Date: June 2019
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.
I attended meetings coordinated by a well-known businessman who is passionate about saving Southend in these changing times, and many short term and long term ideas were presented and parking charges was highlighted as a quick and effective win, sadly our Council seem to be slow with accepting new ideas and innovation for our failing High Street.
Instead of moaning and berating our Council about the state of our High Street, I thought I would do something, so that is when the petition for 2 hrs free parking in car parks was launched, and WOW what a response from you all in assisting with the collection of signatures, the effort from all has been heart-warming and to hear that all want Southend to thrive again.
Many other Towns have implemented a recovery plan and if you read government backed articles, making parking costs more attractive is the first step to rebuilding footfall. Our Council cry that they will lose income, but are not considering the lost long-term income with businesses closing or leaving the High Street. Reducing parking charges is the first step, but much more initiative needs to be shown and welcomed by the Council to make our Town great again.
The petition was presented to the Council on the 17th April, and then I was advised it could be a number of months before a response (there are 5 formal steps), but... wait for it... on the 17th of May, breaking news, Cllr Cox issued a 10 point proposal of actions to be taken, and this includes several parking charges adjustments in and around the Town - so it appears the council have listened to the people!! Refer to Echo dated the 17th May.
So next steps - the Council have advised they are working on the dates for implementation and these will be officially passed by the cabinet in direct response to the two petitions, on the 25th June (the other petition was co-ordinated by Rossis Ice Cream parlour regarding seafront charges-total 1700 signatures!) and then released so that comments can be made by the public. I have been advised by good authority that this will NOT be months but sooner rather than later!
Please be assured I will be unwavering in following progress and I will keep the Oracle updated with progress. This is one small step and I hope the council follow other Towns examples with new directives to rebuild our High Street and support small and large businesses. Thanks again to you all.