“However beautiful the strategy,
you should occasionally
look at the results.”

Winston Churchill

Trading Standards to smoke out counterfeit cigarette sellers

Traders selling bootlegged and counterfeit cigarettes in Southend-on-Sea could face up to ten years in jail and/or an unlimited fine, Trading Standards officers have warned.

 

The warning comes ahead of an awareness raising campaign being led by the Council which will see Trading Standards officers, accompanied by trained sniffer dogs, setting up their pop-up “Illegal Tobacco Unit” outside the Odeon on Southend High Street on Friday 16th September between 9.30am and Midday.  This will remind dodgy dealers of the stringent laws governing tobacco sales and warn the public of the huge risks to health that under-the-counter cigarettes can present. A member of the Stop Smoking team will also be present to help anyone that wants to quit.

 

Previous events in Essex have led to several tip-offs from members of the public, helping Trading Standards close the net on perpetrators.

 

Specially trained tobacco-sniffing dogs are able to uncover illegal tobacco stashed away in premises in the most unlikely of places.

 

Cllr Mark Flewitt, Executive Councillor for Housing, Planning & Public Protection Services, said: “Some people view selling under-the-counter cigarettes as a victimless crime but Trading Standards teams have previously found counterfeit cigarettes containing asbestos and human excrement in the past, posing a massive risk to anyone smoking them.

 

“That’s a huge concern: you simply don’t know what you’re buying or which lethal poisons you could be inhaling.

 

“I have been out to see many outlets who have concern for the tobacco products that they sell and ensure that they are selling to legally aged buyers.  However not all outlets are so conscious of their responsibilities and the production and sale of counterfeit cigarettes is linked to large-scale organised crime, diverting £3bn in unpaid duty away from public services such as the NHS, and often into the pockets of crime bosses.

 

“What’s more, counterfeit and smuggled cigarettes are more likely to be sold to children than legal cigarettes, as the sellers are only concerned about profit.”

 

If you notice any of the following tell-tale signs of counterfeit cigarettes, do not smoke them and instead alert the Consumer Helpline on 03454 04 05 06:

 

·         Unusually low cost

·         Unusual flavour

·         Unfamiliar branding

·         Print and typographical errors

 
 
 
 

Major investment in Southend Pier set to continue

 

Monday 16th January 2017

 

The Council is set to continue its major investment in Southend Pier, with a further £11.5m proposed to be spent on maintenance, repairs and major improvements over the next four years.
 

This is in addition to £4.2m already committed to structural works up to April 2020, and £1.2m being spent this year and next on essential structural reinforcement on the Prince George extension. This would take the investment in the Pier from April 2016 to March 2021 to over £17m.
 

The proposed new projects are part of the 2017/18 draft capital budget and includes £8m to reconstruct the timber outer pier head following storm damage in 2015, a further £1.5m for reinforcement works to the Prince George extension, £300,000 for pier entrance improvements and £1m to undertake a planned programme of works of bearing refurbishments to reduce the risk of future pile cap failures. The proposed investment is thanks to a properly planned condition survey programme and constant management and monitoring of the maintenance required.
 

Along with this vital work that would secure the long-term future of the Pier structure, the Council is also looking to continue its commitment to improve and invest in the Pier as an attraction.  As part of this, the council will be looking into options for developing the Pavilion deck, improve the entrance, and continue its review into future transport options to replace the ageing Pier train. 
 

Ann Holland, Executive Cllr for Culture, Tourism and the Economy, says: “The Pier is an iconic world famous landmark and the jewel in our crown.  
 

“Many people will not realise the millions of pounds that are required each and every year just to keep the Pier open and maintained. This is by far and away the most challenging and demanding structure that we have responsibility for, and vast amounts of unseen work are required on a daily basis to keep it running and keep it an attractive place to visit and spend time.
 

“This proposed investment does a number of things. It ensures the future of this historical and listed structure, ensures that it remains open and a popular destination, and also looks to the future, with work to be done looking at what can be done on the pavilion deck and at transport options for the future.”


