Outside Hall

An older style Nokia phone (which is in a leather case) has been found on the grass near to the Memorial Hall’s entrance.
Please contact Jane Evans (381470) if it’s your phone.

Mon July 15, 2013:
Latest Neighbourhood Watch Report
Oil Tank Security Information

Hannah Houstin-Lacey’s latest report has been posted on the Neighbourhood Watch page.
It will be of special interest to those residents who may be concerned about the security of their oil tank. PC Reid has provided crime prevention advice for your information and consideration.

Sun July 14, 2013:
Horticultural Society - Seed Orders

The Horticultural Society have received the seed catalogues and they can be collected from Marilyn Smith (462584) as usual. The earlier the orders are completed the better!

Wed July 10, 2013:
Fox Inn - Opening Times & Menus

The opening and food times of the Fox Inn are as follows:

MON          Closed
TUE-SAT   12 to 3 (food 12 to 2.30)
                   5.30 to 11 (food 6 to 9pm TUE-THU
                                     and to 9.30pm FRI-SAT)
SUN          12 to 8 (food 12 to 4)

click to display a PDF of the Fox Inn menu ...There are four menus. The Board Menu consists of nine Starters & “Lite Bites”, four Chef’s Specials, three Salad Bowls, nine Pub Favourites and three Grilled Steaks. There are seven items on the Puddings Menu.
There is a
Snack Menu of sandwiches, jacket potatoes, salad bowls and cheeses.
Lastly, there is a
Children’s Menu of five main meals and three puddings.

To view the menus, click HERE or click on the image of the menu above.

Mon July 8, 2013:
EVA Art Exhibition - A Great Success

All credit must go to Dee Haas and the rest of the EVA (Ellisfield Village Association) committee in putting together a three day exhibition of over 100 works of art, all produced by Ellisfield residents.click for larger image ...
The pieces displayed ranged from sculpture (including three beautiful maquettes - example below - produced by the Ellisfield sculptor, Adam Rclick for larger image ...oud), paintings (watercolours, pastels and oils), drawings (pencil and charcoal), sugarcraft, photography, calligraphy (see Susie Deane’s brilliant watercolour booklet displayed above), poems, embroidery, doll making and painted plates.

There was a special section displaying art produced by the children of the village.
click for a larger image ...The winner of the Friday evening raffle (there’s ALWAYS a raffle!) was Zani Robinson and the prize (Celia Lunn’s sugarcraft cake) was presented to her by James Arbuthnot, our Member of Parliament.

(Click on an image to see a larger version.)

Tue July 2, 2013 (at 11.30am):
Graham and Sue Dove are the New Licensees of the Fox Inn

EDITOR (Wed July 10): The opening times, meal times and menus have all been received. The website will be updated very soon.
EDITOR (Tues July 9): The pub DID open as promised. I’m waiting to hear from the Dove’s in regards to opening times, meal times, menus, etc., etc.
The rumour that Mr and Mrs Dove are returning to the Fox Inn as licensees is TRUE.
They are in occupation now and talking with suppliers.
They wish to announce that they will re-open the Fox Inn
at 6.00pm this coming Friday. The new menus are being created and they plan to start serving food NEXT week.
EDITOR: I’m sure everyone will agree with me that this is VERY good news.
I have decided that it would be correct to remove from this website all references to the previous licensee (other than the original April announcement) so that the Dove’s start with a clean slate.
(Graham and Sue are aware that there is a clash with Ellisfield Village Association’s opening party of their Art Exhibition on Friday evening in the Memorial Hall but hope that those residents attending this event will call in at the Fox Inn afterwards.)  

Tue June 18, 2013:
Horticultural Society’s “3 Villages Best Garden Competition” Results

Held yesterday (Monday, 17), the results of this competition are as follows:

Combined (Flower & Vegetable) Garden
   Pat Doel, Cliddesden
Flower Garden
   Hilda Small, Cliddesden
Vegetable Garden
   Adam Gilvear, Ellisfield
   John Lurcock, Cliddesden
Pots & Baskets
   Michelle Ilsley and Nick Riley, Cliddesden

Congratulations to all the winners. (However, as this IS the Ellisfield site, a special round of applause for Adam Gilvear!)

Thu June 13, 2013:
The Purefoy Arms Wins “Good Food Guide” Regional Title

The Purefoy Arms in Preston Candover has been named the South East’s Readers’ Restaurant of the Year by The Good Food Guide.
Elizabeth Carter, consultant editor of The Good Food Guide, said: “It may be a textbook country pub – pretty village location, winter fires, beer garden – but it’s the quirky but appealing modern cooking and genuinely lovely hospitality which makes this pub so popular with our readers.”
The overall winner (there are nine other UK regional winners) will be announced at a ceremony in London on June 19.
UPDATE: Delifonseca, a restaurant, deli and food store based on Liverpool’s dockside, has been crowned The Good Food Guide Readers' Restaurant of the Year for 2014.

Sat June 8, 2013:
Ellisfield Road Closures

EDITOR: Well, that was fun, wasn’t it?
I have a sneaky feeling that they might be back because there is still the bit of road opposite Hill Farm Pond which they didn’t do (because of all the tradesmen’s vans clogging up the road?).
MAJOR BENEFIT - Vehicles going up and down Green Lane at only 20 miles per hour!

Update - Wed June 5 (at 11.35am):
Ellisfield Road Closures

Guess what? They’re early and road closures are from NOW until (possibly) Friday.
Residents will still have access, it’s just that we might have to turn around and come and go by a more indirect route through the village.

Update - Thu May 30, 2013:
Ellisfield Road Closures - New Dates

The road closure notices have been changed AGAIN. They now say that roads will be closed on Thursday and Friday, June 6 and 7.

Sat May 25, 2013:
Memorial Hall Committee

At Friday evening’s AGM, the following were elected and appointed to these positions:
   Joanne Thomas (Secretary)
   Christine Turner (Treasurer)
   Jane Evans (Bookings Secretary)
As well as the three “ex-officio” committee members:
   Rector (Rev. Stephen Mourant)
   Churchwarden (Bernard Cazenove)
   Churchwarden (Peter Chilton)
the nominated representatives of the following village organisations were formally appointed:
   Horticultural Society (Meg Freeman)
   Ladies Club (Tracey Gilvear)
   Parish Council (Cllr Rose Taplin)
   Village Association (Susie Deane)
   Volunteer Group (Ray Reed)
and Ray Reed agreed to take the Chairmanship (this will be ratified formally at the Hall’s next committee meeting).
EDITOR: Now that, for the first time in many years, the Memorial Hall has a full complement of committee members prepared to give of their time, I am sure that everyone will agree that we look forward to seeing the Hall regain its status in the village.

Update - Fri May 24, 2013:
Ellisfield Road Closures - New Dates

Update: The road closure notices have been changed again!. They now say that roads will be closed on Monday and Tuesday, June 3 and 4.
Anyone affected by the Road Surfacing will have received a letter from Hampshire County Council describing the process and offering householder advice. You’ll have noticed that the actual date of the work was not given, just “in the next few days”.

Sun May 19, 2013:
Three New Website Pages

Three new Groups have been added to this website.
Following on from the Annual Parish Meeting presentation of this website, Ted Dowson sent in copy for the Oil Syndicate which in now live.
At the same time, pages have now been created for the Ellisfield Allotment Gardeners Association and the Bell Ringers (which have been moved out of Amenities/Church to have their own page in Groups). These last two pages have not been populated yet but will be soon.

Sat May 18, 2013:
Ellisfield 3G Fast Broadband Initiative

As presented at the Annual Parish Meeting on Friday evening, Julian Wright has offered to bring a selection of 3G devices to an Ellisfield resident’s property to discover what kind of fast broadband speeds can be obtained.
UPDATE: The 3G equipment on loan is being returned soon so appointments need to be made before the end of the month!
Contact Julian on 381757 or email him HERE.
The charge of £30 will be donated to the Great Ormand Street Hospital for Children.

UPDATE (Wed May 15, 2013):
Green Lane Road Works

The road works which took place on Tuesday were, it seems, NOT to do with the road closure (see below). They were widening and deepening all the potholes and more workmen filled them in today (Wednesday).
The road closure (for
road surfacing) is, apparently, still planned to take place between May 29 and May 31.

Posted Fri May 10, 2013:
Green Lane Closure

The road closure notices erected recently at the top and bottom of Green Lane have been altered - they now say that the road will be closed for 1 or 2 days between Wednesday May 29 and Friday May 31.
The last two sets of notices disappeared (
without the road being closed). We will just have to wait to see if it’s for real this time!

Posted Thu May 9, 2013:
Basingstoke Home Library Service

Do you, or someone you know, love reading but can no longer get to the library due to ill health, disability or caring responsibilities? Basingstoke Library may be able to help by arranging for a volunteer to deliver books or audio books to your home. This service is free.
Interested or want more information? Contact Jill or Lois at Basingstoke Library on 01256 478670 ext 293032.

Posted Fri May 3, 2013:
County Council Election Results

With a 36.11% turnout (4,231 votes cast out of an electorate of 11,716) the results were as follows:

1. Anna McNair Scott (Con) - 1,674 (39.57%)
2. Peter Johnson (UKIP)  - 1,008 (23.82%)
3. Ian Tilbury (Ind) - 1,002 (23.68%)
4. Yegor Ryazenov (Lab) - 289 (6.83%)
5. Jeff Teagle (Lib) - 258 (6.10%)

In 2009, the results were:
  Conservative - 2,709 (54.15%)
  Independent - 1,238 (24.75%)
  Liberal Democrats - 798 (15.95%)
  Labour Party - 258 (5.16%)

So, in this year’s election, it would appear that the 1,008 votes cast for the UKIP candidate came almost entirely from disaffected Conservative voters!

Posted Wed Apr 24, 2013:
Memorial Hall AGM and the Ellisfield Wine Walk - Dates Now Confirmed

Information has been posted in the EVENTS section opposite. The hall’s AGM (see HERE) is on Friday, May 24 and the Wine Walk is on Friday, July 19.

Posted Fri Apr 19, 2013:
Ellisfield’s Fox Inn

The new licensee is Scott Standen (right), backed by his father Shaun.
The Fox Inn is being managed by 20 year old Stuart Fraser,
with the help of locally recruited bar staff when busy.
The opening hours are 11.30am to 11pm Monday to Saturday and 11.30am to 9pm on Sundays.

Posted Fri Apr 12, 2013:
Fast Broadband Update
Statement by the Parish Council

Following on from the discussion in the Open Forum at the last Parish Council meeting (on Monday, April 8), the council has sent out a summary of the points covered.
This can be found via the “Fast Broadband Updates” navigation button above or by clicking HERE.

Posted Mon Mar 25, 2013:
HCC Broadband Contract Signed

Hampshire County Council (HCC) has awarded a £13.8 million contract to BT to deliver their broadband plans for Hampshire.
Work will start immediately on the project and the first premises will be connected by the end of 2013.
HCC state: “Without the intervention of the Hampshire Broadband Programme around 20% of premises in Hampshire would not have been able to access fibre broadband services by the end of 2015.”
It is well known that parish councillors Tim Guinness and Julian Wright are determined to ensure that fast broadband reaches Ellisfield. Whether or not this HCC/BT contract helps them to fulfil their wishes remains to be seen.

Posted Thu Mar 14, 2013:
Broadband Users - Read and Weep!

From late Spring 2013, Openreach (in partnership with the borough council) will be offering “fibre to the premises” to customers in Basingstoke town. This will bring 330Mbps broadband to those who have already got “fibre to the cabinet” in their area.
Meanwhile, we in Ellisfield don’t even get 2Mbps!

Posted Thu Mar 14, 2013:
Cango Bus Saved

The Cango rural bus service running between Basingstoke and Alresford via Ellisfield has been saved from closure by Hampshire County Council. Doubt was cast over the future of the Cango bus when operators RJB stopped trading in January. However, the county council have stepped in to invest £123,000, which will see the service run for at least another four years.

Posted Tue Mar 12, 2013:
Coffee, Tea, Cakes, Books and Cards
At the Farleigh Wallop Club

Sue Binstead would like to thank all the contributors and helpers, everyone who attended the “Tea Party” last Friday morning and all those club members who bid for the remaining cakes at the raffle in the evening. Over £260 was raised and it has been split between the Alzheimer’s Society and the Club.

Posted Sat Mar 9, 2013:
Announcement of a “Countryside Art Exhibition” to be held July 5 and 6
by Ellisfield Village Association (EVA)

Details can be found at the bottom of the Events section. (Click HERE to display the EVA publicity poster and click HERE to display and print out the Entry Form).

Posted Thu Mar 7, 2013:
Landlords leaving the Fox Inn

Due to unforeseen circumstances, Karen and Paul are leaving the Fox Inn. Karen made the following announcement to this website:
“We would like to thank everyone who supported us in our short stay here. A. special thanks to Sylven Lea for keeping the villagers informed and running a book on us. We would love to see you all for a farewell drink this weekend”.

Posted Fri Mar 1, 2013:
PC Reid: Suspicious Black Nissan Navara, Registration No. AV09 AEC

This afternoon, at about 1.30pm, a black Nissan Navarra (AV09 AEC) was seen in Powntney Copse near Upton Grey containing three white men. The vehicle comes from the Wokingham area and we have knowledge of it and some people linked with it, usually offering to do various “'household jobs”.
I ask if anyone sees this vehicle to give us a call as soon as possible.

