Friday, September 29, 2006


Reflections from a Year on the Council

12 months ago today I was rushing around frenetically. It was the day of the Oliver's Battery & Badger Farm by-election and I was busy doing all the election day stuff. At the end of an exhausting day it was all worth while because I'd been elected with a substantial majority!

One year on and I've been trying to reflect on my first 12 months as a Winchester City Councillor.

Bad things first:

Good things:

Well, there we are. A few random thoughts, but no regrets!

Sunday, September 17, 2006


The good, the bad and the ugly

Planning is one of the most important functions of district councils like Winchester City Council. Although I'm not a member of the Planning Development Control Committee, I take a great interest in their work and, consequently, found myself on Friday on the annual planning tour.

This is a coach trip around the district looking at development sites, a real chance to form our own opinions on what is "good, bad and ugly." I was particularly interested to visit Knowle Village, right down in the southern parishes near Wickham. This is the site of a Victorian mental institution that has been developed to provide new housing alongside the original hospital buildings. The building themselves have been converted into flats and the whole thing is really a most attractive and imaginative development.

We also saw the so-called "Elan Development" in King's Worthy. I guess it's all a matter of taste, but I hated it! A recent development with vast areas of zinc roof, completely out of keeping with the rest of the village. A real contrast with Knowle and with other good developments we saw in places such as Sutton Scotney. Truly a "good, bad and ugly" day.

Monday, September 11, 2006


Oliver's Battery 50th Anniversary

What a fantastic, community weekend! Congratulations to Mark and the rest of the team who put together the events of the last few days. The Jubilee Fete had good weather and good attendance from an enthusiastic crowd. The Barn Dance was a sell-out and my legs still ache!

Tuesday, September 05, 2006


Oliver's Battery Conservation & Butterflies

I had a really interesting afternoon on Sunday. It was the official opening of the Oliver's Battery Conservation Area, followed by a guided walk to Butterfly Conservation's nature reserve on top of Yew Hill. The work done by the Oliver's Battery Countryside Group ( and the Parish Council in setting up the Conservation Area is truly impressive and, over the next 5 to 10 years, as the trees and shrubs mature and the wild flowers take hold, we're going to see a transformation on this piece of land by the Recreation Ground.

The butterfly reserve was fascinating. I've been up there before of course, but this was the first time I'd met the Reserve Manager and Warden. There's more information at their website: and the reserve is well worth a visit, particularly in July and August for the maximum number of butterflies, or in June for the wild orchids. The photo is of a pair of Chalkhill Blues and was taken on Yew Hill by John May (reproduced here with his permission). Chalkhill Blues are one of the key species of butterfly at Yew Hill. They breed on horseshoe vetch, and Butterfly Conservation manages the habitat with this in mind.

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