Saturday, 31 December 2011

Thorpe Bay Oracle

In between Christmas and New Year is a time when residents queries reduce but this year has seen a significant rise.

The reason can be attributed to an advert placed by the Burges Estate Residents Association (BERA) on page 13 of the December issue of the Thorpe Bay Oracle. The Thorpe Bay Oracle is distributed in parts of West Shoebury ward especially in areas covered by Burges Estate.

Worried residents in these areas, including the vulnerable and the elderly, have contacted me concerned that they are going to shortly receive a demand for thousands of pounds from representatives of Thorpe Estates Ltd.

The BERA advert claims that residents in West Shoebury can get access to information and advice to avoid paying thousands of pounds for an alteration license with the strap line at the bottom '£5 or £1000,s you have a choice!'.

Not only does the advert imply that residents are about to get costly demands but only paying BERA a £5 subscription fee will can stop this. One fuming resident even compared the advert to one of the money making scams that people receive via email.

What is also concerning is that the only two contact details on the advert are those of Ron Woodley and Mike Stafford...Independent Party councillors for Thorpe Ward.

The ad is poorly worded and does give cause for concern. It is also irresponsible for two councillors to compromise themselves in this way fuelling the argument that councillors should not chair resident associations. At the very least Ron should apologise for the distress that he has caused West Shoebury residents over Christmas.

Due to the number of queries that I have received on the interpretation of this advert I have asked the Advertising Standards Authority to investigate.   

Saturday, 24 December 2011

Merry Christmas

To all the residents of West Shoebury and regular readers of my blog, I wish you all a Merry Christmas and a happy New Year. 

Friday, 23 December 2011

Coming to a Door Mat in West Shoebury this Christmas

It's not often that I get the chance to blog about the local Labour Party in West Shoebury as for a number of years Labour had appeared to abandon West Shoebury. The lack of a mainstream alternative opposition here in West Shoebury has allowed, in my opinion, the BNP and the policy lite and principle free Independent Party to achieve second place in the majority of local elections in West Shoebury since I was first elected in 2006.

Creditable opposition is healthy and I welcome the selection of Gray Sergeant as the Labour candidate in West Shoebury as he appears to be more than the token 'paper candidate' put up by Labour in recent years, although even by Gray's own admission in his blog there were no other willing takers and a former Labour parliamentary candidate admitted on his blog that Labour can not win in West Shoebury.

As I have mentioned previously in this blog I am also encouraged that another young person is actively engaging in local politics. I also appreciate when I was a whippersnapper starting in politics that combining active politics whilst studying at university restricted campaigning to when term ends or in the summer recess. This can not be easy for Gray so credit where credit is due and I also have a gut feeling that for Gray the 'political bug' is here to stay.

When I was a full time student at university I quickly realised that standing in elections was not an option as the demands of being a committed, hard working councillor wouldn't be conducive to my studies. I didn't feel that if I were to be elected at that time of my life that the residents I was seeking to represent deserved a part time councillor. Local government has partially addressed this but needs to go further if we want representation on councils in the UK of all ages and walks of life. 

It has been said that challenging young people involved in politics was a political no, no but I subscribe to the view that age is no barrier and if you are willing to put your head above the parapet and stand for elected office then you open to challenge and scrutiny. I found it personally patronising and insulting when others wouldn't challenge me on my politics or beliefs because of my age.

Yesterday I was give a copy of the latest Labour Rose newsletter in West Shoebury and it would appear that it is coming the way of West Shoebury residents door mats shortly. It seems that the main focus of Gray's campaign will be on the West Road shopping area. Recently, I blogged at some length on West Road on the things that have been done and on it's future and it could be that the Labour candidate is leading on this after disclosing that he finds out what is happening in West Shoebury by reading this blog

Gray claims in his leaflet that he has taken small steps to make West Road a better place by reporting piles of rubbish and rusty bollards and street lights. As the portfolio holder for these areas/issues I have checked with the council department yet they have no records of any councillor or resident reporting any of these issues in West Road.

Gray also claims that he will shame local councillors into taking action on three immediate steps which could be taken to improve West Road.

Firstly, Gray claims that instead of boarding up empty shops with wooden boards, artwork should be used from either local artists or schools to 'brighten up' the area. There is one slight problem with this. Currently, no empty shop in West Road is boarded up!

Secondly, a notice board should be installed for commercial and community groups to advertise local events. I do not know if Gray's picture has been super imposed onto a photo of West Road but on closer inspection, he would have noticed the notice board on the side of the building on the junction with Sea View Road. As with most of these notice boards they are used by nightclubs in the town to fly post although this one in West Road is currently free of such activity.

Finally, Gray suggests that the local environment in West Road would be improved by hanging flower baskets from the street lights or planting a tree or adding a flower bed. I will let the residents of West Shoebury decide if this will measure will send shoppers or potential traders flocking to West Road.   

Thursday, 22 December 2011

Campaigning All Year Round

December is always a busy month in the Cox household. It is Mrs Cox birthday at the beginning of the month and with family members scattered far and wide we try to make an extra effort to visit relatives as we are strong believers in Christmas being a time for families. This year we also have a very excitable two and a half year old who is also understanding Christmas much more.

December is also a time when here in West Shoebury we put the finishing touches to our campaign plan for the next five months in the build up to the local elections. Delivery of our winter leaflet was also completed last Sunday and although the temptation is there to utilise the Christmas and New Year period for campaigning but I do except that Christmas and Easter are times of the year when campaigning is a no, no.

We also found time this month to have a short break at Disneyland Paris to celebrate Mrs Cox birthday and Miss Cox love of anything Disney. If I was in a nice relaxed state after our short break, this was quickly knocked out of me due to a major incident at work which left me having little or no sleep at times last week.

After our quick whistle stop tour of Disneyland Paris we also saw the Aladdin pantomime at the Cliffs Pavilion starring Shane Ritchie. For those of you who are contemplating seeing this over Christmas book your tickets now as it fantastic and hilariously funny.   

Thursday, 1 December 2011

Shoebury NAP

Yesterday evening I had the pleasure of attending the Shoebury Neighbourhood Action Panel (NAP) at Shoebury High School. The NAP is a forum of residents across Shoebury which help set local policing priorities for the local police.

Usually these meetings have representation from local councillors across the political spectrum, however at this meeting the two Independent Party councillors for Shoeburyness ward Mike Assenheim and Anne Chalk both gave their apologies.

Curious to their absense, as these two normally attend the opening of a letter, it transpires that they both thought it would be better to attend their party political meeting at the Civic Centre rather than hear the concerns of Shoebury residents.

Shoebury residents should also be aware that originally a meeting of the local Shoebury Conservatives branch was also scheduled for yesterday evening but was cancelled upon notification of the Shoebury NAP so local Conservative councillors could attend.

So, do the Shoeburyness Independent Party put local residents before politics? You decide.