We will fight them on the beaches

Conservative Southend councillors for Shoebury Tony Cox, Derek Jarvis and Roger Hadley at East Beach

Mark Francois

First published in Echo News by

THE first shots in the battle to reopen Shoebury East beach have been fired at the MoD by councillors, MPs and officials as concern grows over a lack of action.

The beach has been shut for a fortnight due to fears over public safety after live bombs were found.

A crunch meeting takes place today between MoD and council officials to work out what will be done and when, but policitians are growing increasingly worried the beach could remain closed for some time.

Even Defence Minister Mark Francois, who is MP for Rayleigh and Wickford, wants his MoD colleagues to “understand the sense of urgency” to reopen the beach.

Hes said: “I am conscious of the knock-on effects of this, including on local traders, who are obviously keen to see the beach reopened as soon as possible.

“The council is meeting with officials from the MoD to try to agree a way forward, which will hopefully get the work done as quickly as possible, while also protecting public safety.

“I will be encouraging the MoD to understand the sense of urgency here.”

Council officers have been told to “lay it on the line” to senior defence officials at the first face-to-face meeting as they are worried Shoebury faces a second bank holiday of empty shops and cafes due to a lack of tourism.

But Defence Minister Anna Soubry has admitted the MoD had made no estimate of the economic impact on Southend, blaming the council for the closure.

In response to lobbying by Conservative colleague James Duddridge, MP for Southend East, she said: “The decision to close the beach was made by the council and it will be for it to determine when to reopen it.

“As such, no estimates have been made by the MoD about the economic effect of the council’s decision to the local economy.”

Derek Jarvis, Southend councillor responsible for the beach, said: “These are completely unsatisfactory answers.

“We expect council officers to lay it on the line to those facing us at the meeting. This position is not good enough.”

Shoebury councillor Roger Hadley said: “East Beach belongs to the public and we can’t go all summer without the beach being available.

“We have already had an awful lot of disappointed visitors.”

Speaking ahead of the meeting, Scott Dolling, the council’s acting head of economy, regeneration and tourism, said: “I expect to be given a clear timetable on the work to survey and make safe the licensed area of the beach, and to continue to press the need for a swift resolution, given the effects to local businesses, residents and visitors.”

Comments (20)

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5:27pm Thu 15 May 14

Nebs says...

This is what it will be like every day when the new sea wall is built.
This is what it will be like every day when the new sea wall is built. Nebs
  • Score: -3

6:11pm Thu 15 May 14

John Bull 40 says...

The M.O.D. might not renew the lease if they get to stroppy.
The M.O.D. might not renew the lease if they get to stroppy. John Bull 40
  • Score: 6

6:12pm Thu 15 May 14

shoess3 says...

Nebs wrote:
This is what it will be like every day when the new sea wall is built.
Wrong beach!
[quote][p][bold]Nebs[/bold] wrote: This is what it will be like every day when the new sea wall is built.[/p][/quote]Wrong beach! shoess3
  • Score: 6

6:12pm Thu 15 May 14

shoess3 says...

Nebs wrote:
This is what it will be like every day when the new sea wall is built.
Wrong beach!
[quote][p][bold]Nebs[/bold] wrote: This is what it will be like every day when the new sea wall is built.[/p][/quote]Wrong beach! shoess3
  • Score: 1

6:34pm Thu 15 May 14

pembury53 says...

should have kept their mouths shut..... no point whinging now
should have kept their mouths shut..... no point whinging now pembury53
  • Score: -1

7:35pm Thu 15 May 14

keepitreal says...

Stop moaning in the papers , and use the time to get something sorted. No one has ever died on East beach from old ordnance blowing up.
Give us the beach back whilst your thumbs are stuck up yer bottoms.
Remember it is soon election time.
Stop moaning in the papers , and use the time to get something sorted. No one has ever died on East beach from old ordnance blowing up. Give us the beach back whilst your thumbs are stuck up yer bottoms. Remember it is soon election time. keepitreal
  • Score: 9

7:45pm Thu 15 May 14

jayman says...

I would gladly give any conservative politician a metal detector and a shovel. and a tide timetable.
I would gladly give any conservative politician a metal detector and a shovel. and a tide timetable. jayman
  • Score: 9

7:50pm Thu 15 May 14

Howard Cháse says...

jayman wrote:
I would gladly give any conservative politician a metal detector and a shovel. and a tide timetable.
Get Tiny Cox out there putting a few shifts in helping locate and remove any stray ordnance.
[quote][p][bold]jayman[/bold] wrote: I would gladly give any conservative politician a metal detector and a shovel. and a tide timetable.[/p][/quote]Get Tiny Cox out there putting a few shifts in helping locate and remove any stray ordnance. Howard Cháse
  • Score: 4

8:55pm Thu 15 May 14

GrumpyofLeigh says...

