Interview with local councillor Anne Weir

Last week I was lucky enough to meet with local councillor Anne Weir to discuss some of the main issues in her ward. Councillor Weir is a member of the Liberal Democrat party and is responsible for the St Barnabas Ward in Winchester.

St Barnabas: Community Demographic Profile 

The St Barnabas Ward includes the communities of Bereweeke, Weeke and Teg Down. Harestock falls into the parish of Littleton & Harestock adjoining the Weeke estate and lies to the North of Winchester City Centre.

In general, the ward has a well-balanced age range, good levels of employment and residents enjoy good health. The Weeke area houses the majority of residents in the community.

Levels of employment from 2008 suggest that 61% of residents are employed or self employed, 1.2% are unemployed, 2.5% unemployed due to sickness/disability, 3.5% in full time study, 20.4% retired, and the reminder unaccounted for.

Figure 1: Demographic features of the St Barnabas Ward (Census data 2008).

I interviewed Councillor Weir about the St Barnabas Ward.

“What is the single biggest issue in your ward?”

“I suppose the question is which is the most important for people. St Barnabas is an interesting ward in the north of Winchester with quite a lot happening. It has quite a contrasting residence base.”

“In terms of people contacting me, and on the doorstep – certainly for that middle area – traffic and parking are the main issues.”

“My awareness of crime issues comes through the Police and Communities Together group which meets once every three to four months in north Winchester. Of the areas within the group that I attend, St Barnabas is probably the lowest for crime rates […] However, that’s crimes affecting other people like theft and burglary and for things like that, it’s pretty low. It’s not to say that there aren’t other issues around. I think there probably are issues concerning drug abuse and some dealing questions in some pockets of the area but in a sense that tends to be less against the person than individuals.”

“Buses are another issue for one part of my ward. The ward is bisected by the Stockbridge Road which comes in from the north and we have an area called Teg Down which lies to the west […] it has a bus service which runs hourly but for a very limited part of the day and that service, since the withdrawal of bus subsidies in 2011/12 by Hampshire County Council, has been reduced slowly but it’s starting to really affect people – particularly older people who live on the higher parts of the ward – who can walk down but when they want to get home with shopping and things, it becomes a real challenge to them and people up there really rely on it and can feel  isolated when the service isn’t available”.

“We have a cycling strategy, we have various other strategies so we’re going to look at one on public transport for the city as well”.

About brackenstockley

Contributor to the JusticeGap and WINOL. Currently studying journalism at the University of Winchester (Year Three).
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