Posted Wed Feb 27, 2013:
PC Reid: Suspicious Silver/Grey Car

There have been a number of burglaries to properties in rural areas around Alton and Basingstoke over the last month and Police are asking for members of the public to report any suspicious activity, particularly with regards to silver coloured vehicles at private properties during the day.
I am aware that between 8.30am and 9.00am on Monday, February 18 in Church Street, Upton Grey, a silver car was seen parked and two suspicious men were seen looking into a house through the windows. This may well be the same vehicle seen at a burglary at Brown Candover in November.
I ask that if anyone has seen any silver/grey car, most possibly a VW, in suspicious circumstances to please give me a call on 07768 776844 or 01256 389050 as soon as possible.
Please be extra vigilant and report (using the above phone numbers or 101) anything that looks suspicious. For emergences, please use the 999 number.

Posted Tue Feb 26, 2013:
Anaerobic Digester (AD) Update (2)
Open Session of the Parish Council

The first Open Session at last night’s PC meeting was, as expected, primarily about the Anaerobic Digester. The tree work has been completed and road widening is still scheduled to start on March 6, with Busheywarren Lane CLOSED for up to a month.
Residents expressed extreme concern regarding the possible increase in two-way traffic on the very narrow Bell Lane (which also has a number of blind bends).
UPDATE (Feb 28): Cllr Julian Wright spoke to Hampshire Highways and “the official diversion will now be down College Lane as opposed to Bell Lane”. Probably not as good as closing Bell Lane off at the Bagmore Lane end (because those with satnavs or who know the village may still go up Bell Lane) but, all in all, a success!

Posted Thu Feb 21, 2013:
Sainsbury’s Is “Horse Free”!

Sainsbury’s, the village’s “local” supermarket, has announced that “after around 250 tests, no horsemeat has been found in any of our products”. Their full statement is HERE.

Posted Feb 17, 2013:
Phantom Road Works !!!

Road closure signs have appeared twice in the last fortnight at the top and bottom of Green Lane and then, after a few days, mysteriously disappeared.
It’s now been discovered that road works are planned in Nutley (just north of Axford), to start on Monday 18, on the main road AND on an
unnamed  slip road which is known locally as Green Lane!
It’s more than possible that the man dropping off the signs presumed that it was OUR Green Lane that was having the work done.
Mystery solved? Perhaps!

Posted Feb 12, 2013:
Anaerobic Digester (AD) Update

A meeting was held on Friday 8th February between Barfoot Energy and village representatives (Ellisfield Parish Council supported by Ellisfield Village Association) to discuss the impending work for the new AD plant on Bushywarren Lane.  In summary the work will be conducted in three phases:

1. Tree work commencing on Monday 18th February, lasting all week, prior to widening the lane in two places. Unlikely to involve road closure but there will be caution signs warning of men working in road.
2. Road widening of Bushywarren Lane, constructing 2 passing places,
subject to a road-closure notice  for a period of up to one month from the 6th of March 2013, during which time an emergency access will be maintained for the three emergency services, however this will not be open to local residents.
3. Road salting and attention to Bagmore Lane route to A339 will be organised via a local farmer should we face inclement weather during the works.
Site construction completing in December.

The next Ellisfield Parish Council meeting on 25th Feb will focus on providing as much detailed information as is available, as well as giving everyone the opportunity to ask questions and conduct an open discussion.

Posted Feb 10, 2013:
Ellisfield Reported Crimes in 2012

Nine crimes were reported in Ellisfield last year. Although this was ostensibly an increase of four over the five reported in 2011, it did include three garage doors broken open on the same night!
These nine reported crimes consisted of a theft of the lightening conductor from the Church, the theft of lead from a house being renovated, three thefts of heating oil (twice from the same house!) and (as mentioned above) three garage doors broken open.
Lastly, PC Reid saw a car parked up in an isolated area and, when spoken to, the driver produced some cannabis and enforcement action was taken.
Conclusion? Make sure you have good security (locks, alarms and lights) for your garage and oil tank!

Posted Feb 8, 2013:
Attempted theft in Northgate Lane

PC Reid would be grateful for any information which you may have about an attempt to steal a quad bike from an alarmed garage in Northgate Lane LAST THURSDAY (February 1) between the hours of 02.15 and 02.30 hrs.
Please telephone him should you be aware of anything - 07768 776 844 or 01256 389 050.

Posted Feb 1, 2013:

... click to see notice FULL SIZEDThe road closure notices (Monday 4th for four days) at the top and bottom of Green Lane have disappeared. Contact has been made with the Highways Department and they don’t know why!
When - if - they phone back as promised, their statement will be put up on this website.
UPDATE (Feb 5): Heard nothing… So, notices possibly erected in error?

Posted Jan 31, 2013:
New Chief Constable

Andy Marsh, Hampshire's new Chief ConstableAndy Marsh, currently Hampshire Constabulary’s deputy Chief Constable, will take over from Alex Marshall next Monday, Feb 4.
Speaking after his appointment, he said “I look forward to working with the police and crime commissioner in building and developing a policing service that focuses on the needs of all those within our communities”.

Posted Jan 25, 2013:
Ellisfield Volunteer Group’s
2013 Cutting Schedule Released

To view the 2013 Cutting Schedule, visit the Group’s web page HERE or click HERE. Currently, there are only three slots available and residents who have not already volunteered are urged to contact one of the Area Contacts (details can be found on the Schedule).

NEW FEATURE (from Jan 25, 2013):
In The Fields … articles

The monthly articles by agronomist and Ellisfield resident Seumas Foster will now appear on this website, subsequent to their publication in Hill & Dale. This new feature can be found via the ”In The Fields …” button above.

Posted Jan 12, 2013:
Ellisfield Volunteer Group AGM

The well attended AGM was held on Friday evening, Jan 11, at the Memorial Hall. The formal proceedings (including Any Other Business discussions at the end of the meeting) took just 35 minutes. An excellent example of the efficiency of the Group!
All current committee members were voted back on except for Seumas Foster who had decided to stand down after many years of service to the Group. Two new members were then voted onto the committee; Margaret Evans (who is already the co-ordinator of the Gravel Pits) and Graham Simpson.
The formal proposal that “EVG shall continue operations in 2013” was passed unanimously. The meeting was followed by refreshments.
A PDF of the Chairman’s Report is HERE.

Posted Jan 8, 2013:
Theft from Hill Farm Cottage

AT AROUND 9PM ON MONDAY EVENING (Jan 7), Hill Farm Cottage (opposite the pond near the top of Green Lane) was broken into and had items stolen.
A white van was seen parked outside the cottage
at that time and PC Andrew Reid urgently wants to hear from anyone else who saw this van.
PC Reid can be contacted on 07768 776 844.

Posted Dec 18, 2012:
Horticultural Society 2013 Events

The 2013 Events Programme can be viewed HERE.

Posted Dec 18, 2012:
2013/14 Precept
Ellisfield Parish Council

At the Parish Council meeting on Dec 10, it was decided to keep next year’s precept (the total amount of money required for the running of the council) at £5,521, this being the same as the 2012/13 year. However, if the annual grant provided to Ellisfield by Basingstoke Council is drastically cut, the Parish Council retains the right to revisit the matter (but it is not expected this will be necessary).

Posted Dec 12, 2012:
Police & Crime Commissioner
Survey Form

Hannah Houstin-Lacey, our Neighbourhood Watch Co-ordinator, emailed out to residents a link to a Survey Form produced by the office of the Hampshire Police & Crime Commissioner. If you did not receive her email, the link is HERE.

Posted Dec 5, 2012:
Fast Broadband in Ellisfield?

A link to Hampshire County Council’s fast broadband update information pages has been added to this website. Just click on the navigation button above or click HERE.

Posted Dec 1, 2012:
Christmas Security Advice
from Hampshire Constabulary

To read this (common sense) advice either click on the Navigation button above or click here.

Posted Dec 1, 2012:
Ellisfield.org.uk Goes Live!

This website went “live” this morning. Thank you to all who helped with supplying the content.
Anyone who goes to the old ellisfield.gov.uk will be automatically redirected to this website’s Parish Council home page.

Leaving the European Union
A Personal View, by Paul Turner

Mon January 22, 2018
Scathing Piece in the Daily Telegraph Regarding Mrs May and Brexit

Juliet Samuel, a Political Columnist for the Daily Telegraph, wrote an article in today’s paper which was a very raw commentary on how she sees Mrs May’s chances of obtaining a decent Brexit. It’s well worth a read.

Wed January 3, 2018:
Former Treasury Minister Criticises
The British Government’s Approach
To Future Trade Relations

In an interview with DIE WELT, Lord O’Neill condemned the Prime Minister’s failure to build strong relationships with important economies, particularly China. He said:

“Within a week of the Brexit referendum, the Chinese approached us about a free trade agreement. Under Cameron and Osborne they would have had that discussion 15 months ago.“
Theresa May, on the contrary, “doesn't get out and about and think about China“.

Lord O’Neill also expressed doubts about the Government’s approach to focus future trade links with the Commonwealth. With the exception of India those countries’ economies are, in Lord O’Neill’s opinion, too small for what British business will need after Brexit:

“It’s kind of fantasy. This year, China is going to grow by 6.7 percent. In nominal GDP-dollar terms, China will create a new Australia this year. It will create 4 New Zealands this year. And Liam Fox and our ludicrous foreign minister spend half of their life going to New Zealand. It’s mad.“

Sat December 16 2017:
The Republic of Ireland / Northern Ireland Border (Continued …)

So, the “Transitional Period” coming into play from when we “leave” the EU (at 11.00pm on Friday, March 29, 2019) will involve us staying in the Single Market for the following two years. That puts off any worries about the Northern Ireland border, doesn’t it?

Fri December 1, 2017:
The Ireland / Northern Ireland Border

It gets boring but I’ll repeat it anyway.

If we remain in the EEA (European Economic Area) via joining EFTA (European Free Trade Association) ALL the Irish border problems disappear.

It’s so bloody obvious.

Sun November 5, 2017:
The Two “Bubbles”

Another month has gone by, with Parliament and the Media no further in understanding what is involved in leaving the EU.
Now, the two “bubbles” are spending nearly all their time introspectively worrying about a hand wandering under a table fifteen years ago!
It is all utterly pathetic, they should be ashamed of themselves, I’m certainly ashamed of them. The UK has become a laughing stock and it is dreadfully upsetting.

Sun October 8, 2017:
Desperate Times …

I could have put up a number of postings over the last month but, as they would all have been boringly negative, I decided to wait for something positive to come along.
Nothing, nothing at all.

Fri September 9, 2017:
Compare Brexit With The Iraq War?

There’s been much analysis about the rights and wrongs of Britain decision to attack Iraq, in the same way there’s been about the referendum vote to leave the EU.
However, there’s another similarity and that is that there was a total failure to properly plan for the aftermath of the Iraq invasion, just as it appears that there is now total confusion about what the UK will look like on March 30, 2019.

David Davis at yesterday's Brexit questions responded to John Whittingdale who rehearsed the tired canard that continued membership of the Single Market "would negate many of the advantages of leaving the European Union, while requiring us still to accept decisions that we could no longer influence".
To the charge that "it would actually be worse than continued membership as a full member", Davis agreed that, "In many ways, it is the worst of all outcomes". "We did consider it", he said: "I gave it some considerable thought, maybe as an interim measure - but it seemed to me to be more complicated, more difficult and less beneficial than other options".

Why is he being so wrong-headed? Remaining in the EEA (“single market”) whilst being a member of EFTA is actually the BEST of all outcomes and the most uncomplicated, easy and beneficial solution to leaving the EU political institution. As to those “rules” they are nearly all only about trade (product standards, customs, etc.) and we would obey those rules wouldn’t we? As to having no say and no longer having any influence, EFTA is properly consulted on ALL changes to the EEA. Oh, and we WOULD (unlike now) be able to negotiate bilateral trade agreements with non-EU countries.

Sat September 2, 2017:
David Davis - “EFTA/EEA Option”

Yesterday, David Davis was in Washington DC addressing the US-UK Business Council, an organisation formed under the aegis of the US Chamber of Commerce. What he was doing there has not been properly explained and, with the Brussels talks in crisis, one might have thought he would be closeted with his officials in London, debriefing and working on future strategy.

Anyway, Gier Haarde, currently Icelandic Ambassador to the US (and former prime minister of Iceland), put a question to David Davis. He said:

"I'm wondering how seriously you've thought about using the European Free Trade Association and the European Economic Area Agreement between EFTA and the EU as a transitory mechanism. In other words for the period where you have to work out all the details for your completely leaving the internal market.”

It’s astonishing that the ambassador should publicly ask this question. The EFTA/EEA solution (also known as the “Norway Option”) is what I’ve been banging on about since the referendum. It is the safe haven for the UK, out of the EU but in the single market.

However, what’s more astonishing is Mr Davis’s completely garbled response. One thing which immediately stands out is Davis's assertion that, "countries like Norway and Switzerland have different relationships through an EEA arrangement", one of those absolutely rookie mistakes that, when it comes from a Secretary of State, drives one to despair. (Switzerland is a member of EFTA but is not a member of the EEA.)

Can he be that stupid? Can he be that ignorant? Let his own words be his judge. I’ve put his response into a PDF which can be downloaded by clicking HERE. Read it and weep …

Sat August 26, 2017:
Irish MP Says It As It Is …

Something of the prevailing sentiment in Ireland came from an Irish MP, Declan Breathnach, who remarked that "My immediate reaction to the latest British Brexit proposal can be summed up in the following - it will take four years to fix Big Ben yet Britain thinks it can have a unique Brexit in 18 months".

In response to the UK Government’s paper on solving the Irish Border problem, in which it stated that “the UK hopes for no customs implications at all on the Irish border if the UK and EU can strike an ambitious future partnership”, Mr Breathnach said:

"Not only do they believe in the above and not only do they want their cake and eat it, they think that they have the only recipe for that cake, want to produce the ingredients, prepare and bake it in their own bakery and expect the 27 other EU countries to consume it or take the crumbs from their table".

