Sunday, 30 September 2018

Another nasty party has its sights on Southend

Apparently the For Britain Movement is leafleting in the east of the borough. They follow in the footsteps of the National Front and the British National Party who both tried and failed to gain traction locally.

I have no doubt that like the NF and BNP, the For Britain Movement will fail, but it is sad that this beautiful town has to have its politics sullied by nasty right-wing parties.

They will chase cheap headlines, and blame anyone who is different for whatever perceived ills they think they see. Beware, they offer no solutions and only seek to be divisive and give hatred credence.

See here for more information.

Thursday, 27 September 2018

Seniority

By my reckoning, with six years as a councillor under my belt, I now find myself senior to nineteen of the borough’s councillors (in terms of tenure).

There has been four sets of local elections in those six years, as well as a couple of by-elections.

I am not sure whether this level of turnover is a good thing or not or, indeed, whether it is unusual even. With fifty-one councillors in total (and factoring the other newbies elected in 2012 when I was successful) it is close to half who can count six years or less as members.

I shall be delighted to see a third term, and am in no doubt that I will never be the ‘father’ of the chamber. For starters, there are still quite a few with far more experience than me who will be around for a years yet. Also factor in the fickle nature of politics, which could mean that this second term that I am serving could be my last.

I am fifth in seniority in the Labour Group – halfway in a group of eleven.

Thursday, 20 September 2018

Peabody South East

Cllr Ware-Lane and Paula Blundell at Peabody
In early summer I was invited to visit Peabody South East (formally known as Family Mosaic).   

Peabodyice has been providing support in the local community for over 10 years, providing housing related support to the residents of Southend, this includes support with preventing homelessness, financial issues and benefits. 

 The two sheets below show the services that they offer.


Labour Voice, Milton ward, Autumn 2018


Town centre summit - summat has to be done, I just do not think the Tories are up to the job

There could be many ways of circumscribing what constitutes as Southend’s town centre. I am inclined to use the same boundaries as the Police do; the Southend Central LCM covers three wards and I think this is as good as any.

Thus, I would describe the town centre as comprising Kursaal, Milton and Victoria wards.

I believe that there are six councillors who reside in this area: me, two other Labour councillors (Cllrs Dent and Jones) and three Tories (Cllrs Bright, J Garston, and McMahon).

There is to be a High Street summit. Southend-on-Sea Borough Council’s CEO has written:

As you may have seen, Cabinet has invited key individuals with an interest in the High Street to a summit next week in order to agree a way forward for several issues that are of concern to residents and businesses alike, such as crime, antisocial behaviour, aggressive begging and rough-sleeping.

I understand that many of you have an interest in the High Street and would be keen to be involved in the summit. However, Cabinet agreed the summit to be on an invite-only basis in order that focussed discussions may take place at a strategic level among decision makers. The Cabinet has agreed to report back on discussions the following day and there will, of course, be ample opportunity to discuss outcomes with the Leader and Deputy Leader, who are taking a lead on the summit.

You are also encouraged to engage in the joint Place and Policy & Scrutiny Committees’ in depth study “Re-imagining the town centre in the context of the vision for Southend 2050” as a means of sharing ideas and feedback on High Street issues.

I do not know who is actually invited to give to take part in the summit. I know I have not been invited, and I believe that no-one from the Labour Group will be taking part.

I have little confidence in the Council when it comes to the town centre. So many bad decisions over the years have blighted the area, and the levels of deprivation in parts are truly appalling. I am convinced that some of the causes of health inequality in the borough have been exacerbated by planning decisions that have seen the town centre get ever more crowded with little infrastructure improvements to accompany them.

Ugly and inappropriate developments, thousands wasted, and a town centre that is struggling. This is some legacy. We have not got parking right, the rise of rough sleepers and begging makes for an unpleasant experience when walking down the High Street of an evening.

Not invited, and not that bothered about it. We need a change of administration before we can properly assess and address the many issues in Southend’s centre.
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Wednesday, 19 September 2018

Parking chaos


There is a gradual, but perceptible, change happening on our streets in Southend-on-Sea. Slowly but surely our roads are becoming largely unwelcoming to all but those who reside in them as new residents parking schemes are implemented.

Whole swathes of the borough are now out-of-bounds to visitors as residents find a solution to the issue of too many cars and too few places to park them.

However, as a solution, resident permit parking creates it own problems. Excluding non-residents does not guarantee a parking space, and once a scheme has been implemented it is not long before those in neighbouring streets feel the impact of those displaced motorists who now seek an alternative place to park.

As a ward councilor I have to represent all within the ward, which means those who want their road to be for the exclusive use of those that live in it. It is difficult to resist these residents, if for no other reason than that there is often real distress for those who own cars in areas that are popular with visitors.

Nevertheless, if we keep adding new schemes the day will come when all roads are unavailable for the casual visitor. I am not convinced this is at all desirable.

I accept that roads turned into commuter car parks are not good, but neither are roads now made empty by draconian schemes.

We need a review. I have called for a review. We are sleep-walking into a situation where cars are effectively banned from large parts of the borough. Whilst some environmentalist may cheer at this, it does nothing to assist the ambitions of those who want a thriving town that attracts large visitor numbers.

