Friday, 8 December 2017

Smoke alarms

I have seen some perturbing statistics regarding smoke alarms. As many will be aware, smoke inhalation is often a killer.

The statistics state that almost 40 percent of battery-powered and 21 percent of mains-powered alarms failed to activate in residential fires in England in the past year.

Thus, those of us with smoke alarms may not be as safe as we thought.

I would encourage all to have their smoke alarms tested. I would also suggest that residents give consideration as to whether there are enough smoke alarms fitted in the home, as one per floor is recommended by experts. Often smoke alarms are not activated because a fire does not reach the alarm.

Please be safe.

Saturday, 2 December 2017

Labour comes to Southend-on-Sea

Southend-on-Sea is home to two constituencies, although you would be hard pressed to recall much mention of Southend West nowadays – especially in Labour circles. However, whilst a political long-shot for Labour as regards to Parliamentary aspirations, it is home to some promising prospects as far as local council elections are concerned.
Mr Corbyn and another packed room

Even Jeremy seemed to forget the West exists, often name-checking Rochford and Southend East (home to the second-best result in the General election in Southend-on-Sea). Those who want rid of Amess are bound to feel the pangs of disappointment.

Still, now that Rochford and Southend East is a target seat we will witness visits from the great and good in Labour circles. Yesterday, Mr Corbyn himself paid a visit.

I was invited to the Chamber of Commerce round-table policy discussion that preceded the rally, and it was a generally useful exchange of ideas about the challenges facing coastal communities, especially Southend-on-Sea. The assembled included a quartet from the Labour Group on the council, and an assortment of business men and women. I made my contribution, interjecting following praise by association on the support given by Labour to seafront businesses.

The rally that followed was very well attended; I was guess that more than 300 were present to hear Jeremy Corbyn. There were a few spare seats, which must have disappointed those who applied and failed to get a ticket for the event. Jeremy is not a bad speaker, and certainly has a style of his own. He promised to return to Rochford and Southend East – and maybe he will pause during the journey to consider the delights of Southend West.

I am pleased that Southend-on-Sea is on the map as far as Labour HQ is concerned. Of course, I take special pride in the fact that the biggest Labour vote in either constituency comes from Milton ward, a safe Tory ward until I was allowed to throw myself at it.

Labour is not a fan club for whoever leads it, but a cause for social justice and a fairer society. The rally was about Jeremy, but it was a Labour rally. We celebrate our successes, and plan to move Britain forward, fixing the mess that the Conservatives are daily creating. With Mr Corbyn in number ten, and perhaps a Labour MP in one of the Southend seats, the world will be a better place.

Friday, 1 December 2017

An HMO in the High Street?

Amongst this week's planning applications is one for a house of multiple occupation in the High Street. I am far from certain that this is a good location for an HMO.

APPLN. NO: 17/01907/FUL

Officer: Janine Rowley

Date Valid. 22 November 2017




Saturday, 25 November 2017


At the last Full Council nine councillors declared a pecuniary interest in the item on the licensing of landlords. Of these nine, eight sought dispensation to attend, speak and vote at the various council meetings on this subject. These nine are all landlords and will be personally affected by the outcome of the debates, especially if licensing is adopted.

Cllr Ward (independent) chose not to seek dispensation, and will not take part in these debates.

It is the Standards Committee that decides on the dispensations.

I sit on the Standards Committee and had to sit through the discussions earlier this week when the Tory councillors on this committee exercised all sort of logical gymnastics in justifying the claims of those seeking dispensation.

I do not think they should be allowed any role in these debates – there is a clear, and admitted, pecuniary self-interest. However, they are taking part – five Conservative councillors have ensured that.

Many reasons were put forward as to why these dispensations were needed, and none convinced me. Pecuniary interest must mean exclusion, whatever the subject of the debate. We cannot have councillors influenced by self-interest, which is what the debate on landlord licensing has now become.

The councillors granted dispensation are one from the Independent Group: Cllr Ayling. There are seven from the Conservative Group: Cllrs Boyd, Evans, J Garston, Habermel, Hadley, Salter and Waterworth.

Unlike Cllr Terry I did not flounce out of the meeting – I stayed until the end. I was disappointed, but not surprised to see the Conservatives favouring self-interest; after all theirs is the self-interest party.