Thursday, July 29, 2010

‘Affordable’ Petersfield homes provide contrast to National Park

An artist's impression of how the land near
Penns Place will look if money talks...

Keepball Homes has made an application to build 96 homes on a greenfield site in a bid to counteract council cutbacks.

The company, which has laid waste to acres of farmland in the Petersfield area over the past few decades, has made an application for the development at Penns Field, a site close to the Taro Leisure Centre playing fields and owned currently by Petersfield Town Council.

The company believes the extensive development on such a small patch would provide a pleasant contrast to other sites in the East Hampshire Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and the South Downs National Park.

Sal Out, Keepball Homes planning consultant, said: “Releasing land at Penns Field would deliver a large donation into the council’s funds and subsequently boost the profits for my client.

“It’s a win-win situation – except for existing residents obviously, but neither the developer nor the council cares about them. Cash is king in 2010.

“It’s an ideal site for new homes and will particularly appeal to people who like grumbling about youngsters enjoying themselves playing sport and those who enjoy sticking a garden fork in footballs that have broken the glass in their cold frames.

“Having said that, you wouldn’t be allowed to install a cold frame without permission in triplicate from the developer, and after the payment of a not-insubstantial fee. Keepball is committed to maintaining a certain level of aesthetic decency.

“In order to ensure they are able to offer ‘affordable’ housing my client will save money by not improving the infrastructure of the town, which as we know can hardly sustain its existing population.

"The idea is to clog up the town entirely, on the streets, in the schools and in the sewers, driving house prices down and making even a four-bedroom detached affordable to Mona the Beeeeeeeeeeeeeeeg Eeeeesssssssssssssshoooooooooooo seller.”

Lloyd Bank, honourable keeper of the town council cheque book, said: “Obviously on a sensitive project such as this we would consult residents and planning experts extensively before taking the money and running.

“It would certainly help with the council’s finances, after all we have the white elephant of a bloody great skate park to pay for.”

A spokesman for the local residents association was bound and gagged before being bundled into a large builder’s lorry.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Christmas is cancelled

G Rinch makes his persuasive
presentation to fellow councillors

East Hampshire District Council bosses have made an early decision that this year all official Christmas celebrations are cancelled.

Officials are blaming a lack of sponsorship money from local businesses, but in reality they are following the example set by Havant Borough Council who took a similarly unpopular decision a few years ago.

G Rinch, the councillor appointed to make cutbacks, said: “We are looking to make savings in as many areas as possible. There simply isn’t enough money and Christmas is an expendable luxury.

“We aren’t suggesting townfolk can’t celebrate Christmas in their own homes, but we would appreciate it if they can refrain from being outwardly jolly as they walk around town.

“From November 1 we will also be imposing a fairy lights tax which will be levied on all homes that have lights draped in their garden or on the outside of their property. In working-class areas this is expected to raise a small fortune.

“I have had it suggested that Christmas is an easy target; well yes it is, and one we cannot afford to miss.”

We put it to Councillor Rinch that during a recession, and in the middle of winter when nights have drawn in and the weather is at its worst, people, more than ever, look forward to Christmas and the celebrations that take place.

“Bah humbug” he replied sarcastically: “There simply isn’t the money, there will be no tree, no lights and certainly no Christmas Festival with its expensive plastic ice rink.”

In an attempt to appease tax payers, council bosses have agreed to fund the clearing of any snow this year. This may at face value seem like a generous gesture, but Newswire has been told that the council simply want to ensure the town doesn’t look at all festive, bringing back memories of Christmases gone by.

Friday, July 23, 2010

One for the road

Easy on the Lemming Harry

Petersfield’s new Netherregions pub, looking to set itself apart from other local hostelries, may start serving all its drinks in specially adapted rodents designed by BrewDog a controversial Scottish brewery.

The Fraserburgh-based brewer has recently hit the headlines by announcing that they brew the strongest beer available planet Earth.

