Category Archives: general

H & M show confidence in Southend

Work on the new H&M Store in the old Woolworth’s building is well underway. Now lets be clear this not just a quick revamp of the TJ Hughes store, it is a major revamp. I applaud the active shop front on Alexandra Street, so much better than the awful blacked out windows of the Discount Store on Clifftown Road- Why did the Council allow this when it is against their policies of active shop fronts? The new shop front and entrance on the High Street looks contemporary and smart.

Now is the opportunity for the council to get behind the High Street and invest a little in maintainig it. It is about 10 years since the High Street was revamped and now it needs a little attention, perhaps some new seats and certainly the replacement of the cobbles. I am not talking consultants or mega bucks just the appliance of little common sense.
Many towns would be give their hind teeth for such an investment in the current economic situation and Southend has weathered the High Street decline relatively well, so let’s get behind this show of faith in Southend let’s use it to get Southend into the national press, the estates and retail trade press and to attract further investment from retailers prepared to invest in decent stores in our High Street.

 

 

 

Southend Summer- It’s a great place to be…..

So at  last the sun is out and the children have broken up. The last few days have seen thousands flocking to our beaches and seafront. The new water fountains at City Beach have been a real hit with the children. Perhaps it was our win in the Tour de France but cycling on the seafront cycle track seems very popular too, for all ages.

For those that want to get active there is the Southend Marine Activity Centre where all sorts of watersports can be experienced and there is the Essex Boot Camp which trains in both Leigh and Southend on the cliffs, evenings and weekends.

If it’s a bit of culture that you fancy then take a look at visit southend where you will find a whole list of events, many on the pier too, oveImager the summer.

 

 

 

Feeling hungry then  download a copy of Dine on Sea and choose yourself a place to eat.

The Pier Pavilion or Cultural Centre is at long last ready, so why not go down the pier and take a look and decide for self if you like it or not.

For a picnic by the sea try East Beach in Shoebury it has picnic benches and BBQ facilities ready for you to use your grills on, wide green grass expanses and no cars, so take a ball or two and have some fun by the seaside- or you could just watch the kite surfers whilst sunning yourself.Image

For something a little different why not go to Leigh, have yourself a morning coffee, browse the shops then wander down the old staircase beside the Church to Old Leigh, cross over the bridge and perhaps have a light lunch or just take the camera for some intersting shots of this working fishing port..

These are just a few of the many things on offer in Southend, so do a little digging and have a great day out in Southend, it’s a great place to be.

INDEPENDENT PARTY IN DISARRAY

You couldn’t make this up…..

Over the past few days the Independent party have been getting up posters about the ‘spy car’ these postershave gone out in Ron Woodley’s name on behalf of the Independent Group.

However,  some Independent Cllrs have been calling for the CCTV car to be deployed in their wards!  If they cannot even agree on the CCTV Car how can they think that they could form a co-alition or take control of the council….

No wriggle room for Martin Terry

I have very little desire to spend much time commenting further on Martin Terry’s increasingly surreal blogs. He responds to my previous post by claiming I failed to provide context.

Well I posted not only Martin’s comments, but the entire article from the Echo so that there could be no question of misrepresenting the context.

Besides how much wriggle room is there in the words ‘ I agree with EVERYTHING (Anna Waite) said or ‘What she said was entirely right’

Independent leader damns himself with his dishonest and fake comments (with evidence).

I suspected when I posted about Martin Terry on Saturday that he lacked the self awareness to stop incoherently ranting about me, ‘bilge pumps’ and whatever other phantom evils invest his mind.

What Martin Terry didn’t realise is that to an extent I was counting on his response as a basis of bringing something rather interesting to light.

Martin Terry has made great play of the offense he takes from my ‘supposed’ comments about single mothers. Never mind that he regularly misquotes or misunderstands what I said, he describes my comments as a disgusting attack, blighting single mothers, as spiteful, nasty, shameful and disgraceful. He also repeatedly calls for my resignation.

So why would I repeat all these accusations? Well let us take a look at the Southend Echo newspaper of February 29th. This was the Echo’s second story on this topic.

As part of this piece the Newspaper gives a comment to the opposition. A whole box set aside so we can read the views of the opposition councillors, and who did they pick to give this comment? Why none other than the fulminating Martin Terry, leader of the Independent party.

And what did Mr Martin Terry have to say about my comments? Why, he said that he totally agreed with them.

Expanded and unedted section from article in Southend Echo from 29th February 2012 showing Martin Terry’s comments. See below for context.

Not that I should resign, or that he was appalled or even that he agreed only in part.

