Sunday, 26 May 2013


I have always wondered if UKIP actually really want to leave the EU. Despite many UKIP candidates in this months local elections claiming that they would leave the EU to provide more funding for local councils, UKIP MEP's saw no problem in voting for an increase in the EU budget recently.

We also saw the UKIP 2013 local election manifesto claiming that they would cut excessive councillors expenses but their MEP's saw no problem in voting themselves a pay rise. Whilst UKIP will deny it, they are on the EU gravy train. Their entire party structure and funding is dependent on the EU.

Whilst Nigel Farage is undoubtedly a personable character, I do believe he prefers to snipe from sidelines like a child seeking attention, without any real intentions of wanting to get UKIP into Westminster, the only elected place which can sanction the UK withdrawal from the EU. I suspect that UKIP's motives for the 2015 General Election is to split the Conservative vote to allow for a Labour Government - A government led by Ed Milliband who has already said we should not have an In/Out referendum on our membership of the EU.

There are a couple of recent events have further confirmed my suspicions. Firstly, we have had my old foe in West Shoebury, James Moyies, claiming the Conservatives should stop banging on about Europe.

A truly remarkable statement from the UKIK Eastern Region Chairman considering the whole premise of the party is supposedly based on leaving the EU. There has been another story from his region this week which beggars belief.

The 15 newly elected councillors on Norfolk County Council have formed a coalition with Labour and the Lib Dems with support from the Greens - the three most pro EU parties! This just shows that UKIP the the stunt men of politics, promising supposed change whilst propping up arguably the three most wasteful parties in the history of Local Government.

The comment of the year so far comes from Toby Cook, the UKIP leader on Norfolk CC who said his party members were new to the council and would be taking more of a back seat role, claiming

"We need to learn to walk before we can run. It takes experienced people to run a large council like this," 
Just a few weeks in, it is clear that UKIP are the new Lib Dems, being all things to all men in different parts of the country, simply becoming the repository of the dustbin vote.

Saturday, 25 May 2013

Is It Wrong To Ask Residents For Their Views?

I have been criticised for many things as a councillor but never for asking residents for the views. Yet this is bizarrely what happened on Thursday when the local residents association and Friends of Shoebury Common member, Peter Lovett criticised my colleagues Cllr Jarvis, Cllr Hadley and I for asking for residents views on the proposed Shoebury Common sea defences in a questionnaire.

Whilst the Echo online article covers the main bulk of the article, what it does not include is the article in the main newspaper edition that a website has been created by a group of residents who live in the Shoebury Common flood plain attacking the Friends of Shoebury Common claiming that their founders are 'two of the most dangerous men in Southend.

Whilst the questionnaire is designed for residents which live in or very close by to the flood plain at Shoebury Common anyone who lives outside the flood plain are welcome to print off a copy below and give me your thoughts or complete the online survey here.

Southend Conservative Group - Reporting Back

Saturday, 18 May 2013

BBC Essex

Just recently, I have appeared quite frequently on BBC Essex. so much so, that I am thinking of asking for a reimbersment on my licence fee. This week saw two appearances both on stories which were good news items.

On Tuesday, I was asked to give Southend's perspective on pot holes in the county.  Southend Council is responsible for 450km of roads and 900km of footways across the town and in the past year we fixed more than 20,000 potholes. Some residents may not be aware that we have a £3 Million annual highways budget with over £1 Million spent repairing pot holes.

On Thursday I was invited back, this time, to talk about our 84% decrease in the amount of fly tipping in the borough. Of all the things that have been achieved in my portfolio this is one that I am most proud of.

We take a zero tolerance to fly tipping with a 100% success rate in prosecutions and then happily name and shame them publicly. When reported, we remove dumped items promptly which has culminated in winning Clean Britain Awards for the town.

I have always had a simple political philosophy in that all people want is to live in a clean, safe and pleasant environment and be left to get on with their lives.

Monday, 6 May 2013

West Shoebury Road Improvements Update

Over the past couple of months I have raised a number of concerns and asked for some intervention on the condition of some of the roads in West Shoebury. Towards the back end of last week I received some information on the progress which I thought I would share:


As was agreed by residents at the public meeting I held on this issue, I have been assured that the painting of the white lines in the middle of the road are imminent. The junction protection of the Abbotts Walk-Bishopsteignton and Weare Gifford-Bishopsteignton junctions will be going out to statutory advertisement in June.

Linton Road

At the junction of Linton Road-Maplin Way I had received concerns of residents living in the road that motorists were cutting the wide bend at the junction with fears that there could be a head on collision. After a site meeting with officers they agreed that this was of concern and agreed to put a traffic island at this location to vehicles will not be able to cut corners. The marking for the the island have been done and the traffic island will be erected shortly.

Caulfield Road

At the top end of the Caulfield Road near Maplin Way, there is what officers know as a category one defect where the old concrete road has started to move and caused some road subsidence. Officers have confirmed that the materials need for the repair have been ordered and the repair is scheduled for July.

Pentland Avenue

Following requests for junction protection at the junction with Caulfield Road, I can confirm that this scheduled for statutory advertisement in June.

Church Road

At the junction with Maplin Way, the road surface had started to crumble. A repair to this section has been undertaken with the re-lining of the junction to be undertaken shortly. Temporary lining is currently there as a short term measure.

