13 July 2011

Southampton's Mess

I actually quite like Southampton.  It's my home town, and I know the city centre like the back of my hand.  Business in some areas of the city is doing amazingly well, West Quay is just one example and with a record breaking 6 cruise liners coming into the city on Saturday, and 1000's of people coming through because of it, the streets are just embarrassing.  What must visitors to our city think about us?

I set out today to show the city centre at its worst, with boarded up stores, and the terrible mess of litter and full up rubbish bins everywhere.

Most of the mess is due to a dispute between the Council and the Unions causing amongst others the street cleaners and bin men to have been on strike for the better part of the last 2 months.  Not really wanting to bring politics and my own personal opinion into this, but one side is elected by the people to make decisions for us, and the other side isn't.  Being self employed for the last 4 years, I'm afraid I have to side with the council on this one

So to the pictures.  I admit I did deliberately set out to take pictures that for the most part showed the city in a "bad light", not because I want to be negative about my home town, but hopefully to make someone with the powers to make decisions to actually get off their butts and do something to sort the place out.  It's a good city, with good people, but at the moment it's all just a little bit embarrassing.


Nigel Jones said...

The mess in the city is terrible - when I was there it felt even worse than those pictures -- certainly around the high street in front of west quay.

Really terrible given the points you made about cruise business & being a key shopping centre - it's hardly a way to encourage more business to the city.

Somehow the unions+councils need to figure this out. I can't comment on whos right/wrong about what, but it's clear we can see the end results & in the end both parties will lose out with lost investment and hence jobs....

Neil Watkinson said...

Southampton is my home city, it deeply saddens me the way that the city has declined, not just recently but over many many years, the local council has systematically let the people and the city down.

I was fortunate enough to live abroad for nine years, on visits back and on my return to the UK, the dismay at finding the city in such decline. The people of Southampton are rightly proud of there city, but they have been let down by poor leadership over many many years.

Portsmouth seems to have much more to offer, and has invested in its future while Southampton has not. Don't get me wrong Portsmouth is not perfect, but its heading in a better direction than Southampton.

The City of Southampton used to be a bright, busy place, a good community, with lots to do. Things like the Southampton Show, The Carnival, the Balloon Festival to name but a few, it as simply lost it's way.

As for the on going dispute, like Nigel I can't comment on the dispute, but what is clear is that it is harming the city, and will harm the city for many years to come. It has the potential to be a blot on the landscape of England, with the cruise industry being for many a gateway to the UK, it's not a great and warm welcome.

Everyone in the dispute needs to take a long term view of the damage being caused.

Michael Palmer has done a great job recording the decay through his photography.