Feathers fly at Aviary meeting

Aviary meeting picnik

“ We dont want any more Houses ” residents on the aviary estate told councillors last week after over 100 people crammed into  St Francis church hall to express frank views on proposals to build 1300 new houses nearby.

Councillor Chris Thomas, the Lib Dem Chairman of Eastleigh Area Committee was given a torrid time by residents, some of whom heckled him as he tried to explain the lengthy planning and consultation process the council was enmbarking upon.

Cllr Thomas commenced by telling the audience that the 9,400 new homes the council wanted to build in the Borough were to satisfy the demand from Eastleigh residents – but by the end of the evening some doubt had been cast on this assertion.

After five minutes questions were already being shouted from the floor – why had aviary residents not had choice in the council survey?  The Stoneham Lane site – which residents chairmen Peter Ford warned would be twice the size of the existing Aviary estate – was included in all the scenarios described by the leaflet distributed throughout the borough.

“We didn’t have a choice, we couldn’t object” complained one frustrated resident.

“That leaflet was just a starter for ten” replied Cllr Thomas adding  “ the houses have got to go somewhere.”

“Are all these houses for the indigenous population” one man demanded loudly

“Are they social housing?” demanded another.

“No they’re for immigrants!” shouted a man at the back.

“Immigrants is just a nonsense I’m afraid”, stated councillor Thomas.

“There aren’t huge numbers of immigrants in Eastleigh.”

Unfortunately, this statement was met by a gale of laughter.

“There’s a few in Southampton that’s only a couple miles away”chuckled the indigenous heckler.

“You walk down Eastleigh High Street – you’ll see ’em” shouted another.

“No comment. I’m not getting into the immigration issue.” Replied Cllr Thomas closing down any further discussion on the topic.

Although Chris Thomas is a seasoned councillor and skilled debater whose stature is such he can naturally dominate any meeting, he soon found himself struggling against live-wire local resident Rigel Jenman who as a former Green party activist is no stranger to public speaking himself.

Mr Jenman made repeated interjections demanding that Cllr Thomas justify the need for extra 9,000 houses in the Borough.

“Why do we need to build more houses” he asked loudly.

“For all the immigrants” responded a now familiar voice at back.

“Because the EU tells us to” shouted a wag.

“I don’t believe we need more houses” Mr Jenman said.

“You bring people into the area to bring your revenue up” he accused the councillor,

“Build lots of houses – the cash rolls in”

“Have you heard about the new homes bonus?” He then asked the meeting.

“They get their council tax again. The government gives the council additional money – simply because they built houses – It’s a strategy for increasing revenue”

Rigel Jenman

Rigel Jenman “you are wasting your time with a consultation”

“The government borrows too much and owes so much interest the only way to pay it back is to increase the size of the economy – and the only way to do that is to build houses.”

“Eastleigh has to build houses to increase its revenue. Otherwise there are going to be redundancies at the council. They are simply trying to protect their own jobs. That’s what PUSH says. That’s what SEEDA says.”

“It’s a policy of ‘driven economic growth’”

“The only way the government can get out of the debt nightmare is to increase the economy – build houses – but the only money that increases it is the debt people take on to buy the houses “

“So it’s ‘funny’ money.”

“I think we’ll let it lie there” said Cllr Thomas hopefully, but Rigel Jenman continued, telling the meeting:

“If you want to talk about where the houses go you’re wasting your time”

“If you want to go to their consultation your wasting your time as well”

“They spent £230,000 on a fluoride consultation – 70% said they didn’t want it – it happened anyway.”

“Don’t waste your time on a consultation” he advised,

“Just get to the root of it…”

“We don’t want any more houses!”

Mr Jenman had started off to claps and cheers, but his peroration had been delivered to cries of ‘shut up’ and ‘get out’ from a section of the audience, possibly Mr Thomas’s supporters alarmed at the sight of the local Lib Dem hard man being slowly forced onto the ropes under a barrage of forthright opinion.

Things calmed down considerably after Mr Jenman (who said he had chickens to roost) left the meeting.

“Thing is” he explained gesturing towards Cllr Thomas as he walked away “He is waffling on and wasting my time” – which was completely unfair as Cllr Thomas had not been able to get a word in edgeways for at least five minutes.