Their new ale, called The End of History is 55% alcohol and completes a menu of strong beers which include a comparative light ale named Tokyo at 18.2%, Tactical Nuclear Penguin at 32% and Sink the Bismark at 41%.

More quirky though, for maximum enjoyment, it is suggested that the beer should be drunk using the corpse of a rodent as a kind of iconic bottle or glass holder. Rats, squirrels, stoats and hares have all been converted into receptacles by taxidermists employed by the brewery.

A stiff one

BrewDog have been lambasted for making such a potent drink available at a time when society is concerned about the drinking habits and health of young people.

The Scottish brewer defended itself by saying that their drinks were originally destined for the Scottish market, popularity and clever PR has resulted in far wider distribution than they could have imagined.

Carrie Oooot speaking on behalf of BrewDog told Newswire: “Don’t forget the people of Scotland need to be pie-eyed to be able to exist in their native cold wet climate. Some of them drink whisky by the pint; our ale is hardly strong in comparison.

“Also, I hardly think we can be in any way blamed for lowering life expectancy in a region where the deep-fried Mars Bar is the national dish.”

The young of today’s society will naturally be drawn to any drink labelled “the strongest ale in the world” even attracting lager drinkers who will be unused to drinking anything with flavour.

The novelty of quaffing your drink through a squirrel or rat will also add a certain uniqueness to the experience for those that are so inclined.

Netherregions will delight in the press that this move is bound to attract and shrugged off any suggestion that cleaning the glasses is going to take a little longer.

Helen Back, one of the new staff at The Red Lion, laughed at the prospect of serving beer in a rodent told us: “Many of our customers come in with the intention of getting rat-faced, they can now achieve this quite literally, and more quickly.”

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Fuelling anger

Joy Rider: "Int got no lager eiver"

The yo-yoing fuel prices of a Petersfield service station have angered motorists who call in to refuel.

The prices seem to leap a few pence at the town’s Gasso within a matter of hours and some of the motorists using the garage are suspicious regarding the reasons for this.

Minnie Khabdryver told us: “I do a lot of miles and need to refuel quite regularly. I often note during the day that the prices are quite competitive and with this in mind return later when I am low on fuel; only to find that the price has been hiked up before I get back.

“It may just be a coincidence but the price always seems at its lowest when the forecourt is coned off, this garage has a habit of being inaccessible for at least half a day, every day.”

Joy Rider, on a whistle stop visit from Leigh Park seemed to agree with this theory saying: “Of never seen ve proices gah back up, bu’ i’ looks loike iss when the garridge opens each time.”

Newswire asked Gasso whether there was any truth in this observation.

Mandy Pumps speaking on behalf of the service station insisted: “I can assure you we have done nothing wrong, we always advertise our fuel at the price that it can be bought for at that particular moment in time.

“It is highly unfortunate that sometimes, due to forced temporary closure, motorists are unable to take advantage of the unbeatable prices.

“Our prices do fluctuate, as they do at all service stations; the best PR is to have a low price up outside the station so we try to do that whenever we can.”

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Sheet spreading

From town to city in ten years

The inhabitants of Sheet village are planning independence as a way of ensuring their village is not surrounded by newly built, affordable housing.

Petersfield’s town planners and big-wig decision makers have already sold out to developers who will soon start work on the Causeway Farm site south east of the market town.

Even before the first digger has thundered in, the next site is up for consideration, south west of Petersfield on the area immediately south of Larcombe Road.

A secret document has found its way into the hands of Lucy Lastic, spokesperson for the Sheet Village Association, which sets out, with crystal clarity, the future expansion plans for the town of Petersfield.

Lastic said: “You can see from this plan the devastation that is set to be unleashed on our town. It is madness and must be stopped.”

The plans do show that within the next 10 years, Petersfield could have trebled in size and no longer be the quaint and idyllic town it is today.

