Tag Archives: Better Southend

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!

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Supporting the Local Shops

Last week I commented that I had heard a rumour that Sainsbury were to open in Southchurch, that has now been confirmed along with 25 new jobs in the store. However, we must applaud the views of Ashby’s Butchers, they are right, local shops will benefit from more trade if the larger stores pull more shoppers to an area, but only if the local stores develop their unique selling point and adapt to the competition. It’s all to easy to complain rather than get on and do it, well done Ashby’s.

Southchurch Road seems to be on the up, I do not know if the takings reflect this, but over the past few years the shops have smartened up, the range has improved and generally it feels more alive, the new homes that have gone in along with the street improvements have hopefully given it a boost too. 

Although I get much of my main shop in the larger supermarkets I do support smaller shops in the town, but perhaps not enough year round.  So I for one shall make a point of shopping at Ashby’s Butchers as well as the other smaller traders I already support about the town. After all if we want to keep them we must use them and for those that cannot access the edge of town supermarkets they are essential.

Southend Shortlisted for 'Best Council'

Last year we were shortlisted for most improved council,  this year its best Council in the

 LGC awards and the list of awards, accolades and successes that

Southend Council and Partner’s  have achieved are truly amazing. They range from ‘Park Mark’ Awards for Safety in Car Parks for 20 of our car parks  to being awarded two green lights and ranked in the top three of English local authorities for our work on autism by the National Autistic Society’s Local Authority Progress Table and just about everything in between.

So let’s stop the negative stuff and start celebrating success, as it’s the successes that will move us forward and help us out of economic turn down, it’s the successes that will help us to keep going when the going gets tough and it’s the successes that will promote our town and help us achieve better jobs and better prospects for our children and grandchildren.

Cuckoo Corner

Today we see a very negative SKIPP press release about Cuckoo Corner, (only to be expected really in the circumstances)  last year they had 100 trees going, then 100 year old trees going, damage to the park, broken promises etc- none true and now a whole article about 28 sets of lights causing delay and all before the junction is even finished!

Truth is the A 127 pedestrian crossing had to be removed to build the 3rd lane, so the lights were turned on early to help pedestrians, but the detector loops are still to go in, the sequencing sorted and the lanes to be opened -oh and yes the signage and planting and much more still has to go in too….

There are three  ‘sets of lights’ on the arms of the 3 main roads entering/ exiting the roundabout and upto 4 sets controlling movements around the roundabout thats 7 sets not 28 sets. All sets of lights require more than one post so that all motorists and road users can see them.

To see how the junction will work in real time visit here the short simulation starts with the Bell junction before moving to a relatively basic model of Cuckoo Corner- the point is that the lights will better distribute the traffic depending on the amount cars appeoaching the roundabout thus allowing for smoother circulation, once one gets a green light on the roandabout junction one will be able to pass through all the remaining lights on green unless doing a 360 when one will have to wait once at a red. The lights will be adapted for differing times of day and differing traffic flows, the loops will detect the start of a queue and cause the sequecing to adapt. 

i actually went through last week from West to Eas quite quickly but there was a queue East to west, but then thee was also a lane closure and works further along, today I went through, again west to east very quickly when usually at that time i would have held up from about KFC and  there were no queues beyond about 4 cars in Priory Crescent.

A Bird's Eye View

Here is the lastest bird’s eye view of the works outside Victoria Station, the new Square or circle can clearly be seen, showing the extend of the new pedestrianised area outside the Station and the improved area to the rear of the Odeon.

The removal of the old roundabout will make for easier pedestrian access from Victoria Station and Avenue to the High Street and vice versa. It has  allowed for the creation of a new public square, with new trees that will soon be going in, and better bus and cyclist facilities. The new junction will also see improvements to the traffic flow.

At long last there will be a decent entrance to the town centre replacing the old roundabout where  The Odeon and The Victorias turned their backs on the entrance to the main retail area of the town and beyond and where for years visitors have struggled to find the High Street  and a way across the traffic to it!

Read the formal notification on the Airport Judicial Review

Please click   JR Order 03 02 11 to read the formal response to the application for a judicial review by  resident  Laura Millard.

Now we need to move on , get the landlord consent signed off and the JAAP underway so as to ensure we are ready to maximise the economic benefits for Rochford and Southend once the Airport ‘Takes Off’.  As we come out of the economic down turn- we will need those jobs!

Looks like airport could be on its way to expansion!

We understand that the courts have refused leave for a judicial review of the planning application decision relating to the airport runway extension.  We have yet to receive formal confirmation of this judgement. 

Received today from Chief Exec Southend BC.  I understand the applicant could appeal this in some way requesting a verbal hearing.

Garon Park Pool Competition Sell Out

The British Gas Diving Competition was a sell out! That’s a fantastic start for the new Garon Park Swimming and Diving Venue in Southend on Sea.

More info click here

Lane closures A127- Keeping The Town Looking Good

Please be advised that between 09:30 and 15:30 on the following days the following sections of the A127 will be subject to lane closures in lane 2.

Tuesday 1st February – Borough Boundary – Progress Road- postponed

Tuesday 8th February – Progress Road – Bell house Lane

Tuesday 15th February – Bell house Lane – Kent Elms

Tuesday 22nd February – Kent Elms – Tesco’s / Nestuda Roundabout, brought forward to 1st Feb.

 Provisional – Tuesday 1ST March  – Lane 1 Kent Elms to just beyond Brendan Way.

The primary works are for maintenance of the central reservations.
The opportunity has been taken to arrange for Street Lighting to carryout their works and an invitation has been extended to Street Scene for their contractor to carry out both a litter pick and gully cleaning exercise.

The Contractors at Progress Road have been involved and they may also take the opportunity to carryout any suitable activities.