In little over a week, we have seen the new rainbow coalition spearheaded by the 'beacon of democracy' Ron Woodley ride roughshod over the local democratic process on three occasions. Congratulations they get to keep the match ball!
This time, the portfolio holder drunk on his own self importance is Cllr Martin Terry. The new supremo for Sea Defences has announced that the sea defences proposal for Shoebury Common have been scraped. It is ironic that Cllr Terry, one of the cheerleaders in claiming that the previous Conservative administration was undemocratic, has single handedly just scrapped a decision. As fellow blogger and member of the new rainbow coalition Cllr Julian Ware-Lane points out, a decision taken by one is even less democratic!
When you read the small print of the article however, the sea defences proposals indeed have not been scrapped, they are merely being reviewed. Those who follow this blog know my views on the sea defences defences. The views of the Independent Party on this issue are muddled to say the least.
When ward councillors were first appraised by officers on the current proposals following the shambolic initial consultation, the new leader of the Council Cllr Ron Woodley, claimed in the meeting that we should stuff the Beach Hut owners and just get on and build it. He then proposed his own flood defences scheme and finally joined a protest against any flood defences at Shoebury Common back in December. It would appear that Cllr Terry now wants to build on the existing sea wall. Does he want Shoebury Common to look like Canvey Island?
It does remain to be seen whether the current proposals will be scrapped. I say this as when both Cllr Woodley and Cllr Terry had the chance to ask Cabinet to re-look at the proposals during the scrutiny debate on this item, they chose not to. Also, their Labour and Lib Dem coalition colleagues supported the current proposals.
It would also be mildly amusing to see the Battle Royal between the vested parties if after the review the original proposals were endorsed. From the whispers I am hearing from corridors of the Civic Centre, lead me to believe that this is the most likely outcome as any new scheme will require additional borrowing which both UKIP and Uncle Ron allegedly disapprove of.
As the article says, there is a very real possibility that the Environment Agency could withdraw funding for improved defences. There is also a widely accepted risk of a 1 in 5 years at certain parts of Shoebury Common and I would not want to be in Cllr Terry's shoes if, god forbid, it floods due to his imposed delay, as the new councillor for Public Protection will have failed in his duty - to protect the public.