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Wednesday, 28 September 2016

Improve our Parks and Heritage - Don't Cut Them!

Redbridge Wharf Park looking out over Southampton Water

An Extract from our 2015 Redbridge Rally Leaflet

For over a year now, Independent Councillor Andrew Pope has been working to protect the heritage in the Old Redbridge / Redbridge Village part of the Redbridge ward, and working to improve it.

When researching the heritage of the area, Andrew discovered in 2015 that the two old bridges at Redbridge, next to the newer road bridges, were being neglected by both Southampton City Council and Hampshire County Council.

The eastern bridge at Redbridge (Anchor pub on right)

These bridges are grade-II listed buildings and scheduled ancient monuments. The site of the bridges is chock full of history, as is Redbridge Village itself. But it has been neglected for too long.

The neglect may have been because they are on the boundary between the two council's land. There may have been other reasons too, like successive Labour and Tory administrations of Southampton City Council cutting the number of staff working on conservation to its absolute bare bones.

So Andrew took the initiative and spoke with officers of both councils.

Over the past year, Andrew has worked with Hampshire County Council to produce plans for improving the site. These plans are now being put into action, and works were occurring on site today when we visited with Network Rail.

Andrew has also spoken with the Angling Trust and the Police about illegal fishing on the site.

Today, Andrew and his Redbridge Independents colleague Denise Wyatt, met with Network Rail, SCAPPS and CoSS to discuss Network Rail's plans for putting sidings at Redbridge Wharf Park.

Redbridge Wharf Park
The Council Has Let the Park Deteriorate


This was the second site meeting, and Network Rail's plans are being blocked by Andrew's objections to their plans to take away some of the Park. SCAPPS and CoSS have also objected.

Andrew and Denise have pledged to protect Redbridge's parks, so unless Network Rail provide an alternative site to mitigate the removal of part of Redbridge Wharf Park, we will continue to object to their proposal.

Andrew suggested months ago that improving the Redbridge bridges and opening them up to the public, as well as improving what remains of the Park, may be suitable mitigation. But Network Rail were not initially keen on his suggestion. They claimed a footbridge would cost too much, and cited other "reasons" why it couldn't be done.

However, at today's meeting, under pressure from Andrew and Denise working with SCAPPs and CoSS, there was some movement from Network Rail. Network Rail confirmed that they will be contributing to a scheme. They agreed to come up with revised plans "as soon as possible".

So we await Network Rail's updated plans, with details of how they will provide suitable parks for local residents to enjoy.

In addition, we do not believe that residents next to the proposed sidings are properly aware of the proposals. We believe that they would object to the noise and light pollution, especially if it was 24-hour.

So we also await answers to our questions from Network Rail.

Tuesday, 27 September 2016

Updated: Stop the Violence!


Above is the letter on the recent violence towards buses and taxis in Redbridge. It was printed in the Daily Echo on 27th September 2016.

The original text is below for your convenience:

"I am disappointed to hear of mindless violence from a tiny minority towards buses, taxis and people in the Redbridge ward of Southampton that I am proud to represent and live in.
This has happened before and with the community's help, we have dealt with it before.
I met with the bus companies and Police on Friday. 
I told them that I won't stand for a tiny minority ruining life for the majority of residents in our wonderful area. I told them that I would wholeheartedly assist to stop the culprits.
You should notice an increased Police presence in the area, and on buses. It is extremely important that residents work together with me as their local councillor, the bus companies and the Police. 
If you have any information, please tell Redbridge Independents via our Hampshire Red blog (http://hampshirered.blogspot.com), tell the Police on 101, or contact Crimestoppers at https://crimestoppers-uk.org/ or on 0800 555 111.
Thanks,Councillor Andrew PopeMillbrook, Redbridge and Maybush Independents"
Hampshire Police have posted this on their website.

Saturday, 24 September 2016

Employers Must Pay A Living Wage



In Hampshire and across England, we are campaigning with the English Futures Party for all employers to pay the minimum of the Real Living Wage - £8.25 per hour, to all staff over 18.

