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Parents urged not to forget to apply for school places

The deadline for applying for secondary school places for September 2014 is fast approaching. Southampton City Council is urging parents of children currently in Year 6 to get their applications in on time give them a chance to secure a place at a school of their choice.

Applications must be in my midnight on Thursday 31st October. The council has written to every family with guidance on applying for a school place, the most important criteria is that the application is received on time. Late applications go to the bottom of the pile.


New £90m WestQuay development approved

New shopping centre
Hammerson's plans for a new shopping destination in Southampton Credit: Hammerson

A £90m expansion for WestQuay shopping centre in Southampton has been approved.

The planning application was put forward by Hammerson, who originally developed WestQuay shopping centre in 2000.

Southampton City Council have supported the new Watermark WestQuay scheme which will sit next to the existing centre.

The WestQuay centre already attracts 17 million consumers a year.

The masterplan will be built in two phases - the first including a cinema, up to 15 restaurants and more retail space.

The next phase will see a residential tower, hotel, office space, restaurants and public space installed.

Guy Wells, Development Manager for Hammerson, said: "The site offers a unique opportunity to transform a redundant brownfield site and will ensure that Southampton continues to provide residents and visitors with a fantastic retail and leisure offer in the city centre."

Sea rescuers looking for saviours after cuts

by Richard Slee

Thousands of people have been helped by the Solent Sea Rescue Organisation since the the organisation began in the late 1970s, but now the volunteer service is under threat because of budget cuts.

The service, which operates from 8 bases on the south coast, has had its grant from Southampton City Council stopped and is now looking for new financial support to stay afloat. In his report Richard Slee spoke to James Godwin, a Senior Crewman and Peter Edgar from Solent Sea Rescue Organisation.


"CCTV unreasonable" says ICO

The Information Commissioner has branded the use of CCTV in taxis in Southampton "unreasonable" and ordered the authority to stop taping the private conversations of drivers and passengers.

The commissioner investigated a similar policy which was proposed for Oxford but also ruled it would break the Data Protection Act.

“By requiring taxi operators to record all conversations and images while the vehicles are in use, Southampton City Council have gone too far.

“We recognise the Council’s desire to ensure the safety of passengers and drivers but this has to be balanced against the degree of privacy that most people would reasonably expect in the back of a taxi cab. It is only right that the privacy of drivers and passengers is respected. "

– Christopher Graham, Information Commissioner

Council ordered to stop recording in taxis

The Information Commissioner ordered Southampton City Council to stop recording private conversations in taxis after it ruled they breached the Data Protection Act.

Since August 2009, the council has required all taxis and private hire vehicles to install CCTV equipment to constantly record images and the conversations of both drivers and passengers.

The authority has until November 1st to comply with the order.

Will Southampton cuts affect jobs?

Worried staff have been left guessing their fate tonight after council bosses announced they must save tens of millions of pounds - but haven't explained how they'll do it.

Today, Southampton City Council announced it was reversing a pay cut introduced by the previous conservative administration - as well as saving £40 million over the next two years. But, in its first mini budget, the leader only outlined savings of around 2.5 million.

So how will they claw back the rest of the deficit - and what does the future hold for staff and services. Richard Jones reports.

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