Thursday, 21 April 2016

Shoeburyness - Still the Forgotten Part of Southend

Yesterday, I was given a copy of the Veolia beach cleaning schedule. It was an interesting document in that it is proposed that all beaches will be cleaned except for East Beach? Why was East Beach left off? 
This is just another example of Shoeburyness becoming the forgotten part of Southend under this Independent Party/Labour/Lib Dem/Ex UKIP Administration.

Wednesday, 20 April 2016

Is This The Better Quality That We Can Expect From This Administration?

We have heard much trumpeting from the coalition Administration that the new waste contract will save over a £1 Million and deliver a better service. There has been much scepticism over these claims. I hope it works out, I really do, but the evidence just recently does not fill me with much confidence.

The above photos were taken in a very small crescent in West Shoebury. A road that in my years of being a councillor has not suffered from fly tipping or missed collection issues.

This sadly is becoming a regular occurance with my colleague Derek Jarvis reporting similar issues in another part of the ward yesterday. The rubbish has been reported to officers with the offending items now being removed.

Saturday, 9 April 2016

Martin Terry - Ex Chief of What?

Yesterday, I posted the runners and riders in this years Essex Police & Crime Commissioner elections.

It has been widely announced that the hapless Martin Terry, an Independent councillor and portfolio holder here in Southend, will be standing as a candidate in these elections. He did not disappoint.

When looking at the nomination, I was curious in the description next to Martin Terry's name - Zero Tolerance Policing Ex Chief. What is Martin Terry an ex chief of? Paperclips? My curiosity was that for anyone to have a description next to their name other than the word Independent means that they have to belong to a political party registered with the Electoral Commission.

After a quick look, sure enough, registered in 2012 was the Political Party Zero Tolerance Policing Ex Chief:

So much for Martin Terry's 'independence'. The leader of the party is Kevin Hurley who is currently the Police & Crime Commissioner for Surrey and a former Police Detective Chief Superintendent. Last month Mr Hurley shot to national fame after publicly announcing that he 'wanted to break a criminals legs'. Should an elected member in charge of the Police really be advocating violence?

Those who know Martin Terry will now that there is no level that this man would stoop but to claim being an Independent, standing for a political party and trying to pose as a former chief police officer to deceive is probably the lowest that someone can stoop in politics.

Thursday, 7 April 2016

Southend Conservatives 2016 Local Election Manifesto

Shoebury Wars - Independent Party Style

A massive row has broken out in Shoeburyness Ward by a former and current Independent Party councillor which has been reported in the Southend Echo.

Whilst the petty squabbling was amusing, the part that really caught my attention was Mike Assenheim's admission that the Independents are a party. Yet however, in a recent leaflet delivered by Mike, he seems to have gone to great lengths to tell residents that the Independents are not a party:

Oops, the guard has slipped...

Monday, 4 April 2016

Garrison Planning Application

The first weekend of every month sees the delivery of the Thorpe Bay Oracle magazine.

Although titled Thorpe Bay Oracle, it is delivered in some parts of West Shoebury and Shoeburyness wards if it is deemed to be a 'highly affluent' area. I particularly like the local issues section and it regularly features some good contributions from local people or community groups.

This months guest columnist is my former UKIP (now Southend Independence Group) West Shoebury colleague James Moyies.

The article starts with James work as the Portfolio Holder for Adult Social Care and the cuts that he has had made within the Public Health budget but there was, rather unsurprisingly, no robust defence of the decision, in the face of all the cuts, to spend over £3,000 sponsoring a recent Southend United fixture unlike he made at the last People Scrutiny Committee meeting.

The final part of the article relates to the recent decision by the Planning Committee to grant outline planning permission for 172 homes on the former Gunners Park site.

Without wanting to bore readers with a history lesson of the site, in 1998, the Labour/Lib Dem Administration gave planning permisssion for the now Garrison development. As part of this planning consent, was to turn this space from parkland into light industrial use.

Some 18 years later, I'm sure that I would get near, or if not, unanimous agreement that light industry is not appropriate in what is a largely residential area.

At the recent Planning Committee meeting on the 2nd March, planning permission, after months of twoing and throwing, was granted to build new homes on this site. In the Oracle article, James gives an, I'm sure, well meaning apology for not preventing planning permission being granted for this site. Well, to be quite frank, so he should, as this is what happens when candidates promise the electorate jam tomorrow when there is a chance that they will not be able to deliver on the promises that they make once elected.

James blames the decision to award planning permission on the Conservative and UKIP groups on the Planning Committee. What is so blatent about this article is the covering of James and his Administrations backside on this issue and try to divert blame elsewhere.

You see, the Conservatives do not currently run Southend Council. The current Administration is made up of the Independent Party, Labour, Lib Dem and Southend Independence Group councillors. This means that the Administration will have the majority on every committee - including the planning committee.

For avoidance of doubt, I have put together a chart of the Planning Committee members and the way they voted on this planning application:

As you can see, five members of the Administration voted for the approval of this planning application. For the record, I would voted against this application. My reasons are the density of the numbers of houses proposed and the traffic impact on the alread busy and congested Ness Road and Campfield Road.

I would have liked to have personally attended the Planning Committee but I wasn't allowed to. This Administration changed the rules preventing a councillor not on the Planning Committee attending and speaking for or against a planning application if it is not in the ward that they represent. This planning application was in Shoeburyness ward and not West Shoebury ward that I represent. Therefore, I was prevented from speaking, or gagged if you like, by the current Administration who claims to be 'democratic'.

As they say, empty vessels make the most noise...

Saturday, 2 April 2016

'Improved' Garden Waste Collection Charges

Just before Christmas, over 19,000 households in the borough who were on the 39 week garden waste collection service received a letter from the new waste contractor Veolia informing them of the 'enhancement to their service'.

Great news you would think, as these 19,000 residents would now get their garden waste collected 52 weeks a year instead of 39. The only snag is that these 19,000 households faced a rise in their charge for the service of up to 37% if they do not pay by direct debit.

Over the past few months, this single issue has dominated my mailbox as residents who subscribed to the 39 week garden waste service chose this service rather than the alternative 52 week service on offer as they simply did not require the service.

Things start to get a little clearer now in how the Administration are plugging the £1 Million cut in the waste budget.

An Appropriate Use of Money?

A few months ago, readers may remember that I brought you the story of the decision by Southend's Public Health Team's decision to spend over £3,000 sponsoring the Southend Utd v Blackpool fixture earlier this season.

This decision was made despite the Public Health Team making £500,000 in year savings. At the last Place Scrutiny Committee meeting, it was confirmed by the Portfolio Holder and officers that the decision to sponsor this fixture was to encourage people to quite smoking.

You can imagine the astonishment, when at the same meeting, appearing on page 3 of a list of all the targets that the Council has failed to meet, was the target that the Council has for the number of people going through the quit smoking programme.

Was this an appropriate use of taxpayers money?

Vote Derek Jarvis on the 5th May

West Shoebury Record - Council Budget Special