Sunday, July 22, 2012

 

Controversy at St Michael's

A entry was posted on the Camberley Society blog about the St Michael's renewal project. Clearly some people are unhappy with the plans. I've put a suitably phrased comment on the blog itself but:
I should add I'm on the PCC of St Michael's but these are my personal views and not necessarily those of the church.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

 

Websites

I see to have become the local webmaster for St Michael's Church Camberley. Look at the website and be amazed at my Drupal skills.

The Viscar is off doing a sponsored walk to raise funds for the renewal of the building so I've now done a second site: http://www.stmikesopen4all.org.uk/


Tuesday, May 10, 2011

 

Local Elections

Sue stood as a Labour candidate for St Michaels (Camberley) in the recent elections. She didn't win but she did have some concerns about the behaviour of some of tellers at the polling booths - nothing earth shattering, just things like the large number of Tory tellers at some polling stations, Tory literature at the polling station etc. So off she went today to discuss her concerns with the returning officer.

8:30pm tonight who should come around our house but the Colin Dougan (the Tory councillor who Sue was standing against) saying that he's been told that Sue has accussed the Tories of cheating. Its bad enough that Sue was door stepped but how did he find out?

According to Dougan, the returning officer told the Chief Executive (Karen Whelan) who told Dougan. Surely the returning officer and the Chief Executive should keep such conversation private until there is a formal complaint and not go around tipping off the local Tory party. How is Sue meant to have an open and honest conversation with the returning officer if they go and tip off the Tories as soon as she leaves the office.

In my opinion, it is the supposedly non-political members of the borough council doing their best to support and help the Tories and quash anything that might upset or embarrass them.

Tuesday, February 08, 2011

 

Council tax - where it all goes

Have you ever wondered what Surrey Heath Borough Council spends all your council tax on? Well I can tell you - its mainly salaries and overheads.
 
They have now published their planned budget for 2011/12: http://www.surreyheath.gov.uk/Surrey%20Heath%20Borough%20Council/eScene/Finance/Revenueestimates201112v1.pdf. It makes very interesting reading if you have the time to dig down into some of the details. Here are a few more interesting items I've extracted:
 
Camberley Theatre
£66k on employees salaries. Sounds fair enough, presumably that's the box office staff who provide a good service. But then we have
£377k operational management salaries,
£106k on corporate services
£160k on operational management overheads and support.
That's £644k of management costs to run a local theatre.
 
Museum
Management costs £194k
 
Parks and Open Spaces
Management direct salaries £254k
Total management costs £412k.
 
Bear in mind over half a million pounds is paid to contracted services so presumably most of the work is actually contracted out so what exactly are they doing to earn their quarter of a million pounds in salaries?
 
Car parks
Management direct salaries £78k
Total management costs £132k.
 
Its a car park for goodness sake, how hard are they to manage? These are just the management costs: maintenance, power, security, repair etc are not included in the management costs.
 
Civil Parking Enforcement  and Controller Parking Zone
Management costs are £502k
Total expenditure of £554k
 
ie over 90% is management costs.
 
Centres of Older People
Management costs of £468k
Total expenditure of £658k.
 
At least now we know why they couldn't afford to keep the Ian Goodchild centre open. It wasn't the running costs of the centre, it was the management costs.
 
Community Alarms
£157k on supplies and services
£261k on management costs, including £166k on direct salaries to managers.
 
So they spend more on the salaries of managers than they do providing the service
 
Corporate Communications
They spend £81k doing whatever a corporate communications department does and then £222k paying managers to manage it.
 
And the list goes on. So next time the council claim they can't afford to keep the library open or need to cut back on service because they can't afford it, you know they can easily afford it, and a lot more, if they weren't so hugely inefficient.
 


Sunday, January 30, 2011

 

Camberley Mosque Appeal

The Camberley Mosque debacle is slowly lumbering towards its appeal on April 4th. The Camberley News has an interesting comment on the article about it where they state that Bengali Welfare Association are paying about £80K per day on legal advise for the appeal. I've had independent verification that that amount is accurate.

So we have the BWA in the last planning hearing stating that they could not build the originally planned extension at the back of the school as they could only get funding for an Arabic style mosque. Now they are saying they can't afford to heat or maintain the building but they can afford hundreds of thousands of pounds on legal advice.

If you look at the accounts submitted to the Charity Commision you can see that they are not a rich charity. So clearly they have some form of external funding and whoever is funding them are only prepared to give them money towards a large Arabic style mosque in that location.

My guess would be that the money is coming from Saudi Arabia, it certainly wouldn't be the first time this has happened, eg see these comments by our local MP.

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Tuesday, September 21, 2010

 

89 Gordon Road and Longacres

The good news is that, after an excellent presentation from Sue, the councillors rejects the plans to demolish 89 Gordon Road. Hoorah. However we also had to sit through several other planning applications. One was from Longacres nursery to extend the size of their building by about 250 square metres. Bearing in mind that this is in the green belt I thought it would be obvious that they would follow the planning officers recommendations and reject the proposal. But no, nearly all over them tried to make out that it wasn't proper green belt because there were roads and railways surrounding it, not to mention a car park so allowing Longacres to extend even further was just fine. The fact the Longacres has a history of building and selling what they want, regardless of planning restrictions didn't seem to bother them either.