A source at Petersfield Town Council, who asked not to be named, told us: “It is bad, but this is all overspill from Havant. When I say Havant, I mean Havant, Leigh Park, Rowlands Castle, Horndean, Cowplain and Waterlooville.

“This part of the county has been set targets for new housing, and these new-build projects were intended to be shared across the region, but people do not want to live in these areas. What is the point of building homes in areas where people will refuse to live?”

Our informant refuted the suggestion there was more money to be made by the developers by building in Petersfield.

“I understand what you are saying, and it is true that the overheads are the same to build homes here rather than say Rowlands Castle, Leigh Park, or any of those no-go zones just south of the South Downs National Park. I don’t necessarily agree that the homes when completed would have four times the value; that seems a little high.”

Lastic is angry at the situation. She added: “Hitler didn’t do this much damage! We need to stem the tide. I appeal to all Sheet residents to vote for independence; we can at least make sure that our corner of England remains forever green.”

The Green party candidate in the recent election polled three votes and a chocolate button.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Drop dead gorgeous

Great bodywork for an old model

Dead Good Funeral Directors, of Liss, will be celebrating its fourth anniversary this year, by holding an open day on Tuesday July 27.

The funeral parlour is encouraging locals of all ages to “drop in” and has invited suggestions for activities in an effort to increase the public’s awareness of the whole burial process.

Those interested in horticulture can try their hand at touching up and adjusting wreaths that have arrived from florists in disarray.

Transport enthusiasts will be able to ride around Liss and the surrounding area in the back of a superb 1968 Cadillac limousine hearse, driven by the company’s receptionist, the delectable Dee Mize. This should whet passengers’ appetite for that final ride - what a way to go.

The more dextrous might like to have a go at embalming, a skill that has been practised for millennia but is still carried out today.

Rick Tuss speaking on behalf of Dead Good was particularly enthusiastic about this activity.

He said: “This really is a chance for the general public to try something that they would not ordinarily get an opportunity to do. We have a couple of likely candidates living locally who we are expecting will require some preservation work at about that time.”

If all this seems a little mundane and you fancy something a bit more thrilling, Dead Good has just the thing for you. There will be three opportunities to be buried alive and scared witless overnight in the parlour.

Three lucky members of the public will be sealed in silk-lined coffins, after taking a mild sleeping draft, which should mean that they wake up sealed inside the coffin, at around midnight.

Funeral parlour staff will arrive at 9am the next morning to release the three candidates from their coffins to see how they have coped with the extraordinary experience.

Tuss said: “This is many people’s worst nightmare. We have all heard tales of how people were buried alive by mistake and this will give some lucky villagers the chance to see how that must have felt.

“When the three come round, they will still be dazed from the drug, will realise they are in a coffin and really believe they are buried alive. This has got to be more exhilarating than any ride at any theme park.

“I need to stress that any damage or scratching of the inside of the coffin will need to be paid for, but this is a chance for the more adventurous out there.”

We have been asked to make clear that those taking part will need to provide evidence of life assurance cover and sign a waiver to say they are happy with the risks involved. They will also need to agree that Dead Good get the business should anything untoward happen.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Hose sorry now?

Jeeves, about to pep up the plants

Petersfield residents have started hoarding champagne – in case of a water shortage.

M&S, Waitrose, and even that ludicrously expensive wine corner shop in Lavant Street have all reported a surge in sales following news that Scousers and Mancs face a hosepipe ban.

"If the water authorities can’t even collect enough of the stuff to keep the North West going, what chance do we stand in the sunny South?” said Dame Amelia Ponsoby-Sprinkler of Woodtwee Avenue.

“Let’s face it, it rains for 11 and a half months of the year up there and we all know most northerners don’t wash anyway, so how incompetent are these water people?”

Pressed further on the 58 crates of Champagne in the north wing of her home, Dame Ponsoby-Sprinkler shrieked “Drink it? Good gawd no, Jeeves is going to use it to water the begonias.”

