Residents on Southchurch Road have had a local bus shelter saved, thanks to petition put to Southend Council by Conservative Kursaal Ward Councillors Louise Burdett and Blaine Robin, along with some of the most affected residents.
The bus shelter was removed from its location outside Nicholson House and Barringtons on Southchurch Road earlier this year. This provoked outrage amongst residents living in the flats, which house many elderly people for whom the bus service is crucial in allowing them to access local shops and other amenities. In the winter weather, the bus shelter is important in ensuring that people are able to wait for the bus in greater comfort, using seats and having some protection from the elements.
Last month, accompanied by around 30 residents from Nicholson House, Cllr Burdett and Cllr Robin presented the petition signed by residents to a meeting of the full Council. The petition stimulated discussions between Cllr Mark Flewitt; the portfolio holder for transport and planning, local councillors and residents which resulted in the announcement that the Council will be reinstating the bus shelter.
Cllrs Burdett and Robin delivered the news to residents in person over the weekend and it was news that was very much welcomed. Vera Gough, 94 who lives in Nicholson House said: “I am delighted to hear that the bus shelter is going to be put back where it belongs. For me it makes the difference between being able to pop to the shops when the weather isn’t too good and having to stay inside. It is a small thing but for people living here, it helps us to maintain a bit more independence.” The result of the petition shows the value of local action, as Ms Gough says: “It is good that with the support of our local Councillors we have actually managed to get this changed, it has pleased a lot of people.”
Councillor Burdett commented, “It was an impressive campaign being able to take 30 residents with us to present the petition – in a week where the Government has launched their plans for greater power at a local level, this is a good example of what can be achieved. We owe our thanks to Cllr Flewitt for being so accommodating in carrying out discussions to make this change, which although seemingly small, is a big thing to the people living close by.” Councillor Robin added, “This is a fantastic result and we are thrilled to have had the decision reversed. It just shows what can happen when you empower local communities to effect change.”