Not everyone was against housing:

“I understand People have got to live somewhere and people have a right to decent housing “ one resident declared

“But…. what about Schooling, doctors, traffic, parking?”

Councillor Thomas tried to reassure people by saying:

“At the moment we are a long way from anything being built over there”

“We don’t want it! Build them somewhere else!” someone shouted in reply.

“Have they started building the Hotel at Rose Bowl yet” inquired one woman


“Why can’t we put the houses on the Rose Bowl then? Sod the cricket!”

“That man (Jenman) was completely right “observed another one of the locals “we don’t need any more houses”.

“Is it true that you will be bringing people up from Portsmouth to Eastleigh?” someone demanded.

“It is not true there are large numbers of people from Portsmouth in Eastleigh” insisted Cllr Thomas -thereby earning his second laugh of the evening.

“Why is it just a place for Eastleigh people? What’s stopping people from all over the country coming here?” asked one gentleman.

“Nothing will stop them buying private property – because that’s just the way of the market” responded the councillor.

“So they are not just for Eastleigh people then?”

Councillor Thomas explained that by allowing private housing, social housing could also be built at a ratio of between 20% – 30%.

Which means out of the development of 1,300 houses on the Stoneham Lane/Chesnut Avenue site between 260 – 390 homes would be offered to the 6,100 local people on Eastleigh’s housing list and the rest, the majority of up to 1,040 homes, would be offered to outsiders.

You could almost hear the sound of a penny dropping.

Although Cllr Thomas had started the evening by saying the housing was vital to meet local need – only a fraction would be reserved for needy locals.

It hardly tied up with the cabinet member for housing’s statement to cabinet that the housing was “not for foreigners, not for people from other parts of the country or people from Portsmouth”

It was soon Cllr Paul Bicknell’s turn to face the firing squad.

There was no PA system and as he couldn’t project his voice as well as Cllr Thomas, people soon gave up trying to listen and started their own discussions – discussions that continued outside well after the meeting had ended.

Cllr Bicknell did make the point – in response to requests from the floor for councillors to state whether or not they were in favour of the development – that councillors cannot announce their voting intentions in advance of planning meetings.

However the good news is the localism bill will change that particular piece of legislation, so councillors will no longer be bound by it and will at last, have to get off the fence.

(It should be in place in time for the May elections!!)

Although I could no longer hear the Councillor I could see him sawing his arms around as he fended off questions from all directions like Horatio defending the bridge.

At the end of the meeting Rigel Jenman returned from tucking up his chickens and told me he thought the best way forward for objectors would be to stand as candidates in the forthcoming council elections on an anti development ticket – not something Conservatives or existing Independents will want to hear.

He also described the consultation and planning process as a process by which the councils and planners ‘manufacture consent’.

As the meeting broke up I was speaking to a Councillor when a woman approached us.

“Can I ask question?”

“I have not been in the area long. Could you tell me what is the problem with people from Portsmouth?”

“…it’s just a football rivalry thing”

“Umm…right” she said walking away looking puzzled.

See also John Edwards Blog: The spirit of Churchill lives on

  21 comments for “Feathers fly at Aviary meeting

  1. Jenny Schwausch
    September 30, 2011 at 8:43 am

    Good article Stephen, very comprehensive. Thank you.

  2. Brian Norgate
    September 30, 2011 at 9:12 am

    I suggested to the nightingale residents they held this meeting at their management meeting because they needed to know what the extent of EBC plans were.

    I had attended the BPAG meeting a couple of years ago and got their committee to do the same at the infamous meeting at Botley grange
    where Keith House was questioned over the properties and Land he owned, some of them brought by EBC then officer Kevin Warren.

    The BPAG group developed from this meeting in to a well organised committee in to an effective team with local support to stop Keith Houses Lib dem plans for The Botley SDA.

    This is what i hope the Nightingale residents
    will now do.

    at the BPAG meeting i asked them to play devils advocte and instead of objecting to
    the plans also prepare a defence on what they would like to have should there be a development.

    I showed them the plans for “Allington” which EBC spent £420,000+ plus on and supported by
    all the senior EBC officers, HCC and the Government on a development “south of the Airport” as Tory Leader Ken Thornber quoted he and HCC were in favour of.

