Air Pollution (8) Alan Whitehead (11) Andrew Pope (94) Arts Complex (16) BBC Radio Solent (1) BBC South (4) Better Pay (1) Bevois (1) Bins (6) Borders (1) Brexit (13) British laws (1) Brownhill House (6) bus passes (3) care (3) careerists (1) Child Safety (5) City College (1) Compensation (1) Contact Us (1) Corbyn (9) corruption (1) Coxford (1) Crime (1) Cuckmere Lane (3) Daily Echo (4) defence (2) deficit (2) Denise Wyatt (67) Diane Abbott (1) economy (1) Ed Edworthy (4) education (5) electoral reform (1) Energy (2) English devolution (2) English Futures Party (2) EU (4) Fire Safety (15) Five Acres (1) Football (4) Foundation Trusts (11) Fox Hunting (1) Freemantle (2) General Election 2017 (8) Governance (7) green spaces (13) Grenfell Tower (3) Heritage (1) Hythe Ferry (2) Immigration (5) Independent (19) Independents (11) Isle of Wight (1) ITV Meridian (1) Jeremy Moulton (1) Julian Lewis (1) Labour (76) Labour Splits (9) LibDems (6) libraries (3) Lidl (4) Living Wage (1) lollipop people (1) Lordshill (1) Mansel Park (2) Maybush (9) McDonalds (1) Millbrook (17) Millbrook Towers (1) Momentum (1) motorbikes (1) NHS (14) nuclear weapons (1) o (1) Park and Ride (1) Parking (3) Parks (13) Paul Holmes (4) Paul Holmes. careerists (4) pensions (1) Planning (9) Police (3) Portsmouth (1) Portswood (1) potholes (1) Public Services (1) Pubs (1) Redbridge (39) Redbridge Towers (12) Redbridge Wharf Park (4) Referendum (1) Regeneration (4) road safety (7) Roads (17) Royston Smith (1) Safe Standing (6) safeguarding (8) safety (8) schools (8) security (2) Shirley (3) Shirley Towers (3) Southampton (12) Southampton City Council (27) Southampton FC (4) Southampton Independents (51) Southern Electric (3) Southern Health (12) Sport (4) Sprinklers (12) Sure Start (2) Tax havens (1) Test Lane (16) Theresa May (5) Tories (49) traffic chaos (7) TTIP (2) UKIP (4) WASPI (1) Wildlife (1) Woodside Lodge (3)

Saturday, 30 July 2016

Split Labour and Tory Parties Must Go

We Independents have posted on the problems of the Labour Party and the Conservative Party.

Both parties are outdated relics of the past Capitalist-Labour view of the world favoured by Jeremy Corbyn and other Marxists.

Both parties can't handle the modern world of politics, where the English people have delivered the verdict that the majority of MPs are out-of-touch with their constituents' views. The Brexit vote proved it.

Our outdated electoral system also needs to be overhauled.

Both Labour and Tories need to be replaced by Independents - which is pretty much what Southampton's neighbours on the Isle of Wight did, much to the surprise of Labour and Tories.

Why should they be replaced?

Because here in Southampton, no matter who has been "in control" of the Council, it is the people of Southampton that have suffered.

For example, just look at the latest project that is over time, over budget, and a hideous white elephant, the Arts Complex.

You don't have to look much further to find its predecessor, another white elephant, the Sea City Museum - both massive sinks for taxpayers money - YOUR money, whilst hundreds if not thousands of Council jobs and your public services are cut.

Maybe you wouldn't mind so much if you got a reduction in Council Tax, but despite all this waste and all these cuts, YOU PAY MORE COUNCIL TAX!

Southampton Labour is totally irresponsible as it is in chaos. As we've pointed out, the splits go down to City ward level, with councillor against councillor and member against member in their leadership battle.


the Southampton Tories are in chaos. Their local "opposition" to Labour has been found wanting. It's almost as if they didn't want to win control of the Council in the 2016 local elections!

Although the Tories bragged about how they were going to win control, they couldn't get rid of this failing Labour Council, hanging on by a majority of just two councillors.

Look at what happened when the Tories were last "in control" - strikes on the Itchen Bridge, bin bags rotting on the streets, social workers leaving the Council in their droves, vulnerable children and adults put at risk... and so on...

