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Sunday, 29 April 2018

WITHDRAWN: UPDATE on Bush Hill FC's 7 Foot Solid Metal Fence on Mansel Park

Southampton Independents
Councillor Andrew Pope

UPDATE (30th April 2018):


Southampton Independents Councillor Andrew Pope says:

"I have received the following notice from Southampton City Council's planning department, which is making the decision over the Bush Hill FC fence etc on Mansel Park (planning reference 18/00394) submitted from the address of the Saints Pub.


'Dear Councillor,

I have informed the agent for the application that if it is not withdrawn then it will be refused. I have been waiting for instruction from the agent on how they intend to proceed before updating you.

As soon as I receive a response from the agent the application will be handled immediately, either with a withdrawal or with a decision issued.

I have visited the site, and we have not received any comments from the other Ward Councillors.


Planning Assistant
Southampton City Council'

I have been "invited" by the Chair of the Redbridge Residents Association*, Eugene McManus, to a public meeting on Monday night to discuss this planning application.

Denise Wyatt, the Southampton Independents Redbridge Council Candidate, has not received a direct invitation. Mr McManus chose to go through me instead, for some reason. He has also referred to Denise as my "girlfriend". Denise is my partner in life. Denise must be respected, which she is in our area, because she is actually a public figure who works hard for our area, including providing advice and support over many years to Mr McManus as Chair of the Residents Association. Mr McManus' actions and his attitude towards her as a female Council Candidate are deplorable and unacceptable.

At this stage, as the planning application will either be refused or withdrawn, there is nothing to discuss.

I would like to thank Southampton City Council and the residents who objected, including those who asked for their name and address to be removed, because they felt intimidated.

Intimidation included:

  • someone associated with the Saints Pub Mr Lee Elliott confronting me and a female colleague in the street on Facebook Live, giving a false name and asking questions based on false information and making unsubstantiated allegations designed to intimidate me into not objecting to the planning application
  • Facebook abuse and messages, again with the source appearing to be Mr McManus
  • intimidation of residents who objected, by posting their names and addresses across Twitter and Facebook. This led to residents asking for their names and addresses to be hidden by the Council.
  • intimidation of Council candidates, by posting their names and addresses across Twitter and Facebook without properly obscuring the addresses

This is the ONLY planning application I have ever, in SEVEN YEARS of being a councillor, that these things have happened with. Anyone would think this was Tower Hamlets, not Southampton.



So why is Mr McManus continuing with the meeting?

His Agent should know about the decision by the Council?

Is he carrying on with the meeting to intimidate voters and candidates? I hope not.

But it is reasonable to conclude so, considering the atmosphere that has been created, and because of the fact that he has now displayed a banner against Denise Wyatt on the Saints Pub.

I have contacted the Returning Officer again, who has already been in touch with Mr McManus and Mr Extance regarding their conduct.

Perhaps another plan will come forward. Hopefully that plan will be discussed before being submitted to the Council.

I repeat my advice given to Mr McManus before, but which he chose to ignore.

If Mr McManus wishes to change the setup at Bush Hill FC on Council land, he should discuss it with me as a ward City Councillor and representative of the people, with local residents and the Council planning department first.

We are in this situation because Mr McManus chose not to do this, against my advice. Perhaps he knew that I and residents would object, because I told him this before.

Mr McManus via Facebook has also defamed and abused, and allowed others to defame and abuse, myself and Denise Wyatt, as well as ignored the legitimate concerns of local residents.

Other local sports clubs like Millbrook Rugby Club have listened to my advice and I enjoy constructive dialogue with them, and now have planning permission. Compromise and dialogue are essential components of building and maintaining trust.

But Mr McManus' actions have destroyed any constructive dialogue that I sought, over years, to build with him. He did not seek any compromise, preferring to try to railroad this ill-thought-through application through Council planning.

Perhaps dialogue can be rebuilt between myself and Bush Hill FC, but that will take considerable work. I am always approachable and ready to discuss.

Despite the appalling behaviour of Mr McManus, I wish the coaches and players of Bush Hill FC well for the rest of the season with the current ground, that I actively supported going in, and I hope that the current problems raised by residents with me, and with the Council and Police, can be resolved. This includes parking, damage to Council land, road safety problems and anti-social behaviour on match days.

I look forward to supporting Bush Hill FC and all other local sports clubs to continue to develop, and reaching compromise over competing interests with residents.

As a final note, looking at the final paragraph of the email from Planning, it is a matter of public record that the two other ward councillors, both Labour (Cathie McEwing and Lee Whitbread), have done absolutely nothing to support or object to this planning application. 

Neither have any of the other candidates in the Redbridge local elections.

Over years, Southampton Independents has stood up for our parks and for local residents. All the while, the Labour Council has sought to take away park land - at Green Park, at Mansel Park and at Redbridge Wharf Park.

We will continue to look after local residents, to protect our parks and green spaces, and we will try to work with all local sports clubs and residents in a constructive dialogue with trust."