No, he stated that he TOTALLY AGREED with them. Let me quote him again where he says “what [Anna Waite] said was ENTIRELY RIGHT“.

There is more than enough  hyperbole in politics and I have no wish to add to it by making exaggerated comments or personally insulting the guy, especially when his rants say more about him than I could. But who, in all honesty, can respect Martin Terry, or have him as their party leader, when he carries on like this?

You can read my comments on Southend Town Centre here

Independents- A New Dawn? Hardly- they can barely hold a conversation, let alone run a council.

It might seem an odd choice of website to promote, but I would urge anyone thinking of voting independent to visit Martin Terry’s blog. He seems to have a rather creepy case of ‘mentionitis’ about me (8 highlighted references to someones name in a single post does come across as slightly obsessive). It’s not how normal adults generally conduct themselves. He’s sort of a ‘real world’ internet troll.

Anyway his central theme that I am somehow controlling the local conservative party is (perhaps sadly from my point of view!) as entirely false as the rest of the innuendo on his blog. The post of chairman is mainly concerned with administrative and organisational issues. It can certainly be a busy job at times but it doesn’t involve setting or determining ‘policy’.

I genuinely find it quite sad that the residents of Westbourough have to be represented by someone like this. What do you think officers of the council make of his ranting and raving? I think his behaviour on council was embarrassingly poor at times. I have huge respect for the professionalism and independence of Council staff  but someone as aggressive and unpleasant as Martin Terry is an almost totally ineffective advocate for his residents.

He talks on occasion about some sort of post-parties collaborative council, but at a very fundamental level the man is not capable of collaboration because he is so fixated with attacking anyone who disagrees with him – no matter how trivially obvious it is to everyone else that he doesn’t have a clue what he is talking about. I remember as a portfolio holder him shouting at me in full council because of some comment in a report and when I later read the report I realised he had completely misunderstood it, and I do mean completely.

I think that’s what bothers me about the independents. I was a councillor for a long while before the ‘independents’ started to win any seats and for that time disputes between local politicians were about policy and principles. However, a lot of what the independents say is – and I don’t know whether it’s dishonesty, or that they don’t understand, or don’t want to understand – so far removed from the reality of what is going on that discussion become impossible.

Instead they run very personal campaigns which seem to primarily work by making as many outrageous claims as possible and relying on enough people currently mistrusting politicians that some of it sticks. In national politics there is a competitive media and plenty of rescources to ensure that overtly cynical politics gets exposed. In the local arena we’re far more reliant on a deal of goodwill, honesty and integrity from candidates. Sadly if there were three words that don’t generally characterise independant campaigning they would be these.

How can anyone have a debate with someone who can’t go two minutes without spitting something about ‘Anna Waites Tory boys’ (sic). If a conservative candidate put up blogs like that about a labour or liberal democrat I would personally ask them to take it down and  point out that politicians, as public servants, should conduct themselves with a greater degree of professionalism. I would expect the Labour and LibDem parties to take the same approach.

Anyway, I don’t generally complain about what people have to say about me – it’s not nice but if you’re in politics it comes with the territory - however, I feel this kind behaviour almost reinforces the idea that somehow places like Southend can’t do ‘grown up’ politics. If you were sat in Whitehall or Westminster reading a blog like that would you be persuaded of the benefits of localism and greater autonomy for local authorities? I wouldn’t.

When The Pot Calls The Kettle Black

There is an interesting post on the blog of Julian Ware-Lane, Julian’s Musings. Julian is a Labour Candidate in the upcoming elections and blogs regularly on many issues.

Today, however, he has chosen to take a pop at a Green Party Candidate for uncosted pledges.  He states-

‘Competence is critical, and unfunded promises are not a sign of competence.

To increase safe cycle paths, to want cheap and available public transport, to introduce more traffic calming, to provide low cost loans for insulation – these must all be paid for. I am afraid the Green reputation for pie-in-the-sky politics will not be dispelled by this leaflet.’

Well I suggest that you should take a look at the local  Labour manifesto with fresh eyes Julian.

Here are just few of the uncosted policies-

‘The council needs to take tough action on derelict properties, including those on Victoria Avenue which are a hazard and an eyesore. We will use powers to clean up properties left in a poor state.’

A great pledge but buying up Victoria Ave is costly and the Council already has an enviable record around smaller derelict properties

‘We have been calling for a new primary school for a number of years.’

Very expensive and what’s that that is being built in Shoebury….why, it’s a new primary school!

‘If the local gay community would like a Pride event then we will support this.’

‘We will seek to improve street lighting and support council funding for alley-gating.’

‘We also support the provision of more public toilets and benches.’

