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Saturday, 17 December 2016

Time Is Running Out for the Hythe-Southampton Ferry

Campaigner Andrew Pope

Employees of the Hythe Ferry are still worried about their jobs, with the 90-day consultation period for redundancies hanging over them.

And the users of the Ferry, whether from the Southampton side of Southampton Water or the Waterside side, are still unsure whether the service will continue.

Meanwhile, congestion and air quality declines on Southampton's roads because the Ferry service is failing our area.

From our meetings and conversations with residents and other interested parties, it appears that the Hythe Pier Train and Ferry Action Group, under the current self-appointed leadership, is incorrectly named.

As previously posted here, and gathering a lot of attention from residents of Southampton and the Waterside (we know the website stats!), it appears that this Action Group is not interested in Southampton, despite the fact that it is the Hythe to Southampton Ferry.

Campaigner Denise Wyatt
Why would this be?

Because it appears to us and others that under the current leadership, the Hythe "Action Group" is not really interested in the Hythe Ferry.

It only seems to be interested in the Hythe Pier. Surely this can't be true. But if it is then it needs to be renamed to the "Hythe Pier Action Group", surely?

Strangely, one of the self-appointed leaders even accused us Southampton campaigners of "bluster".

Meanwhile, we experienced and genuine campaigners to save the Hythe to Southampton Ferry and the Pier have been busy trying to save both the Pier and the Ferry.

Since our last update, we have met and had discussions with businesses, including a potential operator. We've been in touch with several councils involved in the future of the Ferry and especially regarding its landing on the Southampton side of Southampton Water.

We also note Mr Willcock's letter this week in the Daily Echo. We agree with him. Time is running out for the Hythe Ferry and the situation is serious.

The "Action Group" does want to save the Ferry, doesn't it, or is it really only interested in the Hythe Pier? Why is it dithering?

We've got breaking news for them too.

This week, a group of Southampton residents called Southampton Friends of Hythe Pier, has submitted an application to list Hythe Pier as an Asset of Community Value, which would give the Southampton Friends of Hythe Pier extra legal rights to bid on the Pier, if it is put up for sale.

This group was organised by Andrew Pope and Denise Wyatt, with assistance from other campaigners. Perhaps it will be Southampton residents that prove to be the saviours of Hythe Pier.

We will continue to deliver substantially on our campaigns, while the leadership of the "Action Group" continues to dither and only gives the image of doing something.

If you want to join us in our campaigns, Contact Us.

Andrew Pope and Denise Wyatt

Founders, Southampton Friends of Hythe Pier

Monday, 12 December 2016

Football Needs Change

The Campaign for Reform in Football

With today's BBC headlines on the English Football Association (The FA), Independent Councillor Andrew Pope has made a statement on the website of the Campaign for Reform in Football, which he was involved in founding.

Wednesday, 7 December 2016

Children at Risk - Labour or Tory, Same Old Story

Our latest "Redbridge Rally" newsletter

It takes us Independents to raise the failures that both Labour and Conservative parties have failed to address.

Just as with the scandal of the Arts Complex millions, supported by Labour and the Conservatives, the two-party system has failed the City of Southampton for too long.

Whilst the Arts Complex drains public funds, children are being put at risk and care centres for the elderly have been closed.

Whether it is Labour or Tory, it's the same old story.

We are very grateful to the Southern Daily Echo for two articles on child safety that they have recently published:

Independent Councillor Andrew Pope is quoted in both articles, saying:

"After many years, there continue to be very serious problems with the council's Children's Services. Neither the Conservatives, nor Labour, have addressed these problems and children continue to be put at risk by the council's failures."


"Independent Redbridge ward representative Councillor Andrew Pope claimed the high staff turnover meant that increasing numbers of “inexperienced” social workers who are making “incorrect” assessments resulting in more children going into care. He said: “They still have issues with recruitment and retention. Something drastic has got to happen. They have to bring Ofsted back here.”

We have thanked the journalist Maxwell Kusi-Obodum for writing the articles and wished him well in his new job after leaving the Echo.

It was Councillor Pope who asked the Echo to cover this crisis in the safeguarding of children and families, after uncovering serious problems with the way Southampton City Council is failing to deal with child safety over a long period of time.

Councillor Pope was dealing with cases where families had come to him to complain of how the Council had failed to protect children and families. And when he raised these issues with officers of the Council, the response was appalling. That is, when he could actually get a response!

One family is quoted on the thousands of "Redbridge Rally" leaflets that Independents have delivered across Millbrook, Redbridge and Maybush (above):
"This Council is a risk to children and their families. For months, officers of the Council ignored us. The child ended up in hospital. OFSTED need to come back! Andrew and Denise fought for us to better protect the child. Labour is failing families."
Councillor Pope and Independent campaigner Denise Wyatt consistently raised serious concerns about child safety in Southampton. But like this family, they were ignored or given misleading information.

Andrew and Denise tried to get an answer to the question as to why there was double the national average of "children looked after" in Southampton. Since 2015, answers have not been forthcoming from the Leader of the Council Labour Councillor Simon Letts, the Director of Children Services (now departed), senior social workers and the Labour Councillor Eamonn Keogh whose job is to scrutinise the Labour Council on children and families.

Yes, that's right, a Labour Councillor was appointed by the Labour Party to scrutinise a Labour Council - what a shameful conflict of interest! No wonder the Council is in such a state.

Councillor Pope even tried to get an answer at the November 2016 Full Council, from the Cabinet member responsible, Councillor Paul Lewzey. He avoided the question and gave no answer. This was in full view of the Daily Echo journalist Mr Kusi-Obodum, who was astounded at the lack of response - and subsequently wrote the second article mentioned above.

This Labour Council simply does not know why it has this Child Protection Crisis.

From the Daily Echo:

"Cllr Lewzey said that the legacy of the serious case reviews were that the authority and other family agencies were “better” at spotting children at risk needing to be taken into care."

Denise says:

"I was in tears when I heard this Labour Councillor had said such an upsetting thing.

It is shameful that in the Daily Echo this Labour Councillor and the Labour Council seek to blame Southampton's families instead of taking responsibility for their own failures and failing to address years of neglect by the Council."

Andrew says:

"OFSTED need to come back now!
The situation is grave. Child safety issues are amongst the most serious issues that a councillor and campaigners can deal with. We have a duty to protect children and families and to blow the whistle."

We have contacted OFSTED and asked them to come back to Southampton to reassess the Council.

The seriousness of the failures of Southampton City Council, whether under a Labour-run or Conservative-run Council, cannot be overstated.

If you have a child or a family that you feel is being put at risk, please get in touch and we will take the case up for you.

And when the time comes, please vote for more Independent councillors. Independents are the only councillors who put the people of Southampton first, not the political party and not covering up due to the failed two-party system of Labour or Tory.

Independents stand up for you. We will keep fighting for you.

Councillor Andrew Pope and Denise Wyatt

December 2016