Councillor Andrew Pope
Southampton Independents
Redbridge Ward
30th April 2018


* For reasons unknown to me, although I have raised it with him before, Mr McManus uses the email of the Residents Association for Bush Hill FC business, or the Saints Pub address for the planning application. This would suggest a potential conflict of interest between the three interests. Perhaps he can explain how he manages this conflicts of interests, to the Residents Association that he chairs.

Saturday, 28 April 2018

VICTORY! Working With Residents We Stop Domino's in Residential Area

Redbridge Council Candidate Denise Wyatt
at the new estate on the former Ordnance Survey site

We are campaigning for a community facility
here like a cafe
On Romsey Road there is a new housing estate on the former Ordnance Survey site. Ordnance Survey have moved to Adanac Park and the site has been re-developed.

Southampton Independents has been listening to residents here, like we do everywhere.

We have been campaigning for a community facility here, but the Labour-run Council has been letting the developers get away with not providing one. Currently there is only a Tesco Express.

No GP.

No cafe.

No community facility.

So we were dismayed when Domino's recently submitted a planning application for the vacant commercial premises.

They had already had one turned down in 2016, which we worked with residents to oppose.

We listened to residents' concerns and we acted on their concerns.

Both Denise Wyatt and Councillor Andrew Pope objected to the application. We encouraged residents to object to it, and to work with us.

The application by Domino's was refused.

Denise Wyatt, Council Candidate for this area as well as the whole of the Redbridge Ward, says:

Denise Wyatt
Redbridge Council Candidate for Southampton Independents

"We were formed to listen to residents and to act for residents, because we are residents too.

Together, residents can shape their area and stop the wrong proposals like this.

It was brilliant to work with residents on this. They objected and we informed and supported them.

We want to see a proper community facility here, like a GP surgery or a cafe.

There is already a Domino's in Shirley, on the main road and not in a residential area. The parking issues around the Tesco Express are already seriously impacting on residents. The Domino's would have had too many negative impacts on residents here.

What would you like to see here instead of Domino's?

Please vote for me in the Council elections on 3rd May."

Thursday, 26 April 2018

Save Our Parks! Southampton Independents Works With Sports Clubs and Residents

Southampton Independents Councillor for Redbridge Ward Andrew Pope says:

Councillor Andrew Pope
"We work hard to support our local sports clubs, but they have to operate within the rules of local authorities. This includes planning rules and building control. 

This is for safety and to balance uses between all park users. Sports clubs also need to be considerate of local residents and local residents need to be considerate of other park users. We try to help both.

Millbrook Rugby Club at Five Acres listened when we said to them a permanent solid fence around their ground would not be acceptable to residents. We enjoy a constructive dialogue with them, and are happy to see their tubular fencing, as already at Bush Hill FC that I suggested to them, is planned for this Summer. But any more solid fencing would have been unacceptable. They listened and acted to compromise with residents and to ensure fairness with other sports clubs like Bush Hill.

Bush Hill FC listened years ago when I said the same to them, because residents had concerns about their plans. Sadly they have gone back on this since, and we are opposing their 7 foot solid metal fence and plans for gates etc. We hope they will consider alternatives and we will listen if they do. We hope they will compromise. 

However, some residents have told us that they have felt intimidated into not objecting to these plans by a vocal minority of people associated with the Saints Pub and Bush Hill FC. This is unacceptable and we have contacted the Council and the Police. We encourage anybody to contact the Police if they feel this way. In fact there have been attempts to intimidate me. It is unacceptable.

Also recently we have seen a new planning application by Queens Keep FC for a car park, hospitality building and so on, on Five Acres.

We will have a look at it in more detail, and talk to other residents and park users, but it looks like it will take more public park away.

The authorities looked at the shanty town "building" by Queens Keep FC. It was deemed by them unacceptable (see photos below) in terms of safety. It was also a flagrant breach of planning rules on our park. Have a look below for yourself!

They did not apply for planning permission until I brought it to the attention of the Council, having been contacted by residents who felt unsafe and unhappy.

Thanks to my objection, Denise Wyatt's objection and residents' help, and the right decision by the Council, we got permission refused.

We have been totally consistent for all sports clubs. We believe in fairness. We want to help our local sports clubs succeed, but it has to be within the wider community and within the rules.

And we have pledged to protect our parks and open spaces. Because residents asked us to.

We have to, because our parks are under threat. Just look at all the development on Barker Mill land and how much of Five Acres has been taken away. 

Barker Mill took Test Valley Borough Council through the courts recently because they did not agree with the Council enforcing its planning rules. Labour-run Southampton City Council supported the developments, despite not asking residents for their views. I objected to the developments, despite only being given very short notice.

These developments and proposals by Barker Mill, the Labour-run Council and others are putting pressure on our parks to be built upon. The Labour Council wanted to build on Mansel Park and Green Park, until we worked with residents who told them to stop at a public meeting at All Saints Church in 2016. 

