Category Archives: general

South Essex Homes to get powers to deal with ASB

Just taking names and addresses is not sufficient,(echo article) those that behave in an anti social manner that seriously disrupts or disturbs the other residents should be dealt with more severely, one warning then if it recurrs their tenancy should be reviewed. If underage then the parents should be held responsible. (If you are deemed to have made yourself homeless due to ASB etc the Council does not have the same obligations to rehome as it does due to no fault homelessness)

A few examples of ASB that residents have raised with me in the past-

Having dogs on an upper floor in a tower block- then letting them pee and poo in the lift or on the stairs as they are too desperate to wait until outside.

Allowing dogs to persistently foul the small communal gardens of a block of flats.

Drug dealing/taking- you can smell drugs in the communal areas of some Tower Blocks. This can be especially worrying when dealers target young mums who are vulnerable.

Throwing rubbish out of windows- this is clearly dangerous and results in the areas looking a mess. This ranges from large items of furniture to food waste and dirty nappies!

Use of an air rifle from a bedroom window. Recurrent offence.

Use of comunal areas by kids for smoking, drinking etc- has resulted in forced doors to gain access and even fires.

The above are just some of the ASB issues that SEH residents have had to put up with.

If we are to pursue the rogue private landlord (and we should) who allows their tenants to persist in ASB or their properties to be in disrepair, through selective licensing then equally firm action needs to be taken with SEH and be seen to have been taken.

Echo article

 

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.

 

Council calls Cricket Festival Public Meeting

Southend Cricket Festival – Public Meeting
Southend BC and Southend Cricket Festival Task Force are holding
a public meeting in town next Wednesday at the Civic Centre in Victoria Avenue, 6.15pm.

The meeting has been called to protest against Essex County Cricket Club’s decision not to
stage the festival in Southend in 2012.

Essex CCC members, non-members, cricket lovers in general and anybody passionate about
the hosting of festival events in Southend is invited to attend.

The aim of the meeting is
to demonstrate that the people of Southend feel very strongly about Essex CCC’s
decision not to stage the festival next year, which they believe is wrong on many counts,
and to call Essex CCC to account with the intention of overturning the decision.

The decision by Essex CCC not to host the 105-year-old festival in Southend next year has caused dismay in the town.

Attendances have improved year on year and exceed those for similar events in Chelmsford and
Colchester. Around 4,800 people attended the three days of championship cricket in Southend in 2011. This
compares with an average of around 3,000 per match at Chelmsford.

The profit made by the festival from 2008 to 2011 was around £60,000 – a figure that compares
favourably with the loss made by the Colchester festival over the same period.

Fairhavens proposal for green belt development

Firstly let me say that the work of Fairhavens and support it gives to those in need is not in question, nor is it questionable that a better premises would greatly improve the facilities.

However, whether or not there should be development in the green belt is questionable. Normally in planning, certain larger developments have to prove that there are no suitable locations closer to the town centre, on brown field sites etc depending on the type of development that is being proposed.

I would therefor like to suggest an alternative location- Fossets Farm, to be precise on the site of the earlier hospital diagnostic centre proposal that had consent. This site is well located, has relatively easy access by car, great views to the North over the Roach Valley and to the south the ancient monument which is in dire need of some loving care and attention could be incorporated into the  ‘grounds’.  The access to and from Southend Hospital is fair , the Wellesley Spire and the St Luke’s extended surgery are nearby.  This is a well connected site that retains rural aspects and peacefulness through careful landscaping could be ensured.

The land is not green belt and had consent for hospital use, public transport has improved greatly over recent years to this area and could be further enhanced if demand was there.

Echo Article

Battle of Britain Day

St John’s was full this morning for the service in memory of the Battle of Britain. The Mayor and David Amess MP attended  but perhaps the most important attendees were the 5 Chelsea pensioners who had managed to come from London for the service and the veterans of the Southend area. The Air Cadets were out in force looking professional and thankfully the sun shone. I wonder for how many more years this service will continue, will it succumb to the ‘what’s it to me’ or the ‘I can’t be bothered to turn up on a Sunday morning’ set? I hope not, I hope it does continue, it means a great deal to those who were involved and it should mean a great deal to those of us that are younger and that owe them so much.

 

 

 

 

And yet… and yet… I can’t pretend the turnout by
councillors was all that I might hope for. I absolutely understand that on any
given date a certain portion of councillors will be genuinely unavailable but I
would expect that portion to remain firmly a minority. Councillors are supposed
to be civic leaders, representing their town, their residents and their ward.
Commemorating events such as the Battle of Britian and supporting the part it
plays in our history and national identity is important.

Now I won’t mention any names since individuals may have
good reasons for having missed the ceremony, but I must ask where were the
Liberal Democrats? I mean any of them? Because I couldn’t see a single Lib Dem
Cllr present. Where were the Independents? Only one independent was present out of 9. Labour I realise has a smaller group and given the small number of their councillors their turnout wasn’t too bad.

