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Monday, 24 July 2017

Dangerous Motorbikes

Rogue motorbikes in Millbrook

Rogue motorbike riding illegally in Millbrook

Residents have been complaining for us for years about rogue motorbikes in Millbrook, Maybush, Lordshill and Redbridge.

Southampton Independents Councillor Andrew Pope says:

"Report them to 101, or via Crimestoppers.  
Police have confiscated bikes and raided houses when they have information from local residents.  
And I've told Tory head of Police Michael Lane (the elected Police and Crime Commissioner) he needs to ACT now. 
This has gone on for long enough. 
The Police need to be given the resources and equipment to get it sorted before more people get killed or injured, like they have in other parts of the country."

Tuesday, 18 July 2017

Labour Council Closing Another Care Facility

The Labour Rose is Wilting Again
The Labour-run Council is closing another care facility.

How can this be, when Jeremy Corbyn claims that Labour Councils look after the vulnerable?

Is Jeremy Corbyn a liar? Yes.

People have been conned into thinking he is honest. But Corbyn isn't. You only have to look at the Labour Manifesto from the 2017 General Election to see this.

Corbyn had no hope of delivering his promise to vote down the Queen's Speech. And he didn't.

Corbyn has no hope of ever delivering his promise on student loans, as admitted by his own Shadow Cabinet colleague, the clueless Angela Rayner.

Corbyn has no hope of delivering his promise to nationalise the water companies. Where would the money come from - it would cost tens of billions if not hundreds of billions? And for what gain to the public?

Corbyn's promises are worth nothing more than the paper they are printed on.

Does the Labour-run Southampton City Council look after the vulnerable? No. They are as bad, if not worse, than the Tories because of these lies by Jeremy Corbyn and the Labour Council.

Leader of Southampton Independents, Denise Wyatt, says:

Denise Wyatt, Candidate for Redbridge Ward
in May 2018

"Kentish Road is a respite facility that has proved to be a vital facility by offering a life-line to carers of people with a learning disability by providing them with regular breaks.
Southampton Independents has been working with parents of disabled children. I know what it is like for those parents, because I have a disabled son who is now an adult and receives care.
Parents Amanda Guest, Clare Parsons and Lisa Stead will be making a deputation to the Labour run Southampton City Council on Wednesday 19th July 2017 to stop the Kentish Road respite facility from closing. Please support them by signing the petition at the link below. And come along to see them speak to the Council!
Southampton Independents will be there!"
The petition is here.

Southampton Independents Councillor Andrew Pope says:

Councillor Andrew Pope

"The Labour-run Council has closed Brownhill House care facility on Lower Brownhill Road.
It should be re-opened.
People who worked at Whitehaven Lodge were transferred to Brownhill House when the Tories closed Whitehaven. Now Whitehaven Lodge is flats and houses.
Labour is repeating what the Tories did, because they want to sell off Brownhill House for housing. And people who worked at Brownhill have been transferred to Kentish Road.
Labour is closing Kentish Road as well!
It's yet another case of Labour or Tory, same old story.
Vote for Denise Wyatt as the Southampton Independents candidate for Redbridge ward in May 2018."

Friday, 14 July 2017

Update on Burst Water Main

Earlier today, Southampton Independents Councillor Andrew Pope received the following information from Emergency Planning staff regarding the burst water main at Chandler's Ford that threatened water supplies in Southampton.

"You may have heard about an incident affecting a burst water main in Chandler's Ford this morning, which has closed two schools and affected a number of homes.
I have been working with emergency planning colleagues at Hampshire County Council and with Southern Water to understand the extend of the incident and the process for resolution. 
The information we have currently is that a water main has burst affecting the surrounding area, in order to fix this it is likely that the mains water will need to be turned off. 
The postcodes affected are:
SO15,  SO16 , SO18, SO19, SO21, SO22, SO30, SO31, SO50, SO51, SO52, SO53, SP11"

These postcodes include areas of Southampton.

Councillor Andrew Pope

As of 1pm today, Councillor Pope has received the following information:

"Following the incident this morning, we have now had notification from Southern Water that the incident is concluded and is now manageable internally within Southern Water.  The leak has now been isolated with homes being diverted onto other supplies, that includes customers that may have been effected in the Southampton area.  The homes in the immediate vicinity are still without water but that is limited to the Hursley area.  The Southern Water incident manager has reiterated that anyone still experiencing problems can contact Southern Water directly for assistance."

Andrew says: 

"If you were affected by the incident, or have any information about what happened, please contact us."

Monday, 3 July 2017

UPDATED: Sprinklers - Don't Believe Labour's Spin

Fire lit in a demonstration trailer
Today at Albion Towers in Golden Grove, Southampton Independents attended a demonstration by the Dorset and Wiltshire Fire Service of sprinklers. 

It is important to note that this was NOT a sprinkler demonstration in any tower block. They are still not operational, despite it being SEVEN years and THREE months since Shirley Towers.

