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[email protected]   - editor David Wilson  07714772707 -   Journalist, [email protected]     07917730238


Blind welfare  survey   + 11 pus deadline


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Lost in Books



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Battle's over-Southend and the Great War

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SCN (2)

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And another Thing

Local offer +Essex Girls photographer

Southend in Sight pop-up +    resolution to takle towns inequalities

Queensway regeneration plan +

Plans for library Gardens +                      Clean energy future for Leigh +        Funding for new nursery +             Community Safety Patrol

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Suspention of tree removal +

lMore support to takle climate change + Hospital bus stops relocation +      10 roads to shine brighter.

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Essex lives

View from the Longest Pier

Q & A

Faith,Hope and Charity

Views from Melanie Tyler-Thomas

Sarah miles +Alan Sorrell + Edward Cecil Jones

Club 50- winter Night shelter -The Haven

Increasing commercial plastic recycling -composting,recyling food waste

Saving the small things that run the planet

David Wilkinson – Opera Singer

Bike free hangers installed +                                          Small business Saturday

Daniel Meikle + Footsteps + World After

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The Haven + Age Concern + Public health report.

Essex Wildlife Trust +The Goldfinch + Belfairs Woodland Centre- Dementia

World insects in crises + EWT Celebrates+          What is on this month

Colour - Beecroft

Adam Tregoning  the Mayor’s Officer and Mace Bearer

Church,friendship and support

M.K Hill + S.R.Holland +Dodie Hamilton +Daisy Bourne

Hazel Lakeland - ' Hazel's Story

British moles + Mighty oak + Hedgehogs +Robins


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Nature and Environment

Face coverings are already mandatory in healthcare settings, GP surgeries, hospitals and on public transport. They are also recommended when sharing cars with those outside of your household, and when you find yourself unable to maintain a 2 metre distance indoors with others from outside your household.

 To be effective, face coverings should:


cover both your nose and mouth

fit comfortably but securely against the side of the face

be secured to the head with ties or ear loops

include at least two layers of fabric, ideally three

unless disposable, it should be able to be washed with other items of laundry according to fabric washing instructions and dried without causing the face covering to be damaged

Users should heed the following guidance when putting on and taking off face coverings:


wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water for 20 seconds or use hand sanitiser before putting a face covering on and before removing a face covering

avoid wearing face coverings on your neck or forehead

avoid touching the part of the face covering in contact with your mouth and nose, as it could be contaminated with the virus

change the face covering if it becomes damp or if you’ve touched it

only handle the straps, ties or clips

do not share with anyone else

if single-use, dispose of it carefully in a residual waste bin and do not recycle

if reusable, wash it in line with manufacturer’s instructions at the highest temperature appropriate for the fabric

wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water for 20 seconds or use hand sanitiser once removed

Krishna Ramkhelawon, the council’s director of public health says: “Each and every one of us has a role to play in reducing the spread of the virus. This latest guidance on face coverings should ensure that community related transmission of the virus is further reduced.



For further information on face coverings, please visit


A list of exemptions is also available on GOV.UK


2004 Flash floods devastated the north Cornwall coastal village of Boscastle after the area's average August rainfall fell in just two hours.

Sandra Freeman

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1973 -The first 867 graduates from the Open University were awarded their degrees after two years studying from home.

2020 Southend Best Festive Business competition winners announced



Look out for your  household notification letter

 On this day - JANUARY 11

1569 -The first state lottery took place in England. Lots were sold at the West Door of St Paul’s Cathedral. National lotteries continued until 1826

Carpe diem

          - Seize the day

1954 -George Cowling, a 34-year-old meteorologist, gave the first televised weather broadcast.

1858 -The birth of Harry Gordon Selfridge, Sr., the American retail magnate who founded the London-based department store Selfridges.

Households in Southend-on-Sea will shortly be receiving a letter from the council asking residents to check that the information held on the electoral register is correct.

