Have ego, will email

Email exchanges between Southend-on-Sea’s councillors are mostly mundane. Only occasionally do they titillate.

One Independent member of the Executive chose to include the following in an email to all councillors today: There have been two pre- application presentations in the last two weeks, the amount of interest and attendance by Members has been in my opinion appalling.

I did not go to the first of these (I do not have a note of it, but I assume I was busy elsewhere). Quite often I am double booked, and I cannot be the only one. I did go to the second, last night’s pre-planning presentation on the plans for the old college site in Carnarvon Road. I made a note of who was there: four Labour members, three Liberal Democrats, two from UKIP, two from the Independent Group, and one Conservative.

I can only presume that said Executive member is having a swipe at the Conservatives and his own group as the other three groups had about half their members present. I should add that many of us specialise, and therefore elect to attend presentations that reflect these specialisms.

The Executive member’s email did give another member the opportunity to query part of their email sign-off; they styled themselves ‘Chair, Independent Group Committee’. The Executive member was reluctant to fully explain, a reluctance that is puzzling.

Anyone wanting to see the email sign-off for themselves are advised to email CllrAssenheim@southend.gov.uk

Said Executive member also added this: Hopefully, the new presentation for the Fossetts Farm Development tomorrow evening will be better attended.

I will not be going to this presentation, or conducting any council business unless there is an emergency. This is because of the industrial action being taken by public sector workers. They are sacrificing a day’s pay, and the least I can do is respect picket lines, both physical and electronic.

Inconsistencies (jumping on any passing bandwagon)

Some of Cllr Mark Flewitt’s posts require close reading, if only because of the grammar defying nature of much that he writes. The Conservative member for St Laurence is currently hopping onto the Thornford Gardens action group’s bandwagon. See TAG is getting it’s point across

Two thoughts struck me on reading this. Firstly, Cllr Flewitt has been vociferous in his objection to a speculative garden grab, yet is objecting to a brownfield development. Quite where are we supposed to build houses is beyond me. Oh yeah, the answer is always ‘elsewhere’.

The picture of TAG (Mark has a predilection for TLAs) shows the SKIPP triumvirate (Mark, Patsy and Sheena). It occurred to me that they (SKIPP) are campaigning for a museum to hold the Saxon burial articles to be built in Priory Park (instead of on the Cliffs). This museum will generate traffic – which begs the question as to why traffic associated with housing is bad in their eyes, but museum traffic is good?

Two very interesting planning applications

APPLN. NO: 14/00770/DEM

Officer: Sophie Glendinning Date Valid. 27 June 2014

DEMOLISH YACHT CLUB

ALEXANDRA YACHT CLUB CLIFTON TERRACE SOUTHEND-ON-SEA

APPLN. NO: 14/00914/FULM

Officer: Janine Rowley Date Valid. 23 June 2014

DEMOLISH PARTS OF EXISTING BUILDING AND CARRY OUT VARIOUS EXTENSIONS TO FORM 3 STOREY BLOCK OF 22 SELF-CONTAINED FLATS WITH ASSOCIATED CAR PARKING, AMENITY SPACE AND CYCLE STORE

32 – 36 VALKYRIE ROAD WESTCLIFF-ON-SEA ESSEX

This week’s notable planning application for Milton ward

APPLN. NO: 14/00870/TEL

Officer: Patricia Coyle Date Valid. 2 June 2014

INSTALL 12.5 METRE HIGH MONO POLE ANNTENNA AND TWO EQUIPMENT CABINETS AND ASSOCIATED WORKS

TELECOMMUNICATIONS LAND AT WESTERN ESPLANADE WESTCLIFF-ON-SEA

Three planning applications

APPLN. NO: 14/00500/FUL

Officer: Sophie Glendinning Date Valid. 8 May 2014

ERECT TWO STOREY DWELLINGHOUSE TO REAR 5 AVENUE ROAD WESTCLIFF-ON-SEA ESSEX

APPLN. NO: 14/00598/FUL

Officer: Sophie Glendinning Date Valid. 16 April 2014

FORM SELF CONTAINED FLAT (CLASS C3) TO FIRST FLOOR AND SECOND FLOOR AND INSTALL NEW SHOPFRONT AT GROUND FLOOR (AMENDED PROPOSAL) (RETROSPECTIVE)

52 – 54 ALEXANDRA STREET SOUTHEND-ON-SEA ESSEX

APPLN. NO: 14/00745/PA3COU

Officer: Anna Tastsoglou Date Valid. 12 May 2014

CHANGE OF USE OF GROUND FLOOR FROM SHOP (CLASS A1) TO A SELF CONTAINED FLAT (CLASS C3)