Maplin Way North

Following some issues with the road surface, I am delighted that two repairs have been undertaken on this road in the past couple of months.

I will keep all residents posted on the progress of the outstanding items.

Sunday, 5 May 2013

Election Tales

Whilst pushing for last minute votes in Thursday's Essex County Council Elections we decided to remind commuters returning from London at Rochford Station that today was polling day.

Whilst handing out leaflets I bumped into my old UKIP foe from West Shoebury James Moyies who was at Rochford Station handing out copies of the UKIP 2013 local election manifesto.

One thing that immediately caught my eye was the back page which featured Winston McKenzie telling residents why he was voting UKIP. It was not what was included in the quote which intrigued me but rather what was left out.

Some may recall that Winston McKenzie was the UKIP candidate in the Croydon North parliamentary by election back in November last year. Winston made the headlines during the by election for all the wrong reasons by calling gay adoption 'child abuse'.

I was curious to see what James' views were to Winston McKenzie's comments at the time. A quick glance through his twitter feed revealed the following conversation:

Whilst seemingly quick to condemn Winston's comments at the time, James seemed happy enough to be handing out leaflets with Winston McKenzie being one of the 'faces of UKIP' on Thursday.

Congratulations Colin Seagers

With this being a fallow year in Southend with no elections, I have out and about on the campaign trail for Colin Seagers the Conservative candidate for Rochford South in the Essex County Council elections this week.

In what was always going to be a difficult set of elections, as indeed mid term elections are for any party in government I was delighted to see Colin Seagers retain the Rochford South seat following the sad death of the former incumbent Roy Pearson.

The final result:

Colin Seagers - 1085
Labour - 1005
UKIP - 804
Lib Dems - 89

Shoebury Common Public Meeting

After the meeting with Royal Mail there was a quick dash to Shoeburyness High School for the second public meeting on the Shoebury Common flood defence proposals. This was an additional meeting after the first meeting attracted more people than the capacity of the Wendy Owen Hall.

I was pleased, whatever the views towards the preferred option, to see so many people over the two meetings come and have their say after I secured from officers at a Shoebury Residents Association meeting last Spring, the commitment to hold a public meeting in Shoeburyness as part of a consultation on the proposed flood defences at Shoebury Common.

All councillors at the meeting were challenged by a resident to let the audience know what their position was on the proposals. Whilst it would have easy not to say nothing, I vowed and declared when I was first elected never to shy away from giving by honest views when challenged on any subject - regardless of how difficult or controversial the subject may be.

I strongly believe that the public want to see conviction politicians who have the courage to air their views even if the majority do not agree with you. I believe people will ultimately respect you far more for taking this stance. As I have always said, if residents agree or disagree with me or are happy or unhappy with the representation that I give then they have the chance to demonstrate their feelings in the ballot box.

I would rather stay true to my beliefs and principles and risk being voted out of office than jump on any passing bandwagon that passes through town just to court popular opinion at any given time.

I was happy to reiterate my long held view on this issue that regardless of the scheme that finally goes ahead will change Shoebury Common - even the alternative scheme put forward by Mr Bailey and Mr Lovett. I also told the meeting that as the council and Mr Bailey and Mr Lovett were putting forward options there was an acceptance that there is a real risk of flooding at Shoebury Common and doing nothing is not an option, although I recognised that doing nothing is a view by some.

I also said that knowing the risk, and being in a position of responsibility, my main priority was the protection of residents lives, homes and livelihoods in West Shoebury but that any scheme which gets the go ahead needs to be in keeping with the character at Shoebury Common.

It is worth reminding that there is still a week to go on the consultation and the plans for the preferred option can be viewed at Thorpedene Library until the 12th May.

Saturday, 4 May 2013

Shoebury Delivery Office Set To Close

On Monday I cut short a weekend break to celebrate Miss Cox fourth birthday as there was a briefing to all members on the future of the Royal Mail delivery offices in Shoebury and Leigh.

During the briefing my worst fears were confirmed as Royal Mail announced that the Shoeburyness Delivery Office in George Street would be closing on the 3rd June forcing all residents to collect their parcels and signed for mail from the Delivery Office in Short Street and would be issuing a press release the following day.

As part of the meeting, Royal Mail confirmed that they will be offering a re-delivery service which residents can request by telephone or online.

I asked if any other locations in Shoebury had been looked into for a collection service to remain within Shoebury. The representatives from Royal Mail confirmed that they had looked into using the Post Office which shares the same complex in George Street for such a scheme but was ruled out as unsuitable as it did not have a secured area.

I also asked if other possible locations had been explored but Royal Mail confirmed that no other possible locations had been looked into. This is bitterly disappointing as Royal Mail had given assurances to James Duddridge MP that all suitable locations would be considered.

I also asked why Royal Mail were proceeding with what can only be described as a crackpot idea at Short Street considering that Royal Mail objected to Tesco's developing the nearby old B&Q site on increased traffic in the area and parking stress grounds.

What was even more startling was the admission that Royal Mail have only increased the existing single customer parking bay at Short Street to four and have made no improvements to the existing customer service desk.

The focus of attention will undoubtedly now be on the existing Post Office in George Street which shares the same complex with the Delivery Office. The George Street complex is on a leasehold to the Post Office and Royal Mail and should the Post Office close, Shoebury would be left without a Post Office.

Here is the full press release by Royal Mail on the closures.

Fighting Back Against Crime