In addition to the multi-million pound Pier investment, it is also proposed that £50,000 is allocated to provide more commercial beach huts, a small fleet of rickshaw type bikes for visitor use and a new shelter on City Beach.

 
 

Holocaust Memorial Day Service 

 

Tuesday 17th January 2017

 

Southend-on-Sea Borough Council will be paying tribute to all those who lost their lives or loved ones throughout the Holocaust and other more recent genocides during Holocaust Memorial Day.

 

A series of events will take place including exhibitions of “Testimonies from Kristallnacht”, “Absence and Loss Holocaust Memorials in Berlin and Beyond”, and “Drawings from Darfur” all works are currently displayed at The Forum, in Elmer Square, Southend-on-Sea. These works will be exhibited until Thursday 26th January when they will be moved to the Civic Centre.

 

A commemoration service will be held on Thursday 26th January at the Civic Centre at 6pm with doors open at 5.30pm. The service will feature music, reflections, poetry reading and displays by Leigh North Street Primary School. All are welcome to attend this free event and guests are invited to arrive early to view the exhibitions.

 

A special tribute has also been placed in the commemoration programme to Otto Deutsch who died recently aged 88.  Otto was a well-known Kindertransport survivor who lived in Southend-on-Sea and spent much of his life educating youngsters about the Holocaust.

 

There will also be a personal address by Holocaust Survivor Dr Martin Stern, a retired Clinical immunologist who worked at the University Hospital of Leicester. Dr Stern was born in 1938 and lived in Holland. As a child he was transported with his one year old sister to the Westerbork prison camp in Netherlands, and then to Theresienstadt camp north of Prague.

 

On Friday 27th the Worshipful the Mayor Councillor Judith McMahon will lead a tree planting ceremony in memory of those who have perished in genocides and their families. The ceremony will take place at midday in Southchurch Hall Gardens, Park Lane, all are welcome to attend. 

 

Cllr Andrew Moring Executive Councillor for Corporate & Community Support Services said: “Holocaust Memorial Day is a significant nationally recognised day on which we pay tribute and remember loved ones lost and their families who have suffered in genocides throughout the world.

 

“To do our utmost to prevent such things ever happening again, it is fundamental that we remember and offer everyone the opportunity to learn and understand the horrifying consequences of the Holocaust and other genocides.

 

“The Council plays a vital role in commemorating this day to highlight its importance to all our residents and visitors with a variety of events and exhibitions including the personal testimony of Holocaust survivor Dr Martin Stern during The Councils commemoration service.

Aviation Minister Lord Ahmad visit to London Southend Airport

 

Thursday January 19, 2017

 

 

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon, Parliamentary under Secretary of State for Transport (Minister for Aviation), visited London Southend Airport today. 

 

During his visit, the Aviation Minister toured the Control Tower and Terminal with Glyn Jones, CEO Stobart Aviation, and heard about plans for future development of the airport and the local area.

 

Aviation Minister Lord Ahmad said “I’m delighted to see first-hand exactly what has made London Southend Airport winner of the UK’s Best Small Airport award for the last two years. Regional airports like London Southend have a vital role in supporting the economy, helping increase connectivity across the UK and abroad, boosting trade and exports and creating opportunities. I welcome the multi-million pound investment London Southend is making in infrastructure improvements, it will support greater passenger numbers, drive growth in jobs, and deliver a better passenger experience.”

 

Glyn Jones, CEO Stobart Aviation said “It was a real honour to showcase our airport today. LSA is a next generation Superfast Terminal; you can hop on a train in London and be in our departure lounge in an hour. It is designed to be ‘Passenger first’ and we strive to take all the strain out of being at an airport. Our next phase of growth increases our route offering to approximately 30 short haul destinations from May 2017. As a result, we are investing in its infrastructure to continue to improve the experience for passengers, airlines and create opportunities for the local economy. Today was important to demonstrate our future vision and we are very thankful to Lord Ahmad for his time.”