Thu August 3, 2017:
Spectator Article On “YouGov” Poll

Brendan O’Neill has written an interesting article for the Spectator, entitled “I’m a ‘Brexit extremist’ and proud of it”. It’s worth a read (irrespective of whether you voted Leave or Remain).

Wed August 2, 2017:
An Example of Muddled Thinking

I read William Hague's piece in the Telegraph today where he praised Philip Hammond for his concept of a “soft” Brexit whereby we leave the EU on March 30, 2019 and then enter into a transition phase last up to three years.

I was most struck by the following comment:

"He (Philip Hammond) has evidently been trying to persuade his Cabinet colleagues that we should be seeking to stay in the EU single market and customs union during a transition and implementation phase lasting to 2022."

Stay in the EU single market and customs union? Makes you weep, does it not?

If you are not a member of the EU you cannot stay in the EU single market. You can however move over to the EEA (European Economic Area).
If you are not a member of the EU you also cannot stay in the EU customs union. Members of the EEA do not belong to the EU customs union, that is why they can make their own trade agreements with other countries.

As I said below, ignorance seems to be the order of the day (and week and month and year!).

Tue August 1, 2017:
It’s Getting Ridiculous!

Four months have passed since we invoked Article 50 (and 13 months since the referendum) and politicians, from both parties but especially the Conservatives, are still falling over themselves with (in some cases, vastly) differing views of Brexit.
Many of these politicians are behaving like little children and, daily, proving to be totally ignorant of many of the realities of leaving the EU.

Tue July 18, 2017:
Mr David “No Notes” Davis MP

Our “Brexit” man meets the EU team.

Sat July 8, 2017:
Philip Hammond Speaks His Mind …

Philip Hammond, the Chancellor, has said it would be “madness” not to seek “the closest possible arrangement” with the EU in comments that appear to widen the gulf between him and Theresa May over Brexit.

Mr Hammond, a former Remain campaigner who favours a softer Brexit than the Prime Minister, yesterday appeared to prioritise the importance of maintaining strong trading links with the EU, without mentioning deals with other major nations.
He said those who voted, like him, to remain in the EU “want to see a Brexit that looks sensible to them”, without referring to the fact that a clear majority voted Leave. He said they want

“A Brexit that is focused on protecting jobs, business, prosperity, trade, a Brexit that recovers sovereignty for the UK but also recognizes the reality that… the EU will remain our largest trading partner and our nearest neighbours, and that it would be madness not to seek to have the closest possible arrangement with them going forward. To trade with them, to co-operate with them, but doing it as a sovereign country.”

He went on:

“The problem is this. There's an economic argument and a political argument. On the economic argument it's very clear that a very large proportion of our exports are going into the EU.
“But there's also a political dimension. The EU is on a path towards deep political integration. That is not something that the British people are ever going to feel comfortable with.
“Perhaps it's better that we just accept that the right way for us to work is very close collaboration (economic, security, science and technology, higher education), in all the areas where we can sensibly collaborate together but outside of the political union.”

It is so pleasing to see that Mr Hammond, following the disastrous election result, feels that he can now speak out, even whilst Mrs May continues to stick to her original “hard Brexit” rhetoric. However, although he DID stress “as a sovereign country” and “outside of the political union”, he gave no indication of how his ideas can actually come to fruition!
I don’t think we’ll see a winner or loser here, but (hopefully) an amalgamation of the best of the “Hard” and “Soft” concepts.

Tue July 4, 2017:
Suella Fernandes MP

Suella Fernandes (right) was first elected as the Member of Parliament for Fareham in May 2015 and was re-elected in the 2017 general election. She is currently a PPS (Parliamentary Private Secretary) at the Treasury and she recently replaced Steve Baker as Chairman of the European Research Group (a group of 60 or so Tory MPs who campaign for the “UK to leave both the Customs Union and the Single Market”).

In an article written for the Daily Telegraph yesterday, she said:

“Our trade potential is ready to blossom. We have a real chance to activate a new era of global growth through free trade. By negotiating a new broad free trade agreement with the EU; leading the way with a ‘prosperity zone’, as reflected by the Legatum Institute’s Special Trade Commission, with countries such as Australia, New Zealand and Singapore that believe in open trade, competition on merit and property rights protection; and building new economic partnerships with Commonwealth, African, Caribbean and Pacific countries to open up channels for agricultural products, the UK can be a beacon of free trade and fair trade.”

Like many MPs she really has very little concept of the realities of a Brexit where the UK becomes what the EU calls a Third Country (ie, any country outside of the EU). She imagines us having a “new broad free trade agreement with the EU” all nicely organised to come into effect on March 30, 2019 - the day we leave the EU. She also sees us having negotiated highly lucrative deals with the rest of the world, whilst ignoring the fact that we buy from and sell to them all already, often under existing EU free trade agreements.

Sun July 2, 2017:
Christopher Booker Explains The Current Brexit “Shambles”

In today’s Sunday Telegraph, the columnist Christopher Booker (right) illustrated, in a few paragraphs, how misguided many of our politicians are about both the EU’s Customs Union and the so-called Single Market. If you’ve got a few minutes spare, have a read of what he said:

“As the great Brexit shambles continues, one of the most telling hints as to whether our politicians have the faintest clue of what they are talking about is when they imagine that we can somehow leave the EU but remain in its ‘Customs Union’.

The likes of Philip Hammond and Chuka Umunna (right), the leader of last week’s Labour rebels, clearly haven’t even got to square one in their failure to grasp that a country can only be in the ‘Customs Union’ if it is a full member of the EU (under treaty rules laid down in 1957).

“What they should be focusing on instead is the EU’s sophisticated system of ‘Customs Co-operation’, set up in 1994, which is what allows 14,000 lorries a day to move effortlessly between Dover and Calais, as also across the Northern Irish border, and much else besides.

“They should also be heeding the growing alarm over what could happen if we are excluded from the equally complex EU system that governs every aspect of aviation and air traffic.

“Last week, Peter Fankhauser (left), the chief executive of Thomas Cook, colourfully predicted that unless our politicians wake up to these potential dangers, we risk being taken back to the ‘medieval age’, echoing the rather plainer warnings of Michael O’Leary, the chief executive of Ryanair, that in Britain we could even find ourselves no longer entitled to fly our aircraft anywhere outside UK airspace.

“It is all this and more we could have held on to if we had joined Norway in the European Free Trade Area (EFTA) and remained in the wider European Economic Area (and therefore the single market). But it is this from which, by deciding instead to become what the EU classifies as a ‘third country’, requiring the re-erection of the full panoply of border controls, we are choosing to exclude ourselves.

“And this way only chaos lies; as David Davis and his fellow ‘ultra-Brexiteers’ will soon very uncomfortably come to learn.”

One other thing that’s important to mention and that is if we “join Norway in EFTA and remain in the EEA” then WE WILL HAVE LEFT THE EUROPEAN UNION (as mandated by the EU Referendum result).

Sorry about the capitals, but so many people just don’t understand that fact!

Oh, and I came across a saying today which seems relevant to the above. It is:

“One cannot speak truth to Power
if Power has no use for the truth.”

Thu June 29, 2017:
The “Buccaneering Optimism” Of
David Davis MP, Brexit Secretary

I have, for some time, been worried about whether or not the Brexit Secretary, David Davis, is the right man to lead the negotiations with the EU Commission. It’s good to have an optimistic view of the world, but Mr Davis is, to my mind, just a bit too jolly and his fiddling with his glasses drives me bonkers!
There is an article in today’s Times which, I think, is worth reading. To paraphrase Danny Kaye:

The Minister is in the all together
But all together the all together
He's all together as naked as the day that he was born.
And it's all together too chilly a morn!

Fri June 23, 2017:
Independence Day - First Anniversary

It’s one year since the UK voted to leave the European Union and we have only this week started negotiations on the divorce money, citizens’ rights and Northern Ireland. Also, politicians still seem to be totally confused not only about the best way to leave but also ignorant about even the most basic elements of things such as the EU’s Custom Union, the EEA (European Economic Area), EFTA (European Free Trade Association), etc.,.etc.

Sat June 10, 2017:
Prime Minister: Brexit Rethink?

Having taken eight weeks off for an entirely unnecessary election campaign, Mrs May had the gall to tell us: "Now let's get to work".

The Times this morning sums it up well:

In her speech on the steps of Downing Street yesterday Mrs May showed why she had lost her majority. There was no hint of self-awareness, let alone gallows humour, and no attempt to acknowledge the gravity of the predicament into which she has led the country. The omission recalled her failure to admit U-turns on national insurance contributions after the last budget and on social care funding during the campaign. In her determination to stay in control of her message, she has developed an unfortunate habit of insulting voters’ intelligence.

However, there is at least one positive outcome emerging from the General Election fiasco. By having to rely on Northern Ireland’s DUP (Democratic Unionist Party) to prop up the Conservatives in Parliament, the concept of “No deal is better than a bad deal” has (hopefully) been thrown out of the window.

For Northern Ireland (and for the sake of the Good Friday Agreement, of course), it is vital that the border with the Republic of Ireland remains as open as it is now. The simplest way to achieve this is for the UK to leave the European Union and rejoin EFTA (European Free Trade Association) and thus remain in the EEA (European Economic Area), also known as the “Single Market”. The UK will then be able to trade with all the EU countries as now and continue to take advantage of all the current trade agreements with the rest of the world. The UK will also then be able to forge new bilateral and multilateral agreements in the fullness of time.

The only problem is that to rejoin EFTA requires the agreement of the current members (Switzerland, Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein) and to remain in the EEA also requires the agreement of the European Union.

Sat June 3, 2017:
They’ve All Got A Brexit Plan …

However, here’s the  ultimate one:

Fri June 2, 2017:
Prime Minister Visits Plymouth

Why tell you this? Well, a local reporter (Sam Blackledge of The Herald) managed to put four questions to Mrs May, all related to Plymouth.
The interview was filmed and you can view it on the Herald’s website. Listen carefully. Mrs May did NOT answer even one of the reporter’s questions! What she did say could have been about almost any city or town in the country, the only concession to the Plymouth reporter was that she remembered to include the word “Plymouth” in her responses (they were NOT answers, they were just platitudes).

Now, Mrs May has kept as far away from live TV programmes as she could, especially where there is an audience. The Paxman interview did not go well for Mrs May, partly because of the over the top way Paxman asked questions, partly because the audience were very biased and vocal, but mainly because Mrs May kept to her script and didn’t actually answer the questions!

So, why mention all this within a column on Brexit? It’s because Mrs May has made her campaign all about her and how she’s the best person to lead the Brexit negotiations. Listening to the above interview made one doubt her ability to think on her feet and to give REALLY honest and appropriate responses. Obviously, she will not attend 99% of UK/EU negotiating meetings but one still worries.

We shall see. I have to admit that the alternative (ie, Labour+SNP+Liberals) to the Conservative Party being in power on June 9 is even more frightening. Just read Labour’s manifesto and you’ll see what I mean.

Mon May 29, 2017:
EU Council’s Article 50 Working Party

Whilst we’re “engrossed” in the upcoming General Election, the EU Council’s Article 50 Working Party will be meeting tomorrow (Tuesday, May 30) and on Thursday (June 1) to discuss two Working Papers that were published last Tuesday (May 24) by the European Commission’s “Task Force for the Preparation and Conduct of the Negotiations with the United Kingdom under Article 50 TEU” .

The first Working Paper is regarding Essential Principles on Citizens' Rights and the other is regarding Essential Principles on Financial Settlement.

I hope that these Papers are being pored over by officials of the Department for Exiting the European Union. Remember, negotiations with the EU start on June 19 and that’s just three weeks away!

Thu May 18, 2017:
EFTA Members Are “Open-Minded” About The UK Requesting To Rejoin EFTA and Stay In The EEA

It's really good news that all EFTA countries have now publicly stated that they are “open-minded” about the UK re-joining EFTA, an organisation it helped to found in the 1960s.
However, as recorded on the EUObserver website, they also said:

"But the initiative would have to come from the UK. For the moment, the question is not on the table."

There’s a report on the Express website which overstates the situation but which does contain the following telling paragraph:

"It would also ensure that the club’s three members plus Switzerland, which is a separate member of the single market, retained close ties with one of their most important trading partners".

In other words, it's in THEIR interests that we stay in the EEA, via EFTA. I also like the use of the word "club", we British like to belong to clubs.

Tue May 16, 2017:
Election - A Very Enjoyable “Rant”

Richard Littlejohn of the Daily Mail has written a superb critique of the ongoing election campaigns. You may not agree with everything he says, but I think you’ll find yourself nodding at much of the article, for example:

“The airwaves are rocking round the clock with preening politicians parroting their puerile slogans. Strong and stable, for the many not the few, extreme Brexit, zero hours, savage cuts, back to the Seventies, and so on and so on and scooby dooby dooby. And you know what? Unless I'm horribly mistaken, nobody's listening, at least outside the political bubble.”


“Inevitably, no one is talking much about Brexit any more. The caravan has moved on, as the political version of Parkinson's Law has kicked in. Policies have expanded to fill the time available on the rolling news channels. The entire political class is convulsed with collective narcissism.”

You’ll find the full article on the Daily Mail website. Even the comments section is (unusually) worth reading,

Sat May 6, 2017:
An Amusing Financial Times Article

After all the kerfuffle over the Downing Street dinner of a week and a half ago, it was highly amusing to read Robert Shrimsley’s piece in the Financial Times.
As it’s behind the FT’s paywall, I’ve converted it into a PDF which you can display by clicking on the link above.

