Leader Blog – 10th March 2023 – Southend-on-Sea City Council


Cllr Stephen George speaks about a new law requiring voters to take photo ID into a polling station and the importance of tackling problems before they become serious problems.

The countdown to local elections is definitely on, with just a handful of council meetings remaining until the publication of the election notice on Monday 27th March. This begins what is known as the “pre-election period,” when most formal council meetings end and candidates go through the nomination process. This is required before they can stand for election and request your vote.

With regard to the elections, I would like to take this opportunity to remind you that in order to vote at a polling station on May 4th, you must have a photo ID with you. You do not need a photo ID to vote by post.

This is a new law introduced by the government and it is important that local people are aware of the changes. If you do not have a recognizable photo ID, please apply for it by the 25th. You can find out more about the voter ID and everything else about the election on our website.

This week was also International Women’s Day (IWD), and while we’ve been discussing elections, it’s worth remembering that women died and were imprisoned fighting for their right to vote in the early 20th century. I am therefore pleased that numerous internal and external events took place on the occasion of the IWD. As part of this, the Mayor in Porters raised a flag to commemorate the WASPI campaign. The WASPI campaign fights for justice for women born in the 1950s affected by the change in the statutory retirement age.

You may have seen the photos of the blocked culvert that runs under the city, channeling our overflow water from excessive rains to the shore. If not, you can see them here. I was shocked to see the extent of the blockage in the photos. While it’s clear that there’s always a problem of fallen leaves, dead branches, and other debris from natural sources in the fall as the seasons change, the trolley mattresses and other debris cleared from the clog compounded the problem.

There really is no excuse for not disposing of rubbish correctly and if you see rubbish or a branch or anything that could cause a clog in Prittlewell Brook or elsewhere please report it to MySouthend as soon as possible. Our cleaning teams rely on residents’ eyes and ears to alert us to potential problems so we can fix them before they become bigger problems.

This approach has also worked well as reports revealed that housing standards have become safer following the granting of more than 3,000 selective licenses to specific areas in four Southend-on-Sea boroughs. It was introduced to anti-social behavior, poor property ownership, and high levels of deprivation and crime.

A total of 3,223 licenses are now active, although initially 1,835 failed the compliance application because they did not have the correct certificates, documentation and incorrect information, resulting in 77 withdrawn or revoked licenses.

Although criticized at the time, it proved that the program was a necessary complement to the Council’s existing powers. As we move into the foreclosure phase, we can offer tenants added reassurance that their property is of a safe and high quality standard. It is hoped that this, in turn, will encourage tenant pride and thereby improve the overall neighborhood.

You can find out more about the success of the program in our news center.

Looking ahead, Monday March 13th is National Commonwealth Day and the Honorable Mayor Cllr Kevin Robinson and Council officials will join with other Councils across the country to raise the flag to mark the occasion. We also have the last round of scrutiny sessions before the elections, so I expect there will be a lot of debate, hopefully civil and respectful.

Have a nice weekend.

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