Wednesday, 28 August 2013

Reporting Back - August Edition

Flood Damage Assistance

Residents affected by the recent severe weather will be able to get their flood damaged bulky waste items free of charge for one week ending Wednesday 4th September 2013.

Residents will be asked to place the items out on their next collection day from 7am, as long as they are genuinely flood damaged items. Please call 01702 215 006 to book. Residents should confirm with their insurance company that the items can be removed before they place them outside for collection.
Residents affected by flooding will have more than enough to be getting on with without the additional worry of disposing of damaged items. I hope that this gesture will at least help the process of getting back to normal again.

Saxon Gardens Community Safety Newsletter

Monday, 26 August 2013

West Road Community Fun Day

On a bright sunny day in marked contrast to Saturday, I was delighted to join the Mayor Cllr Brian Kelly in opening the West Road Fun Day, organised by the West Road Community and Traders Association.

It was good to see so many people taking part in the fun and games, side stalls and dancing competition. All proceeds from the event will be ploughed back into improving West Road.

When Southend Had a Months Rainfall In A Day

Whilst the flooding on City Beach and Chalkwell has been well documented Shoeburyness did not escape the carnage which saw over 64mm of rain water fall. It was estimated that much of this fell between 12:00 - 16:00, with the highest hourly rainfall 22.6 at around 13:00.

Across much of the town there were manhole covers lifting and a strong stench of sewage. Although these are the responsibility of Anglian Water, the council have been working with Anglian Water all over the Bank Holiday to replace them.

Clean up operations are still continuing focusing on the worst hit areas. There are a number of road surfaces that were also damaged due to the flooding and repairs will be undertaken. Although priority is being given to the areas which have been flooded, most streets have debris from tree vegetation that was dislodged in the rain and cleansing across the town will be scheduled.

From the residents that both Cllr Hadley and I have spoken to over the weekend in Shoebury, residents have nothing but praise for the clear up operation by council staff and its contractors. Once the Bank Holiday has finished, both Cllr Hadley and I will be asking questions of the Environment Agency as it was evidently clear that most of the flooding issues in Shoebury were caused by the River Shoe.

Whilst there were some issues with dislodged manhole covers due to the shear volume of rainfall, the areas in Shoebury worst hit were due to the River Shoe not being able to flow at certain spots because of the weeds, vegetation and debris that the Environment Agency have failed to clear over time.

I will also be asking the Police why Ness Road by Shoebury Common Car Park was not closed with cars diverted up Maplin Way and Church Road.

Saturday, 24 August 2013

Political Silly Season

As we are in the midst of the annual political silly season it seems that Conservative councillors were the source of copy for the BBC Sunday Politics this week. Appearing in my inbox, disguised as a local government survey, was a survey by polling company ComRes. Some of the questions asked of me included:

1. Did I think “climate change is not happening"
2. Did I think “Immigration has had a negative impact on Britain”
3. Did I support a ban on the burkha
4. Did I believe that David Cameron and George Osborne “arrogant”
5. Will legalising gay marriage will cost my party more votes than it gains at the next Election”
6. Would I support an electoral pact with UKIP

No doubt in the name of impartiality The BBC will be wasting more license money asking Labour councillors specifically designed awkward questions. Maybe they could ask:

1. Do you agree with fracking?
2. Do you agree with Diane Abbott that there should be more immigration.
3. (For London Councillors only) Do you agree with Chuka Ummuna that Londoners are Trashy and Wannabe’s?
4.  Do you agree with Chris Bryant that we should lay off illegal immigrants and leave them alone?
5. Do you agree with Len McCluskies latest bid to destroy Jaguar Land-Rover with a series of strikes?
6. Do you agree that benefits should be increased and should be enshrined as a human right?
7. Do you agree with Ed Miliband that there should be no referendum on EU membership, and we should have greater European integration?
8. Do you agree that the last Labour Government's economic policies screwed the economy?

What I would have like to be asked was whether I would like crime to be 10% lower overnight by abolishing the telly tax.

Cost Of Labour

Do you have a mortgage? Pay Council Tax? Often fill your car up with petrol? Find out what Labour's plans for more spending, more borrowing and more debt would cost you in the Cost of Labour Challenge.

Friday, 16 August 2013

Road Closure Notices

Next week there will be further improvements to our roads in West Shoebury with resurfacing works in Caulfield Road and Appledore. An inevitable consequence of road resurfacing are road closures. Details of the road closures for Caulfield Road and Appledore on the 19th and 20th August can be be found below.