And despite being "in control" for four years, Labour hasn't fixed the vast majority of the problems facing Southampton City Council.

Would you agree that whether it's Labour or Tory - it's the same old story?

If you do, they should be replaced.

Meanwhile, the Labour in-fighting gets worse, even worse than we've already documented here...

Over the last day, we have learned that the Southampton Test Labour Party (for the west of Southampton), have backed Jeremy Corbyn to remain as Leader.

Last year, they were split on whether to back Jeremy Corbyn or Andy Burnham, who has subsequently given up wanting to become Leader and wants to become an elected Mayor instead of an MP.

The vote was 64 votes to 54 votes in favour of Corbyn. If this is repeated across the country, then Corbyn will remain Leader of the Labour Party - much to the dismay of Owen Smith supporters and the vast majority of Labour MPs.

Does this mean that Alan Whitehead, Southampton Test Labour MP, is at odds with his own Southampton Labour Party? He resigned from Jeremy Corbyn's Shadow Cabinet as part of what is called the "Labour Coup", undermining Dear Leader Corbyn. Labour Council Leader Councillor Simon Letts also called for Corbyn to go.

Southampton residents must wonder whether Labour Party members in Southampton Test Labour Party will be holding a vote of no confidence in Alan Whitehead, as could happened with other Labour MPs like short-lived leadership challenger Angela Eagle in Wallasey?

Will Dr Whitehead be deselected as suggested by Comrade Corbyn?

Or will he just quit?

Next week, the Southampton Itchen Labour Party (for the East of Southampton), will vote on whether to back Jeremy Corbyn or Owen Smith to be the Labour Leader. Obviously they have no Labour MP as Rowenna Davis was defeated by Tory Royston Smith.

Davis was selected to follow long-time MP John Denham under Labour's "All Women Shortlist". The latter's Tory Party has no such rules, but despite this the Tories have now had two woman Prime Ministers, with the Labour Party having none. Since her defeat, Davis has all but disappeared from the Southampton political scene.

Now the rebel Labour MPs supporting Owen Smith are reported by the national papers including the Mirror and Telegraph to be so pessimistic about his chances of beating Jeremy Corbyn, that they are plotting to try to take the Labour name with them...

What a mess.

What a rabble.

As local residents have asked us many times...

Why is Labour in-fighting, when our City isn't being looked after by the Labour Council?

It's almost as bad with the Conservatives.

At least the Tories are pretending in public that they are united behind Theresa May. Let's see if the remain "united" if May doesn't deliver the Brexit that the English people voted for, and which the Eurosceptics in the Tory Party (who wanted Leadsom, Gove or Boris as Leader) will want.

If not, May will be toast and there will be another Tory leadership contest.

Both Labour and the Tories must go. Whether it's Labour or Tory, it's the same old story.

And our outdated electoral system, both at a local level and national level, needs an urgent overhaul to make it more democratic and more representative of the English people.

Meanwhile, we Independents will keep fighting on the issues that matter to you.

Friday, 29 July 2016

Southern Health: Unexplained Deaths and Dodgy Connections

Since the end of 2015, Denise and Andrew have worked with other campaigners for real and lasting change at Southern Health NHS Foundation Trust. You can see our actions on other posts on this website.

Councillor Andrew Pope has once again asked Labour and Conservative councillors on Southampton City Council's Health Overview and Scrutiny Panel to have a vote of no confidence in the Board of Southern Health. For the second time this year, they have refused to even hold the vote.

We and other councillors were appalled when Labour Adult Social Care Cabinet Member Councillor Dave Shields tried to gag councillors from commenting on Southern Health.

We were aghast that Councillor Shields stated in response to a question at Full Council from his Tory opposite Councillor Ivan White, that he thought the new Chair of Southern Health, Tim Smart, would not be a "patsy". This was most peculiar language. So using Cllr Shields' words against him, Andrew asked him who he thought at Southern Health was a patsy? Councillor Shields refused to respond to that question. And Councillor Shields has consistently failed to properly intervene to protect Southampton residents from the neglect of Southern Health.

Why is this? 

Is it because Tim Smart is stated on the May 2016 Declaration of interests for Southern Health, and we quote:

"Member of Labour Party"

Interests must be declared.

