Local Issues

11 Sep


I was pleased to attend the initial training by
Hampshire Constabulary

Special Inspector Simon Tavender and Katie Strange at Burridge Scout Hut where the team members were able to familiarise themselves with the rules of the scheme and the equipment for which I allocated a £3,500 grant from my

Hampshire County Council

Members’ devolved grant scheme.

Community Speedwatch enables members of the community to become police support volunteers and take action against speeding on roads of concern within their area. I have recommended that particular attention is paid to the following roads which have all been approved for action:
Botley Road
Barnes Lane
Brook Lane
Sweethills Crescent
Swanwick Lane
Yew Tree Drive
Barnbrook Road
Volunteers use equipment that can monitor the speed of passing traffic and then record the details, later adding them to a database. Vehicle checks are then undertaken by the police and letters are then sent to the registered keepers advising them of their speed and reminding them of why it is a community concern. Repeat offenders receive a police visit.
Community SpeedWatch is an educational scheme, not enforcement. It is considered as the first tier response to speeding issues. If a problem persists, it can be escalated to tier two, meaning that enforcement can be undertaken by the police neighbourhood policing teams.
I am very grateful to all of the volunteers who care about road safety in their local community and especially to Stuart Kimber who will be the Sarisbury Community Speedwatch Co-ordinator. The team will be happy to have more volunteers.
Image may contain: 5 people, people standing and outdoor, text that says "YOUR SPEED"
10 Sep


Britain has few aircraft manufacturers and Britten-Norman has a proud 65-year heritage and manufactures at
Solent Airport, Daedalus

the Defender and Islander aircraft The British Army is a major customer but there are many others worldwide. The company has built over 1,200 aircraft in its time and the latest, Sir Miles Clifford, is awaiting delivery to the Falkland Islands Government Air Service.

The history of Britten-Norman is a fantastic one. It was a very great pleasure with Chief Executive William Hynett to officially open their new hangars, to honour the past and look to the future. Great to welcome keen aviator Rt Hon David Davis MP and local MP

Caroline Dinenage

There was a great past to Daedalus, but just five years ago it didn’t have a future.

Fareham Borough Council

turned the site around and now we have many exciting businesses coming here creating many new jobs. Britten-Norman has been critical to that success.

08 Sep


There have been several claims made on Facebook in recent days that the Council has vast reserves that could and should be used in these difficult times rather than having to take unpalatable decisions such as coming into line with all other south coast councils and charging for coastal car parking. For this reason I feel it is useful to make a statement on our reserves and what can and cannot be used and for what purpose.
The Council’s reserves as at 31 March 2020 totalled £155.3m of which £45m (29%) are classed as useable reserves. The £110m of unusable reserves relate to accounting adjustments for issues such as property revaluations and as the name suggests is unusable. Unusable reserves are in attached picture and contain funds that cannot be used to provide services or used for day to day running costs. They can be categorised as:
Reserves that hold unrealised gains and losses.
Adjustment accounts that absorb the differences between applying proper accounting practices and the requirements of statutory arrangements for funding expenditure.
While £45m of usable reserves sounds very healthy, these funds relate to all aspects of the services that the Council provides, and the majority can only be used for certain purposes. For example, nearly half (over £20m) can only be used for capital purposes (such as new construction projects, purchasing large assets, etc). Another £11m, can only be used in relation to council housing.
That leaves £14m (9%) of the £155m, but two thirds of this (£9m) also has pre-existing commitments and restrictions about how it should be used. For example, £2.4m is funding received secured by legal agreements from former development sites for the maintenance of open space, £1.6m relates to business rates due to be paid to Government and other precepting Councils.
So, what remains, is £5m (3%) of the £155m that can be used to meet any income shortfall in day to day spending. £1.1m of this will be used in 2020/21 to balance the budget in this year, and there is an expectation that £2.4m will be held at all times for unforeseen fluctuations in income or spending. As previously stated, it is not wise to use reserves to meet shortfalls in revenue operations because, once spent, it cannot be used again. Very valid points have been raised about replenishing reserves once used and, to do this, we require cost reductions (from service cuts) or new income.
With reference to the Council’s £290m of assets, £124m of these are Council houses, £83m relate to other land and buildings £64m relate to commercial/investment property, then there is a range of other assets (such as vehicles, plant, heritage assets, infrastructure, etc), that make up the balance. It is true that some of these assets could be sold to generate cash, but their use would be limited to new capital investments only. The cash raised could not be used to meet a shortfall in day to day funding.
The reality of the Council’s financial position is that our prudent approach in the past has allowed the immediate impact of the COVID-19 pandemic to be met from reserves, while maintaining funding for vital public services and still being able to invest in the priorities for the Borough. However, the approach this year cannot be sustained as reserves are limited, as is the Council’s ability to raise taxes without holding an expensive referendum. Difficult decisions do need to be taken to balance the budget for this, and future, years, if services to the public are to be protected. Fareham Council’s services are delivered by levying a council tax of just £3 per week for the average home, almost the lowest in the country.