Independent Councillor Andrew Pope, also Leader of the English Futures Party says:


"The Real Living Wage is £8.25 per hour. It is much higher than the National Minimum Wage.
Paying the Real Living Wage to all over 18s removes confusion about the different grades of minimum wage for different ages. 
The Real Living Wage is also higher than sacked Tory Chancellor George Osborne's botched National Living Wage, which isn't a living wage at all but another confusing grade to the minimum wage.
If you are an adult and doing the job, you should be treated as an adult and paid as an adult, not as a child as some employers seem to want to."
The news comes as Councillor Pope was quoted in the national media (Daily Mail) and local media in Southampton (Daily Echo), as he has asked HMRC to investigate Southampton FC on the minimum wage. Andrew told the Daily Echo:

“I have been campaigning to improve staff pay in football for years, because the pay gap couldn't be bigger between players, agents and staff. 
Football clubs need to set an example to other employers in the area. Other employers have been "named and shamed" by HMRC as flouting the minimum wage, as reported by the Daily Echo. I have reported Southampton FC because I believe I have evidence to warrant an investigation by HMRC. 
With such large sums of money sloshing around at football clubs, it appears to be what Lord Alan Sugar has referred to as the ‘Prune Juice Effect’ with the money going straight through the clubs from TV deals and into the pockets of players and agents. 
This is wrong. 
They can prove they care about their staff by paying a decent wage, the Real Living Wage as set by the Living Wage Foundation, to all staff. This is only £8.25 per hour, a lot less than players like Charlie Austin get, for sure!”

Councillor Pope has also spoken with some of the local Hampshire companies who were "named and shamed" by HMRC for paying below the minimum wage. They told him that they were now compliant and had made an "honest mistake". HMRC listed almost 200 companies across the country.

Blackpool FC and Brighton and Hove Albion FC were exposed in HMRC's list, and we have reason to believe that other professional football clubs are flouting the minimum wage.

Join us to campaign for better pay, better job satisfaction and better job security.

Friday, 23 September 2016

Bonkers Strikes Back!

Southern Electric dug AROUND the car!


We posted recently about a car that appeared to have been abandoned in a Redbridge street. And a utility company had dug AROUND the car, because the owner had allegedly refused to move it.

You loved it! It went viral!

Here is an update from Councillor Andrew Pope:

"I was told by an officer of the Council that the car was not there when another officer visited. But I visited the site this week and it was still there. I checked with one of the residents who said she had not noticed that it had been moved.
"There were no signs of it having been moved either, as very old leaves remained on the front and back windscreens. I have asked again for the vehicle to be investigated.
"And I can confirm that the utility company was Southern Electric. That company and I have had a few ding-dongs over the years, as shown on this blog!" 

What do you think of this?

Do you think it shows how inefficient the Council can be?

Do you think Southern Electric should be made to re-instate the road, particularly as it in an area with a lot of listed buildings?

And do you think Southern Electric should have been allowed to move the vehicle, against the will of the owner?

Contact us and tell us what you think.

Monday, 19 September 2016

Bonkers?

A road in Redbridge, Southampton

You may have seen some pretty bonkers things on our roads. But how about this?

We Independents were contacted by Redbridge residents in relation to a parked car that appeared to have been abandoned, because it had been left in the same location for a long time.

A utility company had apparently asked the owner to move it, but the owner had refused.

So the utility company dug around the car, instead of digging in a straight line!

We later reported the "abandoned" vehicle to officers of Southampton City Council, who duly investigated.

But in between the short time of reporting it and the officers visiting the site, it had been moved.

Contact us to tell us - What do you think of this? Is it bonkers, or did the utility company do the right thing?

This is one of the more unusual pieces of work that we've had this month!

All the best,
Andrew and Denise

Thursday, 15 September 2016

Southampton and Portsmouth To Join? We need a Referendum!


The controversial Spinnaker Tower, Portsmouth
Image: By XrysD - Own work, CC BY 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=10131879
Do you want Southampton to join with Portsmouth? Yesterday's Daily Echo reported an amusing mistake on a French airport's view of Southampton and Portsmouth.

This is what Labour and Tory politicians want to happen. And they're doing it without involving the people who live in the two cities that are separated by twenty-odd miles and some would say, other things.

But so-called “English Devolution” has largely been conducted without the say of English citizens.

Locally here on the South Coast, the vast majority of people haven't even heard of the "Solent Devolution Deal".

Yet self-appointed "leaders" of Southampton City Council and Portsmouth City Council have carried it on, behind the scenes.

And a sham consultation is being conducted.

Thankfully, people on the Isle of Wight have fought back - forcing the Council to agree to a referendum on any deal.

But in Southampton and Portsmouth, the "leaders" haven't agreed to a referendum - yet.