And interests must not be abused.

We must be told whether this interest, or other interests, were influential in decision-making.

Now via the BBC this morning, we learn of allegations of connections between Southern Health and Tony Blair's Labour spin doctor Alistair Campbell:

"The BBC has also learned Southern Health has access to the services of former Labour spin doctor Alistair Campbell, after it hired Portland Communications to help with its ongoing problems."
It was also reported by the Press Association via the Daily Echo.

Questions arise:

1. Is this the same Portland Communications that has been accused of causing splits in the Labour Party?

2. Are the Labour connections one reason why Labour councillors in Southampton are silent on the neglect of Southern Health? 

3. Is this why Labour Councillor Paul Lewzey, who sits on the Board (Council) of Governors at Southern Health, refused to back an independent investigation into the failings of Southern Health?

4. And in the light of today's revelations, isn't it interesting that Katrina Percy has not declared any interests. Why? Other people in the declaration of interets have mentioned associations with others. She has mentioned none. 

5. Such revelations also raise questions about the Audit Committee which were checking the decisions made. From the Press Association article:

"The Trust's Audit Committee were aware of the contract development but were satisfied that the market rates had been tested and that for a number of reasons, it was in the best interests of the Trust for their work to continue"

We have asked for the minutes of the Audit Committee. They do not appear to be readily publicly available - but then information on Southern Health is very hard to find. Further, the Terms of Reference of the Committee are not exactly encouraging tough scrutiny. For example, a quorum of two is very low - as low as they can go. This is very worrying.


To repeat.

Interests must be declared.

And interests must not be abused.

We need to know the answers and now.

In the meantime, we were saddened to hear that one of the few Southern Health governors to actually work for change, John Lewis Green, has now resigned. We completely understand why he did.

We were heartened by the rebellion of a new Governor, Mr Bell.

There remain many vacancies on the Board of Governors. We know why. They have been treated with contempt by the Trust Board of Southern Health. But many of them simply are not up to the job of holding the Trust Board to account. And when we have tried to "educate" them in their responsibilities, the vast majority have ignored us.

The above questions need to be answered.

Southern Health needs to be broken up.

It is too big.

It is too unwieldy.

It has failed and is continuing to fail the health and wellbeing of so many people.

And the entire Trust Board and (the non-rebel) Council of Governors need to be sacked by the Minister or new elections called for the entire Council. Now.

Test Lane: Labour Betrays Redbridge

On Wednesday night, Independent Councillor Andrew Pope and Denise Wyatt attended a public meeting at the Ship Inn, Old Redbridge. Two photos of the residents assembling before the meeting are above, before even more people turned up. The Daily Echo report of the meeting is here.

Around 130 people came along, which was an excellent turnout for a residents meeting. It was standing room only. Councillor Andrew Pope says:

"I am delighted that so many people came. Some people say that people are apathethic. As demonstrated by residents of Millbrook and Maybush defeating Labour's failed Regeneration, this shows that they will come when they are passionate about an issue. Well done to Redbridge Residents Association for organising the meeting. 
Why did so many people come? Because they are so unhappy with the proposals for Test Lane that the Labour Council has pressed on with, despite fierce and sustained resistance from residents."
Councillor Pope was the only one of the three Redbridge ward councillors at the meeting.

Councillor Pope and Denise Wyatt have consistently and fiercely resisted this development from the start, as shown by the many posts on this website.

The two other councillors for Redbridge ward, Councillor Cathie McEwing and Councillor Lee Whitbread did not attend the meeting, giving "apologies". The Labour Leader of the Council Councillor Simon Letts was also invited, but also gave "apologies".

Why weren't they at this extremely important meeting?

The only councillor from Labour-controlled Southampton City Council present was Councillor Jacqui Rayment, along with three officers under her command in her role of Cabinet Member for Environment and Transport. Councillor Rayment said to residents that "we want to work with you". Councillor Rayment also said that she wasn't passing the buck, but that Planning was not her area.

Despite claiming she wasn't "passing the buck", under questioning from Denise and Andrew, Councillor Rayment claimed that the Test Lane development could not be stopped.

This is incorrect. Councillor Pope had given the Leader of the Council the opportunity to stop the sale, which he has the power to do until final planning permission is given. Councillor Simon Letts has refused to do so.