Nearly £60m new investment proposed over the next four years

Thursday 12th January 2017


Expanded secondary schools, a new care campus for the elderly, and investment in the Pier, parks and car parking improvements top the funding list as the council’s draft capital budget up to 2021 has been revealed.

In addition to over £125m already in the capital budget committed to important projects, £59.1m of funding has been identified for a number of existing and new projects up to 2021, including:

  • £20m on a major secondary school expansion programme, following recent work to expand many primary schools.  An estimated £10m is expected from central Government funding, with a further £1m expected to refurbish maintained schools that require work. This is in addition to £8m identified last year for the conversion of PROCAT and Wentworth sites and partial expansions of other schools;

  • £11.5m new investment in Southend Pier, including £8m to reconstruct the timber outer pier head, and an additional £1.5m for reinforcement works to the Prince George extension;

  • £9.5m for the redevelopment of Priory and Delaware residential care home and the Viking Day Centre for people with a learning disability. This is in addition to £2m previously identified in the current capital budget; 

  • £5m to look into creating additional car parking capacity at sites south of central Southend, and £0.5m to improve parking signage;

Cllr John Lamb, Leader of the Council, says: “Despite the continued central funding cuts, we must be bold, ambitious and invest in our Borough to ensure that we advance and prosper in the future.

“We are therefore investing significant sums in essential things like secondary school places, ensuring that our famous Pier is safeguarded, maintained and improved and investing in plans to look after our elderly and vulnerable through developing new facilities. We also continue to fight for external funding, and have had many successes in securing external funding for important local projects.

“We have also listened to local traders and are proposing major investment in creating additional car parking spaces in the central Southend area and improving signage and guidance systems.

“We are also ensuring that we remain a modern business and workforce, by investing in ICT and software improvements and a number of smaller but equally important projects.

“Wherever possible these projects will bring income into the council or just must be done.  Despite the austere times this gives us an impressive capital budget to make a difference to important local facilities and infrastructure and shows that we are open for business and here to do the very best for local people and businesses.”

Further proposed projects include:

  • £6.2m to continue the completion of the Decent Homes programme in 2020/21, including kitchen and housing modernisations, and carry out energy efficiency and health and safety works funded through the Housing Revenue Account (HRA) major repairs allowance;

  • £1.3m for ICT business transformation to enable more efficiencies to be made, streamline services and enable future revenue savings to be made

  • £1.2m on core ICT infrastructure and software improvements that are vital to ensure the council remains a modern and productive business;

  • £0.7m for theatres and leisure centres;

  • £0.5m to develop and improve car park signage for the whole Borough and introduce new signage, particularly to promote alternative seafront car parks;

  • £0.4m for a major CCTV upgrade to digital cameras;

  • £0.25m for a new ‘wheeled sports’ facility in the central Southend area to be developed between 2018 and 2020. This will be for skateboarders, bikers and scooters;

  • £0.25m to deliver short term measures to help deal with extreme rainfall events and plan for the medium and longer term;

  • £0.25m to look into the feasibility of wave and tidal energy on the pier, drainage sensors and solar PV and battery energy;

  • £0.2m for play equipment and park furniture;

  • £50K to provide new commercial beach huts on the Pier, a small fleet of rickshaw type bikes for Pier visitors, and a new shelter on City Beach;

  • £50K for new doors and security improvements at the Southend Travel Centre;

  • £45K to replace handrails along the Cliffs area.

The £59.1m of new funding will take the approved capital programme for 2017/18 to 2020/21 to £185.8m, of which £58.8m of this is expected to be spent in 2017/18, £61.2m in 2018/19, £49.6m in 2019/20 and £16.2m in 2020/21. External funding accounts for £58.2m of this.

Tenant rent reduction but housing budget faces future deficit

Thursday 12th January 2017
 

Tenant rents will be reduced by 1% again next year, although the council has warned of the implications of this national policy on the council’s housing revenue account (HRA) and future house-building plans.
 

The proposals are part of the draft HRA budget for 2017/18 which will be discussed by the council’s cabinet next week (19thJanuary) as part of the council’s overall budget setting process.
 

