After the meeting with Royal Mail there was a quick dash to Shoeburyness High School for the second public meeting on the Shoebury Common flood defence proposals. This was an additional meeting after the first meeting attracted more people than the capacity of the Wendy Owen Hall.
I was pleased, whatever the views towards the preferred option, to see so many people over the two meetings come and have their say after I secured from officers at a Shoebury Residents Association meeting last Spring, the commitment to hold a public meeting in Shoeburyness as part of a consultation on the proposed flood defences at Shoebury Common.
All councillors at the meeting were challenged by a resident to let the audience know what their position was on the proposals. Whilst it would have easy not to say nothing, I vowed and declared when I was first elected never to shy away from giving by honest views when challenged on any subject - regardless of how difficult or controversial the subject may be.
I strongly believe that the public want to see conviction politicians who have the courage to air their views even if the majority do not agree with you. I believe people will ultimately respect you far more for taking this stance. As I have always said, if residents agree or disagree with me or are happy or unhappy with the representation that I give then they have the chance to demonstrate their feelings in the ballot box.
I would rather stay true to my beliefs and principles and risk being voted out of office than jump on any passing bandwagon that passes through town just to court popular opinion at any given time.
I was happy to reiterate my long held view on this issue that regardless of the scheme that finally goes ahead will change Shoebury Common - even the alternative scheme put forward by Mr Bailey and Mr Lovett. I also told the meeting that as the council and Mr Bailey and Mr Lovett were putting forward options there was an acceptance that there is a real risk of flooding at Shoebury Common and doing nothing is not an option, although I recognised that doing nothing is a view by some.
I also said that knowing the risk, and being in a position of responsibility, my main priority was the protection of residents lives, homes and livelihoods in West Shoebury but that any scheme which gets the go ahead needs to be in keeping with the character at Shoebury Common.
It is worth reminding that there is still a week to go on the consultation and the plans for the preferred option can be viewed at Thorpedene Library until the 12th May.