Tuesday, 31 December 2013

Happy New Year

I would like to wish all the readers of this blog and the residents of West Shoebury a Happy and Prosperous New Year.

Monday, 30 December 2013

Pot and Kettle

Reported in today's Echo was the distribution of a leaflet by Thorpe Bay Independent Party councillor Ron Woodley just before Christmas intending to mislead the reader into believing that it is a Conservative publication.

The leaflet in question has been circulated in various parts of the town including here in West Shoebury.

The irony is that the Independent Party are the first to claim that the major political parties are nasty and operate a whip system yet send out this type of negative literature, have a group leader and vote en bloc more than any other group on the Council.

Dressing up literature to mock political opponents is nothing new but it always has been clear that the origin of the leaflet is from the Conservatives.

I have to say that it is a bit rich of Cllr Woodley to complain about financial mismanagement when he and his Thrope party colleagues signed a memorandum of understanding supporting a Conservative budget and spending plans. Come to think of it, neither Cllr Woodley or any of the Independent Party have ever opposed a scheme which has been funded from borrowing.

The simple truth is that Cllr Woodley and the majority of the Independent Party believe that they can do and say what they like without ever being exposed. When they are exposed by the likes of this blog they throw bigger strops than my four year old daughter and cry foul play.

Sunday, 29 December 2013

How Times Have Changed

Just how times have changed for SKIPP St Lukes Independent Party councillor Brian Ayling:

Just fancy that!

Saturday, 21 December 2013

Merry Christmas

As Christmas will soon be upon us, this blog will be taking a well earned rest for a few days. I would like to wish all readers and residents of West Shoebury a Merry Christmas.

Reporting Back - December Edition

The Shoebury Common Squat Fallout

On the day of the infamous SKIPP/Friends of Shoebury Common/Independent Party squat at Shoebury Common protesting against any sea defences at Shoebury Common a video had been produced.

There was an interesting snippet from the Friends of Shoebury Common 'Leader' and Beach Hut owner Peter Lovett, where he confirmed that the Friends of Shoebury Common do not believe that Shoebury Common will flood. So much for supposedly caring about residents 

A Grand Coalition

A feature appeared in yesterday's Echo on the Independent Party forming a coalition with UKIP at the next elections:

This is nothing new of course as there was an election pact in 2011and in 2012 James Moyies was producing literature with support from the Indpendent Party 'Leadership Team' of Cllr Martin Terry and Cllr Ron Woodley.

All very interesting and entertaining especially when earlier this year James Moyies was trying to persuade Christine Hills a former Independent Party candidate in Milton to join UKIP claiming that the Independents in Southend were 'done'.

I wonder if he told Cllr Terry and Cllr Woodley in their discussions?

Newsletter Mis-Print

It has been brought to my attention that our latest West Shoebury newsletter contains a mis-print on the back page. The newsletter states that Delaware Road will become one way when the newsletter should have read that Delaware Crescent will become one way. We apologise for any confusion.

Sunday, 15 December 2013

Joining Forces With SKIPP?

Back in September, Mark Sharp, one of the committee members of SKIPP announced that he would be standing an an Independent candidate in Milton at next May's local elections.

It has long been wondered if this announcement would mean that Mark Sharp would be a true Independent candidate or one of Cllr Martin Terry's Independent Party. Following the announcement, one inquisitive commenter posed  the same question:

It may be that the answer lies in a response by Cllr Brian Ayling, the Independent Party councillor for SKIPP St Lukes.

Apart from heaping praise on one of his camp buddies he didn't actually deny that Mark Sharp wouldn't be standing as an Independent Party candidate. Could it be that the two Independent Party councillors who visited Camp Cuckoo at Shoebury Common last Sunday were lending support to one of their comrades? 

The UKIP Seal

I noticed tucked away amongst the SKIPP/Friends of Shoebury campaign group in the public gallery at Thursday's Full Council meeting was  my old West Shoebury UKIP foe James Moyies.  

It came as no surprise to see James with such company, especially as back in May of this year he confirmed in a comment on Cllr Ware-Lane's blog that he supports the do nothing option at Shoebury Common, putting people's lives, homes and livelihoods at risk by claiming that sea defences would spoil the area, be useless and surrender our beach. This view is firmly in the SKIPP/Friends of Shoebury Common school of thought.

After the meeting, one councillor commented that he could not help but notice James clapping like a hyperactive seal every time one of the Independent Party councillors shared the same viewpoint.