The Labour Councillor who chaired the "Regeneration" meeting was booed by residents at the Public Meeting because she (Councillor Cathie McEwing) accused them in the meeting of not caring about our area by asking where they had been. They had told the Council not to build on our parks. And they repeated this at the meeting.

"These are the people's parks" they said at the public meeting. But the Labour councillors wanted to build on them. Do they still want to build on them? Ask them.

In Cathie McEwing's Labour election leaflet, she claims to want housing, but her chairing the Regeneration meetings for three years has only resulted in one public meeting. And that was because Denise Wyatt and I pressured for residents to have their say.

And the Regeneration has resulted in ZERO Council houses. 

Cathie McEwing's chairmanship is like her performance as a councillor - resulting in nothing but talk.

Labour has only built 87 Council homes in entire City in SIX YEARS. So McEwing's promises and Labour's promises on housing are empty. 

They wanted to build on our parks, not protect them.

Residents said no to Labour's plans.

We want to see more Council homes for local people but not built on our parks.

Residents do care about our parks. 

Residents tell us that if things go on like this, with more parts of our parks repeatedly being taken away piece-by-piece, they fear that there will be no parks left for the public to enjoy.

We stand with local sports clubs and with residents, and encourage dialogue with us and with them, to achieve compromise and maintain our area being a great place to live."


Redbridge Wharf Park - also under threat by Labour councillors

Monday, 23 April 2018

Save our Parks! Working With Residents and Sports Clubs

Dodgy Building: Residents have likened it to a shanty town
UPDATED (26th April 2018): Please see our new article on working with sports clubs and residents, with a statement by Southampton Independents Councillor Andrew Pope



Residents told us about a ramshackle "building" suddenly erected on Five Acres by Queens Keep FC.

We worked with them to bring it to the attention of Southampton City Council.

Southampton Independents Councillor Andrew Pope says:

"We support all sports clubs. But Queens Keep FC should have applied for planning permission. They only did this AFTER we had seen the building, and after I had reported it to the Council. They can't do whatever they like and ignore Council planning rules.

This is what Southampton Independents promised to residents - to work with our sports clubs and also to protect our public parks from bad developments like this."

More photos of the structure, now ruled illegal by the Council, are below.

Our Redbridge Council Candidate Denise Wyatt says:

"I couldn't believe it when I first saw it when I was walking our dog Dotty. The building looks unfit for human habitation. It is dangerous. How can Queens Keep FC think it is acceptable?

I am pleased that planning officers at the Council listened.

It is interesting to note that my opponent in the election, Labour Councillor Cathie McEwing, actually SUPPORTED THIS STRUCTURE. Her support is clearly shown on the Council's own planning website.

WHY? Councillor Pope has sought clarification with her.

Vote me in to replace her. I stand up for residents. Cathie McEwing stands up for cronyism and the removal of public park to private interests."

What do you think?

On 3rd May, VOTE SOUTHAMPTON INDEPENDENTS FOR A POSITIVE FUTURE with sports clubs supported and working with the local community and residents.

Thursday, 19 April 2018

UDPATED (21st April 2018): Scandal of MORE MILLIONS for Southampton's Arts Complex / Studio 144

The Arts Complex robbed millions from basic Council services

It has now been covered by the BBC in their article here. And the Daily Echo front page yesterday (20th April) and online here.


We've been calling it Labour's Highway Robbery. But it isn't just Labour's Highway Robbery. They were all at it. The other London parties supported more millions for the Arts Complex. And then more millions. While basic services were cut.

Southampton Independents
Councillor Andrew Pope

Southampton Independents didn't support the extra millions and then the extra millions. Instead, we questioned their profligate spending for years. We dug and dug. They tried to stop us.

Councillor Pope says:

"Who is guilty for this outrage? Look at the photo below. They are putting their hands up. ALL Labour councillors. ALL Tory councillors. They put their hands up at the wrong times to throw good money after bad. This project should have been halted earlier, when it was clear it was going to be a disaster. Many opportunities to do so were missed by Labour and Tory councillors. They lacked the leadership to make the right decisions with YOUR money."

Who's Guilty? Hands up! Labour or Tory same old story.

We told them then and we told you then that it was wrong. The Arts Complex is a scandal of epic proportions. But Southampton Labour councillors have tried to cover it up. They have tried to hype it. They have tried to hide it.

But now the Labour Council's own public document, an Internal Audit report, confirms what we have been telling you all along for years, but which Labour has tried to bury.

DOUBLE the original budget.


Don't just take our word on it. From the Executive Summary of the Audit:

The text reads (emphasis added):

"The Studio 144 or Southampton's New Art Complex (SNAC) capital project has been on-going since 2000 following successful funding from the Art Council of £5m. In partnership with other bodies, such as John Hansard Gallery and City Eye, the project was developed to create a multi-use building funded by a variety of schemes such as grants, donations and capital funding. The initial projected cost was determined as between £10-15m, however as at September 2017, this has increased by £16.5m to an approximate cost of £30m. It has also experienced numerous delays, with an original completion date of 2012 and following various revised completion dates is due to be completed in October 2017."