The rent reduction forms part of the Government’s Welfare Reform and Work Act 2016, where tenants rents have to be reduced by 1% per annum through to 2019/20. Previous Government plans to introduce a Pay to Stay policy, where higher rents would have been imposed on tenants with household income over £31,000 have been scrapped.

A further £6.2m will be put into the Decent Homes capital programme for 2020/21 which is managed by South Essex Homes, taking the total investment in council housing stock to £25.4m over the next four years.

 

Mark Flewitt, Executive Councillor for Housing, says: “I am very pleased that we are able to present a balanced HRA budget for 2017/18, and have identified a further £6.2m to ensure that we can continue to deliver decent homes for our tenants in the future.

 

“Whilst rent reduction looks like good news for tenants, for the 75% that are on housing benefit it will make no difference at all, but from our perspective unfortunately  it severely reduces the funds we have available to build new council housing.  Our current projections are that we will have around £3.8m less in HRA resources each year for the next three years.
 

“Other major challenges we face are the recent national changes extending the right to buy to housing associations and the duty of councils to consider selling higher value vacant social housing when it becomes vacant to help fund this. We have received confirmation that there will be no levy imposed next year, but the possibility remains for future years, so some financial uncertainty remains for the HRA budget.”

Mix of savings and investments part of 2017/18 draft budget 

 


Thursday 12th January 2017


Southend-on-Sea Borough Council has unveiled its draft revenue budget for 2017/18 which shows how the council must bridge a budget gap of nearly £13m.

This follows the news that the main grant the council receives from central Government will decrease again in 2017/18, this time by £6.7m (31% reduction) to £14.7m. By 2020 it is anticipated that the council will receive no core grant at all and will be reliant on council tax, business rates, and fees and charges as its main sources of funding.

As part of the £13m budget gap, the council must invest £3m into services to deal with ‘pressures’ including £1m to deal with the implications of the national living wage, £500,000 to care for an ageing population that need council support, £400,000 to help children with learning disabilities move into adult social care, and £600,000 for added demand and cost pressures in children’s services. An additional £1.85m will also be invested in one-off essential projects.

As a result, the budget proposals identify £6.921m of departmental savings plus £0.581m from Public Health. In addition, council reserves of £2.8m will be used to offset the reduction in business rates and smooth the council’s budget gap over the next three years.

Additionally council tax will rise by 4.99%, with 1.99% for general use and 3% being levied to be spent specifically on adult social care. However car parking charges will be frozen, and in some cases reduced. Savings will be made across the council’s three departments through a series of contract renegotiations, service transformation projects, increasing income in various areas and innovative projects such as energy efficiency work that will start to see major savings bear fruit in 2017/18.

Cllr John Lamb, Leader of the Council says:  “Every year setting a balanced budget gets tougher and tougher. Our central funding grant continues to fall significantly, whilst the numbers of people needing our help and support continues to rise significantly. This means that we have to continually make some hard choices that enable us to make the significant savings required but continue to do the basics and most importantly look after and protect our most vulnerable people.

“We must raise council tax by 4.99% or around £1.14 a week which includes the 3% social care precept (69p a week) which is ring-fenced to help fund our social care services. In total this is an annual rise of £59.66 for a Band D household. 

 

“I would much prefer to announce a council tax freeze but central Government cuts and the financial situation have made that impossible.  Even with the rises and savings that we are announcing, we estimate that after this year, we will still need to save £695,000 a month or £32,000 per working day over the next three years (£25m in total).

 

“However despite all of this, we are still investing almost £5m into services, with £3m to deal with increased pressures we are facing in areas like adult social care and child care, and an additional £1.85m for one-off investment over the next few years in a number of essential projects such as developing our energy efficiency work, investing in reducing the number of children being taken into care, and delivering the children’s services improvement plan.

 

“Looking to the future, we will need to increasingly focus the delivery of our services in a more targeted way and to those who need our help, and we will need to adopt this approach in tailoring our statutory services too. As we move forward we will reposition ourselves as a council to help the community, its residents and businesses take personal control over as many factors affecting their lives as possible.”