Thursday must have been like a school reunion for James, considering that in March 2010 he congratulated the SKIPP protesters at Camp Cuckoo on a 'well made protest' when he visited the illegal encampment protesting at the new road improvements to Cuckoo Corner.

Did You Know?

One question I have repeatedly been asked by SKIPP/Friends of Shoebury Common is for evidence where an embankment costal flood defence scheme has been used elsewhere in the town. Some may be unaware that costal flood defences in Chalkwell, between the Grosvenor Road junction and Chalkwell Station were constructed as a set back embankment through the existing public gardens in the early 1980's.

Saturday, 14 December 2013

Three Down, Two To Go

The Loo of the year awards wasn't the only piece of good news for the town yesterday. I was delighted to hear that the Council was successful in receiving £3.2 Million in Government funding to make improvements to the Tesco roundabout junction.

This administration gave the commitment to reduce congestion at the junctions on the A127 following the improvements at both Cuckoo Corner and Progress Road. I believe that improving the Tesco roundabout junction will not only ease congestion and improve traffic flow but will also offer a major boost to encouraging economic growth at the proposed Airport Business Park.

Whilst I am naturally delighted with the funding for this particular junction, we are also actively making the case for further improvement to Kent Elms and the Bell junctions. The improvements at the Tesco roundabout is an important further step towards completing all five junctions.

Flushed With Success

Following a mammoth Full Council meeting starting at 18:30 Thursday evening and finishing at 01:45 Friday morning I managed to have a few hours kip before the alarm clock woke me at 06:00 for a live BBC Essex broadcast at Bell Wharf toilets after they won a Platinum Award in the 2013 Loo of the Year Awards.

Public toilets have been judged all across the country in the Loo of the Year Awards since 1987. Every winning toilet received an unannounced visit and is apparently judged by over 100 different criteria. People who listened to BBC Essex yesterday morning said the broadcast was a hoot.

Not only did Bell Wharf loos win a Platinum Award but seven other public toilets across the borough also won the Gold Award. According to the Loo of the Year Awards, the number of gongs put Southend into the 'Premier League' of public toilets, probably the only time we will see Southend in the Premier League (Sorry Southend United Supporters).

The joking aside, whether it is cleanliness of our streets or our public toilets, Southend is a clean and attractive place to live, work or visit.

Friday, 13 December 2013

Where's The Independent Party Councillors?

Earlier this week, I exposed the links between SKIPP and the Friend's of Common and their opposition to any improved flood defences at Shoebury Common.

Despite the uncertainty within the Friends of Shoebury Common ranks as to whether I was invited to attend the SKIPP/Friends of Shoebury Common Camp Squat last weekend, I am grateful to the Friends of Shoebury Common for sending me a photo of the gathering.

As we are approaching Christmas, I though I would do a twist on the festive favourite Where's Wally and play Where's the Independent Party Councillors at Camp Squat:

Now we know that SKIPP/Friends of Shoebury Common are opposed to any improvements to flood defences at Shoebury Common, it did appear odd that two Independent Party Councillors who were in attendance actually proposed alternative flood defence schemes. Surely it is time for them to come clean on their real beliefs.

Unfortunately there was a third Independent Party Councillor who backs putting peoples lives, homes and livelihoods at risk. Step forward Cllr Brian Ayling, Independent Party Councillor for SKIPP St Lukes. Although not present at Camp Squat, Cllr Ayling took to to the SKIPP facebook page to congratulate SKIPP's actions.

It is the word again, which intrigues me the most. I wonder which other protests it could be that he offers his congratulations? Could it be the camp that SKIPP set up on a graveyard  in Victoria Avenue? Or could it be the obstruction of the Highway when protesting about City Beach?

I don't think it could be the protest to the 'save the trees' at Cuckoo Corner considering that he was happy for the removal of two perfectly good trees for a crossing at the end of his road so residents could shop at Aldi. He wouldn't be a hypocrite now, would he?

The Labour Group Leader and Parliamentary Candidate Updates His Twitter Page In Full Council

Not that confirmation was needed, but you know when social media is a powerful weapon in a politicians arsenal when a debate appears on a local politics blog if it is acceptable for a Councillor to use social media during a meeting of Full Council.

As an avid user of social media, I personally would not tweet during a meeting but that is an individual choice. Earlier today, Cllr Ware-Lane on his blog highlighted a couple of my cabinet colleagues updating their facebook pages during Full Council yesterday evening.

