Skip to content


Yet another pointless outrage

Yet another pointless outrage

Yet another total outrage, with a nasty link to the referendum, this time on the UK’s own doorstep.

I don’t care what Jo’s view on Europe was, she should still have been alive today to represent and be the mother and wife. This referendum campaign will go down in history for all the wrong reasons.

But cast your votes and give more than a passing thought for this senseless and pointless loss of a life, just tragic.



Somewhere over the rainbow....

Somewhere over the rainbow….

The atrocity of Orlando is too big to believe, but it is the second biggest terrorist attack on American soil since 9/11.

The stupidity and lack of judgement that the Leave campaign have exercised in tweeting this atrocity in to the referendum campaign is inexcusable.

The lives lost are just too many at the hands of one person and in such circumstances that they had no chance to survive. The gun laws in America are the real issue here not the referendum.

Good on Southend Borough Council for flying the rainbow flag at half mast from Tuesday, a symbol of profound sympathy.


Summer is trying to bloom…..!

Summer is trying to bloom!

Summer is trying to bloom!

What a week of settling in to a new or re-aligned job at the Council.

Some old skills have, thank goodness, comeback but one or two need just a tad more time!

Positive changes don’t just happen, they have to be created and worked on but sometimes in the midst of life despair, that must be so much harder than we can give credit for. The Grampian will take a long time to settle and I can only praise that community for being so positive with the loss they have suffered. So having seen most of the Chelsea flower show (Thanks BBC 2) I am not missing the brilliant handy work of Steve, who has accidentally produced this proud specimen in the garden. Tall and proud, which is what we all aspire to. We all need to bloom, don’t we?

All Change….

New Council administration appointed

Monday 23rd May 2016


A new Conservative administration has been appointed to lead Southend-on-Sea Borough Council after being voted in at Full Council last week (Thursday 19th May).

 At the recent local elections, no party gained the required majority to lead the council outright. However the Conservative Party has 24 seats and have formed a minority administration following the agreement of a ‘confidence and supply’ arrangement with UKIP. This means that UKIP councillors will support the minority administration in matters of leadership and will support the budget.

 Cllr John Lamb is therefore the new Leader of the Council and after appointing his Cabinet at the meeting, said:  “I am honoured to be the new Leader of the Council and along with my new Cabinet look forward to serving the local people of Southend. 

 “We all want the best for this great Borough and will work hard to ensure that we do the very best we can for local people and local businesses.”

 The new Cabinet is as follows:


Cabinet position:

Cllr John Lamb

Leader of the Council

Cllr Ann Holland

Deputy Leader and Executive Councillor for Culture, Tourism and the Economy

Cllr Andrew Moring

Executive Councillor for Corporate and Community Support Services

Cllr Mark Flewitt

Executive Councillor for Housing, Planning and Public Protection Services

Cllr James Courtenay

Executive Councillor for Children and Learning

Cllr Lesley Salter

Executive Councillor for Health and Adult Social Care

Cllr Tony Cox

Executive Councillor for Transport, Waste and Cleansing

Cllr Trevor Byford

Executive Councillor for Technology


Housing, the continuing BIG issue

The continuing big issue.....

The continuing big issue…..

Getting ready to continue the housing push, is exciting but like any new Administration we have to seriously review finances to check that the people of the town are getting good value for the investment many of the council members supported. Lets make no mistake many did support but there are other serious related issues to consider carefully. For my liking there was too much rush and not enough thought about how the resident growth could be coped with by both existing and new residents and their surrounding environment.

The sheltered housing review will be delivered very soon and I have already given a direction that this will be reviewed for both a financial and people value. Whether a building is close to buses and shops need not be a final determination. The matter was, at my request, not brought forward to coincide with the recent election, to avoid any potential campaigning that the last Administration feared would worry tenants, I agreed.

Councillors can look forward to total openness on this and all issues. I am going to ensure the costs relating to this review and all matters housing, are subject to a careful audit examination, as a natural part of the process. Too often councillors just do not know the intricacies of local government and housing revenue account funding.

Councillors will have some open sessions to meet the consultants and ask questions as well as suggest alternative or other proposals for the sheltered housing review. Needless to say, South Essex Homes will arrange that all the relevant tenants have an opportunity to be consulted before a final pathway is agreed at council or indeed if there will be one.

