Coalition preparing for council overhaul

L-R: Martin Terry, Ian Gilbert, Ron Woodley and Graham Longley

L-R: Martin Terry, Ian Gilbert, Ron Woodley and Graham Longley

First published in News by

A NEW era in Southend politics could see more councillors getting a say on the big decisions as a new coalition gets set to take power.

A coalition of Independent, Labour and Lib Dem councillors will seize power from the Tories on Southend Council tonight and are planning a major shake-up of the status quo.

Controversial plans to build a seawall in Shoebury, close libraries and shut care homes will all be reviewed, while the current cabinet system could also go in favour of a new committee system.

Soon to be council leader, Independent councillor Ron Woodley said the coalition represented a “new beginning” for the borough.

He said: “I am very pleased with the outcome of the negotiations between my three partners here.

“Now we have to pick up the reins with it very, very quickly.

“This is about the people of Southend-on-Sea and on that basis we are prepared to work together to form this joint administration to take this town forward to represent the people and listen to the people.

“I believe the last Conservative administration stopped listening to the people and the only people they did listen to was themselves and we have got to be a caring, listening, open democracy in Southend.”

Mr Woodley will be supported as leader by Ian Gilbert and Graham Longley, leaders of the Labour and Lib Dem groups respectively, who will act as deputies.

Martin Terry will remain as spokesperson for the Independents.

During a press conference, the coalition leaders outlined their key policies, which were: • Setting up a working party looking to move from the cabinet decision making system to the committee system, which could lead to more councillors get a say on the big decisions being made.

• Reviews on controversial plans for the Shoebury seawall, library closures and shutting of care homes.

• Urgent action to derelict buildings in Victoria Avenue.

• More community facilities in Southend town centre.

• Building more affordable and social housing.

• A pedestrian crossing at Kent Elms.

• Having scrutiny panels chaired by opposition councillors.

Mr Gilbert said: “We he hope to be able to deliver a change of direction for Southend, but at the same time ensure the council has stability and the ability to make the difficult decision that we are going to have to make.”

Mr Longley added: “The only way we can build a majority which means there will be stability is by way of working together and that means the Independents, Labour group and Liberal Democrats working together.”

*******

TORIES fear the new coalition will “dismantle” the council’s financial reserves after seizing power.


Conservative group leader, John Lamb, pointed to his party’s success at turning the council’s performance around while in power and said his members would continue to work for their constituents in opposition.


Mr Lamb said: “When the Conservative group took office, the town was on it’s knees and the Labour government at the time were making plans to send in inspectors to administer the council.


“In the years since we took office, we have completely reversed the situation. The town is thriving and the regeneration process is highly successful and ongoing.


“There are now financial reserves and we took the council from near disaster to a point where we were awarded council of the year in 2012.


“We shall continue to be robust and united during our time in opposition and do our best to defend the town town and it’s residents against the inevitable dismantling of our reserves and resources.”


Mr Lamb said following the local election results on May 22, his party held lengthy talks with the Labour and Lib Dem groups but could not reach satisfactory agreements.

He had previously ruled out working with Ukip.

Comments (11)

Please log in to enable comment sorting

5:26pm Thu 5 Jun 14

rayleighrunner says...

why so anti-UKIP? Surely if the conservatives had wanted control so much, they should have joined with UKIP and seized control.
why so anti-UKIP? Surely if the conservatives had wanted control so much, they should have joined with UKIP and seized control. rayleighrunner
  • Score: 5

5:48pm Thu 5 Jun 14

Alekhine says...

rayleighrunner wrote:
why so anti-UKIP? Surely if the conservatives had wanted control so much, they should have joined with UKIP and seized control.
No, much more fun to watch the LibDems go bed hopping.
[quote][p][bold]rayleighrunner[/bold] wrote: why so anti-UKIP? Surely if the conservatives had wanted control so much, they should have joined with UKIP and seized control.[/p][/quote]No, much more fun to watch the LibDems go bed hopping. Alekhine
  • Score: 10

5:55pm Thu 5 Jun 14

Cockle says...

rayleighrunner wrote:
why so anti-UKIP? Surely if the conservatives had wanted control so much, they should have joined with UKIP and seized control.
Even if they had wanted to work together the combined number of Conservative and UKIP seats would still have left them 2 seats short of a majority.....
[quote][p][bold]rayleighrunner[/bold] wrote: why so anti-UKIP? Surely if the conservatives had wanted control so much, they should have joined with UKIP and seized control.[/p][/quote]Even if they had wanted to work together the combined number of Conservative and UKIP seats would still have left them 2 seats short of a majority..... Cockle
  • Score: 9

6:36pm Thu 5 Jun 14

Living the La Vida Legra says...