    Allington had the missing Junction 6 of the M27. a branch Train station paid for by the development of the airports infrastructure, schools, doctors dentists, local shops and
    bus companies bidding to run services.

    I pointed out to BPAG and other meetings i attended EBC dont have a good record on building developments, it started with PIrelli and Causton sites in Easteligh and went down hill from there, Wildern Mill at Hedge End EBC
    lost £1million pounds, funny thing is the CEO didnt know whether Keith House was presnt at the meetings or recieved any paperwork, Keith House in reply to my questions confirmed he did
    and we dont want this repeated again as over Wildern Mill the Judge Justice Etherton said EBC were wasting Public time and money,

    That doesnt fill you with hope over their negotiating does it, thats why there were so many problems at Dowds Farm and Alexandra court

    to their credit BPAG looked at this and found
    that Allington had far more infratructure than they had and they wished to have EBC negotiate
    equal terms for the SDA as they did for Allington.

    so at the pre meeting of the nightingale residents in informed them of three other sites EBC wanted to develop along stoneham lane
    and two Southampton Council wanted to develop,

    this trebled the size of the potential devlopment area to a major development area equal to the size of Allington but with out the support of the Government, HCC or detailed plans.

    At the Meeting Councillor Chris Thomas admitted that there were 3 other sites and quoted exactly what i had predicted, one site had been declined for houses but when i was a Councillor an EBC planning officer showed me plans that put one side of Stoneham Lane as
    Retail and Employment(EFC to BTC grounds).

    Councillor Thomas produced EBC confidential Plans which showed 91 other sites in the constituency that were up for development.

    Councillor Thomas was asked by whether the agreement between Eastleigh Borough Council and Southampton Council not to build on the green gap from Romsey, Eastleigh and Farehm with Souhampton was going to be broken.

    Lib Councillors with the plans in place for Allington in 2002 voted at the ELAC and full
    they would not build on the green gap.

    they did at South side in Eastleigh but its important to have trust in what you say when you get elected and this shows you cant trust the lib dems.

    In an email seen by several people the lib dems are already i favour of two sites for 1,000+ houses which are Nightingale and woodhouse lane plus 3 other sites of 1,000 houses.

    its time the Lib dems come clean and showed us the 91 sites they have nominated with enough evidence to support these sites, only then cana properdecision be made for us to negotiate the best developments for the future
    of Eastleigh, I doubt they will its not their style and sadly EBC is theif dom which the Lib dems control to the detriment of us all.

  3. September 30, 2011 at 10:11 am

    An excellent article again thanks chaps. Just what all Eastleigh residents need to be able to read, if they want to. It will help us all understand what is going on.

    Anybody who is not happy with the way Eastleigh are pushing these developments on to us could possibly consider signing my petition at http://epetitions.direct.gov.uk/petitions/18077

    Its interesting how this debate shows how politicians (esp Lib Dems) have their head up their collective arses when it comes to the immigration issue and the strength of feeling that it creates.

    The housing list thing is also a red-herring in my view. I think you’ll find that many people on that list are already in accommodation in Eastleigh. We don’t have 6100 people sleeping rough in the Borough, or in B&B (or do we?).
    Some will certainly be from outside the area, seeking a transfer to the Borough. Some will possibly be on the the housing lists of several Boroughs, not just Eastleigh.

    It may well be that the accommodation that those 6100 people are on is not suitable for them, too small for the size of their family perhaps, but there are other ways of dealing with that problem. It isn’t necessary to build 6100 new homes, though I’m sure that some will be needed. We just need to use the exisitng housing stock in Eastleigh, public and private more effectively.

    I’d quite happily sell my 3-bed semi to the Borough or a Housing Association if they’d find me a 2-bed ground-floor flat to rent…

    My suggestion is to make it easier to effect that sort of transfer/exchange between public/private sector housing, make the housing market easier and more flexible…

    • mm
      Eastleigh Xpress
      September 30, 2011 at 10:20 am

      Signed it! I’d like to do a post on your petition if I may – can you send over a hi-res jpg of your V’s up shadow photo please?

      Regards immigration issue – there were a lot of comments flying around the meeting and I have excluded the riper ones because I was stung by Cllr Clarkes complaint that I was deliberately stirring up racial hatred by reporting them.