24 MILTON ROAD WESTCLIFF-ON-SEA ESSEX

A planning brace in Milton

APPLN. NO: 14/00568/FUL

Officer: Janine Rowley Date Valid. 11 April 2014

CHANGE OF USE FROM OFFICES (CLASS B1) TO DWELLINGHOUSE (CLASS C3)

23 CLARENCE ROAD SOUTHEND-ON-SEA ESSEX

APPLN. NO: 14/00591/CLP

Officer: Neil Auger Date Valid. 14 April 2014

USE AS SELF CONTAINED FLAT (CLASS C3) (LAWFUL DEVELOPMENT CERTIFICATE – PROPOSED)

42 HAMLET COURT ROAD WESTCLIFF-ON-SEA ESSEX

Forty bells at six doors

It is often said by me, and to me, that there are roads in Milton ward where there are many front doors that are characterised by being host to numerous door bells. Milton has the highest proportion of rental properties of any ward within the borough of Southend-on-Sea, and there are some roads where saturation point was reached many years ago.

This was brought home to me recently when out and about in one particular street. I counted six door-bells at one address, then six next door, then another six after that. By the sixth door I thought to go back and count just how many door bells I had just seen at the half a dozen houses I had visited. I counted forty, and that was no over-counting or exaggeration. (I may even have missed one or two).

Forty door bells at six houses – or to put it another way, six houses converted into forty dwellings. I have no idea whether these were flats or bedsits (I think the former), and I am convinced that this total could be beaten elsewhere in the ward, but it is a large number by anyone’s standard.

I have nothing against flats or bedsits – I have lived in both. I do object, though, to some areas being thought as safe to dump on, whereas other areas contain nought but intact houses. This is unfair. I think all areas should contain a mix of housing types, and I am trying my best to stem the tide of conversion, infill building, and overcrowding that is increasingly becoming a feature of Milton ward.

There has been a failure of planning in Milton ward, and whilst I cannot fix the past I am determined to stand up for the ward in a way that has clearly been missing in recent years.

Pants on fire

I had previously reported about my asking a question of the Leader of the Council at last week’s Full Council meeting.

I asked: Does the Leader believe that the Scrutiny system is the best way to test the suitability of various schemes, as well as to hold the Administration to account?

This received a fulsome response from Cllr Nigel Holdcroft. My supplementary was to inquire his views about a substantial application being agreed by just three councillors.

Here is a verbatim record of the response to my second question:

Thank you. It would have been nice to have had some notice of a question that has got absolutely nothing to do with his primary question but of course the issue with regard to Seaway Car Park and its redevelopment was adequately scrutinised at the time the decision to re-develop Seaway Car Park was taken.

I disagree that it had nothing to do with my primary question – I am trying to understand why process was allowed to be set aside for the move of the Seaway Coach Park to Warrior Square. Since it was a question about process it was entirely pertinent.

Of course, Cllr Holdcroft’s actual response raises more questions than it answered. It stands in contradistinction to the replies that I had already received about who made the decision. Cllr Holdcroft suggests that it was a decision made at scrutiny, whereas the three responses I had from an officer and two Cabinet members gave an entirely different answer. (See There is something decidedly fishy going on here.)

There is something decidedly fishy going on. It is beginning to look like this decision was rushed through without due process, indecent haste perhaps in anticipation of an imminent change of administration.

At the very least I have to question why on every occasion I have asked about this decision it has brought forth a different response. It is almost as if they are making it up as they are going along.

I want the administration to concede that a grave error has been made here. I also want them to abandon this decision and to use the scrutiny process properly.

Planning application in Milton this week

APPLN. NO: 14/00528/PA3COU

Officer: Sophie Glendinning Date Valid. 26 March 2014

Change of use from office (B1a) at rear of 30 Hamlet Court Road to dwelling (C3) (Amended Proposal).

28 – 30 Hamlet Court Road Westcliff-On-Sea Essex

Milton conservation areas

There are fourteen conservations areas in Southend-on-Sea, and four of them are in Milton ward. These are:

Clifftown
Milton
Shorefields
Warrior Square

The last one is interesting, because not only have the council managed to ruin a Victorian park here (spending £1.8 million in the process), they are now proposing to put a coach park next to it.

Warrior Square was designated a Conservation Area in 1990. It consists of Warrior Square North (Nos. 1-43).

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