To help the local political blogsphere decide whether Councillors using social media during Full Council is a slap in the face for local democracy, I noticed that during the last meeting of Full Council on the 17th October, that Cllr Ian Gilbert, the Labour Group Leader and Parliamentary candidate for Rochford & Southend East, decided to tweet on proceedings.


Wednesday, 11 December 2013

Correcting Inaccuracies

For those of you who are avid readers of the Echo letters pages you may have come across a readers letter from Peter Lovett, one of the self imposed North Korea style 'leaders' of Friends of Shoebury Common.

It has been evidently clear for some time that I have been the target for Dear Leader Peter. One can only assume that I am of that rare breed who has the balls to question his 'facts'.

On Friday evening, I was made aware of another of the infamous SKIPP squats, sorry, camp at Shoebury Common in protest at the improvements to flood defences at Shoebury Common. From a SKIPP press release after Cabinet on the 5th November, where the decision was taken to agree the Council's preferred option for an embankment behind the back of the Beach Huts, it is clear that SKIPP do not want any flood defences - including the Friends of Shoebury Common proposal.

If you were to take the readers letter from Dear Leader Peter as gospel then the Friends of Shoebury Common played no part in the actions of SKIPP. Well, not quite, as a facebook message posted by SKIPP on Sunday after they ended their occupation confirmed that the Friends of Shoebury Common were aiding their weekend of action.

Now as per Dear Leader Peter's letter I was never invited to attend camp squat. However, my lack of invite clearly had not reached the rest of the Friends of Shoebury Common Politburo as Comrade Peter Grubb took great delight in an email that I received on Sunday for not turning up and talking to concerned residents.

If Dear Leader Peter wishes to quote from an email of mine regarding residents 'seething at their actions' then he would be wise to either understand the whole email chain or try not to deceive. Following Comrade Grubb's original email I replied as follows:

In the garbled rant of a response by Comrade Grubb, was this little snippet:

Oh dear, clearly Comrade Grubb was either unaware of the SKIPP press release from the 5th November or was trying to deceive. I responded as follows:

Interestingly, I am still awaiting the response to my question at the end. Next, the question of me refusing to attend the SKIPP/Friends of Shoebury Common debate because of the 'questions' and 'facts' presented to me. On the 12th November I received the following invite:

I then responded as follows:

 Dear Peter received the following response from Council officers:

As point 2 of my original response had not been met I was true to my word and confirmed that I would not be attending.

As Dear Peter claimed that I refused to attend due to his 'questions' and 'facts' was this a bare faced lie? I will let you, the readers, be judge of that. What this weekend really showed was the true colours of the Friends of Shoebury Common. I now offer them the challenge to come clean on their real motives for Shoebury Common in that they are not really interested in protecting peoples lives, homes and livelihoods.

Sunday, 8 December 2013

Christmas and New Year Waste Collection Schedule

As the Christmas and New Year period approach us, there are some changes to the Christmas waste collection service that West Shoebury residents need to be aware of. The Friday 27th December collection will be on Monday 30th December. The  Friday 3rd January collection will be on Monday 6th January and the Monday 10th January collection will be on Saturday 11th January.

All other collections in December and January will be on Friday's as usual.

Saturday, 7 December 2013

Black Sacks - The Echo Big Debate

In Thursday's Echo Cllr Ware-Lane and I went head to head in the Echo big debate on black sacks. Yesterday on his blog Cllr Ware-Lane published his comments. For those of you who do not purchase the Echo my comments are below:

We need to recycle more as landfill costs are going through the roof. With the tax escalator on landfill costs it's going to cost us more and more as an authority to pay for landfill. Effectively, we may just as well put £3 Million in a hole.

As we can recycle 98% of household items in blue bins, white sacks, pink sacks and through garden waste there is hardly anything that needs to go into black sacks. It is only items like used nappies, pet litter and polystyrene that are unsuitable for recycling.

It seems absurd that if we are trying to encourage recycling, why would we give people black sacks to just put money into a hole in the ground?

Some opposition members claim that there are issues in recycling which are down to black sacks. If recycling rates were falling I might be inclined to agree, but recycling rates have continued to rise.

There may be some issues with people putting general waste in recycling bags but there were already hotspots in pink sack cross-contamination before black sacks were removed.

I find opposition comments quite disingenuous when they only proposed saving 45,000 rolls of black sacks for one year. What would they do in subsequent years? With an estimated 80,000 properties in Southend who would receive black sacks? Would people be means tested?

The main thing is that if residents still want to create black sack waste, we still provide a mechanism to collect it on a weekly basis.