Sun April 30, 2017:
We Need To Learn From Greece’s Run-In With The European Union

Yanis Varoufakis, the former finance minister of Greece, has written his memoir of dealing with the EU in 2015 when the European Central Bank cut off liquidity and forced the closure of their banks.
He says that there are lessons for Brexit and that: “Britain must not let itself be captured by the EU’s negotiating net” and his advice to Mrs May is to “avoid negotiation at all costs”. He continues:

“When the UK makes a moderate proposal, they will react with blank stares and look at you as if you were reciting the Swedish National Anthem. It’s their way of stonewalling.”

He believes that the only way to avoid being caught in the spider’s web is to seize the initiative and take away their ability to create mischief. He advises filing an immediate request to join the European Economic Area for a seven-year transition. “They could not refuse this. They wouldn’t have a leg to stand on.” he says.

EDITOR: It’s good to see someone who has actually dealt with the EU in extremis suggest that we rejoin the European Free Trade Association (EFTA) and move to their version of the European Economic Area (EEA).

All it needs now is for Mrs May to move back to her original rhetoric of “trading with, and within, the single market” and come to realise that Article 112a of the EEA agreement allows suspension of “free movement of people”, that the only EU rules will be to do with trade and that the EFTA Court replaces the European Court of Justice (and, if the ECJ does get involved, it will only be on trade matters). Within EFTA/EEA the UK will also be able to agree new trade agreements with the rest of the world.

Is it possible that sense will prevail after the General Election? The irony is that Labour, the Liberal Democrats and the SNP would all immediately agree to this very sensible move! Oh, and the really serious worries about the border between Northern Ireland and the Republic disappear, as does the Gibraltar/ Spain problem.

NEW Wed April 26, 2017:
Labour’s Brexit Strategy

Sir Keir Starmer, Labour’s Shadow Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union, yesterday morning set out Labour’s approach to Brexit. The full text of his speech can be read HERE.

What got the attention of the Media was his commitment to allow all the 3 million EU citizens currently in the UK the right to stay, irrespective of the rights of the 1.2 million UK citizens living in other EU countries! He said:

“On day one of a Labour Government we will immediately guarantee that all EU nationals currently living in the UK will see no change in their legal status as a result of Brexit, and we will seek reciprocal measures for UK citizens in the EU.”

Michael Deacon, the Telegraph’s Sketch writer, today summed up the rest of Sir Keir’s speech quite well:

“Oh, all right then. You win. We told you Brexit was a bad idea. We still think it’s a bad idea. Nothing will persuade us it’s a good idea. But a lot of us are in seats that voted Leave, and we’re scared, and confused, and our leader is useless, and our support is collapsing before our eyes, and we don’t know what else to do. So, in the extremely unlikely event that you let us form a government on June 9, we’ll give you your precious Brexit. But, just so you understand: the Brexit we’d negotiate would be as close as we could possibly get to staying in the EU. Because – just in case you missed this – we don’t think leaving the EU is a very good idea.”

Tue April 18, 2017:
General Election On June 8

Just two years since the last general election, Mrs May has called for another on Thursday, June 8 (if more than two thirds of MPs agree tomorrow). The reason? Apparently, it’s because of Brexit.

It’ll be very interesting to read the Conservative’s election manifesto.

Fri March 31, 2017:
False Hope?
“Of Course We’ll Get A Good Deal, What With All Those BMWs, Audis and Volkswagens We Buy”

The UK is the fourth-largest export destination for the German mechanical engineering industry, at €7.4 billion last year – behind the USA, China and France.
However, exports to other EU countries represent €72.5 billion, or 46% of all trade in that sector.

Thilo Brodtmann, executive director of VDMA (the powerful association of German manufacturing industries) said this week that:

“One thing is clear: Ensuring the long-term survival of the European single market is more important for the industry than the short-term facilitation of trade with the UK. That’s why an agreement with the EU must not be made more appealing than EU membership. The UK cannot have a special position as a hanger-on.”

A “hanger-on”! That’s put us in our place, hasn’t it?

Wed March 29, 2017:
Finally, Article 50 Is Invoked

Donald Tusk, President of the European Council, today received a letter from Mrs May, invoking Article 50 of the Treaty on European Union.
Mrs May’s speech to the House of Commons is available to read on the UK Government’s website.

Sun March 26, 2017:
“Hard Brexit”: Another Warning

A leaked government document warns of the potential cost and chaos, even in the event of a free trade agreement, if Britain leaves the European customs area.
The paper, marked “sensitive” and written by Bill Williamson, the director of customs at HM Revenue & Customs, and Alex Pienaar, customs’ head of EU issues, says: “The UK would face a full regime of customs controls when importing and exporting goods between the UK and EU.”
It warns that bureaucracy and delays “can increase transaction costs by an estimated 2% to 24% of the value of traded goods”.
The situation would be particularly onerous for those importing/exporting food and other agricultural products from/into the EU with delays of up to a week for meat tested at official laboratories.

EDITOR: All one seems to hear about are tariff percentages, but it is these non-tariff barriers that will cripple our two way trade with EU countries.
None of this would happen if we leave the EU, rejoin EFTA and thus continue being in the European Economic Area. This way, we could be out of the EU well before March 2019. The only difficulty is “free movement of labour”, but that can be resolved later.
However, although Mrs May appears to reject this sensible solution, she might have to utilise it as an interim measure.

Wed March 22, 2017:
Tintin and the Brexit Plan

Officials working on Brexit in European Council offices have displayed a mock-up of a book cover, which expresses how they think our negotiation plans are coming along!

Mon March 20, 2017:
Brexit: The Remaining Members “Will Fall In Love With Each Other Again”

Asked by Bild am Sonntag newspaper whether he was concerned other member states will follow Britain's example in quitting the EU, the commission president Jean-Claude Juncker said: “No. Britain's example will make everyone realise that it's not worth leaving. On the contrary, the remaining member states will fall in love with each other again and renew their vows with the European Union.”
Mr Juncker also said Britain would need to get used to being treated as a non-member. “Half memberships and cherry-picking aren't possible. In Europe you eat what's on the table or you don't sit at the table.” he added.

EDITOR: This mean spirited civil servant has just provided yet another example of why so many UK citizens no longer want us to be a member of his “club”.

Mon March 20, 2017:
Norway, The Happiest Place on Earth!

Every year, the United Nations asks a simple, subjective question of more than 1,000 people in more than 150 countries. The question is:

"Imagine a ladder, with steps numbered from 0 at the bottom to 10 at the top. The top of the ladder represents the best possible life for you and the bottom of the ladder represents the worst possible life for you. On which step of the ladder would you say you personally feel you stand at this time?"

This year, the top four countries were Norway, Denmark, Iceland and Switzerland. Is it a coincidence that three of these counties are not in the EU and are members of EFTA (European Free Trade Association) and that the other (Denmark), like the UK, rejected being a member of the Euro zone?

Oh, and the UK came 19th.

Mon March 20, 2017:
Article 50 To Be Invoked Next Wednesday, March 29

The UK's Ambassador to the EU, Sir Tim Barrow, has informed the European Council, headed by President Donald Tusk, that Article 50 would be invoked next Wednesday, March 29. Mrs May is expected to make a statement to the House of Commons, shortly after invoking Article 50, setting out her aims.
Brexit Secretary David Davis said the UK was now "on the threshold of the most important negotiation for this country for a generation".
"The government is clear in its aims," he said. "A deal that works for every nation and region of the UK and indeed for all of Europe - a new, positive partnership between the UK and our friends and allies in the European Union."

This coming Saturday (March 25), EU leaders will gather in Rome to mark the 60th anniversary of the Treaties of Rome, which established the European Economic Community. Mrs May will not be attending this event …

Tue March 7, 2017:
Article 50 Bill’s 3rd Reading In The House of Lords - Proposed Liberal Democrats’ Amendment

Their proposed Amendment was as follows:

"That this House declines to allow the bill to pass, because it does not provide a mechanism for the people of the United Kingdom to have a vote, prior to the UK’s departure from the European Union, on the terms of the new relationship between the United Kingdom and the European Union."

Quite sensibly, this call for a second referendum was voted down, 336 to 131.

Wed March 1, 2017:
Lords Vote To Guarantee EU Citizens The Right To Remain In The UK

Peers have demanded Theresa May guarantees the rights of EU nationals currently living in the UK within three months of triggering Article 50 and notifying Brussels of Britain’s departure.
The Government had hoped its Article 50 Bill would pass through the House of Lords unamended, as it had through the House of Commons. However, a total of 358 peers voted in favour of the amendment, with 256 voting against.

Lord Tebbit drew jeers in the House of Lords after criticising peers for being more concerned about looking after “foreigners” than British people. He said:
“If we are to be concerned about anyone’s rights after Brexit, to live anywhere on this continent of Europe, it should be our concern for the rights of British people to live freely and peacefully in those other parts of Europe. Somehow or the other we seem to be thinking of nothing but the rights of foreigners.”
After he was jeered, he added:
“My Lords, people of nationalities of other countries within the union are foreigners. Why is everybody here today so excited about an amendment that looks after foreigners and not the British?”

True to form, Liberal Democrat leader Tim Farron was reported as saying: "This is an embarrassing defeat for the Government. Theresa May is failing the three million EU citizens that live in this country. Her Conservative Brexit Government is leaving our friends, neighbours and colleagues in a state of fear. The Prime Minister must now listen and accept this amendment. I can guarantee that Liberal Democrats will keep trooping through the lobbies time after time, if needed, to defend EU citizens' rights.

Fri February 17, 2017:
UKIP’s Brexit Spokesman Provides An Insight Into UK/EU Negotiations

At UKIP’s Spring Conference in Bolton, Gerard Batten MEP (who is UKIP’s Brexit Spokesman) told the Financial Times that:

Trade relations with the EU could be sorted out in “an afternoon over a cup of coffee”. Britain would offer the EU continued free movement of goods, services and capital, but insist on an end to free movement of people. “Why wouldn’t they agree?” Mr Batten said.

No comment.

Thu February 2, 2017:
Brexit White Paper Published

For those interested, the White Paper entitled “The United Kingdom’s exit from and new partnership with the European Union” has been published. Click HERE to view the 77 page PDF.

Wed February 1, 2017:
Parliament’s Article 50 Debate

Yesterday, Nick Clegg told MPs that he had heard "on very good authority" that Germany was ready to offer Mrs May an "emergency brake" on immigration in return for a form of Brexit which would minimise economic disruption.

Did the other MPs actually understand what he was implying, do you think?

CLUE: The UK joins EFTA, becomes a member of the EEA (European Economic Area) and invokes Article 112 for an “emergency brake” on immigration from the EU countries.

Sat January 28, 2017:
Trump/May Press Conference

Mr Trump is obviously pro UK and Mrs May’s diplomatic visit appeared to go very well. Then, at the press conference, up pops the BBC’s self important Laura Kuenssberg and she asks the following question:

"Mr President, you've said before that torture works, you've praised Russia, you've said you want to ban some Muslims from coming to America, you've suggested there should be punishment for abortion.
"For many people in Britain those sound like alarming beliefs. What do you say to our viewers at home who are worried about some of your views and worried about you becoming the leader of the free world?"

This, to the new leader of the United States of America, IN HIS OWN COUNTRY, by the representative of the UK’s state broadcaster..
Words fail me (actually they don’t, but the words that do come to mind are best not expressed on this website …).

Fri January 27, 2017:
The Article 50 Parliamentary Bill

The government has published the bill that will allow it to trigger Article 50, giving MPs just five days to debate and scrutinise it.

The bill is just two clauses and 137 words long. It will be interesting to read the 50 amendments proposed by the SNP!

Fri January 20, 2017:
Brexit - Money, Money, Money …

On Tuesday, I mentioned that the majority of the UK public are unaware of the financial commitments we have made to the EU. Different amounts have been thrown around but £50 Billion seems to be about the average! It’s this that the EU are going to want to talk about before moving on to discussing all the other 30+ separate treaty subjects.
However, one particular graphic has surfaced which shows the
net contributions of the 28 EU nations, including us, in 2015. If you click on the graphic below, a larger version is displayed. What’s more interesting than the fact that we are only second to Germany is that half the EU nations RECEIVE more than they pay in.

Tue January 17, 2017:
Mrs May’s Lancaster House Speech

It’s been fascinating to witness all the expected knee jerk reactions to Mrs May’s speech.
What has to be remembered is that representatives of all the other EU nations were present and so what she said was geared to them as much as to us.
As an opening gambit to negotiations with the EU, I think Mrs May got it spot on, including repeating the so called "threats" made by Philip Hammond. Her emphasis on keeping and strengthening the ties between all four UK nations was also very welcome.

However, the timescale is incredibly short because the EU will be insisting that an agreement on the “divorce settlement” will have to be completed before any substantial discussions take place regarding a new UK/EU relationship. This in itself is not going to be easy, UK citizens are going to be astonished at what our financial commitments are and there’s going to be a furious reaction.
Also, we will need to work out exactly what we want as an interim arrangement because it’s (virtually) impossible for a Free Trade Agreement between the UK and the EU to be signed off by April 2019. I would therefore be very unsurprised if we don’t, for a number of years, end up within the EEA (European Economic Area) but with a number of addendums to satisfy the UK’s temporary requirements. Many UK citizens still think that the EEA is the same as the EU and the real facts will need to be properly explained to them.

If you’d like to read a complete transcript of Mrs May’s speech, you can find it on the UK Government website.

