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.