There was another application in Bagshot which fell within 400m of the Special Protected Area so it would be illegal for them to grant planning permission. They still did their best though. One of them asked why they couldn't just approve it anyway. Another asked if they couldn't move the SPA a bit further away.

All these pesky restrictions on green belt development and SPAs must be such a nuisance for them. Or would be if they took them seriously.


Friday, September 10, 2010

 

Camberley Mosque Planning Appeal

I'm reliably informed that a planning appeal has been launched over Camberley mosque. I've no idea on what grounds so it will be interesting to see if there is an award for costs.


Wednesday, April 28, 2010

 

Do you trust your councillor?

I'm not sure I trust my councillors which is why I've voted to have an elected mayor. If the councillors can appoint who they like as mayor then there will be even less independent oversight of them.

Either way you can have your vote here: http://www.surreyheath.gov.uk/survey/decisionmaking.htm

I notice the choices are "strong leader" or "elected mayor" like someone who is elected can't also be a strong leader.

Monday, March 29, 2010

 

Muslims and Bedfordshire police

There is a email doing the rounds about Bedfordshire police policy of entering Muslim households. I've reproduced it below. Bedfordshire police have responded to this here. Unfortunately, they fail to address the real issue. The issue is not whether they have a policy when entering a Muslim household but whether they have a similar policy respect for any non-Muslim groups. Reading their response it looks like they don't.

BEDFORDSHIRE (U.K) POLICE FORCE'S

RULES REGARDING TERRORISTS AND DANGEROUS CRIMINALS



If they are non-Muslim

• Consider the most opportune time of day to be able to arrest suspects with minimum resistance
• Apply all necessary force to enter the premises and arrest suspects accordingly.


If they are Muslim:

Community leaders must be consulted before raids into Muslim houses.

Officers must not search occupied bedrooms and bathrooms before dawn.

Use of police dogs will be considered serious desecration of the premises.
Cameras and camcorders should not be used in case capturing women in inappropriate dress.
If people are praying at home officers should stand aside and not disrupt the prayer
-they should be allowed the opportunity to finish.
Officers should take their shoes off before raiding a Muslim house.
The reasons for pre-dawn raids on Muslim houses needs to be clear and transparent.
Officers must not touch holy books or religious artefacts without permission.
Muslim prisoners should be allowed to take additional clothing to the station.




With this continuing appeasement, no wonder it’s now predicted that Britain will become an

Islamic State by 2070.


Tuesday, March 16, 2010

 

Cheeky sods

Romans, the estate agents, have just put in a planning application for a huge 3m illuminated sign stuck next to the A30. Bit of a cheek given that they wrote in support of the mosque planning application on the grounds that it would improve the street scene.

This is what it will look like: https://www.public.surreyheath-online.gov.uk/whalecom60b1ef305f59f921/whalecom0/Scripts/DocsOnLine/47399_6.pdf

I think I will engage in my new found hobby of writing to the council.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

 

Dr Taj Hargey and the MCB

Having heard Dr Hargey speak at the council meeting I've been reading various article by and about him. This is one of the interesting ones, if only because of the poor light it throw on the MCB.

In other news, the Camberley Mosque website has been updated to say that the "rundown building that we use as a place of worship is too precious to be replaced by a new modern building so please continue your worship in the existing rundown building as normal"

Mrs Chaudhry has said that "in the meantime (waiting for the appeal process) the building is going to be as it is, in a terrible state"

The new plan appear to be to let the building fall into disrepair. Hopefully the council won't let them and will issue a repair notice, something it sounds like they should've done a while ago.

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Thursday, March 11, 2010

 

We won!

I was at the extraordinary council meeting last night to decide on the mosque application. I'm glad to say, nearly all of the councillors voted against the plan. Why it had to go to these length I don't know. There was little in the way new information. My suspicion is that previously the planning committee hadn't given the matter much thought and allowed themselves to be led by Councillor Bell. Perhaps next time they'll actually bother to read all the available documents. And if someone could chivvy them along as well; I've never seen so many people take so long to say so little.

I think we won in the end because we focused on the planning issues. When the other side spoke, most of them talked about their needs for a suitable place to pray and meet. No-one was denying that. What they failed to do was justify why it had to be on that site with that particular design.

We had Taj Hargey speaking on our behalf. He made the very good points that the proposed design wasn't a global mosque design but specific to certain parts of Asia: there is no need to have domes and minarets. And having separate prayer facilities for men and women (and the women's only about 25% of the size) isn't part of moderate Muslim belief.

The evening took at nasty turn at the end when someone threatening to kill Dr Hargey and he had to have a police escort away from the venue.

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Wednesday, March 10, 2010

 

In the papers

The mosque is now in the Telegraph and The Times.

People have been gathering outside Camberley Theatre already but the police have moved them on.

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Sunday, March 07, 2010

 

Final meeting

For anyone going to the meeting on Wednesday, it is worth reading the council's final report: http://www.surreyheath.gov.uk/council/committees/meetings.htm?pk_meeting=949&comid=4

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