Following the meeting, Councillor Pope wrote to the Council's Planning Officer once again. His email, and the response is below (the name of the officer has been removed).

Councillor Pope has also written to the head of the Council's legal officers to clarify the legal position, but like the Planning Manager, he is on leave. Andrew has asked for another officer to respond instead.

Dear X,

I was at a very well-attended public meeting last night at the Ship Inn in relation to the Test Lane proposal.

I wonder if you could answer please:

1. Has final planning permission been issued?
2. If not, why not?
3. Planning Manager Y is on leave. Can you confirm please that under the Scheme of Delegation in the Council's Constitution, and the decision made at planning panel, he has the delegated authority to send this back to the planning panel? As I have already requested, the two-month deadline has already passed. If planning permission has not issued, this must surely now be extinguished. Agreement is not going to be reached.

From:  X
Sent: 28 July 2016 17:40
To: Pope, Andrew (Cllr)
Subject: RE: Test Lane

Dear Councillor Pope,

The answers to your questions are:

1.    Planning permission has not yet been issued but I am intending issuing the decision tomorrow as the Section 106 agreement completed yesterday.
2.    See above – we have been waiting for completion of the legal agreement.
3.    The application will not be going back to the Planning Panel. The decision is being issued in accordance with the decision of the Panel in April which I copy below:

(i)  Delegate to the Planning and Development Manager to grant planning permission subject to the amended planning conditions set out report and the amendment set out below and the completion of the S.106 Legal Agreement in the form shown in Appendix 1.

  (ii)  That the Planning and Development Manager be given delegated powers to add, vary and /or delete relevant parts of the Section 106 agreement and/or conditions as necessary. In the event that the scheme’s viability is tested prior to planning permission being issued and, following an independent assessment of the figures, it is no longer viable to provide the full package of measures set out above then a report will be bought back to the Planning and Rights of Way Panel for further consideration of the planning application.

  (iii)  That the Panel agreed that the suggestion for a Site Liaison Group would be taken forward at the discretion of the Planning and Development Manager and would not be included within the Section 106 agreement or conditions.

There has been no viability case made so (ii) above does not apply.

I hope this clarifies the position


Denise Wyatt and Andrew Pope say:

"It is totally wrong and totally unacceptable that the Labour Council intends to issue final planning permission today (Friday).   
This scheme is not proven to be viable. It is, in Evander's own words, "speculative". 
Labour is selling its land and giving planning permission on it, despite our massive campaign with residents against it. 
The Labour Council is pressing ahead with its betrayal of the people of Redbridge. 
Labour Leader of the Council Councillor Simon Letts must stop this development now, or resign. 
The two Labour councillors McEwing and Whitbread should also resign as they have done little or nothing to stop their party from pressing ahead. Mostly they have been absent. 
Travesties like this are why Redbridge needs its Independents to stand up for them. 
We will continue our fight with residents against this morally bankrupt Labour Council."

Keep fighting,
Denise and Andrew

Tuesday, 26 July 2016

Update: Labour Splits Deepen

UPDATE (2nd August 2016): The Daily Echo reported on the Labour chaos yesterday here. They confirm much of what we had already said last week, and their report also shows the open fighting between factions of the Labour Party. We say it again - Labour should not be in-fighting. It should be standing up for our country and our City. But it isn't.


(26th July 2016): Here is an update from Denise to our letter published in the Echo recently.

Labour is in a deep crisis. Meanwhile Labour MPs like Alan Whitehead involved in the "coup" against Jeremy Corbyn are letting the country down and letting Southampton down.

And the Labour Council and Labour Councillors are letting the people of Millbrook, Redbridge and Maybush down.

Remember too that the Tories are no better! Whether it's Labour or Tory, it's the same old story.

That's why we ask you to support Independents like us.

Independents focus on the issues that matter to you.

Party politics has no place in local councils.

