Tag Archives: City Beach Southend

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.

It was really great to be able to watch the new pavilion being slowly winched up from the barge and then down on to the decking. In about 4-6 weeks it will be ready for business. The black weatherproofing will be hidden behind the softer cream of the exterior finish, the glazing will be in and it will be clear to all that  the new pavilion will be a real assest to the town. Well, to nearly all, as there are always those that object and disagree for one reason or another.

Now this brings me to the point of my post, Southend can be a great destination, it can attract jobs and tourists but it would be a great deal easier if some of the habitual objecters just stopped being so negative and gave the town, the council and those trying to get things moving a chance. How to they think it looks if someone is coming into town for a job interview to pick up the paper or to go online and read some of the truly negative and nasty comments- well not great and this impacts on not only job applicants but those wishing to open a business or invest in the town.

Whether you personally like or dislike the design of the building, the town has very firmly stated over several years and consultations that it wanted the Pier to be a maritime/cultural place not an extention of the arcades, a place for families, locals and visitors, young and old and that is what the council has set out to provide.

So let’s get behind the town, stop the negativity and at a time of deep economic crisis and strife support this initiative which will hopefully attract more visitors to town and provide residents with a good quality venue- all this will add up to a beter economic climate for Southend, more jobs and more oportunities.

The Pier Pavilion is on its way!

Tomorrow will be a landmark day for Southend. At long last the new building has been hoisted on to a barge that will slowly bring it from the docks in Tilbury where it has been assembled to the Pier. It should be lifted on the Pier some time tomorrow.

See the pictures taken by the reporter here and especially this one

 

 

It’s a Purple Flag for Southend !

Great news another flag for Southend and it’s the first purple flag in Essex. Well Done the Police and Town Centre Partnership.

Southend has a new flag to add to its impressive haul of five blue and four green ones – a PURPLE flag.

Purple Flag is a new accreditation scheme which recognises excellence in the management of town and city centres at night. just as Blue Flags are a guarantee of good beaches, Purple Flags act as an indicator of where to go for a good night out.

The standard is only awarded to entertainment areas which are judged to have met a strict set of criteria.

To date only 25 Purple Flags have been awarded but today (Wednesday 25th April) the Association of Town Centre Management (ATCM) has announced five new recipients.

They include Southend’s High Street and Sea Front, the first area in Essex to have its night-time economy recognised.

In awarding the Purple Flag the ATCM rated Southend as ‘above standard’ in two of the five judging criteria – ‘Wellbeing’ and ‘A Broad Appeal’.

Southend Pier reopens to the public

Southend Pier will re-open to the public tomorrow (Saturday 24th September) following the completion of essential repairs.

The Pier has been closed since  a contractor’s barge was forced under the structure in high winds and a heavy swell, damaging pilings and a stretch of walkway earlier this month.

But now the temporary repairs needed to make the iconic landmark accessible to residents and visitors have been finished a fantastic fun-packed weekend awaits.

A visit by the paddle-steamer Waverley tomorrow coincides with the start of a two-day busking festival which will see a host of local musicians performing over the weekend.

And to cap it all off the Pier has been granted the National Visitor Attraction Quality Assurance Scheme (VAQAS) Award for the second year running.

This earns it a prestigious place on the Enjoy England website as a quality attraction and allows it to display the organisation’s English rose on Pier literature.

The Pier will be open to the public from 8.15am tomorrow Saturday  and the train will be running to the Pier Head as usual.

Should Southend Pier be free to Residents?

I doubt there are many Councillors or residents that would not aspire to this but sometimes one just has to be realistic! The Pier, because of where it is out in the Estuary, its age and listed status and what it is built of, costs a great deal in its day to day management and maintenance and already loses a great deal of money in getting it up to a suitable standard for its continued operational existence.

 Following the fire the insurance monies were for restoration of damage not for improvement which is why Southend Council has put a steady stream of capital each year into the Pier to get it into a state where it will be less expensive, hopefully, day to day, and able to support increased activity, building and use. But since Southend is not blessed with unlimited funding it has had to be done little by little, now it is virtually all in place and the planning application for the new Pier Pavilion should be going in soon. Don’t forget that Southend wanted a Pier that was cultural, based on maritime ideas and had something for everyone.

