On the Seaway Car Park proposals, again

cineWorldPullsOutI was telephoned by the local press earlier this week in regards to the latest development at Seaway Car Park. I have spoken and written about this a number of times, but I think it is worth re-stating my views on the proposals.

I guess it all begins when one looks at deprivation, and how it clustered largely in the town centre. My post (Quietly raging), written just after my election, is still relevant, and explains why I cannot ignore what is going on at Seaway.

I will use bullet points to summarise what is the issue:

• The town centre wards have significant areas of deprivation.
• The town centre wards also see life expectancy rates more than ten years lower than other wards in the borough.
• Population density and overcrowding are a significant factor in deprivation.
• Whilst I do not suggest stopping all development, I am extremely concerned about further overcrowding an already crowded area.
• Milton also has significant traffic and parking issues.
• The town centre wards also do not have much open space – whilst only a car park, it is open.
• The road infrastructure already struggles to cope with existing traffic volumes – the commercial ventures here will attract more cars.
• There is a loss of parking, although I accept that some of this will be made up by other car parks. However, none are as close to the seafront as this is.
• The nearby residents will suffer a loss of view.
• Is there a need for a second cinema? Whilst I accept this is a commercial decision, I suspect that this will exacerbate the current south/north divide in the High Street – which sees (in my opinion) the southern, seafront, end doing much better than the northern, top, end.

Flying like an eagle (or, perhaps, a parrot or a pigeon)

Looking east towards the North Sea, Milton ward and beyond

Looking east towards the North Sea, Milton ward and beyond

The session ended with a polite but firm “sorry, not interested”. It began with what some in my party insist represents a big enough caucus to support a Labour Party moving leftwards in order to win, and that was someone for whom Labour is a compromise in the absence of a more left-wing alternative. This resident was thoroughly engaging, and we had a good discussion across a range of subjects. This leftie was alone in holding his views, and whilst it was certainly a small sample (insofar that I cannot speak to hundreds in an afternoon session) if there really is a hidden majority of those who want ideological socialist purity they do not reside in areas that I go canvassing.

In between I had a parrot perch on my right shoulder, which is a first for me and could be a first for any councillor in Southend-on-Sea. It was a very charming parrot. It was hot afternoon for campaigning, and a rewarding one. There was not huge numbers of Labour supporters, but each conversation was rewarding in its own way.

Someone had a pigeon problem, someone else had yet to register to vote over a year after moving in, another let me know why Labour could never attract their vote. Parking, rough sleepers, and dog’s mess also came up. A good afternoon, and a thirsty one.

My overall impression is of a Tory resurgence though, and in the absence of strong opposition my view is that the Conservatives are making hay. The distraction of a Labour leadership election cannot end soon enough for me. I have said it before, and I will say it again – Ed Miliband should have hung on for a while and we should have had the contest after the autumn, or even later. I do not understand the need for haste. It is largely acknowledge that the leadership election in 2010 allowed the Tories to set the narrative, and it could easily happen again in 2015.

Four planning applications for Milton ward

In amongst the latest applications are these four that will interest sime:-

APPLN. NO: 15/00908/CLE
Ward. Milton
Officer: Neil Auger Date Valid. 7 July 2015
USE PROPERTY AS HOUSE IN MULTIPLE OCCUPATION (LAWFUL DEVELOPMENTcCERTIFICATE – EXISTING)
44 HEYGATE AVENUE SOUTHEND-ON-SEA ESSEX

APPLN. NO: 15/00959/FUL
Ward. Milton
Officer: Janine Rowley Date Valid. 7 July 2015
CHANGE OF USE FROM NON RESIDENTIAL INSTITUTION (CLASS D1) TO RESIDENTIAL (CLASS C3)
CECIL JONES HOUSE 50 AVENUE ROAD WESTCLIFF-ON-SEA

APPLN. NO: 15/00960/FUL
Ward. Milton
Officer: Janine Rowley Date Valid. 7 July 2015
CHANGE OF USE FROM NON RESIDENTIAL INSTITUTION (CLASS D1) TO RESIDENTIAL (CLASS C3)
WARDENS FLAT CECIL JONES HOUSE 50 AVENUE ROAD

APPLN. NO: 15/01029/FUL
Ward. Milton
Officer: Janine Rowley Date Valid. 8 July 2015
CHANGE OF USE TO FIRST AND SECOND FLOORS FROM OFFICES AND STORAGE SPACE ANCILLARY TO GROUND FLOOR RETAIL USE (CLASS A1) INTO A FIVE BEDROOM HOUSE IN MULTIPLE OCCUPATION (CLASS SUI GENERIS)ORANGE MOBILE
99 HIGH STREET SOUTHEND-ON-SEA

Labour councillor wants the Cliffs Pavilion pedestrian crossing improved

Cllr Julian Ware-Lane believes that the pedestrian crossing at the Cliffs Pavilion, installed by the previous administration, is a flawed system. There is a north-south crossing that links the site of the old Beecroft Art Gallery with the Cliffs Pavilion, and this traverses a large triangular traffic island.

