Tuesday, 29 June 2010

No Drinking to Whale & Dolphin Watching

It has been a busy last few weeks as I begin my new portfolio position and have had to hit the ground running somewhat.

I have a few papers which were in the last cabinet cycle and are waiting for the challenge when they are debated by scrutiny and full council. These include a no drinking zone for the Four Rivers Estate and surrounding roads, the removal of an area designed to stop more drinking establishments in an area around the town centre and the new city beach area and climate change action plan.

Locally much has been done including cleaning the piece of beach owned by the MoD off Shoebury Common Beach, introduction of street cleaning in the Garrison for unadpted roads, pot holes repaired in Waterloo Road, Graffiti removed from Maplin Way bridge and Thorpedene Library and also the exciting introduction of some new play areas.

On top of this I have had a couple of family holidays to Tunisia a few weeks back and also a small cruise to Bilbao. It was an excellent experience seeeing the whales and dolphins in the Bay of Biscay and also an excellent trip to the Guggenheim Museum, a must do for anybody holidaying in the South of France or visiting Bilbao.

Sunday, 6 June 2010

No Drining Zone - Update

You may have noticed that signs have been erected on the Four Rivers Estate advising people that they have 15 days to respond to tne consultation for the no drinking zone.

One of my first acts as portfolio holder for waste and public protection was to get the area extended from just the Four Rivers, West Road and Ness Road to also include a small part of St Andrews Road, Seaview Road, Trafalgar Road and Waterloo Road.

Discussions are currently underway as to the fine that will be imposed. Watch this space.

New Play Equipment for Shoebury Parks

Yesterday I spent the morning with the playbuilding team as they were out consulting with young people at four different Shoebury play areas to see what they want.

It was a very positive event and it is good subsidary play areas in Jena Close, Delaware Road and Wicklow Walk receiving attention.

There were also impressive plans for a revamped skate park in Shoeburyness Park which was particularly well received. It is intresting that just a month after the local elections Conservatives are already delivering major schemes in Shoeburyness.

Wednesday, 2 June 2010

A change is as good as the rest

After having a well deserved holiday in Tunisia with Mrs and Miss Cox it was interesting to see upon my return that a number of changes are to happen immediately in local government following an announcement by the new government this week.

Gone is Comprehensive Area Assessment the scoring system used to rak how good Local Authorities are performing. This is a shame in some ways as Southend was on the verge of a 4* rating but on the whole it needed to go.

Having a plan with local targets is clearly part of good governance and Southend can now look to local needs and aspirations to set its own sensible targets and objectives.

The Conservative Party promised a raft of changes and we are beginning to get them, along with the demise of the Audit Commission, out will go:

- The removal of The Regional Planning System along with its requirements to provide gypsy and traveller pitches in Southend,

- A specified number of new dwellings, which can now be determined locally to meet local needs,

- The removal of imposed affordable housing targets, again now to be determined locally.

It’s early days yet and clearly the Council will have to consider carefully how it can amend its policies to reflect local need rather than imposed targets across all the services it offers. It is intresting times for local government.