 The relatively easy answer would have been to allow it to become a giant amusement arcade and park but that was not what Southend said it wanted. Also no Developer wanted to pick up the maintenance costs of the Pier from the Council, so they would get the profit from any investment, not the Council, but the Council would be expected to pay for the maintenance costs; not a good business case for the Council or the tax payer! However, there will always be the day to day running costs, the trains require drivers and regular maintenance, cleaning and general maintenance is needed and due to the location of the Pier officers need to be on hand when the public are about etc. All this costs money and that money currently comes from the Council tax and ticket monies, if the ticket money income goes down the take from the Council tax needs to go up or something somewhere else needs to be reduced or cut. That said a free Pier for the residents is an attractive idea. Firstly of course the Council would need to know how many residents currently pay to go on the Pier versus non residents over the season so as to be able to budget for any changes and secondly there would need to be some sort of check to ensure only residents not visitors benefitted. This would quite likely result in the need for at least one extra staff member. Decisions would have to be taken around the equity of this happening with the resultant increase in council tax across the town affecting all, many of whom have no wish to go down the pier and what about resident’s children, nieces and nephews how would this all be catered for? Currently there is not a great deal at the end of the Pier, though it is still a great place to visit for many reasons.

 Once the Pier Pavilion is up and running, there should be even more of an attraction for a visit and maybe a halfway house of a free weekend or two would be a suitable compromise during which time the Council could showcase the new attractions to the public thus encouraging return visits

Guardian comment on Southend

Southend-On-Sea: You won’t find a more grounded seaside resort than this.

What’s going for it? I once saw a bronzed, elderly lady in a thong karaoking at 6pm on the prom at Southend. On a Tuesday! Here, I thought, was a town that knows how to have a good time. Brighton, despite its seediness, always had airs and graces. Still does. You won’t, though, find a more grounded seaside resort than Southend. It has its posh side, and these days it’s made the inevitable attempt to gentrify itself with arts festivals and the like. But only Leigh-on-Sea has really fallen to the Cath Kidstons. Southend is red in tooth and claw. Turn the corner into Shoeburyness and Essex’s vast skies meld with mudflats and wetlands to make the most ethereal, peaceful landscape imaginable. While faded, like most resorts, Southend has never lost the fight, unlike most resorts. It’s still alive. That thong lady had it figured.

The case against If you’re averse to bronzed, elderly ladies karaoking, this probably isn’t the place for you. Avoid all that by sticking to the Thorpe Bay/Shoeburyness end of things. The beach can be more sludge than sand when the tide’s out, though it’s as clean as a whistle.

Well connected? Very. You have your pick of dual carriageways to zip you through Essex. And the train service is good: around an hour to London from Southend East or Victoria, five to seven trains an hour.

Schools Among primaries, St Mary’s Prittlewell CofE and Sacred Heart Catholic are “good” with some “outstanding” features, with Bournes Green Junior, Temple Sutton Primary and Milton Hall “outstanding”. Secondaries: Shoeburyness High and The Eastwood are “good”, St Bernard’s High “outstanding”.

Hang out at… Rossi’s ice-cream parlour. Knickerbocker for me, please.

Where to buy Mostly very affordable for the south-east. Huge Edwardian semis for £250,000. Unattainable only in the poshest end of Thorpe Bay. Look at nearby Southchurch “village” for big Edwardian town houses, Kilworth estate, Clifftown conservation area, Westcliff-on-sea, Milford estate, and the Southend conservation area for nice Victorian semis and terraces.

Market values Huge detacheds, £500,000-£800,000 and up to £1m. Detacheds, £170,000-£500,000. Semis and town houses, £160,000-£415,000. Terraces £140,000-£300,000. Flats from £60,000 for a studio, up to £215,000.

Bargain of the week Five-bed end of terrace, currently two flats, in the Clifftown Conservation Area. £340,000, with Sorrell.