While we were there, we took the opportunity to put the Labour-run Council under more pressure, asking more questions about what they have promised in response to our campaign for sprinklers in all of Southampton City Council's tower blocks.

Fire put out by sprinklers in the trailer

The demonstration showed how important sprinklers are, and why our campaign is so urgent. The sprinklers put out the fire very quickly, and it was finished off by a firefighter.


Denise Wyatt
Denise Wyatt, Leader of Southampton Independents' campaign for sprinklers in ALL Southampton Council blocks said:

"Southampton City Council have finally agreed with our campaign that we started after Redbridge Towers. Sprinklers save lives. What a u-turn they've made.

Yet senior Council officers, including the Head of Property Assets and the Service Director for Adults, Housing and Communities, have confirmed that there is no programme for funding the sprinklers in all blocks, and that there is no schedule for the works either.

So the Council is putting out spin, not costed plans. As Public Enemy once said, "Don't believe the hype"!

Further, there was also confusion amongst residents today when or if Redbridge Towers, Millbrook Towers and Canberra Towers would be done this year, as announced by the Leader of Southampton City Council Simon Letts. Council officers were also unclear where the money was coming from, even for these THREE blocks, let alone the remaining FOURTEEN blocks.

We suggest that the Labour councillors are being economical with the truth and placing the Labour Party ahead of the safety of Southampton's residents.

For example, Cllr Letts has already told Cllr Pope that he won't tell him where money is coming from, because Cllr Pope isn't a member of the Labour Party. What a disgrace.

There remains a confusing policy position from the Council. This is demonstrated in the confusing picture given to media and councillors over funding and timing. Residents need answers, NOW.

Southampton Independents will hold the Labour-run Council to their promise to install sprinklers in ALL TWENTY Council tower blocks."

UPDATE (1830 hours, 3rd July 2017):

Southampton Independents Councillor Andrew Pope said on ITV Meridian News this evening:

"(Sprinklers) need to be installed in all tower blocks. 
(Southampton Independents) will continue to put pressure on the Council to install them in all tower blocks, until they've actually come up with the money and the schedule for doing it. 
They don't have a schedule and they don't have the money."

Friday, 23 June 2017

Council TOTALLY Caves In to Our Sprinkler Campaign – But Questions Remain

Leader of Southampton Independents Denise Wyatt

Leader of Southampton Independents, Denise Wyatt, makes the following announcement on behalf of Southampton Independents and local residents who campaigned with us:

"Working with local residents, Southampton Independents has TOTALLY won! 

Southampton Independents are delighted that after months of campaigning (see elsewhere on this website) we have a statement from the Council that sprinklers will be installed in ALL Southampton Council tower blocks. 

Southampton Independents welcomes the news that the Council has listened.

But questions remain on WHEN will sprinklers be installed and when funding will be clear for ALL high rise blocks in the City, not just a small number.

The Council don't know where the funding is coming from, for the vast majority of tower blocks.

We don’t want Labour Council spin, we want details of when and how. Things are still unclear.

There is no justification for Southampton City Council as Landlords to deny residents the maximum safety.

Southampton Independents will continue our campaign until ALL sprinklers have actually been INSTALLED and are WORKING in ALL Council-owned tower blocks in Southampton."

Thursday, 15 June 2017

Sprinklers: Questions the Council Need to Answer - NOW!

Redbridge Towers
After the Redbridge Towers, Shirley Towers and now Grenfell Tower fires, Southampton City Council need to urgently answer the questions below in the bottom of this post.

Southampton Independents Councillor Andrew Pope has today asked these questions to the Labour Leader of the Council, Councillor Simon Letts, copying in Cabinet Member for Housing Councillor Warwick Payne.

Councillor Pope on ITV Meridian News
holding Southampton City Council to account

Let's not forget that as recently as April 2017, Councillor Payne dismissed residents' concerns about the lack of sprinklers, which was shortly after the Redbridge Towers fire. Councillor Payne said residents didn't want sprinklers! What a liar! Residents DO want sprinklers. He also said there isn't enough money! That is also untrue. 

Councillor Payne needs to go, or to be sacked by the Leader of the Council.

If you want to see what Councillor Payne looks like, he's the one in the second row from the bottom, holding both his hands up, in the below photo. Is it because he is doubly guilty of putting the public at risk by his lies? You may think that, but Southampton Independents couldn't possibly comment! Here are his contact detailsAsk him why he has failed to protect residents in high-rise blocks.

The Labour Group of Councillors - Yes, Guilty
The Councillor behind him is Labour Councillor Sharon Mintoff. She is paid an allowance to stand up for the safety of Southampton residents on the Hampshire Fire and Rescue Authority - councillors which are supposed to hold the Fire Service to account. When Councillor Pope asked her to tell him what she had done to promote sprinklers - she declined to respond - twice in writing and once in person. Here are her contact details - ask her why she did nothing!