Denise and Andrew

P.S. Update 26th July 2016 - The Labour splits and in-fighting get worse and even more funny. There is ANOTHER later letter showing even more splits - a new list of supporters of "Where's Wally?" Labour leader candidate Owen Smith. The councillors with their wards and Parliamentary constituencies (and hence Constituency Labour Parties) are:

Cllr Christopher Hammond (Woolston, Southampton Test)
Cllr Darren Paffey (Bargate, Southampton Itchen)
Cllr David Furnell (Millbrook, Southampton Test)
Cllr Hannah Coombs (Shirley, Southampton Test)
Cllr John Noon (Bargate, Southampton Itchen)
Cllr Sarah Bogle (Bargate, Southampton Itchen)
Cllr Sharon Mintoff (Swaythling, Romsey and Southampton North)

Where does this leave the Corbyn-supporting councillors like the Mayor, Councillor Cathie McEwing (Redbridge, Southampton Test)? And doesn't this put her at odds with anti-Corbyn letter signing, then not anti-Corbyn signing "comrade" Councillor Lee Whitbread (Redbridge, Southampton Test)? (see below for details)

The Labour Party is a joke from top to bottom!

It's the party members that we feel sorry for, and the communities across the country that Labour is letting down, especially in Southampton - see the rest of this website.

You couldn't make it up!


Firstly, the Echo printing of our letter suggested that both Andrew and I are councillors. I am not one - not yet. I would like to thank the people of Millbrook, Redbridge and Maybush that did vote for me. 

Secondly, since we wrote to the Echo, the letter where Southampton Labour councillors call for Corbyn to go has been changed online.* (see first link below)

Names have been added by the compiler of the letter London Labour councillor Ed Davie. Names have been removed too. What a mess. Only Labour could be so inept.

For example, Redbridge Councillor Lee Whitbread now claims he didn't approve for his name to be used in calling for Corbyn to go. * (see second link below)

This is difficult to believe. Computers are deterministic machines that act according to the instructions of the user.

Perhaps Lee Whitbread and Labour councillors didn't know whether they have clicked a link or not? But the email was very clear. * (see the process in the second link below).

Or what changed his mind? Unite member Cllr Whitbread hasn't removed his name from last year's Huffington Post letter backing Liz Kendall for Leader - not Corbyn.

Now the list of proverbial knife-wielding councillors from Southampton is a not-so-magnificent seven not five - Hammond in Woolston, Furnell in Millbrook, Paffey, Bogle and Noon all in Bargate, Rayment in Bevois and Mintoff in Swaythling. 

Working for Corbyn against the treacherous seven is the Mayor, the other Redbridge Labour Councillor McEwing. That letter hasn't changed - but there's time!

Meanwhile there is silence on the leadership leanings of the rest of them - such as the normally very loud Shirley Labour Councillor Satvir Kaur.

Are they for Corbyn or against Corbyn? Or are they sitting on the fence? What a mess.

They should put the people of Southampton first by becoming Independents and protect the City from more Labour cuts to the vulnerable.

Who of them has the strength to stand up and be counted?

All the best,
Denise Wyatt

Victory! Hated Labour Regeneration Scrapped!

Trees in Mansel Park

The Daily Echo reported yesterday what we already suspected.

Labour has admitted defeat in its four years of failure to deliver a single property in its "Regeneration" of Millbrook and Maybush.

Andrew is quoted in the Daily Echo saying:

"Labour has had over four years to deliver Millbrook and Maybush Regeneration.
So far all they've delivered to residents is anger and confusion, and a set of proposals from expensive consultants that are extremely unpopular."
Andrew also says:

"My decision to leave Labour over its failed Regeneration is completely justified.
The vast majority of residents didn't want it and I fought for their voices to be heard."

Denise and Andrew add:

"This is a Victory for the residents of Millbrook and Maybush! 
We fought for residents to have their say and to have the public meeting earlier this year. Residents rightly showed their anger at the public meeting, booing Labour Councillor Cathie McEwing when she accused them of not being interested. They were!
This proves that Residents are not "apathetic" like Councillor McEwing accused them of being at the "Steering Group" meetings. Residents are interested in their area, and in defending their area from stupid projects like Labour's Regeneration. 
Labour Cabinet Member Councillor Warwick Payne's incompetence and dishonesty has meant that he has had Regeneration taken away from him by the Labour Leader Councillor Simon Letts, who doesn't know the area either and whose admission of defeat at Full Council on Wednesday show that the last four years have been wasted. 
The Council needs to start from scratch and listen to the public first, instead of wasting more public money on consultants and development companies. Instead of building better housing, they have spent £16m of public money on the Arts Complex white elephant in the City Centre."

