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.
At a recent council meeting we were discussing plans for the centre of Southend. These plans are the Southend Central Area Action Plan which stretches over the next fifteen years.
I said the following:
I am utterly enthusiastic and supportive of this report. My fundamental reason for this is, in the ward I represent of Kursaal, there are many depressed people and so it is wonderful to have a vibrant, energetic town, which is looking to the future. That is helpful, I believe, for people who are depressed.
My second point is a plea. Often, cities, towns and urban scenes have poverty existing alongside wealth and it is because I represent the needy and vulnerable in our town that I ask you to ensure that the regeneration of our town takes into account these people and bears them in mind.
We are not just here to look great, though that is very important. Our job is to seek help for all our residents and especially those in need.
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.
This morning I attended the Armed Forces service on City Beach along with fellow ward councillor Blaine Robin. It was fantastic to see the space along the promenade, ‘CityBeach’ being used in such a way. My thoughts were this space has been reclaimed by the residents of Southend.
As people strolled past the open air service people stopped to listen, whilst children played in the fountains and the beach got busier from the day trippers, it really was a great atmosphere.
I believe that the residents need to come first and this area has been regenerated into a vibrant, uplifting area that can now used for so many different things.
Councillor Robin and I have spent time at the Civic offices speaking about various safety issues, raising residents questions as we are keen to make sure that this area is used to its full potential.
This week I attended a parking consultation at the ‘Kursaal’. It was fantastic that so many residents turned up to view the plans. It is the resident’s opportunity to voice their opinions one way or the other about plans which will be affecting where they live.
I am really pleased that residents will now hopefully have an easier time at finding some where to park. Residents have to come first.
The Archbishop of Canterbury has today spoken out against ‘The Big Society’ and criticised David Cameron on pushing through policies and committing the country to “radical, long-term policies for which no one voted”. The Archbishop claims that the policies have been pushed through so speedily that the general public have not been able to fully understand, people are ‘baffled’ he says.
In particular, Rowan Williams speaks about ‘The Big Society’ as being ‘painfully stale’. The Archbishop also launches a sustained attack on the government’s welfare reforms, complaining of a “quiet resurgence of the seductive language of “deserving” and “undeserving” poor.”
This political intervention from the Church of England has not been seen for some years and as such, has been with met with mixture of opinions. ‘He should stick to running the church’ are just some of the comments seen and heard today. I personally feel a mixture of feelings. I do not agree with what the Archbishop has said, and I think that David Cameron has reacted well by saying that he ‘welcomes the debate’. I also think that everyone is entitled to an opinion, but arguably how can you criticise politicians who are elected to make decisions on such matters. The coalition government gained 17 million votes.
All being said, the comments generate debate and that must be a good thing for democracy.