Savings are proposed to be made across the key spending areas as follows:

  • Department for People - £3.960m

  • Department for Place - £1.971m

  • Chief Executives Department - £0.990m

  • Public Health - £0.581m

The full list of the proposed savings can be viewed on our website.

The proposals mean that up to 10.4 Full Time Equivalent (FTE) posts will be deleted. Of those, 8.4 are currently vacant (81%). In addition there are a number of transformation projects within the People Department which have the potential to displace staff. Once the transformation plans are fully scoped, the appropriate formal staff consultation processes for these areas will also take place.

Employees in the affected areas and the trade unions have been fully briefed.  As in previous years, voluntary redundancy and possible redeployment opportunities to any council vacancies will be highlighted within the Council’s successful Talent Pool system, helping to keep the number of compulsory redundancies to an absolute minimum.

Councillor John Lamb, Leader of the Council, concludes:

“We try to minimise the impact on our residents, businesses and staff, but budget reductions inevitably have an impact on these groups.  Unfortunately job losses are inevitable as staffing is our biggest cost, but wholesale redundancies have and will always be avoided where possible and it is pleasing to see the number of posts being deleted this year are much lower than in previous years.  Where staff are affected, I am committed to ensuring that the right support is in place.”

The draft budget will be considered by the council’s cabinet next week (Thursday 19th), consulted on and go through the council’s scrutiny committees, with the final budget to be discussed and approved at Full Council on Thursday 23rd February 2017.

 

Have your say: don’t leave it to chance

 

Friday 20thJanuary 2017

Those wishing to put forward their view about the Council’s new draft Gambling Licensing Policy should get in touch before the closing date on January 29th 2017.

Southend-on-Sea Borough Council is asking for views on its draft policy in line with the Gambling Act 2005, requiring the Licensing Authority to prepare and publish a statement of the principles.

The Act dictates that The Gambling Commission and Local Licensing Authorities share responsibility for all gambling matters including: 

  • The prevention of gambling being a source of crime or disorder;

  • Ensuring gambling is carried out in a fair and open way; and

  • Protecting children and other vulnerable people from being harmed or exploited by gambling.

The proposed new policy includes the requirement that all new applicants, and those who apply to vary their premises licences, must carry out a risk assessment regarding how their proposals will impact the local area.

The draft policy can be downloaded from the Council website via this link www.southend.gov.uk/gamblingconsultation

Cllr Flewitt said “We welcome the views of the public on this matter to complete an extensive and thorough review of this policy. These should be in writing, and will need to be received by January 29th 2017.”

Representations can be emailed to licact2003@southend.gov.uk or mailed to:

GAMBLING CONSULTATION

The Licensing Authority,

Southend Borough Council,

Civic Centre,

Victoria Avenue,

Southend-on-Sea,

SS2 6ZG 

 
 

More than 10k LED street lights keep Southend shining bright

 

Friday 20thJanuary 2017

 

An ambitious two-year project to keep Southend’s roads lit throughout the night with energy-efficient LED lamps has now seen more than 10,000 street lights installed across the borough, with only 4,000 left on the to-do list.

 

The ground-breaking £13.5* million project – the first of its kind in England to be part-financed through the Green Investment Bank – is slashing the Council’s spend on energy, shrinking its carbon footprint and is on target to complete on schedule by August. 

 

At the same time, new Central Government guidance on illuminated ‘street furniture’ – primarily signs and bollards – means that many electrically lit signs are being replaced by ultra-reflective signs, commonly used in other parts of Europe.

 

Cllr Ann Holland, Executive Councillor for Culture, Tourism and The Economy, said: “This is a welcome milestone and a shining example of how investment in green technology can pay both financial and environmental dividends.

 

“The forward-looking invest-to save approach is enabling the Borough to deal with budget pressures without having to turn off street lights during the night: a move which can give rise to concerns over road safety and increased fear of crime. 