It is therefore fair to say that Councillor Mintoff did nothing to promote fire safety in high-rise blocks.

Perhaps with the massive response to Southampton Independents supporter Tracy Cutler's petition, with over 65,000 signatures since it was created yesterday, Councillor Payne might now change his mind that residents don't want sprinklers? The petition is embedded on our page here. If you haven't signed Tracy's vital petition, please do so and share it widely.

And now perhaps Southampton City Council will change its mind, and fit sprinklers to ALL Southampton high-rise blocks?

We will see, when we get the answers that Southampton residents deserve.

The Chief Fire Officer of Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service, Dave Curry, is still yet to answer the questions we have asked for months now, and asked again.

Firefighters put their lives on the line, but they shouldn't have to if the Council and Fire Service managers like him are doing their jobs properly.

What does Chief Curry and Southampton City Council have to hide?

They must both be held to account. Help Southampton Independents to do that by asking the same questions of the Leader of the Council. Here are his contact details. Thank you.

This is a matter of public safety.


E-mail follows;

Dear Councillor Letts,

When you were on BBC Radio Solent this morning, responding to the Southampton Independents campaign with residents for sprinklers in all high rise blocks, you appeared to indicate that money would be allocated for Redbridge and Millbrook Towers.

1. What is this money?

2. What is it for?

3. Where is it coming from?

4. When will the works be done?

5. What will the works entail?

When I asked Cllr Payne in April about sprinklers, he dismissed the idea completely. He said residents didn't want sprinklers. He also said there wasn't the money.

For your information, one of Southampton Independents' supporters T Cutler has created a petition on the topic yesterday. It currently has almost 20,000 supporters and is growing rapidly.

6. Cllr Payne - do you still maintain that residents don't want sprinklers?

7. Why has not a single sprinkler been installed for SEVEN YEARS after the Shirley Towers tragedy, and over TWO YEARS after it was decided to do the 3 blocks? The Council statement sent yesterday confirms this.

8. And finally, I will give you both one last chance - will you commit to installing sprinklers in ALL of Southampton's high rise blocks, and by when?

Sign the Petition: We Are STILL Campaigning for Sprinklers - Are you?

The fire damaged Redbridge Towers
The Grenfell Tower tragedy in London has brought attention in Southampton back to fire safety in our City, and the Shirley Towers tragedy in 2010 where two firefighters were killed.

After the Redbridge Towers Fire in April this year, we listened to residents who wanted sprinklers installed. It is accepted that sprinklers save lives, and would likely have stopped the loss of lives at Shirley Towers.

Here is some of the work that we did with residents.

We listened to you and stood up for you. We worked with you to generate the headlines in the Daily Echo and spoke up for you on ITV Meridian News.

Councillor Andrew Pope standing up for you in the Daily Echo
Daily Echo back in April 2017
Councillor Pope on ITV Meridian outside Redbridge Towers

Back in April, Southampton Independents Councillor Andrew Pope requested Southampton City Council to install sprinklers.

You can see the disgraceful responses from Labour Councillor for Housing Warwick Payne here. He dismissed residents concerns.

Do you agree that Warwick Payne should resign or be sacked?

After the Grenfell Tower tragedy, and thinking of the safety of Southampton residents, Councillor Pope has been standing up for you and putting pressure on Southampton City Council and Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service by speaking on BBC Radio Solent yesterday and today, being quoted in the Daily Echo today and Andrew will be appearing on Wave 105 radio later today.

The Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service policy is that sprinklers should be installed in high-rise blocks. Here is a section from the policy:

Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service Sprinkler Policy

The Council have tried to make out they have taken adequate steps on safety. Residents are not reassured. One resident, a former employee of Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service, contacted us this morning to say:
"I have just had a letter in last few minutes from Council, reference the fire in London and what the council are doing re ECU improvement works (cladding). They intend to do all blocks and assure us the materials they are using are naturally fire resistant, but there is they say following London fire, nothing at all to suggest the system is unsafe in any way. How they can say that before there has been a full investigation I don't Know!"
Another resident has contacted us to say:

"I think it's the same tripe they put out after every incident"

As Councillor Pope told BBC Radio Solent yesterday, residents are NOT reassured.

We work to expose failures and cover-ups. And Redbridge Towers is another one.

Why do we do this? We put pressure on those who have failed to protect you. Why?

Because Southampton Independents listen to you.

Southampton Independents work for you.

Southampton Independents stand up for you.

One of our supporters has created a petition to change the law to improve fire safety. She lost a friend in the Lakanal disaster in London in 2009. Why does the law need to be changed? Because it can't be left to councils like Southampton City Council, when they ignore residents like Warwick Payne did. Please sign and share this petition widely. If it doesn't appear below, please click this link.

Like our Facebook page "Southampton Independents" for updates, follow our Twitter feed @SotonIndies and keep coming back to our website.