Tag Archives: Conservatives

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

 

 

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’

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’.

“Once again this year no leisure centres, arts or cultural facilities have had to be closed and we are proposing to freeze Council tax, car parking costs and many other fees and charges.” Cllr Holdcroft

Southend Council has published news of the forthcoming budget.

“Even though we were required to make slightly less savings and efficiencies this year ( than last year) the decisions we had to take weren’t any easier and this budget proved an equally onerous task.
“The economic situation across Europe has worsened in the last 12 months and you only have to switch on the news or look at a paper to realise we’re nowhere near out of the woods yet.
“We didn’t get ourselves into this financial mess but we’ve got to be responsible for doing our bit to help the country get out of it.
“Luckily this authority had begun the process of identifying efficiencies well before the current financial disaster struck and we were in a more favourable position than some others.
“But with each financial year these savings become harder and harder to achieve without impacting on front line services and we’ve still got another four years of this to get through.
“Once again this year no leisure centres, arts or cultural facilities have had to be closed and we are proposing to freeze Council tax, car parking costs and many other fees and charges.
“Around a third of the savings required of us have been achieved by our officers re-negotiating contracts and other corporate work stream initiatives and they deserve a great vote of thanks.
“I truly believe that the hard work and continuing co-operation of our staff will enable the Council to carry on meeting the financial challenges it is facing.
“Despite the difficulties we are all experiencing Southend continues to be a vibrant and diverse town where major regeneration is helping improve the lives of each and every resident.” Cllr Nigel Holdcroft.

Within the Capital Budget the Conservative Administration is finding capital for the Cliff slip in the area where the proposed museum would go,

for the Pier, our world famous landmark,                                                            and for improving primary school facilities. These capital investments will deliver improved facilities and boost local economic growth.

Despite the adverse economic conditions the Council has been able to make the efficiencies demanded by Government whilst still maintaining the full range of services it currently provides.
Once again everything possible has been done to minimise the impact of the budget on front line services.

  • Nearly £4m in efficiencies have been achieved through renegotiating existing contracts, rationalising systems and localised shared delivery.
  • To ease the burden on residents the Cabinet is recommending that the Council tax for Southend, already one of the lowest in the country, should not be increased in 2012/13.

This would be achieved by accepting George Osborne’s offer of a grant to cover the shortfall incurred by freezing the tax, which currently has financial implications for future years.

  • Existing parking charges have also been frozen across the borough in a bid to assist the local economy and boost local businesses.
  • In Adult & Community Services the re-ablement programme, which reduces the dependency of social care service users on high cost care packages, has resulted in £950,000 in savings.
  • A further £500,000 in efficiencies has been realised by utilising the local PCT’s health-related social care grant for 2012/13 on key health-related adult social care functions. These include hospital social work, the Cumberlege Intermediate Care Centre and the Southend Therapy and Recovery Team.
  • In Children & Learning £250,000 savings have been realised with the winding down of the Core Unit, a supervised accommodation project for families requiring high-level support. The Council took over the cost of running the scheme, which targeted families with at-risk children made homeless due to their behaviour, after Government funding ceased. The one family currently remaining at the unit will be re-housed and continue to receive intensive support from the Family Intervention Project.
  • A further £389,000 worth of efficiencies have been realised in Children & Learning through the redesign of existing services.
  • In Enterprise, Tourism & the Environment £175,000 of savings have been found by deleting vacant posts in the Highways section and the implementation of the Common Permit Scheme.
  • A further £170,000 worth of efficiencies have been achieved through re-structuring the waste management service.
  • In Support Services £140,000 savings have been unlocked by the introduction of Internet Protocol Telephony and £135,000 through a re-structure of the Business Improvement Team.

Aside from all these individual savings the re-negotiation of existing contracts across all four Council directorates alone has realised £3.315m in savings.
But the need to make such significant savings in order to be able to present a balanced budget will inevitably lead to further job losses at the authority.
A total of 120 posts have been identified as being at risk, of which 49 are currently vacant. Employees working in the affected areas and the trade unions have been fully briefed.
The Council’s policy of keeping vacant posts open and operating a Talent Pool system has enabled it to keep the number of compulsory redundancies to an absolute minimum.

More Affordable Homes for Southend

Nine more affordable properties have been made available to residents in Southend thanks to a joint initiative between conservative lead Southend Council and Guinness South.

The Council has invested £220,000 in Guinness South’s development at North Shoebury Road, which provides nine two-bedroomed flats for people on its Homeseekers register.

The flats are owned and managed by Guinness South but the Council will continue to have nomination rights which will enable it to give first priority to working households.