“I raised it at the time, have mentioned it since, and am raising it again – this crossing is inadequate”, says Cllr Ware-Lane.

Cllr Ware-Lane wanted a third exit from the triangular traffic island, running east-west across Westcliff Avenue. “This was ruled out as dangerous, yet if it is dangerous with a crossing, what is it like to cross without a crossing?” asks Julian.

Cllr Ware-Lane believes that good signage warning of people crossing would make it safe. This is a popular area for pedestrians, of all ages and the crossing adequately services those travelling from either the north or south, but leaves those from the east with a very tricky and potentially dangerous conundrum. Those who are not so fleet of foot literally take their life in their hands when negotiating this busy road junction.

Cllr Ware-Lane also criticises the choice of plants. “I am told that these are too tall and partially obstruct the view of on-coming traffic for those vehicles approaching this area from the west. There is also the question of why indigenous bee-friendly plants were not used. With bee species under threat in the UK, the Council should be setting an example through its choice of plant species.”
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Milton Labour councillor calls for a new multi-storey car-park in the town centre

Cllr Julian Ware-Lane wants Southend-on-Sea Borough Council to consider building a multi-storey car park in the town centre. Cllr Ware-Lane has identified the current car park in Tylers Avenue as being a potential place for this.

Building a new multi-storey car park would allow the council to aggregate the parking from one or two other sites, and then allow the council to use the other sites to raise much-needed revenue.

“Creating a multi-storey will allow the Council to re-use other car parking space without losing car-parking spaces. ”

“We need to find new revenue streams because we are facing more cuts in the coming years.”

“I understand that multi-storeys are relatively cheap to build, and Tylers Avenue area already has tall buildings, so a multi-storey car park should not cause distress to residents.”

There are some multi-storeys already in the town, and one that was recently demolished (Farringdon Road). In many ways consolidating several small car parks would also make sense for those seeking a place to park, and could help in traffic planning.

Some car parking space would be lost during construction, but Cllr Ware-Lane believes that this can be kept to a minimum with proper planning.

“To be honest,” added Julian, “if we weren’t faced with yet more savage cuts I doubt I would have given this much thought. I am just trying to protect libraries, children’s centres, and other public services. I’d welcome other creative ideas.”

Yesterday at the Southend Central LCM

Southend-on-Sea is a safe town, but there is undoubtedly crime, and sometimes it is nasty. In my ward we had an (alleged) murder recently, and attending last night’s police meeting (more properly known as the Southend Central LCM) this came up. I am pushing for increased resources in the area which was the scene of this most violent of acts.

Apparently burglaries are up in Milton ward, with twelve reported in the last eight weeks. This compares to two in each of the neighbouring wards. Burglaries remain a policing priority, as does prostitution and begging.

We still have a dog warden in the borough, which surprised me because I thought it went some time ago owing to the cuts.

The stats (below) are interesting/worrying/illuminating/puzzling – take your pick. I think that again Southend Central has more crimes reported than anywhere else in Essex . However, I should point out that the various communities are not equal in terms of either physical size or numbers of inhabitants, and that Southend Central is not only very densely populated, it also has four rail stations, two high streets, many clubs, pubs, etc. Nonetheless, though, I would like to see this number shrink considerably.

Crimes reported in April 2015, by neighbourhood in Southend-on-Sea, Rochford, and Castle Point.

706 Southend Central
335 Canvey
267 Blenheim
243 Southchurch
211 Leigh
151 Shoebury
143 Rayleigh
109 Rochford
98 Eastwood
71 Benfleet
60 Hadleigh
58 Thundersley
39 Hockley
37 Wakering
20 Hullbridge
17 Ashingdon and Canewdon

The Leas conservation area

Current

Current

The following maps are from the leas conservation area appraisal by Southend-on-Sea Borough Council.

This area covers parts of both Milton and Chalkwell wards.

Proposed

Proposed

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