20th May 2010: Happy Birthday to Us!
Our website is now one year old & it has been fun! When we decided to create this website it was purely as a hobby & to provide some more local information about the village. I say ‘we’, but there is only me, my wife (who inadvertently provides story lines) & our two dogs (who contribute much less than they should!) From day one we have always loved our independence, and as we take no revenue from anyone this means we can say & do exactly what we like! We never really considered that people would enjoy what we built, however it is very satisfying to provide a service to the local community which a number of people seem to enjoy. The site has now taken on a life of its own & a small hobby has now turned into a big one! The most regularly visited pages on the site are the News, What’s On Calendar and Where to Eat in Milford on Sea.
We now have 620 local people who regularly receive our e-mail News Bulletins & we are always looking for more people to join us, so if you can spread the word to any friends, family or neighbours who you think would like to get our newsletter please ask them to register on the link below, or drop me an e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org. We can then ensure all of our community are kept informed of local news, which on some occasions contain actual facts!
Thanks to the wonders of Google Analytics we also know that we have had 146,134 visits to the site since we launched last year, & in the past month we have been getting over 160 visitors per day. To delve even deeper, we have found that the average visit lasts over 5 minutes, with an average of 4 pages being visited, & 66% of all visits are from people new to the site. Thanks for your support & for as long as you keep reading, I’ll keep writing!
Join our E-Newsletter: www.milfordonsea.org/join-us
29th May 2010: Milford wins top status in Good Beach Guide
The Marine Conservation Society has again listed Milford on Sea beach as having one of best beach conditions in the country. This follows similar status awards made in 2009 & 2008. The Marine Conservation Society’s Good Beach Guide has awarded Milford on Sea Beach their top ‘MCS Recommended’ status, which recognises the highest UK standard for bathing water quality. Our beach is also one of a few holding this status whilst still allowing dogs onto the beach.
Dogs on beaches is always an active area for debate, and our Parish Council recognises the pleasure many responsible local & visiting dog walkers take from our seafront. It is nice to see a local government body that does not take the view to punish the many, for the irresponsible behaviour of a few. Fortunately we are well served with dog bins & good canine walkers are easily recognised by bulging pockets of plastic bags. I think you may find that the good dog owners possibly find the irresponsible dog owners even more offensive than everyone else does. Perhaps a way to deal with the few offenders we have, could be the installation of ‘Taser Stations’ every hundred yards. Then any of us could give any offenders a quick electric shock to explain to them that cleaning up would be appreciated.
With the latest good news about our beach, I may have to rethink my plans on waiting for the sea to warm up before attempting to go swimming. Looks like it may be time to apply a liberal coating of goose fat & get my Speedo’s on!
29th May 2010: Anyone seen Vic?
We have been contact by Brian Mundy who is looking for an old friend. Brian used to live in River Gardens in Milford on Sea around 30 years ago & he now resides in Surrey, at that time he had a very good friend called Vic Grant that he would like to find. The last address that Brian had for Vic was 'Glengarry' in Park Close. He also recalls that Vic was a member of Milford Club, where Brian sometimes did a Disco. If anyone knows where Vic is please let us know & we will put Brian in touch with him.
29th May 2010: Bank Holiday Jewellery Sale
The temporary outlet shop ‘Silverbox’ on the old site of Allure Ladies Fashions in Church Hill, Milford on Sea is holding a Jewellery Outlet Sale. The sale will run every day across this Bank Holiday weekend. They will be offering a minimum 60% off retail prices on individual Italian jewellery, plus several ex-display one-off pieces. Once the stock is sold the shop will then start preparations to re-open as Le Petit Monde Patisserie.
29th May 2010: Milford Korean War Veteran remembers Singapore
Last year we ran a story about Derek Newland & fellow servicemen on RAF National Service during the Korean War 1951-1953. We have now received another recollection from Derek which we are more than happy to share with you.