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Averse to litter

Sachs' poster campaign

A campaigner and voluntary worker has turned to verse to shame the louts who selfishly leave litter on the heath in Petersfield.

Phill Sachs, who spends all of his spare time scouring the heath for rubbish has composed a ditty that he hopes will “make those pesky litterbugs think twice before spoiling this idyllic beauty spot for visitors”.

His ode reads:

Think twice before you drop your crap,
long-suffering locals might just snap.
With clubs and knives they’ll hunt you down,
then string you up in your home town.

We joined Sachs for a 10-minute stroll around the heath during which time he somehow managed to pick up 256 items, shoving them into his heavy duty bin liner.

Tin cans, plastic bottles, cigarette packets, match boxes, crisp bags, several aquatic birds, a dead swan and a small dog were among the items collected by the do-gooder.

When questioned about the birds and the dog he said: “I work at speed to get the job done; there will always be a few casualties.”

Sachs once worked in a food processing and packaging plant and this experience seemed to have left him psychologically damaged, the result of which is he feels somehow responsible for much of today’s litter.

Sachs' clever poem
In an ironic twist, Sachs has had 150 copies of his ode laminated on A4 paper and has nailed the sheets to many of the heath’s oldest and most beautiful trees.

Wendy Windblows, aged 98, who lives on Heath Road, is outraged.

She said: “The view from my house has been ruined. This fool may have picked up a few cans but all I can see as I look south across the heath is the sun glinting off of these ruddy plastic sheets. I think he should be strung up.”

Monday, July 12, 2010

Indian takeaway

Takeaway service available

Frozen meat and bottles of alcohol worth more than £1,000 were stolen in a burglary at a Petersfield restaurant.

Muddle-on Tandoori Restaurant, the newest and least-frequented of Petersfield’s curry houses, was broken in to, through the back door of the premises, in the early hours of June 28.

Al Frezi, speaking on behalf of Muddle-on Tandoori Restaurant, told us: “A huge amount of unused meat and alcohol was stolen and there is absolutely no truth in the rumour that most of the meat was approaching its use-by date.”

Since opening, Muddle-on has specialised in attracting once-only visitors who then return to the tried-and-tested Spice Rack or Parrot Spice Tandoori.

The theft came at an ideal time for the restaurant with dwindling numbers coinciding with unusually high temperatures.

The insurance claim will provide a much-needed cash injection for the business which has been hit hard by the delay in the opening of the Netherregions’ Red Lion pub which will undoubtedly provide most of its trade after closing time.

Can you see what it is yet?

Ken Hartley-Draw's interpretation of the development

A planning application to build 213 new homes on Causeway Farm in Petersfield is being submitted to East Hampshire District Council this week.

Housing consultants Minimal Integrity have employed the services of aspiring artist Ken Hartley-Draw to provide an interpretation and insight into how the development will look when completed.

Local pressure group, Not In Our Ruddy Field, are up in arms following the release of the image, claiming it provides no useful information and no real clue as to what shape or form the development will ultimately take.

Consultant Phil Fee-Rich, who represents the developer Stack ‘Em High, defended the picture, saying: “We commissioned the artist with a remit to produce the image in the modern style, currently used by all developers, known as impressionistic wishy-wash. It is not intended to give a photographic representation, more a representation.

Phil Fee-Rich's vision

“If one looks carefully, you can see the 15 one-bedroom and 32 two-bedroom apartments, the 53 two-bedroom and 98 three-bedroom and 15 four and five-bedroom homes.

"You can also see the community hall decked out with bunting, allotments being worked by cheery gardeners and people enjoying the riverside walkway, the park, the beautiful picnic area and the glorious orchards.”

Hal Seyan-Days' worst nightmare

Hal Seyan-Days, speaking on behalf of NIORF didn’t seem impressed. “Bollocks” he told us, “All I see is traffic queuing to get onto The Causeway and marauding packs of children clashing around the community centre.

