planning law

Daryl Peagram’s planning ignorance embarrasses Southend Tories

dazzling daryl

I am, as we draw closer to the local elections, alive to the danger of this blog becoming solely dedicated to the exposing the nonsense, ignorance and untruths of the Tories’ comedy candidate for Westborough, Daryl Peagram. Indeed, I’ve contemplated setting up a separate blog to basically fact-check everything he says.

So I do try not to make him the focus of my scrutiny too often, as much as anything to avoid inflating his ego.

However, with Daryl now having added not only a Facebook page, but a blog to his repertoire, I think this is going to be unavoidable. Especially given one of his more recent contributions, on the subject of Heath and Carby House on Victoria Avenue — a contribution I can only brand a disgraceful show of ignorance.

Read on…

Building on Blenheim Park should not simply be waved through

matt dent for blenheim park

Nimbyism (Nimby standing for “Not In My Back Yard -Ed) is not something I could usually be accused of, given that I routinely reject the myth that this country is overcrowded, and call in particular for more house building. That does not, though, mean that all building is going to meet with my approval.

Take, for instance, the proposals to build a football pavilion in the Blenheim Park (The actual park, not the ward -Ed).

Now, community sports are a good thing. As a general rule I’d encourage such clubs on public land. But this proposal will involve building a sizeable facility on one of the few public, green spaces in the town. The loss of that green space should not, in my view, be waved through without careful consultation with residents.

Here I have the advantage of having spoken within the last two months to residents along Blenheim Chase, the adjacent road. As such I know that they have concerns about both the loss of the green space in the park, and of the parking problems which would be exacerbated by the increased usage of the area for sports events. Despite what the Council may think, this is a matter about which residents of Blenheim Park and Southend as a whole care.

This administration has a good record on listening to residents; whereas the previous Tory administration would plough onwards with what it wanted regardless of what residents wanted, the joint administration has shown that it will recognise when it has made a mistake and take measures to rectify those mistakes. I urge it to listen now, and I urge all residents who have an opinion on this to respond to the Council’s consultation.

I am no nimby, but I am a long way from convinced that this development is the best thing for Blenheim Park or Southend.

Working for Blenheim Park: the Harridge Road storage container

harridge road storage container

Earlier in the week the Southend Echo ran a story about a storage container outside a house on Harridge Road. It peaked my interest in particular because I spent last Sunday leafleting Harridge Road and the surrounding area. Yes, it is part of Blenheim Park ward, where I am standing for election in May.

According to the Echo:

A huge container which has blighted a Leigh street for two years cannot be removed by Southend Council because it on housing association land.

The 20ft-wide, green, metal container, in the front garden of the house in Harridge Road, is half the length of the semi-detached property and the top is the same height as the first floor.

The article goes on to say:

Graham Longley, ward councillor, said the council had been aware of the problem for some time but, as the property belonged to South Essex Homes, responsibility rested with the housing association.

Which is…odd. You see, planning law applies to all land, regardless of who owns it. Planning law is one of the few areas which local government still retains broad control. So the idea that the council can’t do anything because the land belongs to South Essex Homes doesn’t quite ring true to me.

If the container is in breach of planning regulations — which it very much sounds like it is — then it is for the council’s Development Control Committee to consider the matter and decide whether to issue a planning enforcement order.

So, keen to help where I can, and since that the current trio of councillors don’t seem to be doing much at all (In the case of UKIP’s Floyd Waterworth, perhaps not surprising -Ed), I’ve emailed the planning department to ask for the solution to be looked into and pursued if possible.  Perhaps it won’t come to anything, or perhaps it will. It could be that my understanding of the planning issues is at fault. But I’m determined that Blenheim Park deserves a little more activity from its representatives, and if I can do something to improve the ward then I don’t see that I should have to wait until after the election.

Neighbour problems? Don’t bother going to your UKIP councillor!

floyd waterworth shrug
Planning law is important. (Note: important, not necessarily exciting -Ed). It’s one of those areas that local government still retains the lion’s share of control over, and where residents can actually have a say over the development of their community.

I would suggest that even UKIP wouldn’t deny its importance. They have set themselves the task of defending the greenbelt from development, which as UKIP aims go is fairly reasonable. Presumably the way they mean to do this is via planning law.

But to listen to UKIP Parliamentary candidate for Rochford & Southend East, and councillor for Blenheim Park ward, Floyd Waterworth you would think that UKIP were opposed to the enforcement of planning law altogether. Not to mention, he’s incredibly rude about the very voters whose favour his position is dependent on.

I wonder what voters would make of that…

Read on…