I wanted to write an article with a view of explaining why I appreciate being part of the Southend community, both in terms of specialist retail and as a resident. Many years of living within easy reach of London, the beach and open countryside have been a joy.
Officers from Southend’s Town Centre Team have dedicated more than 6,000 hours to patrols and activity to deal with crime and anti-social behaviour over the last six months.
For those who don't know or are interested to learn more, there is a global stop 5G campaign which is growing daily and here's why.
We are living at a time where there seems to be so much bad news, anger and resentment in the world that it is worth remembering that it can be the simple things that can make us happiest.
It’s been over a year since I wrote my 'Save Southend Dire Street' article
The arguments surrounding the proposed redevelopment of the Seaway Car Park continue and some of the issues were highlighted in the last edition of Oracle, when Independent Party Councillor and current Cabinet Member Martin Terry commented that “I did like and support the scheme in its original design concept but I now have serious questions which need to be answered”. He further said that “There does seem to be a driving determination and obsession to get this scheme through at almost any cost”.
We are now approaching the deadline where a planning application must be submitted by Turnstone, the contracted developer of the valuable, Council owned, Seaway car park. This divisive matter has been travelling through the Council for well over a decade and was initially devised by the now defunct, and often criticised quango, Renaissance Southend, under the stewardship of former Conservative Leader and local solicitor, Nigel Holdcroft, who stepped down many years ago.
Homelessness is a widely talked-about and controversial topic in Southend, particularly rough sleeping, which is the most visible end of the homeless spectrum. However, it is not just about people sleeping on the streets. It all begins with addressing the causes of homelessness in the first place.
High Streets across the country have been evolving for many years - Southend High Street being no exception. Originally ‘The High Street’ mostly a range of terraced three and four storey housing to cope with the burgeoning population of Southend transformed into the retail shopping area we know today. During the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s, Southend High Street was one of the most highly valued (in rental value) High Streets in the UK outside Central London.
It is a huge honour to have been elected Leader of Southend Council, there is a huge amount to communicate to residents. The position following the elections was far from ideal, but there is now a strong partnership agreement between Labour, Independent and Liberal Democrat councillors to form a robust administration. We know it can work, we ran the council in partnership between 2014 and 2016 and delivered many successes whilst faced with the hugest of financial challenges. I’ve obviously been asked a lot about what changes the new administration wishes to make – there is too much to fit in one article but here is a flavour of what we think is important.
Political turmoil continues this month on both the local and national stage. It looks like Boris versus the two Jeremys for PM whilst locally the tories have lost control of both Basildon and now Southend councils.
It is 10.50pm, Thursday May 2nd and I await a car to take me to the Count at Garon Park. All day, spent sitting outside the polling Station, listening to residents condemning the Conservative and Labour Parties and their role in the Brexit negotiations but these same residents also acknowledged the role of Independent Councillors in the Ward who have worked hard to create a better community and fight against the negative efforts of the Tory led Council.
After 15 years at Woo Hairdressers in Clifftown Road we have with a heavy heart relocated to Thorpe Bay. Sixteen years ago the town was thriving and there were many top brand shops, however, now we have to settle for coffee and pop up phone case shops that open and close at an alarming pace to avoid the rates. I was very proud to have a Southend Business...
I am the local resident, who with your incredible assistance, gathered 2276 signatures for a petition to be submitted to the Council regarding helping our floundering Town centre by requesting action with parking charges as they are astronomic and keeping shoppers, visitors away and discouraging them for staying longer than an hour, get your hair cut, lunch, gift, dentist it costs an average £1.90+ for an hour.
Famously Henry Ford said on 6 June 1916 "History is more or less bunk. It's tradition. We don't want tradition. We want to live in the present, and the only history that is worth a tinker's damn is the history that we make today."
I was trying to think of a song to describe Southend at the moment. Personally I think that old Monty Python song “Always Look on the Bright Side” probably describes it best.
Wellbeing at Garon Park is proud to be a member of the UK Men’s Sheds Association and bringing this exciting opportunity to Southend.
Southend Association of Voluntary Services and Shoebury Residents Association announce the expansion of the ‘Folk like Us’ project in to Shoebury. The project will provide support and information to lonely isolated and elderly residents living in Shoebury.
Emma kindly asked for an update since my October 'Save Southend High Street' article. I was touched by the many supportive emails I received at the time and I thank you for them.
Homelessness is not a new issue. I have been involved with property real estate for 48 years and although the issue is much greater now than it was in the 1970s it has always been a problem.
In the last issue of Oracle, it was asked “please help save Southend High Street”. I maintain that the High Street does not need saving, but it does need changing, and fast.
Southend on Sea Borough Council are not alone in choosing to buy commercial investment property in order to boost their flagging fortunes but beware there are a number of reasons why local authorities including Southend should not be engaged in this highly risky and volatile activity.
