Wednesday, July 25, 2007


Tories cut buses again!

Well, they did it. The Conservatives have withdrawn subsidy from a number of important evening bus services right across Winchester, including the No 5 which serves Badger Farm and Oliver's Battery. Two weekday evening services and everything after 6 pm on a Sunday will be lost.

My Lib Dem colleague Jackie Porter, county councillor for Itchen Valley attended and spoke at the meeting. This is her report:

"Which ones are we killing off?" asked Mel Kendal, Hampshire's Tory cabinet member with responsibility for bus services. Eight Liberal Democrat County councillors and no Conservatives had come to defend their bus services at the decision day for this latest round of summer bus cuts.

Cllr Kendal praised Lib Dem run Eastleigh council for their approach to saving services. "They do something – the others just whinge," he said.

These cuts are being made to compensate for the huge overspend in Adult Social Care last year. Who is he kidding? The recovery is underway and the Council could have absorbed the £ ½ million. This new round of cuts on weekday and Sunday services included off peak services which are often used by more elderly people travelling to town independently.

"The Government criticised the County Local Transport Plan for poor bus patronage. The percentage of journeys made by bus is just too low. What response will the Government give to this round of cuts then with the only services which might be saved in Tory areas?" said Charlotte Bailey, county councillor for Downlands - users of the 5 and 46 services.

"Local Authorities say they were only invited to subsidise services a week ago. It was too short notice to come up with a rescue package – and they shouldn’t have to. It’s a County Council responsibility," said Phryn Dickens, Westgate Councillor.

Pamela Peskett, Councillor for Eastgate Division said she was very disappointed that the subsidy on the 6A had been cut. "It is a vital service for residents who can’t walk far from their own homes. We asked for a more time to save the service and find alternatives but this service is a victim of Tory cuts, as are the 1 and the 5."

Martin Tod, Liberal Democrat Parliamentary Candidate for Winchester added:
"Here we go again. These latest cuts will hurt the elderly and young people. At a time when the County Council should be making it easier for people to use public transport to reduce emissions and help tackle climate change, all we get is cuts. Once again, the Conservatives’ claims to care about the environment and climate change are just so much hot air."

Councillor Kendal rounded off by saying "These aren’t cuts. All I am doing is withdrawing subsidies!" Bitter experience tells us that this is the same thing.

Monday, July 23, 2007


Buses under threat - latest news

Brian Collin and I have now distributed an emergency Focus across the ward about the proposed cuts to the number 5 bus service.

Time is incredibly short. The County Council decision is on Tuesday morning (tomorrow!).
If you would like to show your opposition, we've set up an online petition.

You can also contact the decision-maker, Mel Kendal - and our local County Councillor, Charlotte Bailey, who will be representing local views.

You can also contact the local newspaper via

Friday, July 20, 2007


Save the Tower demo - now on video....and a stay of execution!

A local production company has made a video of the latest demonstration against the closure of Winchester's Tower Arts Centre.

Good news is that the County's decision on the future of the Tower has been postponed until September - so there is still time to campaign and still time to sign the online petition, now with nearly a thousand names on it.

Thursday, July 19, 2007


County bus cuts hit Oliver's Battery & Badger Farm

I'm angry about news of the County Council's proposed cuts in evening services on the 1 and 5 buses in Winchester. Both form part of the so called "Quality Bus Partnership", with the 5 service being the main bus route to Badger Farm and (during evenings) Oliver's Battery. The 6A service to Abbotts Barton will lose its subsidy too.

Tory proposals will cut the 5 service on Sunday evenings, with no buses after 1915 and will hit weekday services too, with the loss of the 2005 and 2105 buses.

Martin Tod, Liberal Democrat Parliamentary Candidate for the new Winchester constituency (which includes Chandlers Ford) commented:
"The Conservatives' planned bus cuts will hurt local people, local businesses and the local environment. To help tackle climate change, we need to be making it easier for people to use public transport, not harder. Under David Cameron, the Conservatives seem prepared to say anything to get elected - but what we can see locally is that they're not prepared to do anything to deliver on the values they claim to support."

Details of the planned Conservative cuts are at -in Winchester they are withdrawing subsidies from the Stagecoach 1, 5, 6 and 6A services.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007


Tower Arts Centre Campaigners take their protest to the County Council

A few pics of this morning's "Save Tower Arts" demo outside the Hampshire County Council

Love the costumes in the last pic!

Saturday, July 07, 2007


Tory County Council kicks Tower Arts Centre in the Teeth

Well the decision has been made. Conservative County Cllr Margaret Snaith has agreed to hand the management of our local Tower Arts Centre over to Kings School. You can read the HCC press release here.

Now the school will no doubt get some good use out of the Centre, but the SaveTowerArts blog makes some very important points:

  1. The proposal is to transfer the management of the Arts Centre from the current Artistic Director to the Kings School management team.
  2. The centre will move from the Recreation and Heritage Department of the County Council to the Children and Families Department. All the other Arts Centres in Hampshire are run within the Recreation and Heritage Department.
  3. The Tower would no longer stage the evening performances that most normal Art Centres stage and for which the Tower is renowned.
  4. None of us would even know that a decision on the future of the Tower Arts Centre was under discussion this week if it was not for the leak and the subsequent press coverage.
I think this is a bad decision, made without adequate (or indeed any) consultation. Kudos to Oliver's Battery resident Lynda Banister who led a deputation to the county in support of the Centre's current management; and commiserations to my Liberal Democrat colleagues on the County Council who worked hard to oppose the decision made by a county councillor from Gosport.

Winchester will be poorer as a result.

Campaigning in Ealing Southall

Took a carload from Winchester up to the Southall by-election yesterday. As usual at by-elections we were all impressed by the organisation and high level of activity.

We delivered leaflets at the Ealing end of the constituency and were stopped by passersby telling us they were planning to vote Lib Dem and, in one case, by an Irish builder who "wasn't ever going to vote ******* Labour again and the Tory council are ******* useless!"

Back at by-election HQ we drank tea and stuffed envelopes. The mighty Chris Rennard was in evidence and it was good to meet our candidate Nigel Bakhai (see pic). We have a good candidate and a real chance here, I'll be back in Southall as soon as I can be.

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