Southend Councillor warns Labour Conference of dangers of NHS privatisation

A Southend Labour councillor, Cheryl Nevin, recently warned the Labour Party Conference in Manchester of the dangers of expanding the private sector within the NHS. In a prepared speech, she said “Recent CQC reports have shown Taxpayers are picking up the compensation bills for complications within private healthcare botched operations, often occurring at a much higher rate than in the NHS” and cited several examples where patients were left with permanent damage.

Cheryl told a reporter “David Cameron said that the NHS was safe in his hands, but 50% of NHS trusts are now projected to be in the red by March 2015, 7,000 nursing positions have been axed across the NHS, whilst our local Hospital at Southend struggles to find the nurses it requires to provide adequate care in the Accident & Emergency Department.” Cheryl said ” 70% of all new tenders are now going into private hands, at a time when CQC have highlighted the costs already being imposed on the taxpayer in a new report.”

She added, “The latest world bank figures show the UK spends 9% of GDP on health in comparison to the USA who spend 18% yet we get similar patient outcomes. If your partner has ever had a baby, if your child has visited A&E, if your elderly mother has ever had a long term medical condition then you have benefited from NHS services. Now is the time to stop further Privatisation of the NHS, to have a proper debate about what health actually costs.”

The Milton massive

Some of the crew out today - Matt, Tony, and me

Some of the crew out today – Matt, Tony, and me

We had a good team out in Milton ward this morning, which was just as well as I managed to badly turn my ankle and am in much discomfort at the moment. This is really inconvenient, and well as being painful. Thankfully my comrades were able to carry on as I limped off.

I turned my ankle on someone’s concreted drive, so I cannot blame dodgy pavements. It really was only a gentle slope, which makes the injury all the more puzzling.

The Leas Shelter – APPLN. NO: 14/01507/BC4

APPLN. NO: 14/01507/BC4
Officer: Sophie Glendinning
Date Valid. 19 September 2014

USE SHELTER AS CAFE (CLASS A3), ERECT REFUSE AND PLANT ROOM TO SIDE, ALTER ELEVATIONS AND ERECT RAILINGS TO SOUTHERN BOUNDARY AND LAYOUT HARD AND SOFT LANDSCAPING, ERECT SINGLE STOREY GLAZED ROTUNDA ABOVE SHELTER

SHELTER WESTERN ESPLANADE WESTCLIFF-ON-SEA

The development of The Leas shelter is largely to be welcomed, and this is not just my view but also that of many residents I have spoken with.

However, it is clear that any development here must not be intrusive, spoil the character of the conservation area it is situated in, or diminish public access to a much cherish public resource. This proposal fails on all three counts.

It fails to satisfy because of the proposal to build above the shelter. Erecting a single storey glazed rotunda above the shelter should not be allowed to go ahead.

The rotunda will visually impact residents in the area, and is liable to cause noise nuisance. The proposed late opening times will exacerbate this, and those who currently enjoy quiet sea views will likely see this ended.

This old shelter is an important piece of the conservation area jigsaw, and its development will change this. However, whilst the development remains at ground floor level the change will be reasonably discrete; adding onto the roof will substantially alter its character, to the detriment of the vicinity.

The roof is currently used by passing pedestrians, being a good viewing platform for Westcliff-on-Sea beach and the estuary. A rotunda will deny this amenity to future visitors.

NM > LCM

I went to the penultimate Milton Neighbourhood Meeting (also known as the NAP) tonight. The very last will be on November 20th.

Owing to financial pressures (i.e. the cuts) these six-weekly ward meetings will be replaced from December by Local Community Meetings. These will meet every eight weeks, and there will be six of them across the borough.

Southend Central LCM will cover three wards: Kursaal, Milton and Victoria.

I am disappointed to see the end of the Milton NMs in sight, but I will work to ensure that the LCMs are a success. I have sought (and received) assurances that the new process will be reviewed after a period of time (a year or so).

Milton Community First Panel

017Last night I was part of the Milton Community First Panel that awarded £11000 to local good causes. Fifteen groups applied, and the total wanted was double the amount that could be awarded. This meant that some tough decisions had to be made, and with fifteen very worthy causes it was tough choosing who gets what.

In the end three causes got nothing, three got the total amounts they were after, leaving nine receiving part of what they were after.

All three Milton ward councillors were present, as well as representatives from various community groups. It seems that this will be the last of these annual events unless the Government has a change of heart.

Alexandra Yacht Club fire

Cllrs Nevin and Ware-Lane by the burnt remains of the clubhouse

Cllrs Nevin and Ware-Lane by the burnt remains of the clubhouse

Milton Councillors Cheryl Nevin and Julian Ware-Lane were saddened to see the burnt remnants of Alexandra Yacht Club clubhouse today. Alexandra Yacht Club is amongst the oldest Yacht Clubs in the world. The clubhouse was earmarked for demolition next week after subsidence caused the yacht club to relocate to the nearby Naval and Military Club.

Cheryl quickly spotted the breaking news on @YourSouthend twitter feed, rang fellow councillors, cabinet members and press contacts to find out more. “It was clear that a major blaze was underway. I was concerned for residents living nearby, but had a source on scene updating me“.

Julian had been holding his rolling street surgery in Royal Terrace and Clifton Terrace yesterday afternoon, just hours before the blaze. “It is a bizarre coincidence that I was within yards of the building, and talking to residents about the condemned building, only a few hours before this terrible inferno.

Cheryl and Julian met with Yacht Club members today who were putting on their Annual Commodores Race Day to offer their help and support. Cheryl said “As a ward councillor and former dinghy sailor I am keen to offer any help I can. I hope we can facilitate the Club’s recovery and I will be liaising with Council and Club Officers over the coming weeks. I hope they can find a new and permanent home soon.

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?

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