Sunday, 30 October 2011

Not in our name...

In West Shoebury, some of the ward is covered by Burges Estate a company which has it origins from a man called John Burges and he is known to be John Burges of Parkanaur, Dungannon, County Tyrone, Northern Ireland which is why there are some Irish sounding roads in West Shoebury ward.

Following the death of Alfred Burges in 1984, the interest of the estate to the Burges family ended and any covenants on the Burges Estate were purchased by the Lintott Family and renamed Thorpe Estates Ltd. 

The majority of the Burges Estate falls within Thorpe ward and a Residents Association the Burges Estate Residents Association (BERA) was formed to be a voice for the residents in Thorpe ward covered by the Burges Estate.

I was interested to read in the last BERA newsletter that BERA were going to start spreading their wing to cover West Shoebury and Southchurch wards.

Their newsletter makes interesting reading as it claims that BERA helps to prevent the councillors becoming complacent in the areas that they represent - Thorpe ward at present.

This is interesting as West Shoebury residents may wish to know before they part with their fiver for membership that the Chairman of BERA Ron Woodley and its Treasurer Mike Stafford are Independent Party councillors for Thorpe Ward. You couldn't make it up!

Many Thorpe ward residents have held the belief for some time that BERA are the fundraising and campaigning arm of the Independent Party. One Thorpe ward resident quipped to me over the weekend that BERA are the Independent Party's guerrilla wing.

If there are still any lingering doubts that BERA are the recruiting wing of the Independent Party then these are quashed as the newsletter reveals that West Shoebury spokesman for BERA is James Moyies the UKIP West Shoebury candidate for the past two local elections.

Back in April this year, I exposed the close relationship between the Indepedent Party and UKIP on this blog but I wonder how much groveling James had to do to Ron to gain this position especially when in 2010 James Moyies claimed that he had no credability.

East Beach Touring Site

Yesterday afternoon I spent the afternoon in neighbouring Shoeburyness ward talking to residents in Blackgate Road, Gunners Road and East Beach Park regarding Tingdene's proposal to put 32 extra mobile homes on the last remaining touring site in the borough next to East Beach Park.

there were very mixed views from the residents regarding the proposal but there seemed to be strong representations made to me from residents that there is a demand for a touring site.

The current site has been closed by Tingdene's for a number of years now but residents said that they still get tourers asking them where the touring site is.

What was clear was that the residents apprecriated the local Conservatives spending time at the doorstep talking about the issue and encouraging them to make representations to the council either for or against the proposal.

As one resident in Gunners Road summed it up:

"It was nice to see local councillors take the time to come and speak to us regarding the situation and not inform us in a few lines on a tatty leaflet that Independent Party councillor Anne Chalk sent us during the week". 

Friday, 21 October 2011

Condolences to Joseph Ball

Yesterday evening gave me the formal formal opportunity on behalf of the members to offer my condolences to the family and friends of Joseph Ball who was tragically killed last week whilst crossing London Road on his way home from Milton Hall School.

When I first heard the news I was numb with shock as I have a young daughter of two and couldn't possibly imagine having her taken away in such tragic circumstances.

I received a briefing on the incident from officers upon hearing the news and the Civic Centre was a very sombre place. The interview that I did with BBC Essex last week at the site where tributes are being laid was the most difficult that I have ever done.

It has been widely reported that a petition is imminent for a crossing at the site of where this tragic incident occurred but I would like to reassure residents that as soon as the full details of the incident are released by Essex Police a full safety review will be conducted on this stretch of of the London Road.  

Southend's Shrinking Carbon Footprint

In November I will have the pleasure of attending the House of Commons to receive on behalf of the Council the Green Apple Award from the Green Organisation - an independent environmental group which recognises and promotes environmental best practice for the Council's 'Looking for Carbon' initiative.

Details of the Southend project will also be published in an international reference book, to help others follow the Council's example.

'Looking for Carbon' was launched to help the Council reduce its overall carbon emissions, become more energy efficient and help tackle climate change. It has so far led to a huge range of changes, savings and achievements, including:

· Running the first national conference on the UK's transition to the low-carbon economy, called 'Funding a Green Future' held this year in Southend. Due to its success the event is due to be repeated in March 2012

· Identifying £20,000 annual savings in the Civic Centre. A new lighting system, expected to save another £1,000 per year, has also just been installed.

· An energy audit conducted by the Green Staff Forum - formed through the 'Looking for Carbon' project - helped reduce the Council's overnight energy use by 67 per cent.

· The Council's IT department recently introduced 'thin client', a new computer terminal which can reduce energy consumption by up to 90 per cent.

· The Council has started to ensure that renewable energy technologies are used in new builds and refurbishment work. Examples include:

(i) Futures Community College - ground source heat pumps and energy efficient lighting
(ii) Southend Pier - solar voltaic panels
(iii) Shoebury Connection - solar thermal and air source heat pump
(iv) Chalkwell Hall - Metal - wind turbines, solar voltaic and a woodchip boiler
(v) North Road Chapel - a European funding project that provided Southend with its most energy efficient building.

· The Council recently gave 48 schools free water-saving technologies, saving each one an estimated 1,000 cubic metres of water per year.

· The Council has just bought an electric street sweeper, which has zero emissions and saves the equivalent carbon output of 40 cars. It operates on lithium batteries which can work for up to eight hours at a time.

This award is very well-deserved indeed. The 'Looking for Carbon' initiative is prompting a whole range of activities within and beyond the Council which not only help reduce carbon emissions, but are also saving considerable sums of money too.

Staff at all levels throughout the Council have contributed to this achievement, through the Green Staff Forum and through the Carbon Reduction Group and the Climate Change Group These feed directly to senior management and Councillors - which helps keep climate change, sustainability and carbon reduction issues high on the Council agenda.