 Residents are asked to read the household notification letter carefully, follow the instructions and only respond if they need to. They can also apply for a postal vote as part of the process.

 Alison Griffin, chief executive of Southend-on-Sea Borough Council said: “The electoral services team are working hard to ensure that the electoral register is up to date, so please follow the instructions on the letter carefully.

 “If you need to respond because details are incorrect or need updating, please do so online if you can via and enter the security codes provided on the letter.

 “Residents can follow these same steps if they wish to apply for a postal vote too or by calling the electoral services team on 01702 215010 or emailing [email protected]

 If a resident is eligible to register to vote but their name does not appear on the household notification letter, they can register to vote by visiting or call the electoral services team on 01702 215010.


The deadline to register to vote for the May 2021 elections is Monday 19th April.

The deadline to register to vote by post or for a postal proxy is 5pm Tuesday 20th April.

The deadline to register to vote by proxy is 5pm Tuesday 27th April.

To be eligible to register to vote in England a person must be:

Aged 16 or over (a person may register to vote at 16, but may not vote until they are 18)

A British or qualifying Commonwealth citizen who has leave to enter and remain in the UK or does not require such leave.

A citizen of the Republic of Ireland or other European Union (EU) member state.

British citizens, Irish citizens and qualifying citizens of Commonwealth countries (including Cyprus and Malta), as well as citizens of other EU member states can vote in local government elections and Police and Crime Commissioner elections in England and Wales.

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Plans to meet the 2050 ambition for everyone in Southend-on-Sea to have a home that meets their needs have been outlined as part of the council’s proposed 2021/22 budget (Cabinet, 14 January, item 9).

 The report highlights how a proposed £53m investment from the Housing Revenue Account (HRA) could be used to improve council homes in the Borough over the next five years, enable the council to continue with its plans to develop more affordable council housing for those on the Home Seeker’s register and buy more properties as part of its housing acquisitions programme.

 It also recommends an average rent increase of 1.5% on all council tenancies and 1.5% increase on all shared ownership properties.

A major investment of £28m has also been recommended up to 2024/25 to maintain and keep the council’s 5,900 homes to decent homes standard, and improve those that need it. The programme of work includes;



·       electrical rewiring


·       bathroom installations


·       new roofs


·       new kitchens


·       door replacements


·       new, more energy efficient boilers


Cllr Ian Gilbert, leader of the council with a responsibility for housing, said: “We want to make sure everyone has ‘a home that meets their needs’. We want to do this by increasing the number of properties in the Borough, improving the existing housing stock we already have, and increasing access to different types of housing and prevent homelessness.”

 A new Government-set policy which came to effect in April 2020, means rent levels will see a 1.5% increase. In real terms, this means a £1.07 weekly increase for those in a one bedroom council tenancy, to £1.79 weekly increase for a five bedroom council tenancy.

 There will also be a 1.5% increase for garage rent to £12.20 per week for tenants and £14.64 for non-tenants (including VAT). Those in sheltered accommodation will also see a 1.5% increase of £1.17 per week, taking the weekly rent to £78.85.

 Cllr Gilbert said: “We understand in the context of what has happened in 2020, these small rises might be a struggle for some and I want to reiterate that our housing officers are there to offer help and support should it be needed.

 “But we have to be able to provide safe and secure homes for everyone in the Borough and with this budget, we can stay in the black, carry out necessary improvements and invest in additional properties in the Borough through the housing pipeline and acquisitions programme.”

 The report also includes details of the proposed management fee to South Essex Homes, for the following financial year, which includes increased investment in fire safety. Following the tragedy at Grenfell Tower, South Essex Homes has been proactive in its approach to fire safety, working closely with the council and Essex County Fire and Rescue to manage, co-ordinate and enhance existing arrangements and make improvements.

 The draft report can be found on the Council website.


The draft budget will be considered by the council’s cabinet on Thursday 14 January, the council’s three scrutiny committees at the start of February, with the final budget to be discussed and approved at Full Council on Thursday 25 February.