The councillors sound like those from Amity Island and concerned with vested interests only
The councillors sound like those from Amity Island and concerned with vested interests only GrumpyofLeigh
  • Score: 1

9:10pm Thu 15 May 14

essexsj says...

https://www.facebook
.com/groups/SaveEast
Beach/
https://www.facebook .com/groups/SaveEast Beach/ essexsj
  • Score: 1

9:23pm Thu 15 May 14

beaulocks says...

I for one can honestly say that councillor cox is doing everything he can to get this beach open for business as soon as possible.

He is proper missing that burger van since it's been shut as you can see by the picture.

Please reopen east beach ASAP before mr cox wastes away.
I for one can honestly say that councillor cox is doing everything he can to get this beach open for business as soon as possible. He is proper missing that burger van since it's been shut as you can see by the picture. Please reopen east beach ASAP before mr cox wastes away. beaulocks
  • Score: 5

9:53pm Thu 15 May 14

lucy10 says...

beaulocks wrote:
I for one can honestly say that councillor cox is doing everything he can to get this beach open for business as soon as possible.

He is proper missing that burger van since it's been shut as you can see by the picture.

Please reopen east beach ASAP before mr cox wastes away.
that why i vote labour next week cox could not open a tin of beans
[quote][p][bold]beaulocks[/bold] wrote: I for one can honestly say that councillor cox is doing everything he can to get this beach open for business as soon as possible. He is proper missing that burger van since it's been shut as you can see by the picture. Please reopen east beach ASAP before mr cox wastes away.[/p][/quote]that why i vote labour next week cox could not open a tin of beans lucy10
  • Score: -4

9:54pm Thu 15 May 14

Democrat says...

The Acting Head of Tourism has fallen into the trap of any news is good news for publicity. No it isn't! The more fuss made about an 'explosive' beach the less chance anyone is going to catch the train or drive down to Southend as they wouldn't know the difference between Shoebury East and any other beach in the area.

The best thing is for these people to shut their traps for a while while it is sorted. Blowing up your customers is not the one, and no, no-one has been killed yet over the years because the MOD was allowed to deal with it safely and not rushed.
The Acting Head of Tourism has fallen into the trap of any news is good news for publicity. No it isn't! The more fuss made about an 'explosive' beach the less chance anyone is going to catch the train or drive down to Southend as they wouldn't know the difference between Shoebury East and any other beach in the area. The best thing is for these people to shut their traps for a while while it is sorted. Blowing up your customers is not the one, and no, no-one has been killed yet over the years because the MOD was allowed to deal with it safely and not rushed. Democrat
  • Score: 4

12:12am Fri 16 May 14

emcee says...

keepitreal wrote:
Stop moaning in the papers , and use the time to get something sorted. No one has ever died on East beach from old ordnance blowing up.
Give us the beach back whilst your thumbs are stuck up yer bottoms.
Remember it is soon election time.
I agree. If the council want it open then they should open it. It is true that nobody has died from the effects of discarded ordnance on East Beach, and it is very unlikely it will ever happen. The benefits of the beach being open clearly outweigh the minute risks. In fact there is more danger from being swept out to sea whilst kitesurfing or drowning than being blown up.
However, if the council are that worried, they could always pay for and organise the cleanup now and worry about reclaiming the cost from the MOD later. I dare say there are few independant ordnance clearance organisations about somwhere that can do the job. Failing that, there is always the option to display notices warning of discarded ordnance with the good old fashioned get out clause, "ENTER AT YOUR OWN RISK".

It seems the council made a big mountain out of a small mole hill and their kneejerk reaction is coming back to bite them in the backside.
In the meantime, the traders should now be making ready to claim financial recompence for loss of trade due to the decisions made, or not made, concerning the beach's closure.
[quote][p][bold]keepitreal[/bold] wrote: Stop moaning in the papers , and use the time to get something sorted. No one has ever died on East beach from old ordnance blowing up. Give us the beach back whilst your thumbs are stuck up yer bottoms. Remember it is soon election time.[/p][/quote]I agree. If the council want it open then they should open it. It is true that nobody has died from the effects of discarded ordnance on East Beach, and it is very unlikely it will ever happen. The benefits of the beach being open clearly outweigh the minute risks. In fact there is more danger from being swept out to sea whilst kitesurfing or drowning than being blown up. However, if the council are that worried, they could always pay for and organise the cleanup now and worry about reclaiming the cost from the MOD later. I dare say there are few independant ordnance clearance organisations about somwhere that can do the job. Failing that, there is always the option to display notices warning of discarded ordnance with the good old fashioned get out clause, "ENTER AT YOUR OWN RISK". It seems the council made a big mountain out of a small mole hill and their kneejerk reaction is coming back to bite them in the backside. In the meantime, the traders should now be making ready to claim financial recompence for loss of trade due to the decisions made, or not made, concerning the beach's closure. emcee
  • Score: 9