      However I have a feeling that the Lib Dems do not want the discussion on housing to focus on immigration.

      Cllr Thomas described residents concern on immigration as nonsense without saying why.

      Keith House has said to me that immigrants are not causing pressure on housing in Eastleigh as their numbers are offset by elderly residents emigrating – for example to Spain.

      He also suggested that immigrants are economically more attractive as they are in work and pay taxes whereas elderly Britons tend to consume services.

      • September 30, 2011 at 11:05 am

        Lol. Will do. I hadn’t thought of that photo in the context of my petition, but you’re right. It does fit…

        If anybody wonders what we’re talking about, see this http://tgrworzels.blogspot.com/2011/08/tgr-worzel-and-shadows.html

      • Vicki
        September 30, 2011 at 12:05 pm

        Oh dear, elderly ethnic Britons consume services do they? What about the taxes they have paid during their working life? Surely these people have the right to ‘consume services’ after a lifetime of work and contributions? Watch out everyone, the Lib Dems might have a another secret policy regarding forced emmigration for the uneconomic English Eastleigh elderly.

        • mm
          Eastleigh Xpress
          September 30, 2011 at 12:46 pm


          BTW when is the book coming out?
          Could you put me down for a review copy?
          Never see your ex on here though he tells me he reads it.

        • Matthew Myatt
          September 30, 2011 at 1:46 pm

          Well said Vicki. It’s not just the trees, public open spaces, green belts, local communities, bloggers, old buildings and allotments the local Lib Dems hate, they now have it in for the elderly as well.

  4. mm
    Eastleigh Xpress
    September 30, 2011 at 12:08 pm

    Okay, in case this develops into an argument what our Leader actually said was:

    “There certainly has been economic migration from Poland and other parts of central Europe, just as we’ve seen usually elderly residents from here retire to Spain. The net numbers are not that different, other that the arriving Poles do work and pay taxes which helps the economy, whereas the elderly movers were usually consumers of services that take from taxes.”

    • Matthew Myatt
      September 30, 2011 at 1:49 pm

      Is it me or does Keith House comments remind you of another once former leader of Germany.!!

      • Vicki
        September 30, 2011 at 1:58 pm

        The thought had crossed my mind.

  5. Peter Stewart
    September 30, 2011 at 7:37 pm


    The Government revealed that 40% of all new builds are the RESULT of mass immigration.

    We all know most of this mass immigration is:

    a) from the newly annexed Eastern European EU satellite States and
    b) is comprised almost exclusively of cheap labour.

    Paradoxically most of the mass house building is for BRITISH buyers, NOT immigrants. Here’s how it works.

    Immigrants from Eastern Europe select the most advantageous places to take work. Their primary target English destinations (starting mainly in 2004 when our borders were opened to all EU citizens) have probably been (in order for the top 20 most populated cities) London, Birmingham, Manchester, Liverpool, Newcastle, Nottingham, Sheffield, Leeds, Bristol, Leicester, PORTSMOUTH, Bradford, Bournemouth, Reading, Huddersfield, Middlesbrough, Stoke, Coventry, Birkenhead and SOUTHAMPTON.

    If you want a list of England’s 50 biggest cities by population, check out the link at the end.

    Not long ago there were about 35,000 Eastern Europeans in Southampton (roughly 1/10th of the population). Most of them were presumably working. That means 35,000 British jobs must have been lost in and around Southampton (or else we are paying massive unemployment benefits to the immigrants).

    Mass immigration of cheap EU labour inevitably creates mass unemployment among British workers, especially the 16 to 24 year old range) who cannot begin to compete. This is reflected in the appalling youth unemployment figures.

    Over time, as employment prospects within cities look bleaker and bleaker for the unemployed British, it eventually becomes impossible to live in the cities. People are then forced to move out to outlying towns to seek work.

    Thus we can see how population displacements from Eastern Europe to England create population displacements within England, from city to town.

    Not only that, but we can also see how economic misery is displaced as well. While the immigrants from Eastern Europe come here to flee economic misery, in taking jobs from British workers (by offering cheap labour) the hard economic circumstances they face back in their homelands are transferred onto British workers. Thus poverty itself is displaced at our expense (literally). The cost of unemployed British workers is very high indeed, not just in terms of unemployment benefits but in terms of lost tax revenue too. The social damage is incalculable.

