Thursday, 26 September 2013

Stop Means Stop

The Stop Means Stop campaign stepped up as children and young people returned to school this month. Stop Means Stop is a campaign to help tackle drivers and riders who put lives at risk by ignoring instructions to stop at school crossing patrol sites.

School crossing patrol officers (Lollipop men and women) have the power under the current Road Traffic Act to stop traffic. Any driver or rider who fails to do so, is breaking the law.

Although the majority of drivers and riders respect the work carried out by the patrols, there is still a small but significant number who ignore the law, abuse the service and put the lives of children and the patrols at risk.

Drivers are legally bound by the 1984 Road Traffic Act to stop for School Crossing Patrols, but Patrol Officers regularly have to deal with drivers who fail to stop, use abusive language and threaten patrols with physical violence. School Crossing Patrols do a very important job, helping to provide a safe route to and from school for children and adults.

Campaign posters are on display at bus-stops, sports centres, libraries and other public buildings.

Tuesday, 24 September 2013

New Kid On The Block

I am always interested when a new political blog arrives so a warm welcome goes to The View from the Pier. This particular blog seems to round up the local political and not, from the naked eye, be affiliated to any particular party.

This blog was also given a mention and was thus described:

Finally, we come to Cllr Cox, who is almost a legend of his own in Southend politics. His blog is the only one which, to my mind, rivals Cllr Ware-Lane’s. Regularly updated, with much about what’s going on in his ward, it’s also brutally tribal. Not that you’d expect anything different from a member of the Tory ruling administration, but Tony does come across as a bit of a bruiser. Whether that’s a good thing or not, I suppose depends on the colour of your rosette, but it’s certainly a good local politician’s blog.

A fair reflection I feel. A link to the blog can be found in the menu bar opposite.

Sunday, 22 September 2013

A Return To Socialism

Yesterday, in a Q and A, Ed Miliband was asked when he would “bring back socialism”. He replied: “That’s what we are doing, Sir". Speaking ahead of the Labour conference, Red Ed detailed a series of policies intended to appeal to Labour voters, including:

1. Scrapping the “spare room subsidy”, a policy in the Labour 2010 manifesto
2. A U turn on welfare reform which he previously accepted was necessary to cut the nations welfare bill.
3. Ending zero hours contracts, a policy that his own council in Doncaster uses, as do local authorities up and down the country.
4. Opposing the privatisation of Royal Mail, which was Labour party policy pre 2010 and the only way Royal Mail will survive.

Then we had the Primary School Plans. These I find fascinating and bizarre even by Ed Miliband's standards. For those unaware, Red Ed announced plans under which primary schools would be forced by law to look after pupils from 8am until 6pm. How would this be costed? He said it “doesn’t make sense in this century” that some schools still close in mid afternoon, when both parents more often work.

He promised to “legislate for a primary school guarantee that every school is an 8am to 6pm school”. The primary teachers I know who do a fantastic job would have a word or two to say about that plan. Aside from all these things these are just yet more spending commitments by a man without a clue about balancing the books.

Lib Dem Conference

It is this time of year again when all the major parties hold their annual conference shindig. Last week it was Lib Dems, this weekend we have UKIP committee political suicide, next week it's Labour's turn followed by the Conservatives.

With a lack of quality comedy on television, UKIP are providing the entertainment with only the Benny Hill music appearing to be missing. On Friday, at 13:00 UKIP were holding an event on encouraging more women into politics and by 13:30 they were sluts. You just couldn't make it up.

What was very striking about the Lib Dem conference was how incredibly dull it was. The Lib Dem conference seemed to be focussed around two things this year, firstly, a 5p charge on carrier bags and Vince Cable, the Anti-Business Secretary, making a fuss by coming out as opposed to the Lib Dem leadership and its economic policies. 

The proposed 5p charge for carrier bags is a terrible policy because this industry employs many people and doesn't solve the problem of a cleaner environment as those who throw litter will still be doing soon. 

