Sunday, January 13, 2008

Back Blogging... and Happy New Year!

It's been a very busy last few weeks and I have not had the chance to update my blog for a while. So now I am back I have plenty to update!

I was delighted to be selected as the Prospective Parliamentary Candidate for Southampton Test last month. Since then my work load has shot up with lots of local meetings in the city. I am thoroughly enjoying it.

Freemantle Infant School

I have signed up as a School Governor for
Freemantle Infant School. I have had one Governor's meeting so far and another is set for later this month. I was really impressed by the head teacher / Centre Director, Kevin Barnett and by all the school governors. They are all doing a fantastic job, both for the school and the local community as well. I am really pleased to be working with such a great bunch of people.

St John's Infant School

I spent an enjoyable lunch time at
St John's School in the old town. I had a lovely Christmas dinner with the children and had the chance to talk about the forthcoming review of primary education in the city with teachers.

Protecting Family Housing
I have been working hard with local residents in objecting to inappropriate developments across Freemantle Ward. Over the Christmas period I met up with residents in Paynes Road who are objecting to the destruction of 2 family homes next to the Spitfire Antiques shop.

The new Conservative Council is bringing forward more local planning guidance to protect family housing in the city later this month. The Conservative Cabinet are due to approve a new Supplementary Planning Document which will strengthen our local planning powers.

Kentish Road / York Road Cut Way
My colleague,
Cllr Michael Ball and I have been talking with residents and council officers about the problem of teenager gangs congregating and intimidating residents in the area and are seeking the views of people about how best to sort the problem.

One suggestion made is that a gating order be sought, that would restrict access to the pedestrian cut-through between Kentish and York Road. This proposal has been raised with Rights of Way (Planning), Community Safety and the Youth Service. The general consensus at present is that it is extremely difficult to gate the pathway. This is because at present there have not been enough reported incidents to support it being gated.

The pathway provides a short cut to the health centre and other facilities for many people who live in the area, so perhaps you may not favour it being cut-off. Elderly people in particular use the cut way and any alternative route would be longer.

However, Community Safety, the Police and Youth Service are aware of the ongoing problems with gangs in the area and are conducting intensive operations and continuous work in the area and have recently had some success with ‘catching’ some of the offenders and serving various orders on them.

We have put the issue on the agenda for the next Freemantle Inter-agency meeting. Community Safety and the Youth Services have been invited to attend to give their views. The Council lighting department has also been requested to look at the lack of lighting in the area to see if they can improve facilities.

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