From the streets

Holly Edwards “Rossi’s ice-cream is a local institution. My nan wouldn’t eat any other. True blue Tory stronghold, so it can be hard to find a Guardian…”

Nathan Coyne “People joke about Shoeburyness on the train from Fenchurch Street, but they have clearly never been farther than the station. It’s got beaches and coastal walks with views over the estuary. Properties in Shoebury Garrison would cost millions closer to London.”

John Cheek “East Beach is lovely, where the Thames Estuary meets the North Sea.”

Taken from the Guardian

Our Golden Mile is Back

As Councillors, our MP, senior officers and contractors gathered with the Mayor and Sir Bob Kerslake last Friday evening for the switching on of the new illuminated masts one could not help but feel we had our Golden Mile back.

What had promised to be a rainy event was transformed as the western sky was lit with a truly magnificent rose gold sunset which seemed to glow over the proceedings, the Amusement Arcades and businesses of Marine Parade were resplendent with their Vegas style lights and as the City Beach Project comes to a close it really does seem to have achieved its aim in removing the tarnish and giving us a Golden Mile.

The Mayor touched the screen on the remote and after a slight hesitation the Illumination jumped to life, colours changed, patterns evolved and as it grew darker they became ever more eye catching.  

Mariner’s Square with the many water jets is virtually complete, the toilets and foreshore building are well in hand, the trees and planting look really good and are nearly complete and the Illumination masts, well you will either love them or hate them, but I hope you will agree that the Golden Mile is once again Golden!

Prada on Sea

Has a certain ring to it! More importantly the SKIPP use of this phrase emphasises how little they understand of aspirations. Southend gets circa 6m day visitors a year that puts us into the higher league tables, but others that attract high numbers actually get more back per visitor than Southend. Brighton and Bournemouth for example achieve a far far higher spend per visitor than Southend. So I ask- is there anything wrong in Southend aspiring to get a bit closer to their income from tourists? Is there anything wrong inSouthend Residents  aspiring to wear a Prada dress?

Surely in a town with over 7 miles of beaches we can afford to have some variation of style- something for everyone, the ‘quaint’ fishing village of Old Leigh, relaxing beaches and walks along the prom or through the gardens in Westcliff, the noisier more contemporary feel of the new central area of Marine Parade, the slightly more commercial seaside bits of Southchurch with give way to the wide greens and beaches of Thorpe Bay. Scattered along the coast are watersport facilities, seaside bars and cafes, paddling pools etc. Then on around the bend into Shoebury where the now emerging Gunners Park is the splendid back drop and through to East Beach with its far wilder, more natural aspects.

East Beach

Yes, there is a place, indeed there are many places, for candy floss and toffee apples, bucket and spades and sand castle building, yes there is space for amusement arcades and pubs, there is space aplenty for fish and chip shops and icecream stalls, indeed there is space within the current built areas for virtually everything any one could want. So why not aspire to improve the public realm, to assist business by smartening up a bit, to seek to attract a wider range of visitors and to provide them with reasons to spend money here.- Improved hotels- we’ve got some and more are likely to come, seaside cafes and bars and maybe a couple of new or refurbished ones somewhere, a magnificent water fountain feature to keep the kids happy when the tide is out (and probably when its in too) new  illuminated lighted masts with state of the art digital lighting effects, trees to wander through and areas to sit in, Adventure Island- it does a sterling job, a new Pier Pavillion( its coming this year) 

Artists impression of the new Pier Pavillion

an arts programme to attract and entertain visitors is on the way, the Cliffs Pavillion too offers a really full range of entertainment. Oh and lets not forget the proposed new Museum which will shore up the cliffs, provide a major new carpark and offer a truly inspiring museum complete with all the educational facilities one would need, a restaurant with a view to die for and some much needed indoor entertainment to draw in tourists from across the country and to keep them happy when the sun is shy ! Extending our offer, creating opportunity, investing in our assest working to promote our Town and improve its economics-  If all of this is PRADA on SEA then I say bring it on!

Southend Deserves it!

Visit the Echo and sign up to show your support. Achieving City Status would Southend a real boost. Read what our residents have to say about it