IMO Local council should not be political. We should only vote for people not political party's Then you would have the best people in positions that suit them, not just some loser that gets the job because he's on the winning party.
Only my dim thought!
IMO Local council should not be political. We should only vote for people not political party's Then you would have the best people in positions that suit them, not just some loser that gets the job because he's on the winning party. Only my dim thought! Living the La Vida Legra
  • Score: 5

6:38pm Thu 5 Jun 14

Bosniavet says...

I take it we'll be safe from a rise in council tax until next April, or can they decide to raise that after it was previously set? Am I the only concerned that there will be a large increase in our council tax bills next year? However, I must say that I like the idea that they might actually do something about the derelict hulks in Victoria Avenue.......
I take it we'll be safe from a rise in council tax until next April, or can they decide to raise that after it was previously set? Am I the only concerned that there will be a large increase in our council tax bills next year? However, I must say that I like the idea that they might actually do something about the derelict hulks in Victoria Avenue....... Bosniavet
  • Score: 17

7:08pm Thu 5 Jun 14

CarnMountification says...

I think most people realise the need for substantial hike in the council tax, to rectify those areas in dire need of modernisation, drainage.
I think most people realise the need for substantial hike in the council tax, to rectify those areas in dire need of modernisation, drainage. CarnMountification
  • Score: -1

7:11pm Thu 5 Jun 14

sesibollox says...

CarnMountification wrote:
I think most people realise the need for substantial hike in the council tax, to rectify those areas in dire need of modernisation, drainage.
With those floods of August last, the whole infrastructure will have to be managed and maintained, and as previously mentioned its a local council responsibility, not the water boards.
[quote][p][bold]CarnMountification[/bold] wrote: I think most people realise the need for substantial hike in the council tax, to rectify those areas in dire need of modernisation, drainage.[/p][/quote]With those floods of August last, the whole infrastructure will have to be managed and maintained, and as previously mentioned its a local council responsibility, not the water boards. sesibollox
  • Score: 1

10:20pm Thu 5 Jun 14

profondo asbo says...

sesibollox wrote:
CarnMountification wrote:
I think most people realise the need for substantial hike in the council tax, to rectify those areas in dire need of modernisation, drainage.
With those floods of August last, the whole infrastructure will have to be managed and maintained, and as previously mentioned its a local council responsibility, not the water boards.
tweedledumb and tweedledumber
[quote][p][bold]sesibollox[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]CarnMountification[/bold] wrote: I think most people realise the need for substantial hike in the council tax, to rectify those areas in dire need of modernisation, drainage.[/p][/quote]With those floods of August last, the whole infrastructure will have to be managed and maintained, and as previously mentioned its a local council responsibility, not the water boards.[/p][/quote]tweedledumb and tweedledumber profondo asbo
  • Score: -3

10:20pm Thu 5 Jun 14

jayman says...

"TORIES fear the new coalition will “dismantle” the council’s financial reserves after seizing power."

????????????

southend Tories run up !two-hundred-million
! quids worth of debt, in fourteen years of office...
"TORIES fear the new coalition will “dismantle” the council’s financial reserves after seizing power." ???????????? southend Tories run up !two-hundred-million ! quids worth of debt, in fourteen years of office... jayman
  • Score: 1

10:29pm Thu 5 Jun 14

abd123 says...

The drains are not the Councils. They are Anglian Water. Essex & Suffolk Water are the water company.
The drains are not the Councils. They are Anglian Water. Essex & Suffolk Water are the water company. abd123
  • Score: 2

11:07pm Thu 5 Jun 14

Fab man says...

First thing this coalition should do is knock down those derelict office monstrosities on Victoria Avenue & build affordable housing in their place. Let something useful come of them before Tory nimby syndrome kicks in.
First thing this coalition should do is knock down those derelict office monstrosities on Victoria Avenue & build affordable housing in their place. Let something useful come of them before Tory nimby syndrome kicks in. Fab man
  • Score: 6

Comments are closed on this article.

Send us your news, pictures and videos

Most read stories

Local Info

Enter your postcode, town or place name

About cookies

We want you to enjoy your visit to our website. That's why we use cookies to enhance your experience. By staying on our website you agree to our use of cookies. Find out more about the cookies we use.

I agree