 

“The new lights are proving really popular with most local residents. Many are commenting on the improvement in quality of the light, which is whiter, brighter and more targeted than traditional street lights so that it stays on the road rather than spilling into properties.

 

“Rationalising how we position and light up bollards and signage throughout the borough will boost our environmental credentials even further.

 

“I now look forward the successful delivery of the rest of the project and invite other authorities to get in touch with us so that we can share what we have learnt.”

The Best Bar None

 

A landmark bar in Southend’s town centre has been sold to the Stockvale Group, owners of Adventure Island and Sea-Life Adventure.

 

Clarence Yard was put on the market in August last year with a £1 million price tag, after its owner decided to rationalise his portfolio of popular bars and restaurants in and around the town’s High Street.

 

The vibrant courtyard bar was built in the 1880s, originally as a bakery. The eponymous yard area was a loading bay and stables for horses.  

 

In recent years, Clarence Yard has been sensitively restored and renovated, with many key features of the original structure retained, including the vaulted ceiling and cobbled floors.

 

Seeing an opportunity to expand his own company’s portfolio, Stockvale Executive Chairman Philip Miller MBE thought Clarence Yard would be an ideal addition to his business and leisure interests.

 

“I bought it as part of Stockvale's continuing policy of diversification away from just seafront activities,” Mr Miller said. “I love the building and have no wish to change its character at all. However, the bar has been open for over 20 years and I think the time is right for a complete refurbishment. I and my team want to make Clarence Yard look every bit as good inside, as it does outside.”

 

Work will begin on revamping the interior in the near future, although a completion date has not been announced or set: “We do not intend to reopen until the inside has had a total overhaul, costing I don’t know how much as yet, but one heck of a lot, that’s for sure!! Nor do we know how long the project will take and I’m not prepared to rush anything. Clarence Yard is an iconic location in the heart of Southend-on-Sea and I, like all the regulars love the place, that’s why we intend to make it a bar and restaurant the whole town can be proud of.”

 

Travel to work and training in South Essex gets £3m boost

 

Tuesday 31st January 2017

 

Local authorities serving South Essex have been awarded over £3m towards an innovative project that aims to promote sustainable transport and employment.

 

‘South Essex Active Travel’ will see jobseekers, young people, students and volunteers offered targeted travel advice and sustainable transport incentives to better connect them with 12,100 jobs and 10,500 education and training opportunities that will be available in South Essex over the next three years.

 

A total of £3.323m was awarded to the project by the Department of Transport’s Access Fund after Southend-on-Sea Borough Council led a funding bid with Essex County Council and Thurrock Council to develop their work in using sustainable transport as a tool to accessing learning, jobs and skills. Additional benefits of the project include improving air quality, reducing carbon emissions, and alleviating traffic congestion.

 

Funding will be allocated from 1st April 2017 and will be used to develop new active travel initiatives, expand walking and cycling services in Southend-on-Sea, Thurrock and Essex. It will build upon existing award winning projects such as Southend-on-Sea’s Ideas in MotionCycle Southend and Thurrock’s Beat the Street.

 

In a letter to the Councils, Pauline Reeves, Deputy Director, Sustainable Accessible Travel at the Department for Transport said: “Transport Ministers felt that the South Essex Active Travel proposal was a particularly strong bid that will deliver against the fund’s primary objectives of supporting the local economy by supporting access to new and existing employment, education and training as well as active promotion of increased levels of physical activity through walking and cycling.” 

 

The bid to DfT was supported by Opportunity South Essex, a private/ public sector body governed by a Board made up of the six local authorities in South Essex (Essex County Council, Thurrock Council, Southend-On-Sea Council; the District Councils of Basildon, Castle Point and Rochford) and nine Businesses Leaders including Stobart Group, Port of Tilbury, DPW London Gateway, Olympus Keymed, Southend Business Partnership, c2c, Chamber of Commerce, Pixelwork Limited and PROCAT.  

 

Kate Willard from the Stobart Group, and Chair of Opportunity South Essex,  says: “This funding award is fantastic news for the sub-region and the Partnership very much looks forward to supporting the delivery of the proposed schemes.”

