Monday, 21 July 2014

Shoebury Flood Defence - the gift which keeps on giving!

Watching Cllr Terry’s attempts to justify his current action on the Flood Defence issue, as expanded in recent press coverage, reminded me of that saying about the gift that keeps on giving. Whether rightly or not I know that a number of current Administration members believe that the Shoebury Flood Defence dispute was harnessed effectively as an election issue and helped fuel the disappointing performance of the Tories in the east of the town and the loss of seats to include Shoebury and West Shoebury. I can’t help thinking that a savvy politician would have pitched the campaign slightly differently and in particular avoided the suggestion that a defeat for the Tories would effectively kill the scheme. Far more effective to say that it had progressed too far and couldn’t be reversed with continued blame for the wicked Conservatives. But no we now have a suspension of the scheme and new review but fraught with problems. Unless someone is going to come up with a new and previously unheard of scheme (which would be interesting in the available timescale) how are council officers going to justify changing their previous advice which was firmly behind the approved scheme? We know that the Environment Agency want the funds used by March 2015 which is an almost impossible timescale if a new scheme is required and we now have talk of a new consultation and new consultants. In the meantime Cllr Terry seemed to have no idea of the delay this would create, the cost (and where it would be funded from) and the ability to avoid losing the EA funding. This also ignores the further problems as to what Cllr Terry does if the expert advice continues to support the existing scheme or (God forbid) there is flooding over the winter which the scheme would have prevented. Oh he also has a potential problem with pre determination! The current Administration appear to be getting themselves into an ever deeper hole and could find out that the issue that they believe caused so much damage to the Conservatives could be as big a political problem to them.

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