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Meeting future housing needs in Southend-on-Sea

From Monday 11 January 2021, a new lateral flow device (LFD) rapid testing site will be open in The Fairway, Leigh-on-Sea for those who DO NOT have symptoms of COVID-19.

 The new centre will be situated at St Aidan’s Church, The Fairway, Leigh-on-Sea, SS9 4QW, and will enable people to get results within one hour.  It will be open from 2 to 6pm on Monday, and will then be open from 7am to 6pm from Tuesday onwards, seven days a week.

 This testing site is the second of its kind in Southend-on-Sea, joining the LFD site at the University Square building in central Southend-on-Sea. Two further sites will open in east central Southend and Shoeburyness in the coming weeks. Each site will look to accommodate 500 LFD tests each day.

 Testing at LFD sites is available for everyone without symptoms but are by appointment only and bookings should be made online. Anyone booking should live within the Southend-on-Sea Borough.


Please visit or book a test online


Booking online should the quickest and most effective option for residents seeking a LFD test. If you're not able to book using the online form, you can call If you’re not able to book online, you can call the Southend-on-Sea Borough Council COVID response helpline on 01702 212497 from 9am on Monday (line is open 9am to 5pm weekdays).

  Check our website for further details of current sites and opening times. Further updates and announcements will be made as plans and locations are confirmed and the website will be regularly updated.

  Cllr Trevor Harp, cabinet member for health and adult social care, said: “Increasing our testing capacity will play a vital role as we continue to take measures to reduce the spread of the virus.

 “The LFD sites enable people to get results within one hour, which are extremely useful for people who are not showing any symptoms. People who do not feel unwell and are asymptomatic, can unwillingly spread the virus to others, so this rapid testing will help identify those people and help reduce the spread of the virus.

 “I would ask residents to get tested through the variety of options we now have available through the drop-in site, LFD sites coming on stream or the local testing sites. Full details are available on our website, which is being updated regularly.

 “In addition, we are now in national lockdown, so we must all stay at home, do not mix indoors with people outside your household or support bubble, and remember hands, face, space.”

 Anyone WITH symptoms should book a test via the NHS Test and Trace App, or at



New rapid COVID-19 testing site to open in The Fairway, Leigh-on-Sea

Southend-on-Sea Borough Council’s cabinet is to consider changes to parking charges as part of its draft budget for 2021/22 (Cabinet, 14 January, item 9).

 The draft budget report confirms plans to create parking zones across the Borough (zone 1a, zone 1b, zone 2 and zone 3) and proposes simplified parking charges across these new zones to be introduced in April 2021.

  If approved by Council in February, seafront parking charges within the new zone 1a would rise, but with the one, three and five hour options returning to car parks. Three and five hour options would return to car parks in the town centre car area too (zone 1b), with a flat charge of £1.10 an hour introduced for up to six hours.

 Charges in a new outer zone 2 would see reductions in the main. Charges will also be introduced at Southchurch Park East (zone 2) car park, but the first hour will be free for school drop off and pick up only. Small car parks at Hadleigh Road, Leigh Hill and Uttons Avenue (all Zone 2) will remain free.

 Ten car parks will fall into a new district zone 3, with £1 an hour parking charges introduced at four of them for up to three hours (Eastwood Boulevard, Pargat Drive, Rayleigh Road and Sutherland Boulevard). All car parks in parks and sports grounds that are free will remain so, meaning the six other car parks in this zone (Cockethurst Recreation ground, Dalmatia Road, Eastwood Park, Jones Memorial recreation ground, St Laurence Park and Victory Sports Ground) will remain free.

 With these proposed changes to parking charges, residents will benefit from buying an annual Southend Pass which will be available to use from April 2021. Costing £8.50 per month it will allow vehicle owners to park for up to three hours in each of the four zones every day. Pass holders wishing to spend more than three hours in any one zone would be able to add additional time through the MOBON app.