The report is not explicit enough about the capital funding. This is public money. This is Council money. If it was funded by private money, or fully by donations, we probably would not have minded so much. But this is YOUR money. PUBLIC MONEY.

And Labour and Tory councillors did not just rob money from the roads... Oh no...

As we have shown on this website by quoting from the minutes of Council meetings, right from the start, MILLIONS OF POUNDS WERE ROBBED from other budgets that could have been spent on the basics that residents want sorted: our roads, on our pavements, on our bin collections, on our care centres.

Labour's bin cuts have caused chaos

Southampton's roads are a disgrace
But good for rubber ducks!

Instead of spending money on the right priorities, the basics, Labour and Tory councillors repeatedly agreed to spend the money on "arts" instead. The budget kept building and building. WHY?

For years, Southampton Independents has worked extremely hard to expose the scandal of the taxpayer millions spent on the "Arts Complex" or Studio 144 as the Labour Council has been trying to re-badge it. Perhaps they want to "re-brand" to distract away from the scandalous failure to control this project and failure to cancel it when they should have. Instead, they threw good money after bad.

We put the scandal on this website.

We put the scandal in the Daily Echo and now on the BBC.

We put the scandal on our Facebook page.

We put the issues on tens of thousands of leaflets that our volunteers pay for and deliver.

We kept on digging. We put pressure on councillors, on the Southampton Cultural Development Trust, on officers of the Council. We were not getting the right answers.

So we tried harder to expose this scandal, with Councillor Pope asking the Chief Financial Officer to urgently review it. Cllr Pope is asking for more answers right now.

And now we learn that even more millions of pounds of taxpayer money are at risk, as shown in the Internal Audit report. And in the Daily Echo and on the BBC.

Labour councillors like current Cabinet Member for "arts" Satvir Kaur tried to block us from finding out by evading us and our questions.

Some senior officers were unhelpful in helping us to uncover the truth. The Council has tried to stop us from finding out the truth. They are still hiding behind "confidentiality". This disastrous project has been totally mishandled by the current Labour Administration - but they were backed by the supposed "opposition" Tory councillors! Labour or Tory, same old story.

Denise Wyatt, Leader of Southampton Independents who has worked in many councils over three decades and is an expert in Governance of Local Government, says:

Denise Wyatt, Leader of Southampton Independents
"We could have joined them. But we are Southampton Independents. We are different. We are here for Southampton residents. And we don't give up easily. We continued our campaign to expose the Arts Complex outrage. And we kept on digging to expose this Labour and Tory disaster. Thank you to the Daily Echo and the BBC for helping us."

Why did we do it? Because it's important.

And because residents agreed with us. Residents that pay their taxes have a right to know how their taxes are spent. Residents demand answers, so we are trying to get them.

But Labour and Tory councillors continued to spend millions of pounds on the wrong priorities.

99% of residents tell us that this failing Council has got the wrong priorities.

Residents say that the Council should get the basics right first. Then arts can be considered.


Are the basics right? No, residents say.

No, the roads are dangerous.

No, the pavements are dangerous.

No, Woodside Lodge, Brownhill House and Kentish Road care centres should NOT have been closed.

No, Labour's broken bins promises were wrong. Residents wanted to keep weekly bin collections. Labour promised to on their leaflets in 2014. But they broke their promise and all Labour councillors voted for fortnightly bin collections.


They must explain. Ask them. Here is the mailing list. Email them and ask them why they voted for this outrage?

The Labour Leader of the Council Councillor Simon Letts told the Daily Echo a long time ago, as shown on this website when Denise Wyatt challenged him, that the Arts Complex was "paid for".

Then more millions were needed. Then more. And now more. He must explain. We asked for a formal investigation by the Head of Legal at the Council. It was not properly investigated. Now more millions are at stake, this investigation into Councillor Letts must be re-opened (* see UPDATE 21st April 2018 below).

From the Audit (emphasis added):

"Stage 5 - Project Close
The project is yet to be formally completed and there are residual issues relating to the Independent Quantity Surveyors (QS) report and outstanding claims with the Contract Administrator. At the time of the last QS Report (July 2017) there was a potential for an additional £4.4m to be added to the 'fit out' contractual sum. This figure will likely fluctuate once the Contract Administrator makes a decision on the claims made against the Authority by the contractor."

IN addition, ALL Labour councillors that voted for the extra millions must explain. ALL Tory councillors must also explain.

Our Southampton Independents Councillor Andrew Pope did not vote for these extra millions. Instead, he wants answers on this incorrect spending of millions of pounds of public money. And Cllr Pope wants those responsible for this scandal to be held to account.