    Mass population displacements (of unemployed British workers) are something the Government would rather you did NOT hear about. It is considered far too dangerous to publicize it and if it were ever to break through into the common public consciousness, it would most likely cause riots.

    To plan for (and capitalize on) these population displacements, the EU issued instructions/advice/orders decades ago, long before our borders were opened, for a mass house building programme in the “South East”, that area of England which it was predicted would witness the first and greatest population increases as a result of our “membership” of the (then) EEC. I remember researching this around 1977. Incidentally I voted to stay in the EEC in 1975! It was predicted population displacements which really lay behind the “South Hampshire Plan”.

    Those who imagine that a mass house building programme can hide a failing UK economy for ever, as it destroys its own manufacturing base in exchange for cheap foreign goods and labour, are deluded. We are coming to the end of the globalist road now and the harsh reality of globalism must be faced or else we will find ourselves in real trouble economically within the next 10 to 20 years. What we see now is nothing compared to what globalism will inflict on us if we continue to vote in ignorance and apathy!

    Here we are then, it’s 2011, in the humble Borough of Eastleigh, and we are facing a massive population overspill as a knock on effect of the mass immigration of cheap EU labour. IF you believe the Government’s figures (and you would be wise to mistrust them greatly) then only 40% of these houses are to cater for population displacements. If (repeat “if”) the Government’s figures are correct, then 60% of these houses are needed for natural growth of the population.

    BUT…take a look at other areas all around. There are mass house building plans everywhere in England. Do you REALLY believe this is to cater mostly for the growth of the BRITISH population? The figures I have seen suggest the British population is set to stabilize or even DECLINE!

    There is only one answer to this increasingly severe problem of mass immigration/mass house building- we must leave the EU. But the problem is, most of you keep voting Conservative, Labour or LibDem and it is the policy of these old failed parties to keep us in the EU and maintain the EU’s open borders policy. You cannot have it both ways. While I must reiterate that all of the above is my own personal opinion, I would advise all of you to start voting UKIP as a protest vote and to tell your friends to do the same. The alternative is too unpleasant to contemplate.

    Meanwhile remember that despite the treachery of successive governments since 1972, the immigrants who come here are our guests. Don’t blame them, blame the politicians!


    • mm
      Eastleigh Xpress
      October 2, 2011 at 11:10 am

      I am interested in your description of immigrants as ‘guests'(Gastarbeiter?)- I’ve never thought of my family in those terms before.
      Is this use of the term ‘guest’ a nod to UKIP policy of ending residency status for immigrants and reserving access to the NHS and benefits solely for British residents regardless of the Tax and NI contributions the immigrants might have paid?
      My Mum is 80 – an Italian citizen and a UK resident who has worked and lived in Eastleigh for over 50 years and paid into the system her entire working life.
      When Nigel Farage was in Eastleigh last he appeared to say that people like her would lose their rights to Pensions, NHS and benefits – this was met with huge applause (including from members of the local Conservative association).
      Mind you, who was it who was moaning about the elderly ‘consuming services’??

      • Peter Stewart
        October 2, 2011 at 8:05 pm

        All immigrants are guests until they take the step of proving their loyalty to the UK by becoming citizens.

        Personally I feel we have enough citizens at the moment and too many guests.

        • October 2, 2011 at 9:05 pm

          Probably more accurate to say that we just have too great a population in England. What is it now? Well over 62 million the last that I heard.

          Unsustainable population growth is probably a bigger issue actually, than immigration on its own.

          Unsustainable Population growth is another issue that politicians don’t talk about…

          • Peter Stewart
            October 4, 2011 at 5:51 pm

            What counts PERCEPTIONS of population growth.

            Most people had enough of immigration 6 years ago, especially from eastern Europe. Since then the situation has got far worse. Hardly anyone has escaped the employment devastation caused by the mass immigration of cheap EU labour. Everyone knows someone who has been affected badly. It has hit young British workers especially hard.

            Anthropological history records what is about to happen next. It is a tragedy in three parts and two parts are already in place.

            First we already have the MAJORITY perception of excessive immigration.

