Victory for housing campaign

Housing developers Taylor Wimpey have withdrawn an application to reduce the affordable housing content at Augusta Park to 30%.

The decision comes after TVBC planners decided to recommend refusal of the application. The application was universally condemned by parish councils and residents including local Lib Dem campaigners see details here. Lib Dem Len Gates wrote to TVBC objecting to the proposals. You can read his comments here objections to planning application

Welcoming the news Len said “There is a major shortage of affordable housing in Andover and across North West Hampshire I am pleased to see Test Valley planners acknowledge this and will be holding Taylor Wimpey to their obligation to supply affordable homes for local people.”


Lib Dems call for rethink on yellow lines

Alamein Liberal Democrats are calling for a rethink on the discredited parking restrictions installed on Roman Way and King Arthurs Way. Andover Town Councillor Barbara Carpenter is leading the campaign.

Barbara who originally called for yellow lines on the corners along Roman Way only says “the council’s response to put yellow lines all along the roads has caused nothing but aggravation for local residents. The decision was made by borough councillors with no knowledge or understanding of the area.”

Local campaigners have recently launched a petition calling for a rethink of the yellow lines. You can sign the petition here

Refugees welcome here

Andover Town Council has backed Lib Dem calls to call on the borough and county councils to take a more positive approach to welcoming refugees to Andover.

The motion proposed by Lib Dem Cllr Len Gates at the council’s October meeting was as follows –

ATC notes-

  • The current plight of thousands of refugees fleeing war in Syria and other countries
  • The legal obligations of the United Kingdom as a signatory of the 1951 United Nations Convention and its 1967 Protocol on Refugees
  • The recent public petition calling on Test Valley Borough Council to welcome refugees to Andover, reflecting the humanity and Britishness of fellow Andoverians and
  • The recent deplorable attempts by some journalists and politicians to demonise these refugees and refuse them help.


ATC calls on-

  • Test Valley Borough Council and Hampshire County Council to facilitate the reception, support, and integration of refugees into Andover
  • Central government to extend financial support to local councils for the reception of refugees and their integration past the one-year point so that the more generous communities are not unduly financially penalised.

Len’s statement to the council meeting can be read in full here – Refugees speech.

Speaking after the meeting he said “I am appalled by some recent newspaper headlines and the behaviour of politicians seeking to demonise these innocent people. We should be taking our fair share of refugees in the spirit of decency and humanity and welcome them not begrudge them.”

“This country has a proud record in helping refugees; those who oppose doing so do not speak for me, my country or my town. Their arrogance, ignorance and selfishness have no place in our society. I am proud to see Andover join so many other towns in taking a lead in calling for a positive response to the humanitarian crisis on our doorstep.”

Borough council election results

After a very long campaign and almost four hours to count the votes the result for the Alamein borough council election was announced on Friday. Results were as follows

Phil North Conservative 1960
Alexander Michael Brook Conservative 1677
Tracey Lorraine Preston Conservative 1570
Conner Docherty UK Independence 941
Len Gates Liberal Democrat Focus Team 768
Robin Hughes Liberal Democrat Focus Team 688
Amy Michele Bower Liberal Democrat Focus Team 686
Andy Fitchet Labour 648
Ben Kinross Labour 569
Michael Joseph Mumford Labour 504
Adam Richard Timby Green 468
Joshua James Cussen Green 418

Thank you to everyone who voted for us in the borough council elections. And thank you to everyone who took the time to discuss local issues with us and support us throughout the campaign. Your support made it worthwhile and showed Liberal Democrat values are still important to local people. We will continue to campaign for these values on your behalf.

Amy Bower, Len Gates, Robin Hughes



Whiteley sacked by Tories

Residents may have seen stories suggesting that Alamein conservative councillor Janet Whiteley has decided to stand down from the borough council. However reports are emerging that far from retiring Mrs Whiteley and her husband, and fellow councillor Neville, had both wished to stand for re-election but were summarily rejected by local conservatives.

Janet and Neville Whiteley_jpg-pwrt2

Janet and Neville Whiteley (picture from Romsey Advertiser)

For many years Mrs Whiteley has split her time between serving as a borough councillor for Alamein ward and sitting on Stockbridge town council. She wanted to move to a safe conservative seat near her Stockbridge home. However, Tory officials decided not to call her for selection.   “As a sitting councillor, I would have thought that I was a strong candidate.  It’s the principal of it all that has upset me and I think that what’s happened is disgraceful” she said.