“In the early 1950’s I was posted to RAF Seletar in Singapore 205 Squadron as a clerk looking after five 4-Engined Sunderland Flying Boats. As such I did all of the documentation for the flying crews & ground servicemen, engine mechanics, airframe mechanics & electrical wireless fitters, which was a fulltime job then. We did three months in Singapore, then a week on sea rescue duty in Hong Kong, followed by three months at Iwakoni in Japan. When moving around not all of our men could get back to Singapore on the Sunderland’s at times. After one particular detachment we got transported on a York 4-Engined Transport Plane, only to have one of the engines fail. We were forced put into the huge USAF Air Base at Clark Field near Manila in the Philippines for an engine change. We were there for a week, with no money whilst we waited for the replacement engines to come from Singapore. What an education, we came across for the first time small individual cartons of cornflakes & small cartons of milk, not milk out of a churn or cornflakes from a big tub as we were used too. Grilled streaky bacon, fried eggs – ‘easy over, smashed or sunnyside up’, iced tea or coffee in mugs with no handles. These ‘Yanks’ certainly lived it up there. We got friendly some of the Americans who took us to a ‘drive-in cinema’ for the first time and we sat in their cars eating popcorn & drinking Coke. The Korean War was good for a few of us & leaves good memories from 60 years ago.”
Derek lives in Sea Road, Milford on Sea & is an active member of Milford on Sea Bowling Club, he can often be seen around the village on his bike.
RAF Seletar Association Website: www.rafseletar.co.uk
12th June 2010: Milford on Sea Village Open Gardens
A large variety of private gardens will be open across Milford on Sea village on Sunday 13th June & everyone is welcome. The pupils at Milford on Sea Pre-School will also be showing off their green fingered efforts with plants grown most from seeds & buckets of flowers, they have also made scarecrows & constructed windmills to give the garden even more colour & interest. Selected gardens will be serving tea & cake. If you would like to make a visit you can get a ticket in advance from Gwens or from the Village Green on the day. The five pound tickets gives you entry to all of the 15 to 20 village gardens which will be open & transport between the gardens is also available. The event has been organised by Milford Gardeners Club. www.milfordgardenersclub.co.uk
12th June 2010: Milford on Sea Club looking to Help the Heroes
The Milford on Sea club is running a Help For Heroes Fundraising Night on Saturday 26th June. The club are aiming to raise around £10,000 for the 'Help For Heroes' charity & are hoping that members bring plenty of guests to enjoy the fun. The evening will be free for members, with a £1 charity box donations for members guests. The evening entertainment will be opened by State Trumpeters from The Blues and Royals, followed by burlesque dancers, wartime act, and a late night disco. Food will be served from an army style kitchen offering a curry and a BBQ. There will also be a Super Draw, a Raffle, and an Auction with an opportunity to bid for donated gifts, including a day out at Chewton Glen and a power boat racing experience. For more information please contact Mark Ketchen on 07967 547639
12th June 2010: Martin off to World Cup
Martin Scott, from our local estate agents Murray & Hayward, is of on an all-expenses-paid five day trip to watch England take part in the World Cup. His trip to South Africa is courtesy of the prize draw he won at Everton Hyundai Garage, and includes two tickets to watch England take on Slovenia on the 23rd June 2010. In spite of my offer to accompany him he has decided to take his friend Rob Crouch. Let’s hope they have a great time & see our team progress in style. Everton Hyundai Garage website: www.evertonhyundai.co.uk
12th June 2010: Free parking going at last!
Congratulations must go to our local New Forest District Council on their recent decision to remove the current free winter parking in the Lymington Quay car park from the 1st November to the end of February. Milford on Sea beach & cliff car parks have not been mentioned, but it would be remiss of them not to include us as well. How they have previously missed this opportunity to increase revenue in this way is not explained, but we are pleased that they have got there in the end. Perhaps in the past, car parking charges did not apply during this period to encourage people to visit the village? The problem with this, is that it results in more people visiting & spending money, but of course these additional people can make the village look untidy. Our village centre car park already happily charges all year round and it is clever how all of the village pay machines do not give change, which we are pleased to say squeezes extra cash from people who have not arrived with the correct coinage. To ensure that this over payment is a regular occurrence I love the way they cleverly apply different charges in various car park just to ensure that you can’t remember which change to bring. I particularly commend the wag at the council who included the statement on the pay machine instructions which says; ‘Overpayment Accepted’, that’s funny, very funny. Giving official permission to overpay could perhaps also be included on council tax & utility bills then we can all make our own extra little donations on a more regular basis.
