Wednesday, 3 December 2014

New parking charges in Belton Way

On my nightly journey home from my office in Southend to my home in Leigh I travel up Belton Way West and like many others have noticed the wrapped and as yet inactive parking pay machines that have been installed as an unwelcome present to the residents of West Leigh signalling the imminent introduction of parking charges in this area.

Whilst I appreciate the need to raise additional funds wherever possible I am strongly of the view that this is an unwelcome and ill conceived proposal.

The area already had time limits in place to prevent use by commuters but provided free parking for those visiting Leigh and the marshes who were prepared for a slightly longer walk to their destination. It supplemented the pay and display parking in the various parking areas nearer to the Old Town and indeed the C2C car park with its overpriced spaces.

The imposition of charges in this area is likely to drive yet more visitors to park in the residential roads on the Marine Estate which already suffer from significant parking stress.

It also seems to contradict the stance adopted by council Leader Ron Woodley and his party colleagues on the potential introduction of new charges in areas of Thorpe Bay. Is this an example of the west of the town getting a raw deal as a result of the current east biased cabinet?

On a related issue I do believe that C2C should be expected to provide car parking spaces to their users at a more reasonable price to encourage rather than discourage their use. The last administration also invested in improving the council owned parking facilities on Leigh Marshes and there may be further opportunity for investment in that area to provide convenient and cost effective parking for commuters and visitors alike.

It does seem unfortunate that when the areas around so many of our local stations are suffering from high levels of commuter parking we cannot better utilise the potential space available in Leigh.

Roger Weaver - a "new" face for UKIP

I suppose there was an element of inevitability in the news that former Conservative, former Independent, and then former Conservative again, Southend councillor Roger Weaver would join UKIP in his ever more desperate attempt to find a possible council seat.

Roger, ably supported by his wife and former councillor Verina, was a good mayor and capable cabinet member before throwing his toys out of the pram in dramatic fashion when he lost to Anna Waite in a Conservative group vote to replace Howard Briggs as group and council leader.

Helping to demonstrate why the decision was right Roger resigned from the party in pique and pulling Verina with him became “Independent” which subsequently developed into the current Independent Party. I suppose it is one solution – if one group reject you as leader form your own group so that you can elect yourself!

Perhaps Roger was attracted by the recent activities of James Moyies who has struggled with his own rejection as potential UKIP parliamentary candidate for Rochford and Southend East and has also been conducting certain toy throwing.

I remain surprised at those who choose to be involved in politics at any level and put themselves forward for election but then cannot accept losing with an element of good grace. If you can’t bear to lose then it is probably best not to put your name forward in the first place. If they had won I suspect they would have expected a greater level of cooperation from the unsuccessful candidates then they have demonstrated.

As a staunch Conservative for so many years I am interested to see how Roger will suggest that as a potential UKIP councillor he has something new and different to offer. If his bid for a seat fails I will watch with interest to see which colour rosette he wears next!