All these need money so where will it come from or will council Tax go up ?

‘We want a greener town and are committed to preserving our green spaces. We will plant more native trees and look to plant pollinator-friendly plants in the display beds and borders.’

Southend already plants many trees many of which are native, where will the money come from for more…..Council Tax increases?

‘We want Southend to have cleaner streets.’

Who doesn’t?  It’s a bit like apple pie and mother hood as is much of the rest of the manifesto, much of it uncosted and costly.

Warm and Well-on-Sea

Vulnerable residents have been helped to tackle the health risks of winter, thanks to £85,000 of extra Government funding.
The Warm and Well-on-Sea project was designed to boost work already being undertaken by many voluntary groups and organisations in the borough.
These extra funds and resources helped them target their efforts as widely possible to help vulnerable people protect themselves against the dangers of cold weather.
The Department of Health grant was awarded to Southend-on-Sea Borough Council, in collaboration with South Essex Primary Care Trust, Southend Association of Voluntary Services, Homeless Action Resource Project (HARP), Papworth Trust and Southend Citizens Advice Bureau.
Managed by Southend Association of Voluntary Services, the project is being directed at ways to lessen the health impacts of winter up until Saturday 31st March.
This included producing an information booklet on how vulnerable households can improve the efficiency of their properties as well as look after their health.
A group of volunteers from SAVS and Southend Youth Council have helped prepare letters and leaflets for distribution.
Southend-on-Sea Borough Council’s Executive Councillor for Adult Social Care, Health and Housing, Councillor Lesley Salter said: “This funding has a huge boost to build on the very important work already being undertaken in this area. Deprived areas of Southend have significant health inequalities which we are doing our utmost to deal with.

“In addition there could be more than 5,000 households classified as being in Fuel Poverty – having to spend more than ten per cent of their income on heating.
“The exceptionally cold weather and snow earlier this month, once again highlighted the need for the most vulnerable in Southend on Sea to have access to the services already in place to assist them. We are very grateful indeed to the volunteers and to Southend Youth Council for helping with the mailing.”
The information booklet is now being sent to more than 12,000 homes, and also distributed through other avenues and agencies.
Louise McIver from SAVS said: “We are pleased to be part of this community project and be a partner in reaching these vulnerable families. We have recruited existing volunteers from community based organisations to carry out the Home Checks and these dedicated volunteers have been doing a great job. They are coping admirably with the positive response received during the early phases of the project and are well prepared for the further numbers we expect.”

Carrots not Sticks!

The new MiTo, where less is certainly more, caught my eye and it set me thinking when the Alfa Romeo magazine, full of fancy photography and cars in clever settings, landed on my doormat this week.

Whilst I have always encouraged the development of policies that promote alternative fuels and low pollution vehicles I had not realised quite how far the petrol engine had come! So a few minutes on the internet revealed that Alfa are not alone in their 67mpg low emission, clean car. Other more mainstream manufacturers are now producing similar engines for vehicles bigger than a Fiat 500!

I have never believed that people will be forced from their cars onto buses or trains or that Labour’s ridiculous parking policies would ever do more than cause problems.

Sticks are not the answer, nor is reducing parking in new developments to zero in the false belief that if you do not have an off road parking space you will not have a car, nor are punitive parking charges at stations etc. nor is the anti-car rhetoric so beloved of some.

What we should be concentrating on are the carrots- free parking in council car parks for vehicles that are both tax band A and London Congestion Charge exempt, free or reduced resident on street parking permits for these cars, more and cheaper parking at stations to encourage greater use of the train, Councils leading by example through incentives to staff who opt for high mpg and low emission vehicles, perhaps even a Government tax incentive on their purchase and I am sure there are plenty of other ideas that could be developed.

Southend is already one of the cleanest towns, let’s keep it that way, let’s actually encourage people to buy cleaner, greener cars, to use the trains, to cycle more and take the bus occasionally. That way it will also be more pleasant to walk and you never know we may all be healthier too!

The Alfa MiTo Twinair Engine has won for major awards and is available from April, I quite fancy one …….

 

Drug Dealers Should Face Eviction

South Essex Homes Should evict these people if found guilty.

Southend-on-Sea Borough Council and South Essex Homes fully support the drugs enforcement action undertaken by Essex Police today.

Some of the addresses targeted following the execution of warrants under the Misuse of Drugs Act are Council properties managed by South Essex Homes.

Possession proceedings which could ultimately lead to eviction will be commenced against any tenants found to have been in breach of their tenancy conditions as a result of police action.

Both the Council and South Essex Homes continue to build on their positive partnership work with the police and will take rigorous action where homes have been used for illegal activities.