Sun January 15, 2017:
We’ll Know More on Tuesday

All today’s newspapers seem to know what Mrs May is going to say on Tuesday regarding the Government’s plan for Brexit. Leaving the EU’s Customs Union is almost certainly going to be proposed but whether we intend to entirely pull out of the “single market” (rather than remain in the EEA but via EFTA) is very doubtful because Mrs May has consistently said, ever since the Conservative Party conference, that the “UK will remain in the single market” (it’s just that so few people seem to have noticed her saying it …).

In the meantime, Philip Hammond, Chancellor of the Exchequer, has been interviewed by the German news channel “Welt”.
What he told them is well worth reading. The article is headed up “Philip Hammond issues threat to EU partners” but what Mr Hammond has to say is anything but a threat, it’s just common sense (something in short supply these days).

Sat January 7, 2017:
Is It Plain Ignorance or Stupidity?

It's been more than six months since the referendum and this letter in Friday's Daily Telegraph's 'Letters to the Editor' really does sum up how far from reality some people have become. I quote:

"SIR - Theresa May aims to negotiate for access to the single market, but without the free movement of people.
However, if this cannot be achieved, we should withdraw from all negotiations, break all our links with the EU (including the payments we make) and expand our trade deals with the rest of the world.
Any EU countries that wish to continue trade with Britain would be welcome to do so. Britain is the fifth-largest economy in the world; it is time we behaved like it.
Trudy Visser
Stretton, Rutland"

She would have us unilaterally abandon all treaty obligations (what country would then deal with us if we did that?). Worse, she does not realise that the UK does not have any “trade deals with the rest of the world” (we rely totally on the EU for these), nor does she know that any bi-lateral trade with individual EU countries is impossible.

The real problem is that many people might think that what she proposes sounds quite sensible.

Sat December 10, 2016:
A “Red, White and Blue” Brexit

There has been much talk of a “black Brexit” (a cliff-edge scenario for businesses and financial services in which the government left the article 50 talks without a future deal with the EU) and a “white Brexit” (which would see the UK attempt to remain in the single market).

During her two-day trip to the Gulf Co-operation Council in Bahrain earlier this week, Mrs May dismissed any suggestion that the government was using such language, saying to reporters:

“I’m interested in all these terms that have been identified – hard Brexit, soft Brexit, black Brexit, white Brexit, grey Brexit – and actually what we should be looking for is a red, white and blue Brexit.”

Readers of this column will know that I favour staying in the no-called single market (actually the European Economic Area) but as a member of EFTA (the European Free Trade Association), not the EU. This is often called the “Norway Solution”. Below are the flags of Norway and the United Kingdom - same colours, eh?

Tue November 29, 2016:
Brexit Meeting’s Notes: “
What is the model? Have cake and eat it.

Much to the embarrassment of Julia Dockerill (an aide to Mark Field, the Conservative Party vice-chairman) a photographer in Downing Street was able to take a picture of an open notepad detailing a meeting held between the Brexit department, Conservative Party officials and (it is believed) representatives from the Dutch ruling VVD party.

EDITOR: It sounds as though every option had been discussed, but the notes really did not give away what the Government are actually going to propose come the end of March (presumably because they don’t know themselves yet).

Mon November 21, 2016:
Chancellor’s “Doom and Gloom”

Yesterday, Chancellor Philip Hammond told ITV's Peston On Sunday:
"Of course business like certainty and that's one of the challenges we face over the coming couple of years - we're going to have an unprecedented level of uncertainty and that's one of the factors causing many commentators to predict that there will be a slowing of economic growth."

What a pessimistic outlook, which does nothing to provide even some degree of confidence in the UK economy. Why is he apparently not aware that we are still in the European Union, still trading within the “Single Market” and still in the Customs Union and will probably remain so for at least the next 18 months, possibly for up to the next 28 months?
In other words
nothing has changed, yet he’s all doom and gloom. Really, it’s not good enough.

Tue November 15, 2016:
Barack, Michelle, Hillary and Donald star in this Spoof Version of the John Lewis “Boxer” Christmas Commercial

If you haven’t seen this already, do have a look - it’s very funny. It’s on YOUTUBE..

Sun November 13, 2016:
Donald Trump and Nigel Farage

Nigel Farage’s hour long meeting with President-elect Donald Trump has been all over the media but I could not resist in adding the image below to this column. Why? Because when I first saw it I laughed so hard I started to cry…

Thu November 10, 2016:
President-elect Trump’s “Brexit ++”

The outcome of the USA’s presidential election was, like Brexit, another example of ordinary people just wanting to be heard.
The UK leavers’ slogan of “Take Back Control” was basically the same as Trump’s “America First”. For those following events in the USA, if you haven’t read Donald Trump’s “100-Day Action Plan To make America Great Again”, just click on the image (right) to display the two page PDF document.

Sun November 6, 2016:
High Court Article 50 Decision -
A Storm In A Teacup …

The outcome of three High Court judges making a decision on a point of law has been astonishing. Newspaper headlines such as “Enemies of the People” are, frankly, disgusting. To devote hundreds of column inches on describing the personal attributes of each of the judges is sickening.
There is only one word that properly describes the outpouring of the last few days, and that is “HYSTERICAL” (as in ‘affected by or deriving from wildly uncontrolled emotion’ and definitely not in the more modern meaning of being ‘hysterically funny’).

This all stems from the laziness of all politicians in not properly scrutinising the European Union Referendum Act 2015. It neither contained any requirement for the UK Government to implement the results of the referendum nor did it say explicitly that the referendum was only advisory.
The fact that the government advisory leaflet clearly stated on page 14 of 16 that:
“This is your decision. The government
     will implement what you decide”
is completely irrelevant in law.

In a knee jerk reaction, the Government decided to appeal to the Supreme Court, whose decision will possibly not be made until the beginning of January. What a complete waste of time and energy.
However, none of this is stopping the Government from continuing to work on the best negotiating stance to fulfil Mrs May’s oft repeated pledge to obtain a “
deal that will give British companies the maximum freedom to trade with, and operate within, the European market, and allow European businesses to do the same here”.

Thu October 27, 2016:
SNP Still Determined to Leave The UK

Scotland’s First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon, has said that the outcome of the EU referendum meets the conditions for holding a second referendum on Scottish independence, as laid out in the SNP’s manifesto. She said:

“...the Scottish Parliament should have the right to hold another referendum if there is a significant and material change in the circumstances that prevailed in 2014, such as Scotland being taken out of the EU against our will.”

The latest export statistics show that (excluding oil and gas) Scotland exports:
£48.5 Billion to the Rest of the UK
£11.6 Billion to EU Countries
£15.2 Billion to the Rest of the World

Ms Sturgeon has stated that she will “explore every option” for protecting Scotland’s position in the EU. It’s quite sad really that the SNP is so narrow minded (fixated?) on separating from the rest of the UK when Scottish companies do so much more business with us compared with their sales to the EU.
Also, why on earth are they so worked up about “Tory Tyranny” yet are more than happy to be handcuffed to something so overwhelmingly stifling as the European Union? Do they want to be in the same awful subordinate position as Greece has found itself?

Thu October 27, 2016:
Proof of a Politician’s Ignorance

At yesterday’s Prime Minister Questions, Mr Corbyn proved that he didn’t even understand the difference between the EU’s Customs Union and a nation’s physical borders. He said:
“On Monday the Prime Minister said that the customs union was “not a binary choice”. I cannot think that whether we have a border or do not have a border is anything other than a binary choice; there is no third way on that one.”

Mrs May, quite correctly, replied:
“The fact that the right hon. Gentleman seems to confuse a customs union with a border when they are actually two different issues shows why it is important that it is this party that is in government and dealing with these issues and not his.”

Wed October 26, 2016:
Politicians’ Hearing Needs Testing!

On Monday, the Prime Minister gave her report on her attendance at the recent European Council meeting. Questioner after questioner stressed the importance of remaining in the “single market”, telling Mrs May that it was “vital” to ensure the best outcome for trade in goods and services.

There follows the section of Mrs May’s initial Statement to the House regarding Brexit. The most relevant comments are in BOLD:

“I made it clear at last week’s European Council that my aim is to cement Britain as a close partner of the EU once we have left. I want the deal we negotiate to reflect the kind of mature, co-operative relationship that close friends and allies enjoy; a deal that will give British companies the maximum freedom to trade with, and operate within, the European market, and allow European businesses to do the same here; a deal that will deliver the deepest possible co-operation to ensure our national security and the security of our allies; a deal that is in Britain’s interests and the interests of all our European partners. But it will also be a deal that means we are a fully independent, sovereign nation, able to do what sovereign nations do, which means we will, for example, be free to decide for ourselves how we control immigration. It will mean our laws are made not in Brussels but here in this Parliament, and that the judges interpreting those laws will sit not in Luxembourg but in courts right here in Britain.”

So, she stated as clearly as she could that she believes we’ll be able to:
a. Remain IN the “single market” (the EEA)
b. Decide how we “control immigration”
c. Be free of the “European Court of Justice”

She repeated these three things a number of times during the “debate” but (perhaps luckily for Mrs May) not one opposition MP actually heard what she was saying. They all just asked their pre-prepared (critical) questions.

EDITOR: I really despair of our politicians. In the main, their actual knowledge of the European Union is abysmal.
If you’d like to read Mrs May’s full Statement and all the questions and answers, please click HERE.

Sun October 23, 2016:
Sunday Telegraph Article

Christopher Booker’s article in today’s Sunday Telegraph (“The only way to Brexit that fits the PM’s bill”) concurs with everything detailed in the October 12 posting below, namely that the only sensible solution is for the UK to join EFTA (the European Free Trade Association) and remain in the EEA (the European Economic Area or “single market”).

Booker adds two very important additional pieces of information. The first is that “of the 19,886 laws currently in force in the EU, EFTA/EEA members have to comply with only 5,288, almost all concerned with trade.”.

Secondly, he notes that negotiations to leave the EU must cover many issues other than trade.
He points readers to the Europa website which lists 35 separate policy areas, such as agriculture, fisheries, foreign policy and many more, of which only a handful relate to trade. He concludes by saying, quite rightly, that “
we need to keep the trade aspects of our Brexit deal as simple as possible to give enough time for discussion of all those other issues - or we risk the ultimate disaster, whereby we drop out of the EU without any deal at all.”.

Sat October 15, 2016:
The Single Market - An Explanation

Click to display larger image ...As discussed in the October 12 post below, there is wide-spread confusion about the difference between being in the EU and being simply a member of the “single market“ (the EEA or European Economic Area).
Click on the image to display a very straight forward comparison (kindly ignore the rather obvious typos!).

Thu October 13, 2016:
Oh Dear, Here We Go Again …

From the school of ‘it doesn't exist until it's been discovered' by the legacy media, we have on the front page of today's Financial Times the headline:
"UK faces €20bn Brexit divorce bill in Brussels budget wrangle", with a pull-quote declaring: "We could actually end up paying more into the EU budget …".

Wonders will never cease. I reported this at the beginning of August (see UK “Owes The EU 25 Billion Euros”).

Wed October 12, 2016:
An Example Of The Media’s Ignorance

In an article on Brexit in today’s Daily Mail, they stated:

“What the public voted for was simple: to regain control of our borders in order to end mass immigration; reclaim control of our laws; and stop sending billions of pounds to Brussels.
“None of this is possible inside the single market; which requires the free movement of workers, full adherence to the diktats of the European Court of Justice and a vast annual membership fee.”

The premise that "None of this is possible inside the single market..." is not true. It is just the position as it applies to EU Member States, which we will not be when we have left the EU.
However, if the UK joins EFTA (the European Free Trade Association)
participation in the single market (the correct term is European Economic Area or ‘EEA’) WILL BE afforded to the UK.
Three of the four current member states of EFTA (Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway - Switzerland has chosen not to be in the EEA but has its own bi-lateral Trade Agreement with the EU) can benefit from the EEA’s unilateral Article 112’s Safeguard Measures (to control excessive immigration)
if they care to invoke them.
They do not come under the jurisdiction of the European Court of Justice and nor are they even bound by the decisions of the EFTA court. They also do not pay a "membership fee", as such, to the EU (although Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway
do make contributions to “reduce social and economic disparities in Europe”).

Also of note is that EFTA/EEA States are not obliged by the EFTA Convention to conclude preferential trade agreements as a group. They maintain the full right to enter into bilateral third-country arrangements.

So, do not be surprised if something close to the above turns out to be what Mrs May is currently calling “a British solution”.

UPDATE (Thu 13th): There’s reports coming from Norway regarding a meeting with Liam Fox (Secretary of State for International Trade). The following quote has not been corroborated but is interesting anyway:
“Britain has not yet decided how to pull out of the EU. But Fox was clear that they envisioned an EEA EFTA track.”

Tue October 11, 2016:
Couldn’t Have Put It Better Myself …

This morning’s Daily Telegraph:

Sun October 9, 2016:
Waffle, Waffle and More Waffle

Switch on the radio and TV or pick up a newspaper and the chances are high that you’ll hear or read pronouncements from politicians, journalists, Uncle Tom Cobley and all on Brexit. Soft Brexit, hard Brexit, in Single Market, access to Single Market, Immigration, the drop in Sterling, etc., etc.

It’s all self aggrandisement, spurred on by the media who are deliriously happy to have found an easy way to fill airtime and column inches.

Fact: Nothing has changed. We are still IN the European Union and still IN the Single Market.

Fact: We will still be IN the European Union and still IN the Single Market for probably at least the next two years.

Tue October 4, 2016:
Article 50 Invocation Date

Mrs May, in her speech to the Conservative Conference, intimated that the UK will invoke Article 50 (the formal notice for leaving the EU) “by the end of March” and that she believes that we can negotiate an unique bilateral trade agreement with the EU within the allowed two years.