We ask the local media to ask the questions: the Daily Echo, BBC, Wave 105, and ITV. We have sent the Internal Audit report to them, having confirmed with the Council that it is a public document.

We hope the media will hold Labour and Tory councillors to account for public funds that they spent incorrectly.

Southampton Independents will continue to lead residents and to inform Southampton residents about this scandal. That is what independents do - act on the issues that matter to residents.


Your Council Candidates are Denise Wyatt in Redbridge ward and Ed Edworthy in Millbrook ward.

Denise Wyatt
Ed Edworthy

* UPDATE (21st April 2018): In a meeting on 20th April between Southampton Independents Councillor Pope, Denise Wyatt and the Head of Legal at Southampton City Council, he refused to re-open the investigation into Councillor Letts.

He also refused to re-open the investigations into Labour Councillor Mike Denness, who is a planning consultant and Chair of the City's Planning Committee. Councillor Mike Denness was repeatedly voted in as Chair by Labour councillors. Ask Labour councillors why they think this is right, because any resident we have spoken to says it is wrong.

The Head of Legal also refused to answer questions from Councillor Andrew Pope and Denise Wyatt. These questions included why he chose the investigator Meic Sullivan-Gould, who had been questioned in an investigation by PWC into "crony culture" at Tower Hamlets. Mr Sullivan-Gould left following the investigation, as reported by the Guardian. Why was Mr Sullivan-Gould appointed by the Head of Legal? We still don't have answers.

The Head of Legal also failed to explain why the investigations were not carried out properly. For example, Councillor Pope lodged a substantial Complaint against Councillor Denness, with clear allegations and substantial evidence. Yet Mr Sullivan-Gould attempted to rewrite the allegations in the Complaint, and showed no sign of looking at the evidence. We have gone to the Local Government Ombudsman and the former Chief Executive Dawn Baxendale. Ms Baxendale took no action.

Councillor Pope says:

"The Head of Legal stormed out of the meeting with us, like a petulant teenager, having failed to account for his actions and lack of actions. With highly-paid officers behaving like this, it may explain the poor performance of Southampton City Council."

You need to know that this is Southampton City Council under a Labour Administration. They don't want to account for their failures to you and our City.

Make them pay on 3rd May. Vote Southampton Independents Putting You First to get councillors who stand up for you.

Sunday, 15 April 2018

UPDATED: Labour-run Council Mishandles Bush Hill FC's Proposal

Southampton Independents
Councillor Andrew Pope

Our Redbridge Council Candidate Denise Wyatt
Millbrook Council Candidate Ed Edworthy
UPDATED (20th April 2018):

Our Councillor Andrew Pope has complained again to Council officers that the website does not properly show the objections and comments relating to this application. This is a week after he raised initial complaints. Andrew says:

"Just what is this Labour-run Council doing? They are failing on planning applications and on protecting our parks. 

Having had six years in power, Southampton Labour have failed to keep weekly bins, failed to fix our roads, failed to fix our pavements, closed care centres at Woodside Lodge, Brownhill House and Kentish Road, and threatened countless times to take away our public park. Vote them out on 3rd May.".


On this website, Facebook and Twitter, we have shown that we care about Southampton and its communities, sports clubs, businesses and parks.

And we care about local residents.

You may have read on this website about the proposal by Bush Hill FC to put up a large 7 foot solid metal fence around an area larger than their football pitch on Mansel Park. It would include gating off public park owned by the Council.

Residents have told us that the impact of Bush Hill FC on the area is already unacceptable, especially on match days. And this proposal would make things worse.

Residents have objected to the proposal. More residents then objected to the proposal. The objectors have included local residents and Council Candidates Denise Wyatt and Ed Edworthy, and Southampton Independents Councillor Andrew Pope.

And now even more residents across the area are objecting to the proposal.

New information has now come to light, because the Labour-run Southampton City Council has failed to handle this planning application properly.

Southampton Independents Councillor Andrew Pope says:

"I have raised concerns with officers of Labour-run Southampton City Council about how they have handled this case. I have contacted senior officers including the Chief Executive.

Now, new information has come to light about quite how badly they have handled it.

To protect local residents, I am not divulging that information now.

I have raised the issue with the authorities.

I am also raising other issues such as the continuing criminal incidents on retail businesses in our area, and the continuing rogue motorbike problems.

I have asked for an urgent meeting with the Tory Police and Crime Commissioner Michael Lane. 

This is not the first time I have had to meet with a Police Commissioner. The previous one, Independent Simon Hayes, listened and acted when I met with him. I hope Conservative Michael Lane will do the same.

Mr Lane needs to get a grip on policing in Southampton. 

And the Labour Council need to get a grip too. They are supposed to be a local authority, so they need to start acting like one."

Tuesday, 10 April 2018

UPDATED: Bush Hill FC Proposal to Build a 7 FOOT Solid Metal Fence on Mansel Park

Denise Wyatt in Mansel Park

UPDATED (24th April 2018): We are inserting a section from another post on what we have done over the years to work with local sports clubs.