It also begs the question as to why is this suddenly a Lib Dem flagship policy. It's not a vote winner but yet that was the only policy being talked about. Nobody will say in 2015 "I'm voting Lib Dem because I want to pay 5p for every carrier bag". 

Vince Cable has done bugger all in his job except slap more regulation on business and hike across the Indian Sub continent in a desperate attempt to increase trade despite the EU tariffs. This is not the way to run a department if we are to grow the economy, create jobs and make everyone lives better. Cable's policies are from the dark days of a command economy where everyone was equal, equally poor and abused by the state. It's a wonder he still has a job, please.

The only other mildly interesting thing was the prospect of a by-election after Ed Davey had a near death experience from a falling sign.

Saturday, 21 September 2013

Garrison Public Exhibition

The plans for the old Hinguar School site wasn't the only drop-in session in Shoebury this week. On Thursday, I also attended the Garrison public exhibition for the future plans on the old Gunners Park site.

When planning permission was originally granted, this particular site was granted planning permission for light industrial use. Due to the inability to attract industry to the site, Garrison developments are proposing a new mixed housing and employment use for the site.

From the exhibition, Garrison Developments are putting forward new plans for the site for between 170-180 new two, three and four bedroom homes and an employment space of 15,000 square metres comprising of office space and warehouse style units. From my understanding, no flats were being proposed for the site.

The developers are envisaging that the homes will be in the same style as the Gunnery Hill development on the Garrison. It is estimated that a planning application will be submitted to the council later in the year for outline planning permission. I will keep you posted on any developments for this planning application.

Old Hinguar School

After my regular Saturday morning session talking to Shoebury residents, I paid a visit to the drop in session at the old Hinguar School on the future plans for the site.

With the new Hinguar School now established, as part of the permission given for the new school, a financial return is required from the old school site to pay for the new building costs. You may recall that local Conservatives were successful in getting the front facade of the old Victorian School locally listed. When seeing the future plans, I was delighted to see that the retention of whole Victorian building had been included in the plans.

It is proposed that 32 new homes will be built with 9 new flats in the old Victorian building and 23 new three and four bedroom houses on the remainder of the site. If residents were unable to visit the recent drop-in sessions, further sessions are planned for the 11th and 12th of October or alternatively your thoughts and comments can be given here.

Wednesday, 18 September 2013

West Shoebury Success

It is an often said that it is the little things that have the biggest impact to people's lives and this past week has been no exception.

Last Thursday, I was successful in persuading members of the Traffic & Parking Working Party to agree that officers should go out to statutory consultation with residents to put junction protection, double yellow lines, at all junctions with Church Road, St Andrews Road and Caulfield Road.

I have received many queries from local residents concerned at the difficulty and danger of trying to manoeuvre safely out of local roads which border these junctions, due to vehicles parked flush to the junction. Barring any objections, these will be implemented in the future and will keeper readers updated of progress.

My second success this week was regarding Abbotts Walk and Cornworthy. Before the summer recess, I was delighted to hand into full council a petition from residents in both these roads asking for footpaths, lighting, shrubbery etc to be maintained by the council.

Many residents across the town will be unaware that we have a number of roads and closes which have not been adopted by the council meaning that residents in these areas have the expense of maintaining paths, street lights, pavements, shrubs and grass where they live.

I have a great deal of sympathy especially with Abbotts Walk and Cornworthy as these roads back onto an open public space in which the public can cut through these roads and continue their walk along Bishopsteignton. We also have the situation whereby more members of the public use the footpath and roads than the residents who live there on a daily basis.

This afternoon, the petition was considered by cabinet. Both my fellow ward colleague Cllr Jarvis and I spoke in support of the petition. I am delighted that cabinet have endorsed the recommendation that officers should enter into discussions with the residents management group regarding the council undertaking the maintenance of these areas with a report containing recommendations coming to a future cabinet following these discussions.