March, eh? Two posts below (September 16: Brexit’s Phony War …”), you’ll see that I said:
“It’s incredibly tempting to try to schedule invoking Article 50 on March 25, 2017. Why? Because it’s the 60th Anniversary of the signing of the Treaty of Rome which created the original European Economic Area.”

Article 50 stipulates that, even if negotiations have NOT been completed and agreed by all of the remaining 27 EU countries, the UK will no longer be a member of the EU exactly TWO years after Article 50’s invocation, in other words March 2019.

Interesting timescale, bearing in mind that the next date for the election of MEPs is just two months later, in May 2019.

Mon September 19, 2016:
The EU - The One-Way Ratchet Effect

At the recent Bratislava summit of the other 27 nations of the EU (to which we were disgracefully excluded despite still being a full member of the EU!), Donald Tusk’s report could be summed up as “The answer to all our problems is a closer Union”.
The EU has no way of going backwards without disintegrating. For instance, if they start to dismantle the Euro then the financial markets would take that a sign to destroy what is left. If they were to dismantle the passport free Schengen Area, the member states would take that as a sign to stop taking any more refugees.
The EU is a one-way ratchet because that is the only way of holding it together, it’s in their DNA. It has no democratic plasticity because it is not a democratic institution.

Fri September 16, 2016:
Brexit’s Phony War …

The original Phoney War was the eight-month period at the start of World War II, during which there were no major military land operations on the Western Front. It began with the declaration of war by the western Allies (the United Kingdom and France) against Nazi Germany on the 3rd of September 1939 following the German invasion of Poland, and ended with the German attack on France and the Low Countries on the 10th of May 1940.

Brexit’s Phony War started on June 23 with the EU Referendum. Since then we’ve had a Prime Minister resign, a new PM appointed, a Chancellor (thankfully) sacked and the setting up of a new “Global Trade” Ministry and a new “Let’s Get The Hell Out Of the EU” Ministry. Just as importantly, we have had a plethora of politicians and journalists providing us with their thoughts on what we should do next. Their advice has ranged from the admirably cautious (keep as much of the current Single Market “access” as possible) to the absolutely outrageous (invoke Article 50 immediately, present the EU with a list of our demands and, if rebuffed, tell them to stuff it).

It’s incredibly tempting to try to schedule invoking Article 50 on March 25, 2017. Why? Because it’s the 60th Anniversary of the signing of the Treaty of Rome which created the original European Economic Area. (It’s also the 210th Anniversary of the Abolition of the Slave Trade Act 1807!).

However, in the “real” world, when should we start the formal process of leaving the EU? Hopefully, only when the “powers that be” have fully analysed all the risks and rewards and have created a highly flexible negotiation plan. We therefore need to ignore the clamouring from the EU (and British public) that the UK should “get on with it” and just wait until we are truly ready.

If that’s early in the New Year, then fine. However, if it takes us until after the 2017 Summer Recess, and perhaps even after the German elections in September 2017, then so be it. The more prepared we are, it has to be presumed that the shorter the negotiation period will be.
UPDATE (Sat 17): Donald Tusk is reported as saying that Mrs May has told him that Article 50 would be invoked early next year, in January or February. If true, based on watching recent Lords and Commons committee meetings, this seems to be a very worryingly short timescale.

Fri August 19, 2016:
Brexit, The Press & The Government:
A Reality Check

The referendum was only 8 weeks ago, with Mrs May becoming Prime Minister just 4 weeks ago. We are now in the middle of the silly season as far as politics goes. So, nothing of any real substance is happening regarding Brexit.

One therefore should not in any way alarmed at all these journalists and “experts” pontificating their conflicting viewpoints. Slowly, a consensus will form and we'll start to see a concentration on the finer points of what's actually "doable".

There are millions of ordinary citizens (from both sides) who are deeply interested in Brexit and tens of thousands who are becoming au fait with what is actually involved in getting us out of the EU. The government is not going to get away with fudging this issue.

Wed August 17, 2016:
It Really Is Best That Britain Is Actually Leaving The EU

Having a common currency where individual countries would be unable to devalue was always going to cause serious trouble UNLESS there was deeper and deeper integration into what can justly be called a “Europe Superstate”! It is now more than likely that the citizens of a number of EU countries will be vehemently against such a loss of national identity.
However, if this “Europe Superstate” does get pushed through, some say that there will be an explosion, although perhaps “implosion” might be a better description.

With Britain having been determined to not join the Eurozone, we would have been part of the EU but also “outside of the room”. If everything then went pear shaped it would not have been a good place to have been (although much better than having been IN the room!).

Fri August 12, 2016:
Why A Phased Withdrawal From The EU Is The Best Solution

Why do so many people think that the UK can “simply leave” the EU after 40 years? For that 40 years we have not been allowed to negotiate any trade deals with countries outside of the EU and all our exports and imports (including those to/from EU countries) are regulated by EU laws, regulations and standards.
If we simply broke away, say by repealing the European Communities Act of 1972 and ignoring Article 50, then we would be in very deep trouble indeed.
A recent article on the Institute of Economic Affairs website by Ben Kelly entitled “The EEA option for Brexit: a stepping stone in choppy waters” is well worth reading.
Although it does not explain what the subsequent steps are for a complete withdrawal (explained fully in the 406 page Flexcit document and summarised in The Market Solution document), it’s short and well written.

Mon August 8, 2016:
What Are Cameron’s Public School Chums Doing Now That The Grammar School Kids Have Taken Over?

If you have 5 minutes to spare, do yourself a favour and have a look at this YouTube video.

Mon August 8, 2016:
Yes Minister’s Sir Humphrey Explains

In a new sketch by “Yes Minister” creators Jonathan Lynn and Antony Jay, Sir Humphrey (the legendary civil service mandarin) explains all you need to know about the EU structure and how leaving the EU is best left in the hands of our civil servants.

Mon August 8, 2016:
Why Are “Experts” Telling Different Stories On How To Leave The EU?

The Dunning–Kruger effect is a cognitive bias in which relatively unskilled individuals suffer from illusory superiority, mistakenly assessing their ability to be much higher than it really is. Dunning and Kruger proposed that, for a given skill, incompetent people will fail to recognize their own lack of skill, fail to recognize the extent of their inadequacy and fail to accurately gauge skill in others.

The phenomenon was first experimentally observed in a series of experiments by David Dunning and Justin Kruger of the department of psychology at Cornell University in 1999. The study was inspired by the case of McArthur Wheeler, a man who robbed two banks after covering his face with lemon juice in the mistaken belief that, because lemon juice is usable as invisible ink, it would prevent his face from being recorded on surveillance cameras!

Mon August 8, 2016:
A Reflection - Why we Voted “Leave”

Before the EU Referendum, hundreds of international businesses, politicians (both from the UK and abroad)  and “experts” of all kinds issued warnings of the dangers of voters choosing to leave the EU.
Basically, this avalanche of negativity was mostly about economics, both business and personal (remember George Osborne informing us that families would be £4,000pa “worse off by 2030” if we voted Leave?).
For example, 12 Nobel Laureates and over 175 UK based economists wrote an open letter stating that:
“The EU is facing major challenges and in need of reform. Some of us have been significant critics of the EU. But Britain is far better off ‘in’ leading that reform than ‘out’ and isolated”
whilst being completely blind to the fact that it was 99% certain that the EU was incapable of reform! Even David Cameron dropped the “Reformed” word from his “Britain is Stronger, Safer and Better Off in a Reformed European Union” mantra.

So why, in spite of all these dire warnings, did a majority of voters choose to Leave the EU? Rabid remainers subsequently complained that they were probably stupid, or ill informed, or racists, or Little Englanders, or just revolting against the “establishment” or perhaps all of the above. However, is it not more feasible that the majority probably voted Leave because they had great empathy with slogans such as “Let’s Get Our Country Back” and “Let’s Regain Control of our Borders”? In other words, to regain our sovereignty even if we were going to be worse off?
Why is being patriotic such a sin to the sneering remainers?

Thu August 4, 2016:
UK “Owes The EU 25 Billion Euros”

A news item in “Handelsblatt”, Germany’s Leading Business and Finance Daily, states that the European Union has for years been moving around a debt mountain of more than €200 billion, known as “Reste à liquider” (RAL). A high-ranking EU official had stated that Britain’s portion amounts to €25 billion.
Apparently, the European Commission is determined not to allow Britain to leave the European Union without paying. Some lawyers in the commission believe that non-payment would amount to a credit default on Britain’s part.
According to the EU official, “A deal with Great Britain is unimaginable if the British have not paid their outstanding debt”.

When this news hits the UK newspapers and broadcasters there’s going to be an uproar.
However, it just goes to prove, once again, that the EU is a financial nightmare. Leaving is going to be expensive, difficult and longwinded but it is absolutely vital that our politicians and the country’s citizens don’t get cold feet.

UPDATE (Fri August 5):
1. This news comes on top of the EU’s recent warning that the UK will need to fund (to the tune of around £4 Billion) the very generous pensions of the British EU civil servants and MEPs.
2. It
must be assumed that we will only pay these sums as long as the other EU states make good on their commitments, in the same timeframe.

Wed August 3, 2016:
UK’s New EU Commissioner

Sir Julian King, a career diplomat, was recently nominated as the UK’s EU Commissioner by David Cameron to replace Lord Hill, who resigned after the Brexit vote. Sir Julian, who has worked in the diplomatic service for 30 years (including most recently as Britain's ambassador to France), must first be approved by MEPs in September.

However, on the assumption that he will be approved, Commission President Jean Claude Juncker has announced that he will be nominating Sir Julian to be the EU’s Security Commissioner, spearheading EU efforts to tackle terrorism, organised crime and cyber-security.
With terrorism being such a sensitive topic in Germany and France at the moment, and knowing Juncker’s sense of “humour”, could this new job be possibly described as a Poisoned Chalice?

Mon August 1, 2016:
Referendums and the Death Penalty

Have the citizens of the United Kingdom now got a taste for referendums? In Switzerland, approximately four times a year voting occurs over various issues; these include both initiatives and referendums, where policies are directly voted on by the people. Once the UK is out of the EU, is it possible that there will be a call for a referendum on reinstating the Death Penalty in the UK?

You only have to think of that brutal slaying of Lee Rigby by Michael Adebolajo and Michael Adebowale. After the killing, these two men charged at the police who shot and wounded both of them. They stood trial and now one is serving a "whole life order" (since 2004 there have been at least 45 instances of trial judges recommending that an offender should never be released) and the other is serving "at least 45 years".

Compare that to the fate of the two men who killed a priest in Rouen. When they came out of the church with hostages, they were shot and killed by the French police. So, why do most people think that the two French terrorists probably “got what they deserved” (or, more likely, gave their fate very little thought) but at the same time believe that allowing the Judiciary to sentence a murderer to death is abhorrent?

UPDATE: Although the number of murders committed in the UK per year is now the lowest since 1978, the current annual number exceeds SIX HUNDRED …

Fri July 22, 2016:
House Of Lords European Union Committee’s Report on “Scrutinising Brexit: The Role Of Parliament”

It was with some surprise to find that this House of Lords report (there’s only 9 pages of text) is written in plain English, there is no jargonese and they set out their objectives very clearly.
Especially liked was this statement:
"Effecting the UK’s withdrawal from the European Union and the implementation of a new relationship will be arguably the most complex, demanding and important administrative and diplomatic task that the Government has undertaken since the Second World War".
This shows that they are well aware that it's going to be a hard slog, without any of the "quick fixes" advocated by so many.

Thu July 21, 2016:
House Of Commons Foreign Affairs Committee’s Report on “Equipping the Government for Brexit”

This interim report, released yesterday, has a section entitled “Absence of contingency planning - Government decision not to plan for Brexit” which contains the following damning comment:

“The previous Government’s considered view not to instruct key Departments including the Foreign and Commonwealth Office to plan for the possibility that the electorate would vote to leave the EU amounted to gross negligence. It has exacerbated post-referendum uncertainty both within the UK and amongst key international partners, and made the task now facing the new Government substantially more difficult.”

It also agreed with the recent report of the Joint Committee on the National Security Strategy which concluded that the Government's failure to engage in comprehensive planning for a potential Brexit before the referendum:
"indicated the prioritisation of political interests above national security".

So, David Cameron was so blinkered in his commitment to remain in the EU that he put this nation on its back foot, with the Civil Service totally unprepared for the Brexit vote.
The committee’s use of the words “gross negligence” makes one begin to understand why David Cameron decided to resign immediately after the referendum!

UPDATE: Another revelation contained in the report is that the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) is one of Whitehall’s smallest Departments in terms of funding. The entire annual FCO budget is only twice the sum spent every year on aid to Ethiopia alone.
Another indication of how the United Kingdom has allowed so much of our dealings with the rest of the world to be controlled by the European Union.

Sat July 16, 2016:
Mrs May Visits SNP’s Nicola Sturgeon

When (NOT IF) we invoke Article 50, will Scotland demand another Independence Referendum because they voted to remain in the EU and, by splitting from the rest of the UK, that’s the only way they can “stay in the EU”?

However, it’s pretty obvious that if they become an independent country they can’t STAY in the EU, they’ll need to apply to JOIN and that’ll take years.
Indeed, will the citizens of an independent Scotland really want to join the EU? Obtain their democratic “freedom”, just for it to be subsumed within the EU?

Even if they do apply, it’ll take years and, as a new country, they’ll find it very hard to fulfil all the qualifications for joining (remember, all UK government jobs and subsidies are going to disappear).
If they DO get in, there will be border controls between an EU Scotland and a non-EU England (their primary market). Scotland will be forced to have the Euro as their currency.

Is it not a lot more feasible that the SNP are going on and on and on about needing to “stay in the EU” just to obtain their referendum? In other words, it's just one great big bluff.