"When a group of residents raised concerns about the new pitch by Bush Hill FC on Mansel Park, Councillor Pope spoke to over a hundred local residents about their views. Following listening to them, Councillor Pope raised those concerns with Bush Hill FC. He also publicly offered, via the Daily Echo, to broker talks between residents opposed to it.

Andrew sought assurances from the manager of Bush Hill FC, about concerns relating to parking and road safety. Later, Cllr Pope also raised the prospect of progression by Bush Hill FC with the manager,and any potential issues with their lease of the public park and its impact on local residents.

Cllr Pope made it clear that Bush Hill FC have a LEASE on a PUBLIC PARK, and that it must remain a public park. And Cllr Pope did not object and sought residents' views on the new pitch in order to obtain compromises. 

A compromise was a tubular fence around the pitch, not a solid metal one. Bush Hill FC agreed. Cllr Pope therefore did not object to the new pitch and the tubular fence." 


Because of the rogue motorbikes, we have been campaigning for a fence around Mansel Park. We have worked with the Police to achieve this.

But both the Police and Southampton Independents have been frustrated by the Labour-run Council.

They don't want a fence, even though it is an obvious solution. No money they say! We've heard all that before, haven't we - about sprinklers, about roads, about closure of care centres. It's the same old BS from Southampton Labour.

But there is a proposal to put up a fence on this public park. It is being promoted by the manager of Bush Hill FC as "ground improvements". It is planning application 18/00394/FUL.

The title of the application is:

"18/00394/FUL | Erection of a screen fence with gates around football pitch | Mansel Park Kendal Avenue Southampton"

The title of the application, and the comments on this planning application from our Councillor Andrew Pope and our Redbridge Council Candidate Denise Wyatt can be seen at this link here.

But this application is not about the claimed "ground improvements".

This is about a public park being sectioned off by a private club BY A SOLID METAL MASSIVE FENCE. How is this a "ground improvement"?

This is WIDER than the football pitch and will be gated off from public access, with gates.

Bush Hill FC have a lease, but they need to remember that it is COUNCIL-OWNED LAND.

It is up to the Council to enforce the lease and protect the land. Why isn't the Labour Council advising them that this is outside the terms of the lease?

Cllr Pope has repeatedly advised the manager of Bush Hill FC that like all local sports clubs, he is delighted that Bush Hill FC hope to progress, but Cllr Pope has repeatedly stressed that any future progression or ground requirements would need to be discussed.

No such discussions occurred before the current planning application was submitted. As stated in the planning application, it includes a 2.4m high solid metal fence in a prominent location in the park.

If Bush Hill FC had approached us to discuss it, like Millbrook Rugby Club did, we would have told them that residents do not want to see more public park removed. But Bush Hill FC made no such approach or intention to discuss it. They just submitted the planning application.

If Bush Hill FC wish to expand, we wish them well in their progression. But if they wish to keep using a public park, they must properly seek discussions with residents. And if not, they may wish to seek an alternative site for their progression. Why not ground share with, for example, Queens Keep at Five Acres? Have any discussions taken place?

More questions need to be answered by the Labour-run Council:

What have the Labour Council said to Bush Hill FC?

Have they provided any pre-application advice?

We will be asking for answers.

To be clear, we support local sports clubs. But we have pledged to protect our parks and open spaces. So compromises are needed.

Public parks are shared between all users - dog walkers, walkers, cyclists, football players and so on. They cannot be sectioned or hived off from public use by private clubs or private companies.

This proposal threatens to lose more public park to a private club.

If an alternative is proposed, we will listen to it. But we stress that Bush Hill FC did not seek to discuss this "ground improvements"/solid metal fence with us, with Southampton Parks Protection or with us. And the application itself includes very little detail, or reasoning as to why they want this fence.

So without these discussions, we had no option but to object to this massive fence on a public park. It's not a "ground improvement" at all.

Residents have also objected and the Southampton Parks Protection have also objected.

Unlike Southampton Labour, Southampton Independents tries very hard to keep our promises to residents to protect park and open spaces.

And we will continue to do so.

Southampton Independents Protects Parks That Labour Threatens

Redbridge Ward Council Candidate Denise Wyatt
in Mansel Park the park nearest where she lives

Millbrook Ward Council Candidate Ed Edworthy
in Mansel Park the park nearest where he lives
Since Southampton Independents was being formed a few years ago, residents asked us to protect parks and open spaces.

Working hand in glove with local residents, Councillor Andrew Pope and Denise Wyatt have done that.