To coin a phrase, every little certainly helps.

Sunday, 8 September 2013

The Future of British Seaside Town's

Last month, a report by the Centre for Social Justice claimed that Seaside towns have become  'a dumping ground for the poor'.

The think-tank, looked in depth at the problems of five prominent resorts: Rhyl, in north Wales; Margate, Kent; Clacton-on-Sea, Essex; Blackpool, Lancs and Great Yarmouth, Norfolk.

I have resisted the urge to blog on this subject as last week I was due to spend a long weekend in one of those resorts named, Great Yarmouth. This post needs to considered in the fact that was the last weekend of the high season and that it was a pleasant weekend temperature wise at 23 degrees with plenty of sunshine.

We stayed just outside Great Yarmouth in Hopton on Sea which is similar to Leigh or Shoeburyness in the context of Southend's golden mile.

We stayed at the Haven Holiday Park in Hopton which was full as were nearby Haven parks in Caister on Sea and the one on Yarmouth seafront itself which we found when booking.

Despite attracting people to stay for more than one day, as can been seen from the photo above, Great Yarmouth was desolate. The picture above was taken at 12:30 last Sunday whilst Miss Cox was enjoying herself on the beach bouncy castle. There was not a sole on it. Could you imagine Southend being this empty on the last Sunday in the High Season with a nice sunny day with temperatures of 23 degrees? No, neither could I.

In the spirit of fairness, Great Yarmouth does have a couple of advantages over Southend. The first is that it has Holiday parks, like Haven, which still attracts visitors as does Clacton, and if Southend had something like this along with its offer would boost this town considerably. It is something that I have desired for some time. The second is the beach. Whilst Southend has some of the finest beaches in the Eastern region, Great Yarmouth still has the advantage with its golden sandy beaches.

So what is it that attracts people to the area but does not persuade them to visit Great Yarmouth? There is evidence of decay with a number of hotels closing and some being converted into homes of multiple occupancy. There is a lack of major High Street stores in the town centre with a number of shops boarded up. Whilst there has been some half hearted investment on the promenade, nothing on the scale that Southend has seen in the last decade.

Now there is the good old fashioned issue of car park prices. To park on the seafront the parking charges were £1.50 for an hour or £3.00 for two hours with every subsequent hour after that £2.00. Now these are extortionate. I have spent a number of holidays in the UK over the past few years and never have I experienced parking charges as high as that. I don't think that I ever want to hear that parking charges are turning people away from Southend again as I will just point them in the direction of Great Yarmouth.

The whole place just looks tired as if time has left it behind almost. The Great Yarmouth pleasure beach gave the impression of looking so dilapidated that you would be concerned if you went on one of the rides, an impression that you do not get with Adventure Island.

The donkeys looked sad at not having children to bring smiles to their faces, as did the horses with nobody wanting a horse and carridge ride. The views out to sea have quite frankly been decimated by the ugly looking wind farm by EoN energy.

It was sad to see especially as I can remember some very fond holidays to Great Yarmouth as a child. What is pleasing is whilst some costal towns are showing signs of decay, Southend has bucked this trend and is very much on the up.

Saturday, 7 September 2013

Garrison Developments - Garrison Consultation

Ed to Pick Your Pockets to Pay for Labour

Ed Miliband has been too weak to stand up to Len McCluskey who has been rigging Labour’s candidate selections. As a result, Ed Miliband is now asking hardworking taxpayers to bail him out.

A £5,000 cap would mean a massive increase in taxpayer funding for political parties. I do not believe that the result of a trade union scandal should be every taxpayer in the country paying for the Labour Party.

It is a scandal that Ed Miliband would tax hardworking people more to pay for his speechwriters, his spin doctors, his conferences, his party political broadcasts, and his party political literature.

It’s the same old Labour. They want more taxes, to pay for more politicians, spending more of your money.