Independents in Southampton, including Councillor Andrew Pope, have been pushing for one ever since devolution was mentioned.

And now Portsmouth campaigner Blair Breton has created two petitions to enable citizens to have their say, and not allow devolution to be about politicians stitching it up for other politicians. Already, over 200 people have signed up.

One petition is aimed at local councils and the other petition is aimed at Government.

This is a cross-party campaign, and a campaign for Independents too, because it is so important.

PLEASE SIGN BOTH PETITIONS!

The Government petition is located at: https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/165665

The Council petition is located at: https://you.38degrees.org.uk/petitions/solent-devolution-the-people-not-politicians-must-decide

You can also respond to the “consultations” here. Sadly their deadline is 18th September 2016, as it was decided to hold most of the "consultation" over the summer holidays - how odd? Some would suggest they don't really want to listen to you!

Sunday, 4 September 2016

VICTORY? The EU's TTIP is dead?



News sources such as Breitbart are reporting that the EU-USA trade deal TTIP is dead. The Guardian are also reporting it. But is it really dead? President Obama didn't seem to know at the G20, as he referred to talks continuing.

Independent Councillor Andrew Pope says:
"I've been a vocal critic of TTIP for years, campaigning locally, nationally and internationally via MEPs.
So I'm delighted if it is indeed dead, but it is important to remember that in any post-Brexit trade deals, that the many negative aspects of the TTIP are not repeated in those trade deals."
What do you think should be in our new trade deals?

What do you think should not be in those deals?

And when do you think is the right time to trigger Article 50?



Thursday, 1 September 2016

Labour Splits Deepen Even More



The Labour Party is even more split than it was before.

The Labour Rose is even more out-of-date and decrepit than it has been for decades.

Labour is split in Parliament.

Labour is split in local areas and in local Labour parties.

It seems to be operating two parties in the same party - those for Corbyn and in Momentum and those against Corbyn.

All the while it should be running our City. But it isn't. 

For example, the recent Lottery decision to not award children's health funding to Southampton City Council due to fears over poor leadership. We Independents have been criticising the lack of leadership by Labour for some time. Now the Independent Lottery assessors have agreed.

But the problems are much more widespread.

Basic Council services are failing, and Labour is scared to address these failings because they place themselves and their Party above the people of Southampton - the very people they are supposed to represent. Those people that Corbyn claims that Labour protects - but they don't. In Swansea, Labour openly admits its failures but rallies for Corbyn!

Labour in Southampton doesn't do what Corbyn claims. As we pointed out, in Southampton, instead of taking responsibility for their own failures, Labour continues to blame the Tories. What a cop out!

Now the Daily Echo has a photo showing 17 Labour members clearly supporting Owen Smith for Labour Leader. Or rather, 17 people plus people who are either out of shot or hiding behind other people. Why would they hide? Is it because they are ashamed of Labour's failures?

Let's not forget that Owen Smith wants a second Brexit referendum, ignoring the democratic will of the people to Leave the EU. And it was Corbyn that advocated triggering Article 50 immediately after the vote - then changing his mind. How can anybody trust the Labour Party, no matter which "Leader" they choose?

Labour members are choosing between potential disaster and proven failure.

And no matter who they choose, it won't mean they will win the next General Election.

And no matter who they choose, it won't end their splits nationally or locally.

Added to the existing further splits, is yet another list (*below) of Southampton councillors supporting Owen Smith for Labour Leader.

Which other Labour councillors and which other Labour members support the other part of the two parties in one (Corbyn versus Smith)? 

What will the other Labour councillors and members do when Corbyn wins again, as is widely predicted?

Instead of in-fighting, they should be running our City. Do you agree? 

What have you, your family and your area been affected by failings of the Labour Council in Southampton? Please get in touch and tell us!

This is why we say that you are better off with Independents who work on the issues that matter to you, not party politics.

Contact us to work with you to win for you, your area and your family.

Best wishes
Councillor Andrew Pope and Denise Wyatt

*The below list is taken from the LabourList updated list.

CllrChristopher HammondSouthampton
CllrDarren PaffeySouthampton
CllrDavid FurnellSouthampton
CllrHannah CoombsSouthampton
CllrJacqui RaymentSouthampton
CllrJohn JordanSouthampton
CllrJohn NoonSouthampton
CllrLee WhitbreadSouthampton
CllrSarah BogleSouthampton
CllrSharon MintoffSouthampton
CllrSue BlatchfordSouthampton