Southend Conservatives have revealed their 10 point plan which sets out the direction they believe the Council should take in order to best aid the recovery of the Borough's economy and keep people safe as the Government eases the Covid-19 lockdown measures.
The 10 points are:
1. Keep us safe, keep us moving - Use the central government funding for active travel to create new dedicated cycleways that are not at the expense of existing road space.
2. Keep us safe, keep the town moving - As a ‘destination’ town that relies on tourism and road transport for the local economy, ensure that all existing roads, car parks and on-street seafront parking bays are kept open and where possible expanded in the short term. Decisions on the road layout at Queensway and Seaway car park development to be paused during this period.
3. Keep us safe, keep us democratic - The immediate restoration of Councillor Scrutiny meetings, to challenge and review the decisions made by the Labour-led coalition during the current pandemic.
4. Keep us safe, keep the queues down - Install a temporary booking system as part of a managed re-opening of the Household Recycling Centres to control the inevitable high demand and avoid the chaos and queues.
5. Keep them safe, keep them open - keep our parks and public spaces open and safe and create clearly marked areas to promote social-distancing if required.
6. Keep them safe, keep them off the streets – ensure that the homeless and rough sleepers that were placed in temporary accommodation during the recent crisis receive all the support they need to live in permanent accommodation so they never have to live on the streets again.
7. Keep us safe, keep them on the streets – Maintain the visible Police and uniformed presence on our streets that we have seen during the crisis.
8. Keep business safe, keep them open – Provide financial support where needed and create a dedicated business support service to get and keep our businesses open.
9. Keep us all safe and well – Resume and renew our strong links with local health and care providers for the health and wellbeing of us all.
10. Kept us safe, let’s honour them - Create a local recognition scheme to honour and celebrate the local heroes of the crisis in Southend.
Leader of Southend Conservatives, Cllr Tony Cox said,
"We saw this weekend how ill prepared the Council has been in the easing of lockdown measures as we sure large numbers of people come to our seaside as they enjoy their new found freedom.
"However, we also saw huge queues for public toilets, footpaths reduced to less than a meter and a half in length making social distancing nearly impossible. Large parts of the towns parking facilities being closed to the public forcing everyone to use a limited number of parking spaces. We saw businesses unable to bring supply to their premises. A cycle lane in the middle of where the council are encouraging walking and nowhere for any broken down cars to move away from the flow of traffic. All due to the measures placed along the seafront.
"This clear mismanagement from the council can only result in disaster.
"We have seen no leadership from the administration and no plan published on how the council intends to react to any further easing of the lockdown measures. This puts at risk our residents and that is unacceptable, which is why we have published our own ten point plan with ideas that the council can implement to both keep residents safe and get Southend back on the road to recovery.
"This has been a challenging time for us all, but we must ensure that as we begin to climb down the mountain we are prepared and manage the situation. One false step and no forward plan will only result of a second wave, and that cannot be an option."