Because I’m not trying to be political I’d also point out
that I’d like to have seen rather more Conservatives at the event. Council
officers were also notable in their absence. Senior officers who work for the
town should realise that their role includes showing attendance at events
such as this.

But for only a single Independent, no senior officer and no
Liberal Democrat to have attended… such a poor show.

Would you like to be a Conservative Councillor?

RSECA- Rochford and Southend East Conservative Association, have opened the councillor candidate list. Our wards will be selecting candidates for the 2012 elections over the next few
months and if you would like to be considered, then we would like to hear from
you.

If you would like to be a councillor, would like to know more about
becoming a councillor or what is involved in being a councillor please contact
us at office@rseca.net  or phone 01702 600460 as soon as possible.

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

Labour Find Dog Fouling Amusing!

I presented a petition to Council last night, signed by over 200 residents from a small number of streets troubled  by dog fouling. Labour were too busy giggling to take note of the seriousness of dog fouling, demonstrating their clear lack of concern for St Luke’s residents! The petition asks the Council to take dog fouling more seriously, for residents in some streets it is a persistent problem. Generally dog fouling is much better and the streets far cleaner but there are a few streets where the problem persists and to tackle these streets we need the Council to take an even more pro-active approach.

Its not just a question of more dog bins as the Independent suggests as these are available, but in a densely populated area its difficult, if not impossible, to find a location that is suitable- would the independent want a dog bin outside his home?  Labour say a petition is not what’s needed ‘its easy to start a petition but less easy to come up with a solution…’ words she needs to take to heart following her predecessors love of petitions!  I am hopeful of achieving what I have asked for in my petition which does actually give some solutions-

We the undersigned call upon Southend Council to take Dog Fouling more seriously by-

  • Better promotion of responsible dog ownership
  • Providing more dog waste bins
  • Putting up more offense warning notices
  • Improving the cleaning regime of problem areas
  • Issuing more penalty notices with concurrent publicity
  • Ensuring more visibility of the streetscene officers by  ensuring that at least 30% of their patrols are on foot and that they regularly patrol all known problem areas

Southend East's Conservative Team

Today the list of Conservative candidates in Rochford and Southend East has been announced. As usual we will be fielding a full team of Candidates for the local elections in May. I am especially enthused by the dedication and talent of this year’s team.

Each Candidate has been carefully considered by the association and the respective ward committee to ensure they are absolutely right for their ward. I can honestly say each of them deserve to win and I know that such a strong team will put up an incredible fight.

Kursaal Ward

In Kursaal ward we have selected Neil Austin, a proud father of four. Neil has been working tirelessly in Kursaal where he lives. His understanding of the need for regeneration makes him an ideal candidate and obvious choice for Kursaal voters who want to see their area improve. His main competition will be from Labour’s Ms McMahon who was voted out at the last election but managed to get reselected under an all women shortlist.

Thorpe Ward

In Thorpe Peter Melville will be a fresh face, full of enthusiasm and determination. He clearly wants to listen and represent Thorpe residents. I know that he will be running a strong campaign.

St Luke’s Ward

I am seeking re-election in St Luke’s this year, and (without being too immodest!) hope my record of achievement for the ward and passion for Southend will be recognised by residents. As usual I shall run as positive a campaign as possible.

Southchurch  Ward

Cllr Ann Holland is up for re-election in Southchurch. Cllr Holland is currently Mayor and extremely experienced on council, with a particularly sterling reputation for her work with the fire authorities.

Victoria Ward

Ray Davy, known by many for his work at Southend United and the Roots Hall Market, is a stalwart and extremely hard working person, if elected he would bring real hope for Victoria. He would be tenacious in speaking up for residents and in getting improvements for them.

Milton

Cllr Jonathon Garston is standing for re-election. Jonathon is an exceptional ward councillor and thoroughly deserves to get back in.

Shoebury

Verina Weaver is a hard working and experienced Cllr, who will fully represent Shoebury, she has experience of planning and speaking out at Council. She will be a fine replacement for Pat Rayner who is resigning after doing a grand job for Shoebury residents for the last 10 years.

West Shoebury

Cllr Derek Jarvis is also standing for re-election, but in west Shoebury. Derek is a senior councillor and has represented his ward for a long time.

Between us the candidates have well over a lifetime worth of council experience, and have in recent years done a tremendous amount of positive work in the town and for our residents.

Q. When is an Independent not an Independent?

A. When he’s teamed up with a Lib-Dem!

The so called Independent candidate in St Luke’s has joined forces with last year’s Lib Dem candidate for St Luke’s and SKIPP sympathiser. The stated object to get rid of the sitting ward Cllr Anna Waite.

Whilst I am sure Cllr Longley will disown this collusion, it would not be the first time he has done this. In 2006 the LibDems colluded with an independent and quite probably UKIP and Labour too. This collusion was confirmed to me by Mike Grimwade (LibDem) who said that he disliked the collusion that had taken place and hoped I would not hold it against him!