The partnership initiative is the first in the borough to set the cost of the properties at 80 per cent of market rent – helping people who cannot afford to rent a property on the open market.

Southend Council’s Executive Councillor for Adult Social Care, Health and Housing, Conservative,  Lesley Salter, said: “This is a very welcome step and we hope it will pave the way to other similar schemes. It is crucial in these difficult economic times that we do all we can to help people find much needed homes at prices they can afford to carry on paying.”

 

Housing is a major issue for many in Southend that no one in initiative can solve but this is part of a joined up approach to tackling the many and varied housing issues and a welcome step in the right direction.

 

Rogue Landlords Take Note!

 A private landlord has been fined for failing to repair his property and leaving his tenants to suffer damp, draughty and hazardous conditions for two years!

If we are ever to turn around our housing in the borough the council really must take action such as this each and every time it comes to light. It is also essential that when a resident moves from the private scetor into the council sector that the property from whence they came is inspected. This is because one of the main critria for getting  council property is overcrowding and poor conditions and if the council does follow up on this then the next private tenant may be in a similar position.  For more details on the case please see below-

Terry Frost, of Cotswold Road, Westcliff, had denied failing to comply with an Improvement Notice issued under the Housing Act 2004, but he was found guilty when he appeared at Southend Magistrates’ Court on Monday 26th September. Frost was fined £2,000 and ordered to pay £1,500 costs plus a £15 victim surcharge.

Conservative  Councillor for Adult Social Care, Health and Housing, Lesley Salter, said:

“We have many good landlords in the borough and we are trying to encourage those who don’t presently meet the standards we require to manage their properties more effectively.

“We will not hesitate to take enforcement action against any landlord who shows a cavalier attitude towards their legal responsibilities.”

The court heard how Southend Council had tried repeatedly to deal with the matter informally before finally serving the Improvement Notice in December 2010. This listed a series of repairs required to bring the property up to the appropriate standard and allowed several months for the works to be completed. They included renewing defective windows, refurbishing the kitchen, improving security, work to minimise dampness and tackling a mouse infestation.

The Council was forced to prosecute after a re-inspection of the property revealed most of the repairs were still outstanding, even though the Notice period had expired. In addition to being fined Frost remains responsible for ensuring that all the works required are completed.

The Forum at Elmer Square gets the go ahead!

Southend’s Development Control Committee has today approved the plans for the development of a new building at Elmer Square subject to the Committee approving the Management Plan for the proposed public display screen before its installation. elmer Square is off elmer Approach which was remodelled last year

The new building will be called ‘The Forum’ with
construction commencing in February 2012 and hopefully the new building will be opening to the public on 30th September 2013.

The redevelopment of Elmer Square is a partnership between Southend-on-Sea
Borough Council, the University of Essex and South Essex
College of Further & Higher Education. The £26.9 million scheme will include an integrated municipal and academic Central Library and digital gallery, a modern teaching facility for South EssexCollege, and a stimulating research and learning environment for the University
of Essex.

The 9,450m2 building will include a 203 seat lecture theatre, a new café, teaching space for approximately 600 students at any one time with study space for a further 450 students and will also be the new home of the Focal Point Gallery.

The new integrated public and academic library will include a main reading area approximately 40% bigger than the existing central Library, over 100 ICT stations and over 200 other seats. The Children’s Library will be located on the ground floor providing enhanced access whilst the building will be located in a new public square.

The new building will be funded jointly by the Council, the University of Essex and South Essex College .

Progress Road Junction Improvements Win Top Award

The Progress Road junction has just clinched a major award from Local Government News. (LGN) .The successful scheme won the “Highway” category of the LGN‟s Street Design 2011 Awards.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank all the officers that worked so hard to deliver what we asked for- on time and on budget and especially Paul Matheison and Karen Gearing who not only played a major role in delivering this project but also gave me immense support in the process.  Thank You and Well Done, you deservbe this award.

Progress Road junction is part of the Better Southend initiative, launched to help to make the borough a better place for residents, visitors and businesses to live, rest and work.

The LGN judges recognised how significantly the new Progress Road scheme was reducing traffic queues and delays at the junction, adding: ‘The work has provided local and national benefits and was completed on a tight budget.’

‘The infrastructure improvements achieved during the scheme will also enable further regeneration work to be carried out in the area.’

The new Progress Road junction provides additional lanes on both carriageways of the A127, allowing traffic to flow through the area more easily.

The £5m scheme, was delivered on time and on budget, and was funded by grants from the Homes & Communities Agency and from the Council‟ Capital Budget.