We have:

  • Got to know and supported sports clubs across the Millbrook, Maybush and Redbridge area. This includes Bush Hill FC, Queens Keep FC, Millbrook Rugby Club, Travellers Cricket Club and even the Petanque Club at Five Acres (despite some former Liberal Democrats being involved with it!).
  • When a group of residents raised concerns about the new pitch by Bush Hill FC on Mansel Park, Councillor Pope spoke to over a hundred local residents about their views. Following listening to them, Councillor Pope raised those concerns with Bush Hill FC. He also publicly offered, via the Daily Echo, to broker talks between residents opposed to it. Andrew sought assurances from the manager of Bush Hill FC, about concerns relating to parking and road safety. Later, Cllr Pope also raised the prospect of progression by Bush Hill FC with the manager,and any potential issues with their lease of the public park and its impact on local residents. Cllr Pope made it clear that Bush Hill FC have a LEASE on a PUBLIC PARK, and that it must remain a public park. And Cllr Pope did not object and sought residents' views on the new pitch in order to obtain compromises. A compromise was a tubular fence around the pitch, not a solid metal one. Bush Hill FC agreed. Cllr Pope therefore did not object to the new pitch and the tubular fence. For more on this, see our separate article on the new planning application for a 7 foot high solid metal fence.
  • Andrew and Denise listened to Millbrook Rugby Club's proposals for an improved roof on their existing pavilion, and their open fence around their pitch at Five Acres. We were very clear that we would NOT support permanent or fixed solid fencing, and would have objected if the Rugby Club had proceeded with this. However, they listened to our suggestion of tubular fencing, as Cllr Pope and Denise said they needed to be consistent with Bush Hill FC. We actually supported Millbrook's application. And we applaud this type of engagement by the sports clubs and we continue to enjoy a constructive dialogue with the Rugby Club.
  • Fought and stopped Labour-run Council plans to build on our parks with their hated "Regeneration". They wanted to build on Mansel Park and Green Park. We enabled residents to fight back, including securing a public meeting at All Saints Church Hall in early 2016. Councillor Pope had to fight hard against Labour councillors who did not want the public to have their say at a public meeting. Denise Wyatt actually stood up and pushed for the residents to have their say. The Chair of the meeting, Councillor Cathie McEwing, said to the hundred or so residents "Where were you before?". Residents said they had objected but they had been ignored by Labour. And they booed Labour Councillor McEwing for trying to make the meeting only one hour. The Regeneration was scrapped as reported by the Daily Echo. Labour Councillor McEwing is seeking your vote and re-election on 3rd May. TIME TO GO. VOTE MCEWING OUT AND DENISE WYATT SOUTHAMPTON INDEPENDENTS IN HER PLACE!
  • Fought to protect our public parks - Mansel Park, Green Park and Five Acres (Lordshill Rec) to protect it from development. These are public parks, but in recent years more and more has been lost to private clubs, schools and companies. 
  • Worked with local residents to get the Council to list ALL THREE parks as "Assets of Community Value". This added protection of parks against new changes of use.
  • Got the Labour Council and Network Rail's plans REFUSED for removal of some of Redbridge Wharf Park. The two Redbridge Labour councillors actually SUPPORTED removal of this park, writing to the Council planning officer in emails supporting the proposal. We have copies of their emails.

Redbridge Wharf Park which the Labour Council
and Network Rail STILL want to decimate

Southampton Independents has delivered on our promises to protect our parks and open spaces.

But the Labour-run Council has put our parks at risk, repeatedly. And the Labour Council and Labour councillors are still at it, despite residents being clear THAT WE WANT OUR PARKS PROTECTED.

The two Labour Redbridge ward councillors Cathie McEwing and Lee Whitbread actually SUPPORTED the removal of public park and building on public park.  Not just once, but repeatedly. We have the proof. They can deny it all they like but we have the proof, in writing.

Labour councillors have also voted to remove one of the Mansel Park play areas. Why? Who asked them to? Did you?

This Labour Council does not want to listen to residents. The Redbridge Labour councillors don't either. 

Southampton Independents have listened to residents.

They know who protects their parks.

We do.

And we will have to continue to do so, because it appears that Labour is doing things secretly, behind closed doors.

Why? Ask the Labour councillors. Here are their email addresses:

Here is our email address:

Tell us.

Do you want our parks to be carved up for private clubs and private companies?

Or do you want our parks and open spaces to be protected for future generations?

Please contact us to let us know how you support what we have done for Millbrook, Maybush and Redbridge.

And on 3rd May, please VOTE SOUTHAMPTON INDEPENDENTS on 3rd May - Denise in Redbridge ward, and Ed in Millbrook ward.

Labour's Broken Bin Promises to You

Labour Council's overflowing bins

Do you remember the Tory Council bin strikes? We do. The current Labour Council is just as bad.

Another overflowing bin
(and Dotty the Dog)

These photos were taken last Friday by Southampton Independents Councillor Andrew Pope. When the fortnightly bins were supposed to be collected in Maybush.

And another...

But they weren't. So not only were they late already because Southampton Labour cut your bins in half. They were EXTRA LATE!

Yet another overflowing bin

The photos were taken in a small area, just three roads while Councillor Pope and Denise Wyatt were out walking their dog, Dotty. This shows how bad Labour's bin cuts have been. Residents are fuming. 