            Second we already have the MAJORITY fear of serious economic decline.

            All that is missing now is the actual economic disaster which will link the two and trigger the most appalling herd response.

            The trigger will probably be the inevitable collapse of the Euro.

            EXTREME British nationalism will rapidly develop as MILLIONS of people pull together in fear. If this occurs in other European countries (which it will) the scale of the catastrophe will be massive.

            Soon scapegoatism will develop right across Europe and ANYONE who appears “foreign” will be in danger of misdirected rage. There will be riots in the streets, looting and murder.

            The only way to prevent this scenario, and the race relations disaster which will follow, is by closing our borders and showing the people this has been done.

            But it cannot be done because under EU legislation, our borders must remain open to all EU citizens. The mass immigration of cheap EU labour will continue, the mass destruction of British jobs will continue, and the final straw will be the economic collapse.

            Don’t say you were not warned!

  6. rigel
    October 2, 2011 at 8:14 am

    HI there,

    well I stand by everything I said and I am glad if I got my point across.

    the heat is on councillors

    but the xenophobia is a dead end , they build the houses to suck people into debt because that is how money is created , it’s irrelevant where the people come from. I like the Polish – this country owes Poland from their valiant efforts in WW2 and I welcome them. I also don’t have anything against people from Portsmouth

    we need to meet again quick and we need a campaign strategy – all the politicians are on the ropes and I know how to ‘canvas’ them



    • mm
      Eastleigh Xpress
      October 2, 2011 at 10:44 am

      I don’t think I am peddling a xenophobic or racist line – I am simply reporting what has been said and that night the comments were coming thick and fast at the back of the hall.
      Regardless of what you think of immigrants as a social group- you may like them , you might be suspicious of them – regardless of what you think it is silly to pretend that a sudden influx of 1.5 million people from Eastern Europe is not going to have an impact on the housing stock.
      The ‘open door’ immigration policy is part of the same policy of deliberately hothousing the economy by going for maximum growth – increasing demand by rapidly expanding the population.
      More people=more consumption=more debt etc until we reach some sort of Malthusian collapse, (but that’s not our worry – it’s in the ‘future’)
      I reported Rigel’s comments at length because he was putting forward a position I hadn’t heard yet i.e ‘We don’t need ANY houses’.
      Up till now those opposed to development have been conceding “well, we know we need 10,000 houses in the borough just not here please” so it is was fascinating to hear the views of someone who doesn’t subscribe to the position and can articulate why.

  7. Nightingale resident
    October 11, 2011 at 11:21 pm

    Today I have received the Nightingale Focus from the Lib Dems with a special report from Councillor Paul Bicknell in which it looks like they have already decided that they are going to put the 1300 houses on what is now the golf driving range in Chestnut Avenue, the reason I believe this is because in the newsletter he is talking about the bottleneck at the junction in Stoneham Lane and how it will be sorted out as part of the new plan, now he has also stated that all the green spaces on the Aviary Estate will be safe, sounds like a peace meal gesture to keep the residents quiet, the trouble is that the people of Eastleigh do not have a balanced Council at the moment, and with the Lib Dems having full control they can vote through whatever plans they want to with no opposition, I have always voted Lib Dems but not anymore, to much power!!!…..

    • mm
      Eastleigh Xpress
      October 12, 2011 at 12:42 am

      When a councillor is telling you an open space is ‘safe’, what they are saying is that it is safe for the life of the local plan.
      The plan they are trying to bring in lasts til 2029 so your open spaces should be safe til then.
      After that there will a new plan have to be decided and everything is back on the table.
      I seem to remember Cllr Bicknell was part of the lib Dem team that wanted to put flats on Grantham Green so the idea of them wanting to build on Aviary green space is perhaps not so fantastical.
      Council meeting this Thursday 7pm.

      • jan weller
        October 12, 2011 at 1:02 am

        It wouldn’t surprise in the least, at the Aviary meeting he did appear to be pro housing plan, but what really got me was his comment about our community only being 25% of his constituency and the way he said it made it look like we were unimportant, well if that is the case he won’t miss the votes then, will he, that aside where you have total control you have no opposition and until this is reversed we may be fighting a losing battle, especially where one councillor has more than one vote.

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