As for the concept of having exclusive rights to the tarmac outside one's home - our roads are a shared resource, and we have to accept that we do not own the road outside our homes, and neither should we be able to dictate who can and cannot park there.



Tuesday, 18 September 2018

Westcliff RFC Ladies Rugby @Westcliffladiesrugby

On Sunday I watched only me second ever live game of rugby union, and the first one involving ladies. Almost a quarter of a century ago I watched a game in The Gambia between their national side and the crew of a Royal Navy ship (I really cannot recall which).

I watched Westcliff Ladies play their first ever league game, an affair that saw them lose 43 - 5 to Pulborough (who benefited from having greater experience).

It was enjoyable though, particularly as I had four family members playing for Westcliff: a daughter (Loren), and three nieces (Grace, Maddie, and Poppy)

It was a beautiful day, and I will certainly try to catch another game this season.

Thursday, 13 September 2018

TUAEU


I am pro-European. Despite its many failings, I believe the United Kingdom is better off in the EU, and I think the EU makes Europe a safer and more prosperous place.

Views differ, and even in the Labour movement there are those both for and against Brexit.

There is an organization called Trade Unionists Against the EU. I repeat that I am against Brexit, but I think the arguments the TUAEU set out are at least worthy listening to.

Take a look here - http://www.tuaeu.co.uk/

What is going on here?

The bit of the London Road that runs east of Princes Street and terminates at the top of he High Street has had some ‘improvements’ made to it earlier this year.

This stretch of road is shared by two wards: Milton and Victoria.

I would have seen the council papers in respect of these works; I even recall asking questions at committee. Yet, I struggle to understand what these works have achieved, and I am no sure they can really be described as improvements.

There is an orange roadworks bollard still in place at the eastern end of the newly created central reservation – does this mean that work has not yet been finished?

What is the central reservation all about? Is it going to be home to trees and shrubs (I wish) soon?

I cannot recall the precise numbers involved, but the cost runs into six digits. Is the end result value for money (bearing in mind that the cost was borne by taxpayers)?

Whatever, I remain puzzled by what has been implemented.

Friday, 7 September 2018

Julian Ware-Lane does not care (or so the Echo's angry commenters would have it)


http://www.echo-news.co.uk/news/16418472.man-arrested-after-town-weapons-brawl/

I rarely read the commens under news articles in the Southend Echo - it seems to be a place for mostly keyboard warriors with decidely odd idas, and no appetite for research.

I get the occasional bit of stick, and I mostly smile at the banality of it all. I can take that many disagree with my views, completely gettig it wrong as regards to my involvement with the community and getting things done sometimes is a little harder to ignore.

Here are some comments from a recent article. Perhaps I should correct a few terminological inexactitudes.

I do represent Milton and do not live there. I live about one hundred metres from the ward. I am not sure anyone would describe Hamlet Court Road as a leafy suburb although I am a fan of my home town of Westcliff-on-Sea.

I am often out and about walking the ward (and other bits of the borough). I have a pretty good track record as regards to speaking to residents.

I have never declared a preference for open borders, and whilst a Labour loyalist I did not vote for Corbyn in either of the two leadership contests that he was involved in.

 I have lobbied for extra policing, and have been a long way from quiet as regardless to the issue of crime,

 Crime is on the rise and I am trying to do something about it. I have had four attempts to get into Parliament, for it is there that decisions about policing, as well as the support services that address the underlying causes of crime, are made.

Political blogging in Southend

What makes a good blog? Intelligent content that is well-written is one determinant, another would be the frequency of output. A blog that goes months without being updated is of little use, especially I the fast moving world of politics.

I am not sure anyone would describe Southend-on-Sea as an exciting town politically, after all, the last time a non-Conservative was elected to Parliament by Southend’s voters was 1906. Still, the council chamber does at least show the occasional dissent from Tory orthodoxy, as the Tories struggle to muster decisive majorities.

I have listed below the local political bloggers that I am aware of, sorted by the date of the latest entry. Aside from me (and I admit to being less assiduous as regards to blogging than I used to be) only three at a push can claim to have done anything recently.

There are alternatives to blogs, yet nothing in my humble opinion is as good at delivering a good argument or discourse as the bloosphere.

John Haran


an-essex-man-of-letters.blogspot.com
12 Aug 2018
Mike Fieldhouse
Labour
www.mikefieldhouse.com/blog
9 Aug 2018
Nigel Holdcroft
Conservative
nigel-holdcroft.blogspot.com
28 Jul 2018
Daniel Nelson
Conservative
s655420503.initial-website.co.uk
30 May 2018
Ian Pope
Labour
southendvillagesocialist.blogspot.com
14 Apr 2018
Matthew Dent
Labour
matthewsdent.wordpress.com
9 Apr 2018
Tony Cox
Conservative
shoeburyblogger.blogspot.com
16 Mar 2018
James Courtenay
Conservative
jamescourtenay.wordpress.com
23 Jan 2018
Del Thomas
Conservative
southendfox.wordpress.com
28 Oct 2016
Mark Flewitt
Conservative
markflewitt.wordpress.com
20 Aug 2016
Ian Gilbert
Labour
iangilbertblog.wordpress.com
17 Jun 2016
Martin Terry
Independent
martin-terry.blogspot.com
4 Apr 2016
Helen McDonald
Labour
helenmcdonaldblog.wordpress.com
27 Mar 2016