Elsewhere, the national political scene is busy discussing the huge rents that confront many. Labour want increasing rent controls (Shadow Chancellor) whilst the Mayor Of London takes an opposing view, that in the capital such controls would not work. So, with push-pull politics, or “Vicky Pollard” politics (Yes but no) going on, the rest of us can be forgiven for seeing it as a complex issue with building more homes forming just a piece of the answer.


Eurovision 2016 and a thought for the late Wogan...

Eurovision 2016 and a thought for the late Wogan…

We look forward to Eurovision 2016 against a backdrop of an imminent Referendum on whether we stay in or leave the EEC and sparing a thought for the late Terry Wogan who made the often unbearable voting bearable by his brilliant wit and acceptance that what we were all witnessing was political voting. What we will see tonight I don’t know, that Ireland did not even make it out of the semi finals, may mean a nasty lack of points for Joe and Jake of the UK who could end up alone.

Welcome Madam Mayor…………

Welcome, Madam Mayor!

Welcome, Madam Mayor!

Welcome to the Mayoralty, Cllr Judith McMahon who becomes the town’s leading citizen with an acceptance address that inspired her councillor colleagues and fellow citizens to achieve more and not to see obstacles as impossibilities but to look for all possibilities. The arts and culture will be given high priority with, for the first time, a mayoral adviser on the subject area.

Judith will have a Deputy and this is Cllr Fay Evans, a member of West Leigh Ward, so a great team to lead the town and council.


Victory for Mark Flewitt in St Laurence Ward………

Victory for Mark Flewitt and now the sheltered housing review.....

Victory for Mark Flewitt and now the sheltered housing review…..

Fighting off 5 other candidates offering a mixture of the possible and improbable, has given Mark one of his largest majorities in a ward usually regarded as highly marginal.

The theme of the 2016 campaign was, Commitment, Action and Service and this struck a chord with residents across the St Laurence Ward.

The gains made by the Conservative Party mean that the Administration of the Council is now compromised, meaning that an alternative formation could be possible.

Either way an interesting agenda of issues could now be possible, with the other parties either in loss or static numbers, the Conservatives gained 2 seats against a backdrop of fierce local issues and the dominating forthcoming referendum in June.

Genetic discovery is hailed……

Beating this must be a high health priority.....

Beating this must be a high health priority…..

The genetic discovery in breast cancer is rightly hailed. The people we have lost through this dreadful disease has been too high.

The genetic events that cause breast cancer have been published in “Nature” and a group of clinical specialists have described the discovery as a “milestone”.

The international team looked at all 3 billion letters of people’s genetic code, the entire blueprint of life in 560 breast cancers. They discovered 93 sets of instructions or genes, that if mutated can cause tumours.

The Professor Sir Mike Stratton of Cambridge, hailed this discovery as a “milestone”.

To all who have this disease or know someone who is fighting it, let’s have terrific hope.

No Confidence…..

It was a last resort......

It was a last resort……

It was really a last resort, even during the debate on the issue of the 57,000 letters and the serious breach of the Purdah code, requests were made for the Leader to apologize. You would have thought he was asked to perform some extraordinary feat, but it was to apologize for the breach, which the Chief Executive had already and willingly done, on behalf of all the paid staff.

We were already tired, by the time of the debate, which had been tabled late in the agenda but still the Conservative group were determined to fact find and achieve an apology, which sadly never arrived. In fact what did arrive were some personalised insults and a poor excuse for a taunt, that we were all a “Pack of baying wolves”. Actually what we were was an opposition group tired of unfairness and this 57,000 letter episode was seen as a challenge to a level playing field of a democratic election, as simple as that.

The debate was strong and some of my colleagues, who I know as kind and caring, were incensed by the refusal of the Leader to offer an apology. We proceeded to put a vote of no confidence in the Leader, which resulted in a tied vote of 23 for and 23 against. The Mayor, as protocol requires, saved the Leader by voting against the motion. It was high but sad drama, for a Leader who has treated conservatives with unwarranted contempt for a long time.

The 57,000 letter issue has illustrated so much to us about how an ego can ruin someone, about how an apology can become almost a trauma to make and about how unbalanced judgments can become, it was a terribly sad night in the Council’s history.