10 years ago, the regeneration of Southend Central Area began with projects like Civic Beach, The Forum and more recently Victoria Avenue among others. Government assisted funding was obtained for many of these projects. This has encouraged private sector investment.
Grateful Heads has successfully traded in Alexandra Street, Southend for nearly 35 years - but the past few years have definitely been a little harder for the salon.
I have lived in this Borough for many years: during the past 24 years I have been privileged to live in the Southend Conservation area. The High Street is, literally, just around the corner.
Recent Oracle articles on the decline of our High St. by Philip Miller MBE and my article on the proposed Seaway development have certainly sparked a debate into life, amongst concerned residents, businesses and councillors, and rightly so.
On 7 December, the developer Turnstone submitted a planning application to Southend-on-Sea Borough Council for a £45-£50m leisure development on the site of the Seaways Car Park. If it gains planning approval, it could generate 500 jobs and turn around the fortunes of our High Street by bolstering it as a leisure destination.
The article called ‘I lost my baby – please ask me his name’ on the BBC website and the Channel 4 TV programme ‘Child of Mine’ is about those who have suffered the loss of their babies were both sad, moving and yet so inspirational it just made you want to do something useful to help!
In 2002 I switched from my city job to running a business on Southend Seafront. My family had previously run businesses on the seafront in the late 70’s so the concept was not entirely new to me.
Memory Worship is a new service that has been created to support the spiritual needs of people living with dementia.
Southend is a town built on family businesses who track their beginnings back through several generations. To this day those businesses are still fighting for survival, in particular those that operate in and around the seafront, still relying very much on day trippers!
To mark the 20th Anniversary of the Southend Hospital Charitable Foundation, the For Wards Appeal has recently been launched and aims to raise £500,000 for 20 transformational projects across 20 different areas of Southend Hospital. As well as funding life-saving medical equipment and pioneering new technology, the appeal will fund additions such as patient friendly artwork and amenities to keep patient comfort and well-being at the heart of the hospital.
Folk Like Us provides support and advice to people over the age of 65, living in the borough of Southend who are experiencing loneliness and isolation. These people are supported by Turning Tides Team Leaders and if required will be signposted to services who can assist them further.
"Welcome to Southend Marina," the new Marina Moorings Supervisor called out to the Master of the big Cruiser that had just drawn up to an empty birthing spot connected to Southend’s Pier Head, with the Pier trains ready to take the new delighted tourists into town via Southend’s classy new Marina… Sorry, this was just a pipedream…..
Citizens Advice Southend is an independent registered charity. We are affiliated to a central organisation, known as Citizens Advice, itself a registered charity, which provides us with training and support. Citizens Advice is the UK’s largest provider of advice, and nearly half the population has used its services at some point in their lives.
On the 14th May to the 20th May, people all over the UK come together to raise awareness for Mental Health problems for Mental Health Awareness Week. This year, the Mental Health Foundation are focusing on reducing stress. While stress isn't a mental health problem in itself, it can lead to a range of mental health problems, such as depression and anxiety. By tackling stress, we can go a long way to tackle mental health problems.
Southend Borough Council is responsible for many important core services in the town, ranging from adult and children's social care through to refuse collection and pier management. These services are managed by professional officers who work alongside a designated Cabinet Member; who gives democratic accountability to the process, (there are 8 cabinet members). Most peoples vision of the other 43 Councillors is of a bunch of old men and women moaning about holes in the road or change that is happening in the town. That is a pretty accurate description for some... but I have recently been involved with a few Councillors on a working party, looking at the digital transformation of our town into a Smart City; and that has been a pleasant eye opener to the innovative and cutting edge thinking that our officers and Councillors can use to drive our towns' development forward. A Smart City is an urban area that uses different types of electronic data collection sensors to supply informa
The biggest issue within our town continues to be the proposed changes to our Health System. The financial pressures from an aging population, an increase in people with multiple long term conditions, alongside the National change in configuration of specialist services and the size of population they cover; have all fed into the development of the Mid and South Essex Strategic Transformation Partnership.
NCI is a national charity with 50 watch-stations situated around the coast of England and Wales staffed entirely by local volunteers. Its prime purpose is to maintain a visual watch along our shoreline to help ensure the safety of people using coastal waters. This includes people swimming, sailing, kayaking, kite surfing, wind surfing, motor boating and basically anybody using the facilities of, in our case locally, the River Thames Estuary.
The Department for Health has divided the country into 44 health footprints. We reside in the one called Mid and South Essex. Each area is required to produce a strategic document that details how the local health system will operate?– this is called the Sustainability and Transformation Partnership Plan (STP). We have an aging and growing population who have an increasing number of long-term conditions. There is consistent innovation in technology to develop new treatments, and the cost of servicing employee pension costs mean that our local health system could be £400?million in the red, annually, if nothing is done.