UPDATE (Sunday, July 17): On this morning’s Andrew Marr Show, Nicola Sturgeon said that it “might be possible” for Scotland to remain in both the UK and the EU after Brexit.. When pressed on how this could be accomplished, she could give no answer.

Sat July 16, 2016:
Cartoon From The Spectator

This sums up just how wrong they were!

Thu July 14, 2016:
Astonishing Changes To The Cabinet

The ferocity of cabinet changes implemented by our new prime minister is astonishing. Some just don’t seem to make sense but a few definitely do, the sacking of George (Apocalypse) Osborne for instance!
Of most interest in regards to leaving the EU, Boris Johnson is now Foreign Secretary (for how long is a matter of conjecture), David Davies has the brand new post of Brexit Secretary (actually the “Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union”) and Liam Fox is now the Secretary of State for International Trade.
There is a lot of chatter in the “blogosphere” about these appointments, not much of which is complimentary (for the people chosen
or for the chooser!).
However, what was really unbelievable was that Jeremy Hunt retained the Health Secretary position. What does that decision say to all our doctors and nurses that he has managed to so alienate?

Wed July 13, 2016:
Treasury Select Committee Meeting

This meeting, on the UK’s future economic relationship with the European Union, took place today from 2.20pm to 4.15pm. The witnesses before the Committee were:

 Hosuk Lee-Makiyama, Director, European Centre for International Political Economy
  Shanker Singham, Director of Economic Policy and Prosperity Studies, Legatum Institute
  Richard North, Author of The Leave Alliance’s Flexcit document.

It would be hard to précis the meeting, except to say that everyone agreed that to trade internationally under just the WTO (World Trade Organisation) would be a non-starter (despite what many politicians think).
Also, it was noted that the longer we delay invoking Article 50 the better, unless we can get prior agreement to extend the 2 year time restriction. However, delaying invoking Article 50 would not be easy to explain to the 17 million plus people who voted for Leave.
There was a
lot of waffling, most of it from Hosuk Lee-Makiyama who was allowed to get away with it by the Committee chairman. Shanker Singham was better but it was Richard North who kept on trying to get the conversation back on track (from obtaining trading agreements with the rest of the world and back to the reason for the meeting, namely “the UK’s future economic relationship with the EU”).
Listening to the three witnesses, all throwing acronyms around like confetti, it was obvious that there’s definitely going to have to be a lot more explaining to do in order to know how we are going to extract ourselves from 40 years of being in the spider-web of the EU. Two hours of discussion (and only about 30 minutes of real enlightenment, mainly from Richard North) is just a “spit in the ocean”!

For those with unlimited broadband, the whole session can be viewed HERE (the video can be viewed at 2Mbps speed). To go to the start of the meeting, click on the 14.22.32 section on the right hand side.

Wed July 13, 2016:
David Cameron’s Last PMQs

An immensely relaxed David Cameron handled his last PMQs session this morning with great assurance and humour. He even felt moved to prove that, despite rumours, he really does love Larry the Number 10 cat by waving around a picture of the pair together.

He finished with this statement:

“I will watch these exchanges from the back benches. I will miss the roar of the crowd. I will miss the barbs from the opposition.
 “But I will be willing you on. And when I say willing you on I don’t just mean willing on the new Prime Minister at this despatch box, or indeed just willing on the front bench defending the manifesto that I helped to put together, I mean willing all of you on.
 “Because people come here with huge passion for the issues they care about. They come here with great love for the constituencies they represent.
 “And also willing on this place, because yes we can be pretty tough and test and challenge our leaders - perhaps more than some other countries. But that’s something we can be proud of, and we should keep at it. And I hope you will all keep at it and I will will you on as you do.
 “The last thing that I want to say is that you can achieve a lot of things in politics - you can get a lot of things done. But in the end, the public service, the national interest - that is what it’s all about. Nothing is really impossible if you put your mind to it. After all, as I once said: ‘I was the future, once’.”

All Conservative and Liberal MPs then stood and clapped as Mr Cameron left the chamber. Most Labour MPs also clapped but remained seated. SNP MPs just sat slouched in their seats looking as miserable as sin…

Mon July 11, 2016:
Theresa May, Prime Minister Elect

Theresa May has been the longest-serving Home Secretary for over 60 years. During the referendum campaign she was what could be called a “Passive Remainer” (in other words, she did virtually no campaigning). Now, with Andrea Leadsom pulling out, Mrs May becomes our new Prime Minister on Wednesday.

On July 2, there was an article published in the Daily Telegraph by Jonathan Foreman (which has now been “pulled” off the Telegraph website!) describing some of Mrs May’s “hiccups” during her tenure as Home Secretary. For those interested, it’s worthwhile reading this article.

We will now just have to wait and see how she handles being the leader of the Conservative Party and, most importantly, this nation’s Prime Minister.

Sun July 10, 2016:
The “Single Market” - An Explanation

Just to make it clear. You do not “access” the single market.
You either
participate in it as part of the European Economic Area (EEA) bloc, or you trade with it as a third country.
Participants in the single market (the EEA) must follow the rules of the bloc, such as freedom of movement of people and capital. Britain is a participant in the EEA at this time and so follows those rules.
Third countries such as China simply trade with the single market. In other words, they buy and sell goods or services from/to countries in the single market. They don't need to follow any rules to do so, they merely comply with regulatory standards.
Simple, isn’t it?

Based on the premise that the above explanation is correct, why are so many politicians (eg, Philip Hammond MP, the europhile Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs Foreign) still talking about the “need to retain access to the single market”? Is it because they just don’t understand the reality of the situation? Or, is it that they can’t bear the thought of leaving the EU (ie, being victims of the Stockholm Syndrome) and want us to negotiate some kind of Associate Membership (like, but not the same as, the “Norway solution”, the “Iceland solution” or the “Liechtenstein solution”)?

Why don’t we just start off our planning with the aim of being a totally independent trading nation again, even if we initially use the EFTA (European Free Trade Area) route? Why are so many of our politicians afraid of that concept?

Sat July 9, 2016:
Our Current Prime Minister

This morning’s press conference by David Cameron at the NATO Summit, where he refused to answer any questions about the leadership race, was inspiring.
Up to now, every time he has faced domestic questions from the press whilst abroad representing the United Kingdom he has always answered them, often at length and often when standing next to the leader of the host country. It was so incredibly rude and an ongoing embarrassment.
Finally, he is acting as a
statesman when representing our nation abroad, not as a politician.

Why oh why did he have a fit of pique and go against his pre-referendum promise that, whichever way we voted, he would stay on as Prime Minister?
UPDATE: The July 21 post above provides the probable answer. As the House Of Commons Foreign Affairs Committee’s Report on “Equipping the Government for Brexit” said:
“The previous Government’s considered view not to instruct key Departments including the Foreign and Commonwealth Office to plan for the possibility that the electorate would vote to leave the EU
amounted to gross negligence.”
So, David Cameron was so blinkered in his commitment to remain in the EU that he put this nation on its back foot, with the Civil Service totally unprepared for the Brexit vote.

Sat July 9, 2016:
EU Single Market v Rest Of World

The vast majority of Members of Parliament and, probably more importantly, civil servants have only ever known life within the European Union.

For them, it’s now like being a prisoner given his freedom after serving a long sentence. He’s more than likely to have become “institutionalised” and, faced with going out of the prison gates, is scared and confused. He’ll now have to think for himself, find a job, cook his own meals, pay for all the things that he needs …

It’s little wonder that we are now being told that the most important thing in our negotiations with the EU is that we MUST remain in (or have access to) the EU’s “single market” in order to survive economically. It’s such blinkered nonsense that we desperately need the little boy in Danny Kaye’s “The King’s New Clothes” to shout out::

 The King is in the all together
  But all together the all together
  He's all together as naked as the day
    that he was born

Nearly all countries outside of the EU sell goods and services to us and to all the other EU countries.
Do they have to belong to the EU’s single market? No.
Do they have to have trade agreements with the EU? No.
Do they have to accept free movement of labour? No.

Why can’t we have the confidence to be a truly independent country and quickly cut off ALL political ties with the European Union?
UK companies currently selling goods and services to EU countries already know and obey all the EU trade rules and regulations and can simply continue to do so. If the EU commission decides to get nasty and raise barriers to trade then we simply can do the same to them. BUT, would the individual EU countries, such as Germany and France, allow this to happen? Very, very doubtful.

Sun July 3, 2016:
Brexit - A Point Of View

This morning on Radio 4, the philosopher John Gray argued that Brexit will have a greater impact on the EU than it will on the UK. And he predicted the British experience is likely to be repeated across much of continental Europe over the next few years.
But, he says, rather than recriminating about what is past, we should be looking to the future. "We find ourselves in a new world", he said. "Why not make the best of it?"
To listen to the 10 minute broadcast, click HERE.

Fri July 1, 2016:
Is It Really Just A Week Ago?

It’s astonishing that the Referendum vote was just a week ago. Last Friday, David Cameron announced his resignation, sterling fell and stock exchanges all around the world had a severe case of hiccups. And, what had changed? Nothing.
We are still in the EU and will probably still be in the EU this time next year. So, why the panic? Because our Chancellor of the Exchequer spent nearly all of his time issuing doom and gloom forecasts of what will happen if the country voted to leave the EU, that’s what. Many will be very disappointed if he remains in post after the Tory leadership election is over.
Now, just a week later, stock markets have risen higher than before the referendum (except for banks and house builders) and sterling has recovered a bit but not so much as to reduce the advantages of a lower pound (reduction of the UK’s debt value, making our exports cheaper, etc.).
Now, political journalists are all fretting that we “Don’t Have A Plan”. Well, of course we don’t, what we have are a number of options which need good in-depth investigation over the course of at least the next three months, probably a lot longer. The most important thing is that the government does not invoke Article 50 until we are absolutely ready to enter into negotiations with the EU. There really is no rush and this needs to be explained carefully to the electorate.

Sun June 26, 2016:
Article 50 Of The Lisbon Treaty

Much has been made of the need to inform the EU that we wish to leave the EU by invoking Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty. For those interested, here it is:

1. Any Member State may decide to withdraw from the Union in accordance with its own constitutional requirements.
2. A Member State which decides to withdraw shall notify the European Council of its intention. In the light of the guidelines provided by the European Council, the Union shall negotiate and conclude an agreement with that State, setting out the arrangements for its withdrawal, taking account of the framework for its future relationship with the Union. That agreement shall be negotiated in accordance with Article 218(3) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union. It shall be concluded on behalf of the Union by the Council, acting by a qualified majority, after obtaining the consent of the European Parliament.
3. The Treaties shall cease to apply to the State in question from the date of entry into force of the withdrawal agreement or, failing that, two years after the notification referred to in paragraph 2, unless the European Council, in agreement with the Member State concerned, unanimously decides to extend this period.
4. For the purposes of paragraphs 2 and 3, the member of the European Council or of the Council representing the withdrawing Member State shall not participate in the discussions of the European Council or Council or in decisions concerning it. A qualified majority shall be defined in accordance with Article 238(3)(b) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union.
5. If a State which has withdrawn from the Union asks to rejoin, its request shall be subject to the procedure referred to in Article 49.

Sun June 26, 2016:
Are We Now A “Disunited Kingdom?

Just three days after voting, our politicians are running around like headless chickens.

David Cameron
Instead of remaining aloof as he should have done (as Harold Wilson did in 1975), the Prime Minister chose to became the leader of the Remain camp. The result? Leave wins and he announces his resignation, effective October. Rather than staying on for longer and provide a period of stability, he’s created a vacuum in Westminster. We now face up to two months of a Tory leadership race.
Jeremy Corbyn
Labour front benchers resign in droves because the eurosceptic Leader of the Opposition did not show much enthusiasm for Remaining. Quelle Surprise! Are Labour also now going to have a leadership competition?
Nicola Sturgeon
Not surprisingly, the First Minister of Scotland first talked about a second Independence Referendum, then says that she will have talks with the EU and now says that the Scottish Parliament will try and block the UK leaving the EU. Talk about the tail trying to wag the dog!
Martin McGuinness
The Sinn Féin deputy First Minister of Northern Ireland wants a vote on the reunification of Ireland. Well, he would, wouldn’t he?

Perhaps, for the next few months at least, we should rename this country the “Disunited Kingdom”?

Sun June 26, 2016:
My Horse Lost The Race. I Demand That We Run The Race Again!

So, the United Kingdom voted to Leave the European Union.
Then what happens? At the time of writing (1.00pm) over 3.1 million signatures have been added (many fraudulently) to a Parliamentary Petition
which was created a month before the EU Referendum and which had just 22 signatures on it at the time the referendum result was announced. The petition says:

“We the undersigned call upon HM Government to implement a rule that if the remain or leave vote is less than 60% based a turnout less than 75% there should be another referendum.”

Even if one ignores the grammar (“based a turnout less than 75%” presumably was meant to say “based on a turnout of less than 75%”), what on earth are people thinking of by now signing such an outdated petition? Have they even read it? Don’t the words, stable, shut, horse and bolted come to mind?

The rules of the EU Referendum were very clear. Just ONE VOTE could decide the outcome.

Fri June 24, 2016:
Basingstoke & Deane Results

Our borough almost won the “booby prize” of being the last in the UK to declare their result. They managed it at around 7.00am, just five minutes or so before Cornwall. The result was:

51.9% voted to Leave (52,071 votes)
48.1% voted to Remain (48,257 votes)

Astonishingly, the percentages for Leave and Remain are exactly the same as the National results.

