Monthly Archives: August 2011

Selective Licensing

What are the benefits of Selective Licensing?

There is a review taking place in parts of Southend on Sea , to see if Selective Licensing would be a good scheme to be introduced.  Parts of Kursaal, Milton and Chalkwell wards are being looked at to see if it would help the local communities, in a bid to tackle anti-social behaviour, improve the quality of accommodation and help the general areas to improve.  Selective Licensing requires owners of privately rented dwellings to pay for a license.

Under the scheme, every residential premises which is privately let to one or more tenants – subject to certain exemptions – must be licensed,  if it is within the designated area.  The relevant fee must also be paid.

 With this in mind the council have put this scheme out for consultation.  Roads in the borough have been suggested, residents and landlords are being asked for their views on the scheme.

 What are the benefits?

  • Reduction in anti-social behaviour
  • Conditions on license relating to gas safety/smoke alarms
  • Anti-social behaviour clause to be signed at commencement of each new tenancy
  • Improved living conditions
  • Fewer complaints

 For Landlords:

  •  Better behaved tenants; longer tenancies, potentially increased rent levels and improved property value (over time).

 The consultation is showing that there is support for the scheme, but that landlords are also very concerned too. 

 I think the principle is good, to bring up the quality of tenants living in Southend properties and landlords do have a big part to play in that. 

 Landlord’s concerns range, from whether the license costs too much, the effectiveness of policing, the need for CCTV, to council tenants just as culpable for ASB.  There maybe some valid arguments from landlords and the main thing is, that we the council and the landlords work in tandem to deliver an effective policy that reduces ASB and helps improve the community for all our residents.

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Film Fun

 A film afternoon was put on by Cllr Burdett in partnership with Estuary Housing  in the summer holidays.  Children were able to watch ‘Spy Kids’ whilst eating popcorn.  The event was completely free.  Cllr Burdett said “Film clubs provide the opportunity for communities to see films they may not otherwise have access to”.

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The crisis of our times

In the last few days England has seen unprecedented chaos, scenes that I have never witnessed in this country in my lifetime.  People have spoken about the riots of the 1980s, but from what I gather, these are by far more widespread and intense.

 The behaviour of the people who are looting and causing havoc is completely unpredictable. We simply do not know what will happen next; how they will react. As a result, our friends and family who live in London and other parts of the country, have been at times, completely frightened.

 People have lost their homes and had their livelihoods taken away from them, with some people just having a bag of clothes to their name. 

 The question is, what lies behind criminality?  Why have we got so many criminals?   In my opinion it boils down to responsibility.  We have a whole raft of people in this country who have no sense of responsibility, who are not playing their part in society and in the last four days have grabbed an opportunity for excitement and fun. These people have been continually told what their rights are, but have never been informed that they also have responsibilities.  These were not protesters, this was thuggish behaviour pure and simple.

 Responsibility is a learned form of behaviour.  These people who were rioting and looting have parents that are not there for their children.  Boys need male role models, who they can look up to and see what being responsible looks like.  The result of these broken families are that these boys find solace in gangs and groups and then often the first people to say no to them, are the police.  They can’t cope when the police stand up to them and they then go mad at the police.

 The big issues now are what we do in these areas?  We must accept that there are damaged people in the aftermath of the riots.  I do not believe that it is just down to deprivation.  In the 1930s, when there were ‘protests’, there was no violence of this kind. Arguably there was a sense of morality.  Therefore you cannot just blame the riots on austerity, it is not just cuts that cause this.  We need to address the motivations and grievances of those participating in these riots.

 The government spends over half our national income, yet in the last four days, were not able to properly protect our citizens, those tax payers who fund this government spending.  It has to be one of the first priorities of our government to keep us safe; yet on Monday and Tuesday night people were frightened, they had their homes taken away from them. 

 We had 16,000 police officers on duty inLondonon Tuesday evening, but this is not sustainable all the time.   As Douglas Carswell writes ‘Any debate about “broken Britain” must look not only at social breakdown, but at the broken levers of control that allow official Britain to set its own priorities without full regard to the concerns of striving Britain’.

 Right now, the causes of the rioting can be put to one side. For now, our government needs to restore faith in the ability to protect us. I believe we need elected sheriffs, who have the authority to make decisions, which would have led to a more robust response from the police right from the start.


Filed under Riots