Meanwhile husband Neville is threatening to resign his party membership after being replaced as council candidate for Dun Valley. The decision came in a meeting to which Neville had just 36 hours notice. “I am disgusted at this behaviour and disappointed. It’s very shoddy and I will now be looking at whether I continue my membership of the Conservative party,” Mr Whiteley said. “I didn’t stand down. I wasn’t given the opportunity to continue and was replaced. ”

The full story can be read on the Romsey Advertiser website here

Disqualified Councillor attends meeting

News has just emerged that a conservative borough councillor attended a meeting (and presumably voted) when disqualified from doing so.

Cllr Elly Charnley Conservative member for Penton Bellinger attended a Northern Area Planning Committee on 22nd July 2014 and then failed to attend any other meetings in 2014. Council rules stipulate that any member not attending for six months is automatically disqualified and must not attend or participate in any future meetings unless given dispensation by full council. This did not happen.

According to the regulations Mrs Charnley ceased to be a councillor at midnight on 21st January 2015. Despite this Mrs Charnley attended a further planning meeting on 22nd January 2015 in direct breach of the rules, No action was taken by the council leadership.

Commenting NW Hants Liberal Democrat vice chairman Len Gates said “This is a disgraceful flouting of the rules by this ex-councillor and the leadership of the council. Previously when councillors have not attended action has been taken either by allowing a dispensation or by removal of party membership from the offending councillor. On this occasion the conservatives appear to have swept the matter under the carpet in the hope no-one would notice.”

Town councillors re-elected

Alamein Town councillors Barbara Carpenter and Kevin Hughes have been re-elected unopposed to serve another four years on the town council.

Cllr Barbara Carpenter

Cllr Barbara Carpenter

The news comes following the closure of nominations for the town council on Thursday 9th April. Just three nominations were received. The third Alamein seat on the town council goes to fellow Focus team member Robin Hughes. They will be joined on the new town council by Len Gates who was one of four candidates elected unopposed in neighbouring Harroway ward.

Cllr Kevin Hughes

Cllr Kevin Hughes

Surprisingly local Conservatives who originally opposed, and lost the referendum on, the formation of the town council have put up no candidates this time. Previously they nominated a full slate of candidates (including three not resident in the town) arguing that the new council must be run by Conservatives. Their failure to offer themselves for re-election suggests they have done nothing of merit for the town in the past five years.

We look forward to the new town council actively promoting the best interests of the town.

Alamein Focus team for borough elections

Nomination papers have been delivered and approved for the three Focus team members who will be standing as candidates in the forthcoming borough council elections. The three are


amy croppedAmy Bower: Young mother Amy grew up in Test Valley and has lived on Augusta Park for two years. As a trained nursery nurse and experienced nanny she understands the needs of growing families and will fight to ensure they get the services and representation they need. Amy will be concentrating on representing Augusta Park and the young community developing there.



Len For Focus websiteLen Gates: Len has lived and worked in the Andover area for 27 years and served as a borough councillor for Alamein ward from 2003 – 2011. During that time he campaigned continuously to ensure local people were properly represented taking a lead in the establishment of both Enham Alamein parish council and Andover town council. He also founded the Roman Way Forum.



Robin HughesRobin Hughes: has lived and worked in Andover all of his life. He was borough councillor for Alamein ward until 2007 and served as county councillor for Andover North from 2005 – 2009. He is chair of governors of The Federation of Endeavour Primary , Knights Enham Junior and Roman Way Primary Schools and chair of Alamein Community Association.



We will be publishing more details about the candidates and their campaigning over the following weeks.


A councillor for Augusta Park

Amy Len Vic

Len and Amy meet local resident

For years Alamein Lib Dems have said Augusta Park needs its own councillor rather than share with other areas. We have now recruited local resident Amy Bower to meet that need.

Young mother Amy grew up in Test Valley and has lived on Augusta Park for two years. As a trained nursery nurse and experienced nanny she understands the needs of growing families and will fight to ensure they get the services and representation they need.

“This is a young and growing community. I want to see better bus services, play areas and parenting support in the area” she says.

Introducing the new candidate Len Gates said “as a local resident concerned about her community Amy is the ideal person to join our team to replace the career politicians currently representing Alamein ward. Everyone has three votes in May. Use all three to select the best candidates to represent you and your community.”