Fri June 24, 2016:
The Forecast Is For LEAVE
It’s Not A Forecast Anymore, The Country Has Spoken: LEAVE It Is

51.9% voted to Leave (17,410,742 votes)
48.1% voted to Remain (16,141,241 votes)

Thu June 23, 2016:
Now We Get To Vote …

So, finally, all the “shall we Leave or shall we Remain” arguments are over. Is the nation going to take the easy option to stay or are we going to take the brave option?
Whatever the result, this whole process has awoken an interest in our place in the world, and that’s no bad thing.

Wed June 22, 2016:
Channel 4’s EU Referendum Debate

This programme was pretty chaotic, but there was something interesting that Nigel Lawson said in regards to the possibility of all the Eurozone countries creating a “Superstate” (see the Saturday June 18 post below - The Danger Of The Eurozone).
He said that if we remained in the EU (and retained the Pound Sterling) we could end up as a “colony” of the United States of Europe, in the EU but out of all the decision making …

Wed June 22, 2016:
German Business Leader Says That To Impose Tariffs Between the UK and Germany In The Event Of Brexit Would Be “Very, Very, Foolish”

Markus Kerber, head of the BDI (Germany’s equivalent of our CBI, the Confederation of British Industry), is calling on his country to not risk damaging trade with punitive post-Brexit tariffs. He said:
“Imposing trade barriers, imposing protectionist measures between our two countries - between the two political centres, the European Union on the one hand and the UK on the other - would be a very, very foolish thing in the 21st century. The BDI would urge politicians on both sides to come up with a trade regime that enables us to uphold and maintain the levels of trade we have.”
The UK is responsible for approximately 5.5 million jobs across Europe. The Mittelstand (mid-sized manufacturers who are often praised for providing the backbone of Germany’s economy) won’t want a trade war, they’ll want free trade.

Tue June 21, 2016:
BBC Referendum Debate

It was good to see fresh faces on the Remain side.
However, why do politicians hardly EVER answer the question that they were asked? For example, the first member of the public said that she ran a small business with ten employees and she wanted to know why belonging to the EU was of benefit to her. The waffles that came back were not enlightening at all, all six of them just spouted prearranged scripted propaganda. They were all obviously incapable of answering “on the hoof”.

The section on the economy didn’t provide anything new. Why on earth didn’t the Leave side emphasise that NOTHING will change for around two years, we will still be a full member of the EU and of the tariff free market. They were accused (again) of not having a plan, but that’s up to the Government to create in the two year period of renegotiation, not for a campaign group.

The debate on immigration was, as expected, quite heated and I thought that the Leave side was right not to be drawn on how many EU citizens they would allow to settle here. The points system was ridiculed by the Remain side and it was pointed out that Australia was allowing in very high numbers. (The actual net overseas migration number was 168,200 in 2014-15.)
They missed the point, and that is because there is a points system and a list of occupations with vacancies, Australia IS able to match numbers to their country’s needs.
If I had been on the Leave side, I would have asked the Remainers what was a reasonable number for the UK. One million, three million, five million a year? Because of free movement of people we HAVE NO CHOICE, they would
all have to be let in, irrespective of the UK’s ability to absorb that many. Just imagine then of the affects on housing, NHS, social cohesion, etc.

When sovereignty was discussed, I think that the Leave side won by a large margin. Why on earth would our citizens not want to stop the EU from being able to overrule our Parliament and our Courts?

Finally, I thought that Boris’s closing speech was excellent. Make July 24th “Independence Day”.

Tue June 21, 2016:
David Beckham Backs Remain

Just two days before the Referendum, David Beckham announced (much to the Prime Minister’s delight) that he is in favour of remaining in the EU. He said:

“We live in a vibrant and connected world where together as a people we are strong. For our children and their children we should be facing the problems of the world together and not alone.”

Is the United States “alone”? What about China, Japan, India, Russia, Australia?
When it comes to “facing the problems of the world” they should be addressed through cooperation between nation states (and, of course, by all countries being members of the United Nations).
However, if we remain in the EU, the more it becomes a United States of Europe the LESS voice and influence the United Kingdom will have.
Consider the individual states in the USA. California has a GDP (Gross Domestic Product) roughly equal to France. Does California have a chair in world organisations? No.

Mon June 20, 2016:
Prime Minister Evokes The Memory
Of Sir Winston Churchill

During last night’s TV debate, the Prime Minister was accused of coming back from Europe waving a white piece of paper like Neville Chamberlain in 1938 (replace “Peace for our time” with “I’ve got a deal”).
In response, Mr Cameron evoked the memory of Sir Winston Churchill saying, in effect, that he was not a quitter. It’s true, he was not but I’ve got more than a sneaky feeling that Churchill would now be urging us to get out of the EU and to become a truly independent nation again.
What with the Remain side prophesying doom and gloom if we left the EU and that we’d be “Better Off In”, what do you think Churchill’s reaction would have been if an advisor had said to him, “sorry Prime Minister, but this war with Nazi Germany just doesn’t make economic sense…”

Mon June 20, 2016:
The Remain Side Have Never Told Us What The Benefits Of Staying In The EU Are. Ever Wondered Why?

Yesterday, David Cameron said in a Telegraph article:
“If we leave the EU …. It would be a one-off and permanent diminution in our standing in the world; an abject and self-imposed humiliation …”

According to him, without the EU to govern us we will descend into chaos, lose our rights, our economy will nose dive and – worst of all – our society will become intolerant, insular and illiberal. He depicts the EU as a patriarch that we need to protect us, keep us safe and keep us civilised. In other words, we need the EU to prop us up and control us. It is for our own good.

It’s all absolute nonsense. Vote to Leave on Thursday and let’s prove the doomsayers wrong.

Sat June 18, 2016:
The Danger Of The Eurozone

In order to obtain his (illegal and so probably unenforceable?) concessions on benefits (etc.), our Prime Minister had to surrender one of Britain’s few remaining veto powers – the right to give or withhold our consent to future EU treaties that convert the Eurozone bloc into a European Superstate.

At present, 19 of the 28 member states are members of the Eurozone, with an additional seven (Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, Romania and Sweden) due to join. That will leave just Britain and Denmark outside the Eurozone.

By surrendering our right to veto any further integration of this political bloc, we have given up our strongest bargaining chip in any stand off with the other member states. We will have no choice but to swallow all new laws or regulations that this political bloc comes up with, however detrimental they are to Britain’s interests.

If we vote to Remain, Britain’s influence will ebb away to nothing. Any talk of leaving in future will be dismissed as an empty threat. The British people will have demonstrated their willingness to accept membership of the EU on any terms.

Sat June 18, 2016:
Out - And Into The World
Why the Spectator Is for Leave

Here is an interesting article from the Spectator.

Thu June 16, 2016:
Referendum Discussion Halted

It was good to hear that both sides have decided to temporarily halt all referendum discussion following the very distressing news of the brutal murder of Jo Cox, the Member of Parliament for Batley & Spen in West Yorkshire.

UPDATE: During a recess, the Government can ask the Speaker to recall the House of Commons “because of events of major national importance”.
I can fully understand the sentiments behind the decision to recall Parliament on Monday so that they can “pay due tribute to Mrs Cox” but, what with the EU Referendum vote coming up just three days later, was that really a sensible thing to do? Would Mrs Cox, a passionate Remain campaigner, have wanted this to happen?

Thu June 16, 2016:
“The Market Solution” to Brexit

Although there has been a great deal of hot air produced about immigration, it is more than obvious that it is our ECONOMY that is the MOST IMPORTANT subject of this referendum.
The Remain side have released scare story after scare story (Project Fear) and although it has certainly worried people it often had the opposite affect to the one intended. The reaction I have had expressed to me (and which I share) is that, yes it’s probably going to be pretty tough for a while, but it’s still worth the financial pain in order to extract ourselves from a political union whose aim is truly to become a “United States Of Europe”.
On the Leave side, they’ve treated the question of the economy with unbelievable simplicity (Project Naivety?), Probably because the real truth is “far too complex for the majority of voters to comprehend”. The UK is going to have to extract itself from 40 years of agreements, treaties, regulations, etc. and that’s going to take time, a lot of time.
It’s therefore of some relief that there IS a detailed and workable plan already in place. Its vision is “
for a United Kingdom as a self-governing, self-confident, free trading nation state, releasing the potential of its citizens through direct democratic control of both national and local government and providing maximum freedom and responsibility for its people”. To find out more, click HERE to download a 48 page PDF summary. If you are then interested in downloading the full 429 page PDF book, click HERE (it’s just over 8Mb).

Wed June 15, 2016:
Parliamentary Opposition Day Debate
On The Economic Benefits Of UK Membership of the EU

What with the Opposition and the Government formally urging us to Remain in the EU, this debate was always going to be heavily weighted in favour of the status quo.
However, probably more information was provided on the current economic advantages of staying in the EU’s free trade market than I’ve heard since the referendum was announced.
Obviously, the speeches from both the Shadow Chancellor and the Foreign Secretary (Mr Osborne was not in the House …) were VERY one-sided, with only the occasional interruption from pro-Leave MPs being made on very specific subjects (like the Fishing Industry).
However, one fact came from the Foreign Secretary which was new to me and that is that 53 countries who are NOT in the EU have free trade deals with the EU and that these countries account for around 7% of our exports. So, 44% of exports go to EU countries, 7% go to these 53 countries and the remaining 49% go to other nations.
UPDATE: Click HERE to display a list (from Wikipedia) of those non-EU counties who have a Free Trade Agreement with the EU.
One other thing that Mr Hammond mentioned and that was “the UK does not have any treaty negotiators”. Obvious really when the UK is, as a member of the EU, not permitted to make its own trade agreements … If we vote Leave, we’re going to have to employ quite a few of them!

Earlier, the Prime Minister (in PMQs) stated that if we vote to Leave, it would probably take 2 years to extract ourselves from the EU and possibly another 7 (yes, he said SEVEN) years to obtain a new free trade agreement with the EU. So, how on earth did these 53 countries manage it and in what timescale? It is questions like this that should have been debated long before now. For such an important decision, we should have had many more parliamentary debates like today’s so that these kind of facts could have been obtained rather than the media “soundbites” that we’ve had (and are still continuing to have) from both the Leave and Remain campaign groups.

Wed June 15, 2016:
Prime Minister Questions

At the end of PMQ’s the Prime Minister uttered the well worn mantra that we would be “Stronger, Safer and Better Off in a Reformed EU”.
Why does he not realise that most people listening to him on their TVs are shouting back “it’s bloody not reformed and it will bloody never will be reformed!”.
With the threat of an upcoming referendum in the UK, you would have thought that he could have tried to get some meaningful changes but he didn’t. Everything that he did get (minor though they were) can still be taken away if we vote to Remain (the EU themselves have said that the concessions were illegal …) .
It made Great Britain look weak.

Tue June 14, 2016:
Osborne’s “Emergency Budget”

George Osborne, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, said today that he would have to respond to a Leave vote with tax rises and spending cuts worth 30 billion pounds ($43 billion).
"There will be a big hole in the public finances and ... we would have to raise taxes and cut spending," Osborne told reporters after giving a speech in Ashford, southeast England.
Measures could include a 2-point rise in the basic rate of income tax to 22 percent and increases in tax rates and duties on alcohol and petrol, while spending on health, education and defence could be cut by 2 percent.
UPDATE: After a few moments of open mouth astonishment, the Leave world erupted. What on earth did the Chancellor think the reaction would be?

Tue June 14, 2016:
The Question Of The £350 Million …

I believe that the Leave side made a dreadful mistake saying that “every week we send £350,000 to the EU”. It totally ignored the negotiated rebate (although that can be cancelled in the future) and the money that comes back from the EU in subsidies and grants (but which the UK government has no control over!).

However, there’s a recent post on Facebook that’s worth re-posting here:

“I've been offered a deal.
“Apparently, if I let this chap take £350 from my wallet each week, he will give me back vouchers to the value of £180. However, I can only spend the vouchers on things he has decided I can have, at shops which he approves of.
“In return for the £170 he's going to let me buy from and sell to his friends and family without additional charges (he calls them “tariffs”).
“His friends and family can come to visit my house whenever they like and use all my rooms as though they were their own. I can even send pocket money back to their families at their place!
“Once I agree to the deal it will be virtually impossible to change my mind but this chap can change the rules any time he wants, no matter how I feel about it. The scope with which he can change the rules is limitless and although I get a vote on it, the chap’s friends and family also all get a vote so I can never win.
“Sounds like a good deal, huh?”

I’ve “tidied” his text up a bit (it is a Facebook post after all) but his primary arguments remain intact.

Tue June 14, 2016:
Today’s THE SUN Banner

You have to give The Sun credit for a very clever banner …

Mon June 13, 2016:
“Leap In The Dark” Leaflet

Have you received the folded leaflet which, when you open it, shows a woman at the end of a diving board looking into an abyss, with the strap line:
“Leaving Europe Would Be A Leap In The Dark. Don’t Risk It.
It’s very obviously advocating why you should vote to Remain but you’d have to take a magnifying glass to read the tiny print (in light grey) telling you that it’s from the Britain Stronger In Europe organisation.
Comment 1: If we vote Leave, we will NOT be leaving Europe, we’ll be voting to leave the European Union.
Comment 2: If leaving the EU is such a “leap in the dark”, why is the rest of the leaflet telling us what will happen if we leave? Do the Remain side have a psychic torch?
All the other quotes are either “stick your finger in the air” guesswork or just downright wrong. It’s all so depressing that people might get taken in by all this Project Fear propaganda.

Sun June 12, 2016:
BBC Sunday Politics Debate

This morning, on the BBC’s Sunday Politics Show, there was a 14 minute debate between Chris Grayling (Leader of the House of Commons and Leave campaigner) and Mary Creagh (Labour MP who is campaigning to Remain in the EU).
It’s well worth watching.