“And wait, what’s that, a few rich men in suits on the horizon, struggling to walk with their large bags of money.”

Friday, July 09, 2010

Petersfield school taps up well-off pupils

The winner of the downstairs maids' race, Doris Dishmop, proudly displays her prizes

Pupils at DualNannies, Bojangles School's pre-prep school near Petersfield, raised £2,120 from their annual fun run at the school sports' day.

The cash was collected from the spare change that fell out of the pupils' pockets as they were carried down the 100-yard track by their chauffeurs. The money will be shared between several local charities.

The main event of the day, the downstairs maids' 400-yard polish, was won by 28-year-old Doris Dishmop, from Cliche Gardens, Richplace-on-Thames.

Head of DualNannies, Jocasta Hedge-Fund, said: "It was a hot afternoon but this did not deter any of the children who are always happy to sit around and watch their staff race on sports day.

"They particularly enjoy the overseas' maid race as it's always a completely different field every year. Normally the winner is deported within a few weeks."

Wednesday, July 07, 2010

Coned off - Hacked off

Job vacancies at Gasso with the cones always ready for use

It has become clear why the 24-hour service station situated on Rams Hill is closed to motorists for 90% of the day, with the forecourt coned off and out of bounds to anyone requiring fuel.

The authorities have insisted that the Petersfield service station should undergo a licence review after it was caught out three times selling alcohol to minors during what is claimed to be a sting operation.

In September 2009 Hampshire Police conducted a “test purchase” at Gasso when they asked a 16-year-old girl in to buy a bottle of Bulmers cider.

DI Gestive told us: “It’s difficult for an officer to go in and buy drink when in uniform, people will realise we’re drinking on the job, so we usually pick a likely looking customer who is using the service station.

“On this occasion, the young girl in question already had an armful of Bacardi Breezers that she was intending to buy, so an extra bottle of Bulmers was never going to look suspicious. Her only problem was carrying it all.”

The transaction was spotted by a vigilant member of the public who asked DI Gestive to intervene.

The cashier, clearly in the wrong, made the sale without asking the girl her age or for ID. The staff member was issued an £80 fine before being dismissed by Gasso.

With the authorities alerted, a second operation was carried out by Hampshire County Council's trading standards when a 15-year-old was sold alcohol without being asked for ID. Again an £80 fixed penalty notice was issued and a further member of staff dismissed.

In March two 16-year-olds were used by police to buy a bottle of rose wine and four bottles of lager for a barbeque at the police station.

The sale was spotted by the authorities who were monitoring the service station. The police, predictably, claimed it to be another part of the sting operation and the transaction was processed without any request for identification.

To compound matters, the service station manager was asleep in the shop at the time and at no point was she consulted about the sale.

There was another fixed penalty fine and another member of staff lost their job.

A spokesman for Gasso told us: “We are sorry for any inconvenience to our customers and we can understand their frustration as they arrive for fuel, only to be greeted by a row of cones.

“As I am sure you will have read, we have lost most of our staff over the last few months and as a result we are only able to open for a short period each day.

“We are desperately trying to recruit and once the situation has been rectified, we will once again return to normal opening hours.”
Cards tempt customers with a job at the service station

Friday, July 02, 2010

Traffic Warden MA (Oxon) LLB MBA Etc.

Petersfield residents will expect parking violations to be
recorded in Latin in future: Non illigitamus carborundum

Hampshire Police and East Hampshire District Council expect to recruit incredibly well-qualified personnel for their new traffic patrol service after they let slip the pay rate.

Between them, the two organisations have agreed to fund 500 hours of traffic wardenry between now and April 2011.

Officials at Penalties Place have put aside £5,000 for the nine-month service and this figure is being matched by Hampshire Police.

So that’s £10,000 for 500 hours. Or an incredible £20 an hour. Wandering around Petersfield with a notebook and hat has never been so lucrative.