  The proposed changes to the parking charges form part of wider proposals which could also see £50m invested in improving roads and pavements over the next five years, along with capital investment of £0.8m for resurfacing Alexandra Street, Clarence Road, Hamlet Court Road, Warrior Square and Fairheads Green car parks.

 Cllr Ron Woodley, cabinet member for transport, inward and capital investment, said: “This proposed budget shows a significant increase in the level of investment in the Borough’s pavements and roads, the exciting introduction of the Southend Pass, and the creation of new parking zones and simplified charges that will ensure charging is consistent across various car parks which is not currently the case.


“The last 12 months have applied unprecedented pressures on council budgets across the country. These pressures, alongside the 90% reduction in Government grants over the past 10 years, means as a council we have to be self-sustainable, and we must look at ways of helping to fund local services and highways improvements for example to keep the Borough moving forward.

 “Whilst we do not wish to increase charges too much, local residents will be able to buy a Southend Pass and park for up to 12 hours a day across the four zones, for less than 28p a day, offering exceptional value. I have no doubts that if residents sign up to the pass, they will save money compared to both the current charges and proposed new charges.

 “These proposals will also help us increase our proposed investment into the highways budget, which could see £50m invested in our roads, pavements and car parks over the next five years, demonstrating the commitment of this administration to improve the quality of our roads and pavements, an area our residents feel passionately about, and something highlighted through public engagement. This is a major financial commitment, and a huge increase on the £8m which has been invested over the previous five years.

 “Even with the pressures we face and the major investment proposed, we have been able to devise a balanced and consistent approach for parking charges which as a whole provides more options for residents and visitors as we look to drive recovery for the Borough.”

The draft budget will be considered by the council’s cabinet on Thursday 14 January, the council’s three scrutiny committees at the start of February, with the final budget to be considered at Full Council on Thursday 25 February.



New parking charges proposed      as part of draft budget

Southend-on-Sea Borough Council has produced a new tree policy setting out how it will manage its trees across the Borough, which will be considered by the council’s cabinet next week.

  Whilst the new policy covers many aspects of how the Council will look after its trees, the central theme is the target to increase the Boroughs’ tree canopy cover from 12% to 15%. This would see it increase by over 1km2, a rise of 20% from the current 5.17km2, and the equivalent of an additional 150 football pitches of tree canopy cover.

 The tree policy will also help the Borough to maintain a healthy tree population and achieve the target of 15%, which is recommended in a report about tree cover by Forestry Research, part of the Forestry Commission , and in an independent tree canopy assessment of Southend-on-Sea.

 The Cabinet report (agenda item 18) also proposes a review of Borough land holdings to assist in the development of the planting strategy by identifying suitable and available sites for potential tree planting. This will be coupled with a community engagement programme to encourage residents, businesses, schools and other groups and charities to consider tree planting on their land to help increase the canopy cover.

  Cllr Carole Mulroney, cabinet member for environment and planning, said: “We have seven Green Flag parks and open spaces, but we are a highly urbanised area, and raising our tree canopy level will need the council and community to work together to meet and hopefully exceed the 15% target.

  “We have already worked hard on improving canopy cover in the last and this planting season, and 700 standard trees will be planted this year as a significant addition to our normal planting programme, as well as 5000 shrubs, demonstrating the council's and my commitment to the importance of the green environment. Further investment will also be needed to drive this forward in future years.

  “We all know how important trees and other plants are to our own lives by providing cleaner air and a more pleasant environment, but their benefits for fauna and wildlife habitats are also crucial.

  “Trees and planting are something we can all get involved in and we want people to think about how they can plant trees in their own gardens and for businesses to consider planting on their own land, so that together we create a tree canopy that increases and helps us become a Green City and work towards a carbon-neutral Southend by 2030.

  “This updated strategy is something I promised we would deliver, and in this time of extreme circumstances, we need to be able to look forward to a better and greener future in Southend.”

New tree policy for a Green Borough and a Green Future