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.

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