We have more fly-tipping and residents say they have to go to the tip. Why should they? They pay their Council Tax and did not vote for cuts to bins. 

Residents didn't want the bins cut. But Labour did it anyway.

Labour carry on doing things to residents. 

Residents tell us it's Labour or Tory, same old story. With bins cut, roads and pavements dangerous and care homes closed.

In their 2014 election leaflets, Labour Councillors said they would "keep weekly bin collections". Last year, ALL Southampton Labour councillors VOTED FOR FORTNIGHTLY BINS.

Southampton Labour put Council Tax up 6% but cut bins in half!

They broke their promises to you.




Southampton Independents listen to residents and act for residents. Because we are residents.

Denise Wyatt and Ed Edworthy
In Redbridge ward, our Candidate is Denise Wyatt. Ballot papers are in alphabetical order, so she will be at the bottom. You can help her be on top when the votes are counted by voting for her.

In Millbrook ward, our Candidate is Ed Edworthy. He will be in the middle of the ballot paper. Just look for Ed!

If you aren't sure which ward you are in, look on your poll card that you should have received from the Council.

Or you can look it up on the WriteToThem website here.

Sunday, 8 April 2018

Stand Up If You Love the Saints? Let's make it happen...

So'ton Indies Councillor Andrew Pope
on the way to St. Mary's last Friday

Do you want to stand up if you love the Saints? Southampton Independents want to make it happen. With your help, we can.

Last year, Southampton Independents (So'ton Indies) asked local Saints fans whether they wanted us to campaign for Safe Standing at St. Mary's Stadium. They did. So we have taken the lead.

That's what independent councillors and residents do - stand up together to achieve a better future for our City and its residents.

So'ton Indies Autumn 2017 leaflet
Since starting the campaign, our City Councillor Andrew Pope has:
  • got the issue on the front page of the Daily Echo (see the back of our Autumn 2017 leaflet above and link here)
  • has appeared on with Sasha Twining on her BBC Radio Solent programme to promote the campaign
  • hundreds of Saints fans have signed our petition and 
  • Councillor Pope has garnered verbal support from other City councillors
Andrew has also secured a venue for the demonstration of rail seating, and has agreed with the Safe Standing Roadshow to bring the demo to Southampton.

Councillor Pope has now submitted a motion to the May Full Council meeting of Southampton City Council. The motion, which is a call to action for the Council, is designed to garner support from Saints fans, other councillors, the owners of Southampton FC and the Government. 

Councillor Pope says: 
"Due to the changes after Hillsborough, the law must be changed to allow Premier League clubs like Southampton to install Safe Standing, and to allow councils to license Safe Standing at local grounds. 
But we need the help of the Saints owners to make a public statement of support. I know they support it in private, from my contacts in the Safe Standing campaigns across England. 
But we need Saints' PUBLIC support, and they must "break ranks" from other Premier League clubs. They must take the lead in the Premier League, like Southampton Independents has with the Safe Standing campaign here in Southampton. 
Other clubs like Crystal Palace and Tottenham Hotspur are warming to the idea. 
Let's have "The Southampton Way" meaning Saints lead on the pitch as well as off the pitch.
I very much hope that ALL 48 Southampton City councillors, old and new after the 3rd May elections, will support the campaign for Safe Standing at St. Mary's."

Denise Wyatt, Leader of Southampton Independents and Council Candidate for Redbridge Ward at the 3rd May local elections, says:

So'ton Indies Council Candidate for Redbridge Denise Wyatt

Last Friday, Andrew and I went to St. Mary's to watch the Women's World Cup Qualifier between England and Wales. We really enjoyed the atmosphere, especially all the men, women and children flying our nation's beautiful flag, the Cross of St. George. 

Denise on the way to St. Mary's

St. Mary's is a great stadium but fans want to be able to stand and shout. And to stand and shout safely. The owners of Saints should invest in fan safety and give fans what they want. Fans pay a lot of money, so they should get their say and not be ignored.
At Southampton Independents, we believe that fans should have more say about what happens at their clubs, because fans are the true custodians of football clubs - not the current owners who often are just passing by. 
I urge all Saints fans to get behind our campaign and to sign our petition
If elected to the City Council on 3rd May, I will be seconding Councillor Pope's motion.   
The petition, joined with the Council Motion, will help to defeat those party poopers in Government and the Premier League who want to stop Saints from having the fantastic Safe Standing areas like they have at Celtic and Borussia Dortmund. 
Let's create a "Saints Wall" with Safe Standing at St. Mary's!"

Today (Sunday 8th April 2018), Councillor Pope has been interviewed by the Daily Echo for a new piece in the newspaper. This should appear tomorrow (Monday 9th April 2018), so keep an eye out.

Councillor Pope says:

"At the 3rd May City Council elections, please vote for our Redbridge and Millbrook Council candidates Denise Wyatt and Ed Edworthy."

Denise Wyatt and Ed Edworthy