5:58am Fri 16 May 14

Keptquiettillnow says...

If those four, Francois, Duddridge, Hadley and Jarvis told me the beech was safe, I would be staying a long long way from it.
If those four, Francois, Duddridge, Hadley and Jarvis told me the beech was safe, I would be staying a long long way from it. Keptquiettillnow
  • Score: 4

8:06am Fri 16 May 14

Happy Chickie says...

Roger Hadley looks like he has a bad case of gas.
Roger Hadley looks like he has a bad case of gas. Happy Chickie
  • Score: 1

9:59am Fri 16 May 14

beverman says...

keepitreal wrote:
Stop moaning in the papers , and use the time to get something sorted. No one has ever died on East beach from old ordnance blowing up.
Give us the beach back whilst your thumbs are stuck up yer bottoms.
Remember it is soon election time.
WTF has election time got to do with anything.
Is it the councils fault that the bad weather exposed WW2 explosives? No.
Is it the councils fault that the MOD has pulled rank and closed the beach?? No again....
If you are that concerned go lend a hand. You could pick the things up and bang them together.. see who's right.
[quote][p][bold]keepitreal[/bold] wrote: Stop moaning in the papers , and use the time to get something sorted. No one has ever died on East beach from old ordnance blowing up. Give us the beach back whilst your thumbs are stuck up yer bottoms. Remember it is soon election time.[/p][/quote]WTF has election time got to do with anything. Is it the councils fault that the bad weather exposed WW2 explosives? No. Is it the councils fault that the MOD has pulled rank and closed the beach?? No again.... If you are that concerned go lend a hand. You could pick the things up and bang them together.. see who's right. beverman
  • Score: -4

12:35pm Fri 16 May 14

emcee says...

beverman wrote:
keepitreal wrote:
Stop moaning in the papers , and use the time to get something sorted. No one has ever died on East beach from old ordnance blowing up.
Give us the beach back whilst your thumbs are stuck up yer bottoms.
Remember it is soon election time.
WTF has election time got to do with anything.
Is it the councils fault that the bad weather exposed WW2 explosives? No.
Is it the councils fault that the MOD has pulled rank and closed the beach?? No again....
If you are that concerned go lend a hand. You could pick the things up and bang them together.. see who's right.
It was the council who chose to close the beach.
[quote][p][bold]beverman[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]keepitreal[/bold] wrote: Stop moaning in the papers , and use the time to get something sorted. No one has ever died on East beach from old ordnance blowing up. Give us the beach back whilst your thumbs are stuck up yer bottoms. Remember it is soon election time.[/p][/quote]WTF has election time got to do with anything. Is it the councils fault that the bad weather exposed WW2 explosives? No. Is it the councils fault that the MOD has pulled rank and closed the beach?? No again.... If you are that concerned go lend a hand. You could pick the things up and bang them together.. see who's right.[/p][/quote]It was the council who chose to close the beach. emcee
  • Score: 6

5:59pm Fri 16 May 14

CarnMountification says...

So it's going to be off limits until the end of June at the very earliest, according to the BBC News, seems the council put the barriers up in haste, expecting early intervention from the MoD, of which hasn't nor will happen, for the foreseeable future...
So it's going to be off limits until the end of June at the very earliest, according to the BBC News, seems the council put the barriers up in haste, expecting early intervention from the MoD, of which hasn't nor will happen, for the foreseeable future... CarnMountification
  • Score: 1

6:17pm Fri 16 May 14

Living the La Vida Legra says...

Heard today it's unlikely to open this year due to shifting tides
It's felt that if the beach is cleared to 250 yards seaward two weeks later new ordnance will be uncovered.
Heard today it's unlikely to open this year due to shifting tides It's felt that if the beach is cleared to 250 yards seaward two weeks later new ordnance will be uncovered. Living the La Vida Legra
  • Score: 1

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