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Four recent planning applications in Milton ward

APPLN. NO: 14/00900/FUL

Officer: Sophie Glendinning Date Valid. 6 August 2014

CHANGE OF USE OF FIRST AND SECOND FLOORS FROM OFFICE (CLASS B1) TO CONSOLE GAMING CENTRE (CLASS D1)

FIRST FLOOR AND SECOND FLOOR 102 HIGH STREET SOUTHEND-ON-SEA

APPLN. NO: 14/01010/FUL

Officer: Janine Rowley Date Valid. 1 August 2014

DEMOLISH EXISTING 2 STOREY STABLE/MEWS TO REAR OF 38 HAMLET COURT ROAD AND ERECT TWO STOREY DWELLING WITH COURTYARD TO REAR
38 HAMLET COURT ROAD WESTCLIFF-ON-SEA ESSEX

APPLN. NO: 14/01161/FUL

Officer: Sophie Glendinning Date Valid. 16 July 2014

ON LAND ADJACENT TO 91-95 ST HELENS ROAD ERECT TWO STOREY DETACHED DWELLINGHOUSE, EXTEND EXISTING VEHICULAR ACCESS AND FORM HABITABLE ACCOMMODATION IN EXISTING BASEMENT AREA AT REAR

91 ST HELEN’S ROAD WESTCLIFF-ON-SEA ESSEX

APPLN. NO: 14/01194/PA3COU

Officer: Janine Rowley Date Valid. 28 July 2014

CHANGE OF USE FROM SHOP (A1) TO ONE DWELLINGHOUSE (C3)

28 – 30 HAMLET COURT ROAD WESTCLIFF-ON-SEA ESSEX

Switcher Toby’s blog

Toby Mountain is a Rochford District Councillor, elected as a Conservative and now serving as an Independent. He has a blog, the not self-effacingly titled Rayleigh View (does he really speak for all of Rayleigh?)

Under About Us is this: A view of Rochford District from the perspective of a Rayleigh resident

The use of the plural is either a mistake, or Cllr Mountain has royal pretensions. He also refers to himself in the plural under Comment (Contact Us Please feel free to contribute comments to any of our news items)

He writes: Toby is committed to increasing openness and transparency – but apparently this does not extend to allowing his voters a say on his change of party allegiance.

Putting finger to keyboard and removing all doubt

I am a regular reader of Cllr Mark Flewitt’s blog, but only because I like to keep abreast of what is going on politically in my corner of Essex. I read it in much the same way as I read all local political blogs, although I cannot pretend it is an enjoyable task. Cllr Flewitt’s employs the most tortuous logic in often appallingly written posts and is often a better advertisement for his opponents then for any cause he is seeking to support. In his favour is the fact that he is a regular writer, and can be occasionally quite humorous (although whether that is always intentional is debateable in itself).

He has chosen, in his most recent post, to write about the Council’s negotiations regarding the waste disposal contract. This has been debated (I use that word advisedly) in internal councillor emails, and Cllr Flewitt has decided to use some of this debate. Quite what should be publicly aired is a matter of judgement.

However, Cllr Flewitt’s is trying, again, to make trouble about decisions being taken by the Joint Administration – seemingly oblivious to the most blindingly obvious fact. The Joint Administration has been in place since June 5th – a mere nine weeks. The contract renewal process began under the last administration, using their rules. Cllr Flewitt was part of that administration.

Perhaps Cllr Flewitt is seeking, obtusely, to admonish his former Leader and his team that ran the town up to this June. If that be the case then carry on! If he thinks he is going to make any headway in leading his reactionary collective back into power he is sorely mistaken.

If I was Cllr Lamb I would be tempted to quote Abraham Lincoln to Cllr Flewitt. Can his party sustain the steady stream of own goals coming from St Laurence ward?

The anonymous route

I get the occasional anonymous letter – usually a rant from someone somewhat to the right of my politics. I read carefully, and would politely respond if I could. The trouble is, anonymous letters do not allow me to respond.

I do not know why some choose anonymity – I am not violent and am polite even to those whom I strongly disagree with. Maybe the anonymous route allows them to vent their frustrations without fear of being challenged or corrected.

I am not keen on anonymous responses on this blog, although I do allow them. At least I can reply to comments made here.

I think anonymity undermines the strength of any argument and somewhat challenges the integrity of the hidden author.

So, by all means challenge my views. I enjoy dialectic debate – it really is the only way forward for those whose views differ. But please give me a way to respond. Those that bother to put pen to paper would be best advised to give me that chance.

Tory councillor forgets he is complicit in the neglect of cliffs slippage

Sole remaining Milton Conservative councillor Jonathan Garston appears to be suffering from amnesia. This is the only conclusion one can arrive at after reading his comments about the cliffs slippage by Clifton Drive in Westcliff-on-Sea.

The cliffs slipped here after the August 2013 deluge – some twelve months ago, not the seven or eight that the deliberately forgetful Tory councillor asserts. Ten of those twelve months saw the borough run by the Conservatives, with Jonathan as Cabinet portfolio holder for planning. His legendary underperformance in this role was even acknowledged by his own party as they scrapped the post.

His wish for funding did not extend to his forcefully asking for this at any Council meeting I attended. This area sat largely neglected, and any tidying up it received came about through my intervention.

The area will require cash to fix it; and thanks to cuts imposed by Conservative-led Government cash is in short supply. Cllr J Garston may now hope “the area would have been opened up two months ago”, but this wish was unvoiced at the time (when his party still held the reins of power locally). Perhaps he can now remind us (since this is in a conservation area) why he failed to fulfil his promise of more regular Conservation Working Party meetings during his tenure in charge of this area?

Definitely uncertain – the problem for the Dud

The Rochford and Southend East constituency consists of ten wards, eight of which lie within the Borough of Southend-on-Sea and two are in Rochford District.

In all its incarnations this constituency has seen nothing but Conservative candidates returned to Parliament in the last hundred years.

If you add up the votes from May’s elections in these ten wards you get this:

26.6% Independent (9 candidates)
23.2% Conservative (10)
17.9% Labour (10)
12.5% UKIP (6)
3.4% Liberal Democrat (8)
1.5% Green (2)
0.1% National Front (1)

No Conservative victories (unprecedented as far as I can recall) in the local elections coupled with a reducing activist base means that James Duddridge MP has a problem, a very big problem. He remains favourite for next May’s General Election when increased turnout and a decision about who occupies 10 Downing Street should see him scrape in. However, it is far from clear cut, and from what I have seen he will be hoping that his party’s popularity improves because his own standing in the constituency is plummeting.

Mr Duddridge will hope that many who voted Independent in local elections will swing behind him in the national election, yet this is far from certain, and with a dwindling pool of helpers he will have to find reserves of energy not seen in his tenure so far. His ability to shoot himself in the foot with alarming regularity has also got to be reversed.

If he reads his political history he will take no comfort from the 1980 by-election result in the then Southend East constituency which saw Teddy Taylor crawl over the finishing with a mere 430 vote majority – in large measure due to Liberal candidate. As Clegg could not catch a cold at the moment this is not going to help the Dud this time.

The 1980 result:

36.8% Conservative
35.6% Labour
25.1% Liberal
2.5% others

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