I began the previous week by endeavouring to complete the E-mail to Paul Fisher, of Hayling Island Residents Association, about the Hayling Island second bridge. As it turned out the delay helped because it gave me time to think more about the ramifications of the situation.
Although it seems there has been a long-standing interest in such a bridge, the level of that interest had only become apparent to me in the last few months, particularly with an article in the “Hayling Islander” newspaper in November 2003. It came up again in the March 2004 edition of the same paper. As a result I ‘phoned Paul Fisher to ask him if he knew that I had proposed such a bridge in the spring of 1999. He had not and that came as no surprise to me whatever.
In 1998 I had almost succeeded in setting up the Technology Diversification Centre but had that taken from me and wrecked. During the process of setting it up I was heavily involved with new materials in civil engineering and knew of a technology demonstrator bridge built with composite materials in Aberfeldy, Scotland. I proposed a next step, next generation, bridge as a second bridge for Hayling Island. Two major International Civil Engineering Groups were interested in pursuing the idea and seeking funds from Europe to build it; I had discussed the matter with very senior people in both Companies. I wrote to Havant Borough Council about the bridge suggestion but they were not interested.
(The story of the Aberfeldy bridge will appear on a page of my business Web Site (www.rlkassociates.co.uk) at some stage and possibly on my Journal Web Site, the latter being, at present, a draft Site on my computer; as will the reasons such large Companies were interested in being involved and why it would have benefited the region.)
In summary, the bridge now suggested and wanted could have been built four years ago at a low to zero cost to the region.
This week we received copy of “Serving You” the Havant Borough Council Quarterly Magazine with the Post.
The cast of “Eastenders” had recently been to Hayling Island, which is part of the Borough, to film a few episodes. (For those outside of the UK, who have not heard of it, “Eastenders” is a BBC Soap Opera.) There had been several articles about those events in “The News” (Portsmouth Newspaper) and the “Hayling Islander” in recent weeks. “Serving You” had an article extending over more than half a page.
The “Serving You” article mentioned an “Albert Square” street sign, signed by the cast, which will be put up for auction to benefit the Mayor of Havant’s Charity and that, “It’s also worth noting a vast amount of publicity is generated when Eastenders go on location”.
As Lorelei and I are worth at lest £8 million Pounds a year to the Borough and our story would generate world-wide publicity, it is very odd that the Council does not promote us for the benefit of the Borough. That is quite apart from the hundreds of millions of Pounds each year we are worth to an area across a great swathe of the South of England plus, of course, Germany. (The estimates are based on extensive conversations and consultations with business people of high local and international standing.) it would certainly cost the Borough no more than publicising the Eastender's visits. There has not been the slightest mention of us in "Serving You" or anywhere else.
The article also points out that local shops served the cast and crew.
Obviously, the story of Lorelei and I, the strong connection with the Borough, including Hayling Island, would not only do the same but also for far longer, several years rather than a few weeks.
The same article quoted Andy Jackson, the BBC Location Manager, as estimating that £350,000 had gone back into the Borough as a result of the location filming; something the Council seems pleased with going by the tone of the article.
A few days previously there had been an advertisement in “The News” (Portsmouth) for Economic Development Officer at Havant Borough Council. It extolled the virtues of helping build up the local economy. All very strange when they are ignoring a gift worth millions of Pounds a year.
Early the following week “The News” reported and commented on the millennium tower fiasco. It had cost the City about £8M. little did they know that by certain people blocking the story of Lorelei and I coming out Havant was losing that every year and Portsmouth three times that every year, let alone all of the other areas affected.
I attended a Business Lunch, courtesy of Brittany Ferries on Wednesday 10th March. The invitation was from Portsmouth and South East Hampshire Partnership. The guest speaker was John Bird founder of “The Big Issue”. He turned out to be as knowledgeable and amusing as expected.
Unfortunately, I was not able to arrive at the very beginning due to a morning appointment.
To start with I did not recognise anyone there, then realised that Gwen Andrews, Managing Director of Havant Borough Council, was at the row of tables behind me. From what she had said at a warbling ton and Denvilles Residents Association meting in May 2003, I had thought there would be large changes in the Council. In a way there had been but not the ones necessarily expected. Moreover, considering her experiences with the Australian Government and various other information I found out about her on the Internet I could not see much of a match between what I assumed was a good level of integrity and what I knew of certain matters. It made me wonder if she really had been put fully in the picture.
The lunch was on the MV Normandie and we had to make sure we were off of the ship by 2.30 p.m. as it was leaving for France soon afterwards.
There seemed to be no immediate provision for vegetarians. A vegetarian dish came later, after Mark Baker, of the University of Portsmouth, and I had helped ourselves to some more salad, assuming that nothing else would be forthcoming. It came later. Mark kept with the salad and I soon wished I had. I was unable to eat more than a few mouthfuls as the vegetarian option as the cheese constituent of the dish was too strong.
Anyway, I spoke to a few people as we left, including members of staff of the Portsmouth and South East Hampshire Partnership. From what had been said at the lunch it was something worth supporting, which I would be in a far better position to do once past the present block.