Sunday, 24 July 2016

Please Come - Public Meeting on Test Lane

If you live in Old Redbridge, you should have received an invitation like the one above.

Please come to the public meeting on the Test Lane development!

It is this Wednesday July 27th at 7pm at the Ship Inn.

It isn't over yet!

We continue to fight against this development.

The Daily Echo has a piece on the meeting and our work here.

Denise and Andrew

Friday, 22 July 2016

Test Lane: Our Open Letter to Developers

We have campaigned against this development for years.

We've asked the Labour Council Leader Simon Letts to stop the sale of Council land for the development. He refused. And Councillor Letts further insulted residents by suggesting they pay for a very expensive legal battle - a Judicial Review. Councillor Letts also stated that he didn't think that it was an issue that the development company is registered as a company in Jersey.

It still doesn't have final planning permission.

We have sent the below letter to the developers and their agents Evander.

We hope they scrap this development now.

We will keep fighting this development with residents.

Denise and Andrew


RE: Your South Central Proposal - Test Lane, Redbridge, Southampton
We write on behalf of hundreds of residents of Redbridge who urge you to reconsider, or preferably scrap, your plans for your unnecessary development at Test Lane / Gover Road in Southampton (so-called “South Central”). It is still very unpopular here and we advise that you will continue to receive stiff resistance from us and residents.
We have already successively delayed and modified the development, as well as adding to the conditions that you have to meet – including Section 106 and Section 278 agreements – which you still have failed to complete after such a long time. Perhaps you and Evander should have listened more carefully early on to the views of residents?
The current and future uncertainty of trading with the EU has resulted in a withdrawal of investment in property, demonstrated by several UK property investment funds ceasing trading recently.
Clearly there has been a slowdown in interest and further threats to viability are clear from an oversupply of distribution centres and warehousing that are already being built and planned in Nursling and Rownhams, very close to your proposal.
The above factors have reduced the need, the profitability and desirability of your proposed development in Test Lane. In addition, your development is “speculative” in your own words!
We repeat that we urge you to reconsider, or preferably scrap, your plans. Surely other developments are causing you less hassle and bringing less resistance than South Central?
Residents are also appalled that the Leader of Southampton City Council, Councillor Simon Letts, with whom you have negotiated a deal on his Council's land, does not believe it is a matter for the Council to decide not sell to tax havens - it’s down to Parliament he says! Do you agree? Jersey - where your Company is registered, cannot hide forever from tax penalties or increased scrutiny and democratic control. The UK HMRC have warned there are “No safe havens” - where will a crackdown leave you if Parliament acts? We believe you would struggle.
To repeat, we would also advise that we and residents will continue to campaign actively on the development. Residents are fully aware of the detail of the consent and will be monitoring every detail of the build very closely. They are being advised and guided by us – we are experienced and successful campaigners as we have already proved.
The site is also difficult with regard to wildlife as it adjoins a nature reserve that is protected by international laws; short-eared owls have repeatedly been photographed on site. There are also time limits when vegetation can be cleared and already you are behind schedule. Residents are in contact with an ecologist and Hampshire and the Isle of Wight Wildlife Trust. Unlike the Council we will protect the wildlife and environment – do you wish to do so as well?
If you do, you must scrap your unwanted and unnecessary proposal.
We await your response regarding your intentions for ceasing your investment in this site!
Be warned - the development will be watched! And the Redbridge Residents Association is motivated to stop you.

Independent Councillor Andrew Pope and Denise Wyatt
Millbrook, Redbridge and Maybush Independents

Yes - we STILL oppose the Test Lane Development

Andrew Pope and Denise Wyatt have opposed this proposed development for years. Above is just one headline they've helped to generate - this time on the front page. Other posts on this website prove this.

Commenting on the failure to actually build it, or to get final planning permission, Denise says:

"Thank you to all those people in Old Redbridge who voted for me in this year's Council elections.

You all know that Andrew and I have fought very hard against the Test Lane Development.

In contrast, the two Labour Redbridge councillors have been weak in their opposition or totally absent, and have been consistently compromised by the Labour Party and the Labour Council Leader Simon Letts who wants the money from the sale of the Council's land.