 

Cllr Tony Cox, Executive Councillor for Transport, says “We are delighted to have been awarded this money, which will help us to make a real difference to the prospects of hundreds of people in Southend-on-Sea and across South Essex as a whole, by linking them up to education, training and jobs that they might otherwise have considered out of their reach.

 

“This award is recognition of the track record that Southend-on-Sea, and South Essex authorities’ have in successfully delivering innovative projects that positively engage our local residents and businesses.”

 

The participating councils will now start setting up the programme by recruiting staff and talking to partners about how they can get involved with the aim of starting to deliver the services from April.

 

Southend-on-Sea retains Purple Flag status

 

Tuesday 31st January 2017
 

Photos available on our Flickr site


Southend-on-Sea is celebrating after retaining its prestigious Purple Flag status for its evening and night-time economy.

Purple Flag is a town and city centre award – similar to the Blue Flag for beaches – which recognises safe and well-managed night-time economies. The town centre is assessed yearly on its standards, management and good practice to maintain a safe prosperous night time economy, with Purple Flag status awarded for two years following a full inspection.

The award aims to raise the standard and broaden the appeal of town and city centres between the hours of 5pm and 5am and recognises areas for providing a vibrant and diverse mix of dining, entertainment and culture while promoting the safety and wellbeing of visitors and local residents.

The Purple Flag working group, a multi-agency group of members from the public, private and voluntary sector works together to achieve the award. Those involved include Essex Police, the Southend BID and Southend Street Pastors.

Cllr Mark Flewitt, Executive Councillor for Public Protection, says: “The Council and all of the partners involved are delighted that we’ve retained our Purple Flag status. 

“It is the gold standard for night-time destinations and entertainment areas and demonstrates how much work we’ve done and how much we’ve achieved since we were first accredited to raise standards of safety and cleanliness in the town for our visitors still further.”

Simon Ford, the Council’s Group Manager for Community Safety and Chair of the Purple Flag Working Group, says: “Achieving the award for our fourth consecutive year really demonstrates the strength, value and commitment of working together in partnership to ensure Southend-on-Sea remains a key night time destination for all. A lot of hard work goes into achieving this award, and everyone involved should feel rightly proud.”

Since 2007, the programme has awarded the Purple Flag status to over 70 towns and cities in the UK and Ireland. Purple Flag accredited areas have all reported a consistent increase in footfall and a decrease in crime within the area. The Purple Flag programme is managed by the Association of Town and City Management (ATCM) which works alongside a partnership of key stakeholder groups backed by Government, police and businesses, as well as the UK sponsors Diageo Great Britain.

Accreditation from the Association of Town Centre Management came after officials from the organisation carried out an inspection in November 2015..

Shanaaz Carroll, CEO of the ATCM said: "There are now over 70 towns and cities across the UK and Ireland who are proudly flying the Purple Flag after working hard to gain accreditation. The award is not just about safety, but also the vibrancy and diversity of the evening and night-time offer — this can only be achieved by people working together and across the country we are seeing some amazing examples of this type of partnership working.”

Southend-on-Sea will officially receive the Purple Flag new accreditation along with Dublin One, Leeds, Limerick, Maynooth, Paisley, Reading, Wexford and a further seven towns Dunfermline, Leicester Square, Newcastle under Lyme, Preston, Salisbury, Sheffield and Southend-on-Sea who have had their Full Renewal status renewed at an awards ceremony which will take place on 8th February 2017 in Carrick on Shannon, Ireland. A further 14 areas also received an Interim renewal accreditation.

 

Southend-on-Sea retains Purple Flag status

 

Tuesday 31st January 2017
 

Southend-on-Sea is celebrating after retaining its prestigious Purple Flag status for its evening and night-time economy.

Purple Flag is a town and city centre award – similar to the Blue Flag for beaches – which recognises safe and well-managed night-time economies. The town centre is assessed yearly on its standards, management and good practice to maintain a safe prosperous night time economy, with Purple Flag status awarded for two years following a full inspection.

