Tag Archives: southend seafront

It’s All In The Name

So why one has to wonder does Southend Council think ‘Cultural Centre’ is a good one?  Let’s face it how many children or teenagers or even any visitor is going to get excited about visiting a ‘cultural centre’? indeed even our die hard locals are sceptical!

Would you hold your wedding or celebrate an important birthday in a ‘cultural centre’? Well I suppose a few might but surely ‘Pier Pavilion’ is better, especially if Southend is allowed to add Royal or Jubilee to it- The Royal Pier Pavilion or The Jubilee Pier Pavilion are both a little more exciting and in no way deter from the place being used for ‘cultural’ activities and there are a number of other possibilities along this theme – Southend Royal Pier Pavilion etc. It was put up in 2012 the Jubilee year after all and since we lost out as a city could we not please have a Royal Pier to reflect the Pier’s royal heritage or even a Royal to officially open it.

There are many uses that The Pier Pavilion could be used for- cultural events certainly, but also exhibitions, parties, weddings, fund raising events, mini conferences, artists at work days, lectures, school room etc and I firmly believe that labeling it as a ‘cultural centre’ will deter more than it will attract. So come on let’s get it changed before it’s too late, let’s put some sparkle into the end of our pier after all it is supposed to be fun!

 

These are my views and are not the views of the Southend Conservative Group or Associations.

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

Southend Pier is ready to be fully opened in Time for the Easter Break!
The repairs following the boat collision are now complete and the Pier will re-open

Don’t forget that shortly the new Pier Pavilion will be lifted onto the decking so now is a good time to take a stroll down the Pier (or even the train) to see where it will go.

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!

Cambridge to Southend Cycle Ride or a 10 mile shorter ride!

That’s right a 74mile ride from Cambridge to Southend- ‘Cam to Coast’ or if you cannot manage that then go for one of 10 mile stretches at the start or end. All in aid of the The British Heart Foundation- cycling is good for your health and your sponsorship money will go to a very good cause!

If you live in the Southend area, are a bit unsure about cycling 74 miles or want to make it a family event join in the short stretch from Leigh along the seafront, take it easy, perhaps stop a while at the new City Beach or to enjoy the Estuary views which are always great whether the tides in or out, perhaps  take a picnic or BBQ and enjoy East Beach. You should be able to train back to Leigh if you cannot arrange a lift home!

26th March 2011

For more details or to register visit the Continue reading

New Hotel for Gas Works site

The echo today has run a story around the proposed new hotel at the Gas Works site which has been empty for many years now. I think everyone concerned would have preferred a 4 star hotel but I fully understand the reasons behind the change to a more basic style of hotel. However, I was amazed to read that Cllr Woodley was bemoaning this change as it was he that spoke so strongly against the adjoining proposals for a mixed use development some years back.

 The development control committee refused the application to the clear joy of Cllr Woodley and the earlier 4 star hotel was lost.

It was clear to many that finding a 4 star hotel to sign up with a derelict site with no valid planning application on the adjoining site was going to be a challenge too far.  Now with a reduced application approved another hotel has shown interest but we are in a recession and the new hotel is not a fully fledged 4 star.

I think its a shame that the earlier more exiting scheme which was praised for its design was refused and that we will now have a fairly basic mixed use development and a fairly basic hotel.

One of the reasons the earlier design was refused was because it was claimed it was too high and had too many flats in it. If we do not build up in a few locations to provide one and two bed apartments for first time buyers and for retirement we will never free up the family homes for families nor be able to house our young people in Southend and due to the demand for apartments prices will remain too high for many.