When I challenged him over the sale of the Council's land for the development, Simon Letts said in the Daily Echo in April that the Arts Complex was already paid for (see the article below).

Yet on Wednesday he went begging back to Full Council for approval to spend yet another £1.8m!*

So how are residents, already offended by his suggestion that they pay for a Judicial Review, expected to believe him?

They just don't believe this Labour Council.

They are failing and have the wrong priorities."

*Councillor Andrew Pope did not support the Council approving this money, and he is quoted in the Echo opposing it.

Test Lane Land And The Arts Complex

We are pleased that the Daily Echo has picked up on the latest episode on the scandal of Southampton's Arts Complex.

Andrew is quoted in the article.

And there is a relationship between the large amounts of money needed for the Arts Complex and the sale of land at Test Lane.

Both Labour and Tories are "in the dock" on this waste of public money at a time of huge spending cuts and cuts to jobs by Southampton City Council.

As we've said before:

Labour or Tory - Same Old Story

Back in April 2016, when challenged by Denise over the money coming from the sale of the Council's own land at the proposed Test Lane development, Labour Council Leader Simon Letts claimed in the Daily Echo that the Arts Complex was already paid for. The article is shown below.

He said, and we quote:

"It's not being spent on the arts complex, that's already been paid for."

So why did he come to Full Council on Wednesday and ask the Council to approve another £1.8m for this failing project?

It's an outrage!

And why weren't the Tories asking the right questions?

It's because they are also culpable for supporting this disastrous "Arts Complex". It adds to the other "white elephant" - the Sea City Museum whose attendance figures are consistently missing their targets.

Let us know what you think, via Twitter, Facebook or email - our contact details are on the left of this blog.

Keep fighting,
Denise and Andrew

Friday, 1 July 2016

Labour Splits Not in Our Interests

Below is the original version of a letter published in the Southern Daily Echo on Friday 1st July 2016, pointing out that the Labour Party is letting down our country and our City.

Let us know what you think of it.

Andrew and Denise.


Dear Editor,

In this time of national crisis, it is clear that both the national and the local Southampton Labour parties are split. 

Last year, the Echo reported they were split over supporting Corbyn as Labour Leader.

The Labour splits are worsening. And they are deepening.

Yesterday, Mayor and Redbridge Labour Councillor Cathie McEwing signed a public letter supporting Corbyn for Leader.

This is in stark contrast to the Council Leader, Simon Letts, who has called for Jeremy Corbyn to resign. 

And in a new letter today, Labour Councillors Paffey, Furnell, Noon, Whitbread and Mintoff have also publicly called for Corbyn to go.

Who else in the Labour Group of councillors wants Corbyn to stay? Who wants him to go? 

Why are they in-fighting now? 

Why are Labour MPs and councillors ignoring the votes of members that elect the Leader?

Not only is Labour split nationally and in Southampton, it's also split in the Redbridge ward. 

As well as signing the anti-Corbyn letter published today, the other Redbridge Councillor Lee Whitbread was one of a very small number of people who foolishly supported Liz Kendall for the leadership..

And in the EU Referendum debate in the Council, Mayor McEwing voted to Remain, but Cllr Whitbread didn't support either - his cowardly abstention was a total cop-out in a vote that was either Remain or Leave. He failed to represent Redbridge people. So Labour are split on the Brexit too!

We Independents rightly spoke up for Leave as we had listened to the people of Millbrook, Maybush and Redbridge.

Labour councillors proved they are out-of-touch with the Southampton public on Brexit by voting Remain, so it's no wonder they also can't agree on the way forward for their own party - or for our City.

And it's no wonder the Labour City Council can't do the basics - cutting the grass, mending the roads, fixing potholes, directing the traffic. They are too busy in-fighting.

As the Prime Minister said yesterday, it is not in the national interest. 

Neither is it in the interests of the people of Southampton, especially the people of Millbrook, Maybush and Redbridge.

Labour councillors and MPs should make up their minds - or like Andrew did a year ago, quit the Labour Party to protect the people of Southampton from more Labour cuts and more Labour shambles.

Councillor Andrew Pope and Denise Wyatt
Millbrook, Redbridge and Maybush Independents