The award aims to raise the standard and broaden the appeal of town and city centres between the hours of 5pm and 5am and recognises areas for providing a vibrant and diverse mix of dining, entertainment and culture while promoting the safety and wellbeing of visitors and local residents.

The Purple Flag working group, a multi-agency group of members from the public, private and voluntary sector works together to achieve the award. Those involved include Essex Police, the Southend BID and Southend Street Pastors.

Cllr Mark Flewitt, Executive Councillor for Public Protection, says: “The Council and all of the partners involved are delighted that we’ve retained our Purple Flag status. 

“It is the gold standard for night-time destinations and entertainment areas and demonstrates how much work we’ve done and how much we’ve achieved since we were first accredited to raise standards of safety and cleanliness in the town for our visitors still further.”

Simon Ford, the Council’s Group Manager for Community Safety and Chair of the Purple Flag Working Group, says: “Achieving the award for our fourth consecutive year really demonstrates the strength, value and commitment of working together in partnership to ensure Southend-on-Sea remains a key night time destination for all. A lot of hard work goes into achieving this award, and everyone involved should feel rightly proud.”

Since 2007, the programme has awarded the Purple Flag status to over 70 towns and cities in the UK and Ireland. Purple Flag accredited areas have all reported a consistent increase in footfall and a decrease in crime within the area. The Purple Flag programme is managed by the Association of Town and City Management (ATCM) which works alongside a partnership of key stakeholder groups backed by Government, police and businesses, as well as the UK sponsors Diageo Great Britain.

Accreditation from the Association of Town Centre Management came after officials from the organisation carried out an inspection in November 2015..

Shanaaz Carroll, CEO of the ATCM said: "There are now over 70 towns and cities across the UK and Ireland who are proudly flying the Purple Flag after working hard to gain accreditation. The award is not just about safety, but also the vibrancy and diversity of the evening and night-time offer — this can only be achieved by people working together and across the country we are seeing some amazing examples of this type of partnership working.”

Southend-on-Sea will officially receive the Purple Flag new accreditation along with Dublin One, Leeds, Limerick, Maynooth, Paisley, Reading, Wexford and a further seven towns Dunfermline, Leicester Square, Newcastle under Lyme, Preston, Salisbury, Sheffield and Southend-on-Sea who have had their Full Renewal status renewed at an awards ceremony which will take place on 8th February 2017 in Carrick on Shannon, Ireland. A further 14 areas also received an Interim renewal accreditation.

Vacant unit could be transformed into cultural venue

 

Wednesday 8th February 2016

A vacant unit on the centre of Southend’s seafront could be transformed into a café and events venue that will showcase the Borough’s buoyant cultural scene.

 

Southend-on-Sea Borough Council has submitted a planning application seeking to change the use and refurbish the empty retail unit, known as Unit 21, which was built as part of the Pier Hill lift project but never occupied.

 

The plans submitted to the Council’s Development Control team provide for café space with a patio, gallery space and kitchen and seating.

 

If approved, a variety of shows and exhibitions would be a feature of the gallery, curated by different groups and organisations. The ‘shop front’ would be open and welcoming, attracting visitors to look inside and explore. A small kitchen would allow small scale catering.

 

Cllr Ann Holland, Executive Councillor for Culture, Tourism & The Economy, said: “Since this unit was built, several operators have moved forward with plans to occupy it only to pull out at the eleventh hour.

 

“We would like to see the unit used as a café and events venue with creative space, so that it can host cultural activities such as music, poetry and arts events. Furthermore, due to its central position connecting the town centre and seafront, the venue is perfectly situated to act as a shop window to the Borough’s wider cultural scene.”

 

£200k has been budgeted to deliver the building. It is then anticipated that it would then be incorporated in the Focal Point Gallery’s and Council’s cultural programme.

 

The application is to be determined by Southend-on-Sea Borough Council’s Development Control Committee later in the year.

 

Anyone can view and comment upon by the planning application by visiting https://publicaccess.southend.gov.uk and searching for Planning Application 12/00396/FULM

 
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