Thursday, 15 August 2013

The Tale of Shoebury Common Car Park

About three years ago I managed to arrange an on site meeting at Shoebury Common Car Park with the Corporate Director, Peter Grubb the owner of Uncle Toms Cabin myself and my two fellow ward colleagues.

A number of issues were tackled that evening, but one that became noticeable was an issue that I had raised on numerous occasions - cottaging in the public toilets in Shoebury Common Car Park. For those of you who may not be aware of this term, cottaging is the slang term given referring to anonymous sex between men in a public lavatory.

Whilst we were there that evening there were numerous single men in cars with one gent visiting the toilets from his car seven times. I do not suspect that he had that much of a weak bladder. There was another gentleman, trying to disguise himself as jogger, wearing the most skimpy pair of shorts imaginable, running along the promenade to the toilets four times in the hour we were all there. There were also reports from residents that this was also becoming a notorious spot for dogging.

When this was pointed out to the Corporate Director by myself and by Peter Grubb as an activity occurring on a daily basis, we had gates erected and closed of an evening. I was somewhat surprised and baffled to see this article appear in the Echo last week from Peter Grubb criticising the council for locking the gates at Shoebury Common.

In the summer months the car park is open until 9pm. Apart from knowing the activities which had taken place, Peter also claimed that closing the car park is harmful to trade. Yesterday evening at 18:00 I had arranged to be photographed for an article on this subject which will shortly appear in the Echo. Surprisingly, as I pulled into the car park Peter was locking up Uncle Toms Cabin. So much for the car park being closed at 9pm harming his business.

The barriers at Shoebury Common have been universally welcomed by residents and the Police and I do not intend proposing that current arrangements cease.

Sunday, 11 August 2013

Surgery Success

This evening I piloted my online surgery for West Shoebury residents via Skype. The event was a huge success, so much so that I will be making these a monthly feature.

From October, I will be running an online surgery on the first Sunday of every month. Following feedback from those that I spoke to this evening, they will be held from 10:00-11:00.

So if you have an issue and are a Skype user, simply add my Skype name (cllrtonycox) to your contacts, and then use Skype between 10:00-11:00 on the first Sunday in every month to get in touch.


I am grateful to Cllr Ware-Lane for providing a report on the march and rally in Southend High Street in support of 'Saving Local Libraries'.

As I write this, I can still smell the stench from the hypocrisy wafting around town from the seven opposition councillors who attended the rally. I'm sure we will see the pictures in the press tomorrow, with the long faces from the faux outrage.

If residents are expecting the hypocritical seven to stand up for no reductions in the library service then think again, as when they had the chance they didn't want to.

It was never a secret that to produce a balanced budget, reductions were needed to be made from the library service. £126,000 to be precise which was documented in the budget papers which are in the public domain.

What is a little known fact is that the Labour, Lib Dems and Independent Parties put forward an alternative budget which, surprise, surprise, did not include saving libraries. By not proposing it in their alternative budget one can only assume that they supported the saving.

Did they really think that they would get away with it? With over 400 Community libraries up and running in the UK there is no reason why they should not also be a success here in Southend. Am I the only one to think that Labour councillors were compelled to attend the rally by their Union paymasters above their true beliefs? Thought not.

Saturday, 3 August 2013

West Shoebury Online Ward Surgery

It’s really important to me that I am as accessible as possible to my residents, so I’m now piloting a series of ‘Online Surgeries’ using the latest in modern technology. Many of you will know about the usefulness of Skype, especially if you’ve got relatives in other countries. So I’m now using Skype to speak to West Shoebury residents.

The idea is simple; I will be online at a certain time and if you want to speak to me and use Skype, you can contact me. It’s a bit like a normal surgery, but instead it will be done online. In no way is it meant to replace face to face contact, indeed my colleagues and I hold regular ‘Street Surgeries’ all year round, and I hope my new ‘Online Surgery’ will complement them.

The reality is that these days, the vast majority of people who contact me use email or phone up for a variety of reasons. Perhaps they work away from home and cannot meet up and speak face to face, but can take 10 minutes out to write and email or call.

Of course, with Skype there is the added benefit of being able to speak face to face (if we both have webcams) and the calls over Skype are free. It’ll be interesting to see how it goes. Whatever happens, I feel it is important that as a local councillor I am accessible and give residents as many ways to contact me as possible.

So if you have an issue and are a Skype user, why not come to my 'Online Surgery’ – the first being Sunday 11 August. Simply add my Skype name (cllrtonycox) to your contacts, and then use Skype between 17:00-18:00 to get in touch.

Of course, if you’re not a Skype user but want to speak to me, I’m available via phone, post, email, Twitter or Facebook. See here for full contact details.