It is unclear whether our glorious district councillors have yet spotted that we still have some free parking remaining in the High Street & we now look forward to the introduction of parking bay machines & more signs to enhance the quaint character of our village. Some local motorists may say that they already pay road tax, fuel duty & council tax, but they are missing the point, just because you pay to drive, you shouldn’t expect to also be able to enjoy the places you visit. The council will now be able to derive additional benefits should they be successful in ensuring people avoid the village, as there are substantial additional hidden savings to be made in the reduction of road maintenance & cleaning costs.
Some may ask why we charge for parking in the village centre car park when people want to pop in to visit the shops. The giants of Tesco & the like mistakenly provide free parking because they believe that charging is a significant deterrent to shoppers, little do they know that our council know a lot more than they do. In my years of running multimillion pound businesses I obviously missed out on the benefits to be made by making it difficult for customers to buy from us. Disappointingly, the ‘park & ride’ plan we never suggested has been shelved as the bus company could not afford the parking charges to allow people to get on & off. Our further suggestion of a ‘roulette park & ride’, where everyone had to jump on & off a moving bus, has also unfortunately been rejected by our friends at ‘health & safety’.
To help the council coffers Milford on Sea Food Week did it’s bit by bringing crowds into the village during a normally quiet April week. Thankfully our local council did not just accept the additional car parking income, but also supplied a team of traffic wardens to ensure that any parking offenders got a parking ticket. We of course also paid for the road to be closed for the Food Market. We are not sure how much extra the council made from the event but with a bit of luck it was more than the donation that Food Week made to the Community Centre.
When I was explaining the car park situation to my wife she wondered what would happen when the village is full of empty shops & the council have lost the council tax revenue paid by the shopkeepers. I of course have a simple solution, they can then double the car parking charges. The slow death of traditional High Street’s is often blamed on the supermarkets, but my wife reckons the council are actually doing a better job of getting rid of independent shopkeepers than the ‘big boys’.
A council spokesman was quoted in the Daily Echo as saying: “We’re looking at making charges applicable throughout the year because we are maintaining the car parks throughout the winter and are not receiving any income.” My wife suspects that ‘Mr council spokesman’ may be using maintenance as a bit of a red herring. I am guessing that if my wife could be bothered to have a conversation with the councillors responsible for this decision she would say; “No mate, your increase in revenue is not as important as the survival of our village centre’. If he had any sense he would not argue with her & just do as she says, I have many bruises to prove not agreeing is both futile & often painful. Just a thought, can someone tell me what significant ‘maintenance’ there is for a car park?! How about we maintain the car park? We have around 40 shops, if each contributed five pounds a week that would raise two hundred pounds weekly, and I reckon we could remove any weeds & keep the white lines lovely for that amount. My wife has suggested ‘Free two hour parking permits for residents’ to make it as easy as possible for everyone to support our village shops, but what would she know, she’s just a girl who can’t park properly anyway. Have you any idea how many extra people would shop in the village with that plan, and the additional wear & tear this would cause to our pavements!
Some cynics may say that the council now thinks of itself as a business, and may have forgotten that they are public servants, there to provide and support services for the community. Fortunately the district councillors that voted for this decision appear not to have taken into account the livelihood of our local shops, as of course a few extra quid in the councils pocket is much more important. It is always a pleasure to see our council demonstrate their commercial acumen and we can only applaud their ability to focus on raising revenue to fund critical projects like the numerous twelve foot signs along the seafront warning us that there is no lifeguard & that getting in the sea may make you wet, resurfacing the High Street in a nice sandy colour and spending one hundred & forty five thousand pounds on an essential luxury toilet block refurbishment in Keyhaven car park.
Whilst it is gratifying to witness the council maximising revenue through stealth taxes, I do not personally think these additional car parking charges go far enough. So I have another idea. It seems a little unfair that some people use the village centre pavements a bit more than others, so I think anyone stopping or walking slower than two miles an hour on the pavement should incur a charge of £1 per minute. To save costs, the collection can be made by the shop keepers as they can easily spot offenders, & of course the council are helping to ensure they are not wasting their time serving customers by keeping drivers out of the village.
An insider tells me of further council plans afoot to make the main road in & out of Milford on Sea a Toll Road, and also to tarmac the village green to make way for an industrial incinerator where can all empty our own rubbish bins. The removal of refuse collection lorries visiting the village will reduce carbon emissions & little old Milford can really do its bit to save the planet. Now all we need is a plan of what to do with the old shops once the council has emptied them.