An interesting meeting at the Kursaal Neighbourhood Action Panel (NAP) this evening.
For anyone that doesn’t know what NAP meetings are; they are a forum where residents of the ward in which they live, talk about any issues in their community to local police, Councillors and on occasion officers from the Council.
I firmly believe that such forums are a vital way for residents to connect with those who are charged with keeping their community secure. The meetings are chaired excellently. They give the police the opportunity to provide residents information on what is going on in their ward to counter the problems they are facing. The police also find the meetings useful themselves, because they can often obtain information that is more widely known by residents, than themselves.
I think if more people knew of the benefits of attending they would feel more inclined to also take part. Whenever I am about in the ward and speaking with residents I always encourage residents to take part in NAP meetings. Those that have attended often agree that the meetings provide a very important function.
The next NAP is Monday 29 October, 7pm at the Plaza Centre, Southchurch Road.
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”.
Dog fouling is a major issue for many of our towns and cities. It is the most offensive type of litter on our streets and it is consistently raised as a public concern.
In May 2010 I submitted a dog fouling petition to full council. My petition was submitted because, when knocking on doors and walking the streets of my ward in Kursaal, it became clear there was an issue with dog fouling. Parents were informing me of how their children were stepping out of their homes and immediately stepping in the mess. It then became clear, when speaking to people in the wider community that there was a problem in different parts of the town too. As a result, my petition called upon action to be taken in Kursaal and across the town: more signage, more bins.
The petition was considered at Cabinet and I am delighted to say that our administration took on board the views of residents. As a result, more signage and bins were obtained for the ward, but the problem still goes on and arguably is a very difficult to solve.
When, in July another petition was submitted for another ward in Southend on Sea, on this very same issue, it came before the Economic and Environment Scrutiny Committee, on which I sit. The petition put forward that the issue of dog fouling be looked at in the specific ward. During the course of the meeting it was felt that action should be taken across the whole town, and so was sent back to Cabinet for further discussion.
This is an issue I have campaigned on for a while now. Personally, as well as sanctions against unscrupulous dog owners, I would like to see free dog poo bags made available to residents. This is seen in Castle Point Borough Council, where bags can be collected from libraries and council offices and cashiers.
I met with residents of Christchurch Road over the weekend to discuss the issue of anti-social behaviour in the park behind Christchurch Court.
The residents were concerned about the negative behaviour which they are having to endure, at times through out the night. The main issue was youths playing football against the steel wall in the middle of the park. The impact of the ball against the steel wall makes a very loud noise, which when late at night wakes the residents up. They are sworn at when they address the youths about the problem. They told me this had been a problem for years.
I asked officers if there was anything that could be done to make the park free from such yobbish behaviour in the evening/night time hours? It seems to me that this space was intended for young people, but the residents claim that hardly any children use the play facilities and the area is being abused.
I put to officers that given the trouble it causes, was it feasible to remove the steel wall/ goal post in the middle of the park.
Result: A meeting on site with officers and hopefully residents. Looking to see if the post could be removed.
It was useful to view the parking plans for the Pleasant/Hartington Road area and the area around Beresford/Burnaby Road. The plans involve resident parking permits, which will allow residents to park more easily in their roads. Currently residents have to fight for spaces as they are taken up by people working locally or by tourists.
These plans come off the back of months of campaigning with offices at the council about the problems residents face.
Residents will be able to view the plans for themselves on Wednesday 22nd June – 6-8 and Saturday 25th June 10-2 at The Kursaal. It would be very helpful for residents to comment and get involved in the consultation.
These schemes are long overdue and hopefully if implemented will make life a lot easier for residents
Councillors Robin and Burdett met with Council officers to discuss the new City Beach development. On the agenda was health and safety which Kursaal Ward Conservative Councillors had requested.
Blaine and Louise put forward that a ‘risk assessment’ be carried out on the area as residents have mentioned their fears over safety in some parts of the area. Possible ideas for the future use of the space was also discussed. Cllr Burdett said: “This is a great development and has transformed this area. We just now need to make sure that it fulfills its full potential”.
Cllrs Burdett and Robin helped a resident in Kursaal ward with an alleyway at the side of his home. This particular alleyway was full of rubbish and was an eyesore for residents whose homes backed onto the area. The huge tree was blocking light for homes. Now the area is free of rubbish and the tree is no longer there.
It is great to see residents taking a care for their neighbourhood!
Dog fouling is persistent problem for Southend residents, and Councillors in Kursaal Ward are issuing a plea with people living in the area to make sure they are vigilant in keeping the streets clean
The Councillor team of Cllrs Louise Burdett, Blaine Robin and Kursaal Ward Conservative Candidate, Neil Austin are ramping up the campaign against dog fouling in the ward to raise awareness and encourage responsible practice in cleaning up after these pets. Prospective Councillor, Neil Austin, who is a lecturer at South East Essex College has been out talking to residents as part of his campaign and was surprised to find how often the issue was raised. “When we are out in the community talking to people, the issue of dog fouling is raised repeatedly by locals”, he says, “It would be a very easy problem to remedy if each and every dog owner took responsibility for clearing up their pet’s mess, so this is what we are calling for.”
Councillors Louise Burdett and Blaine Robin have been campaigning on the issue for some while to ensure that as much as possible is done to remedy the problem. They presented a petition on the issue, with over 200 signatures to the Council last July but it is clear that renewed action is required.
“We are concerned about this problem as it is not nice for residents to be confronted with dog mess on the streets on a daily basis, particularly if they do not have dogs themselves and are not part of the problem”, says Cllr Burdett, “From a Councillor perspective we are issuing a strong plea to residents out walking their dogs to make sure they act responsibly and pick up any mess when taking them out for a walk.” Cllr Robin, who has children himself, added “It is an issue causing most annoyance to young families with toddlers, prams and to wheelchair users in the ward as aside from spreading bacteria, it is incredibly unpleasant to have to clean it off.”
The ward Councillor team will be continuing to fight hard on the issue as needed in Council and through their communications with residents to make sure the situation improves.
Neil Austin has been keeping an eye on graffiti in the ward and reporting any hot spots and tags to the council for clearance