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On this day - September 18

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.

Southend Leisure and Tennis Centre is set to welcome visitors back through its doors with the council agreeing to support Fusion Lifestyle until the end of the financial year.

 T he £600,000 funding support to Fusion – who are responsible for managing council-owned leisure facilities – will allow them to reopen their main site at Southend Leisure and Tennis Centre with a full offering of services. Chase Sports and Fitness Centre and Shoeburyness Leisure Centre will also reopen for school use only. These two leisure centres are integral to the schools’ PE provision from September onwards. Belfairs Swim Centre will remain closed at this stage. This support is in addition to £400,000 of support already provided to Fusion up to the end of July for building costs and the waiver of management fees.

 The support has been agreed to allow people to access leisure facilities again to help increase physical and mental wellbeing across the Borough.

 It will also see the Diving Development Programme restart as well as enabling the two local swimming clubs, Southend-on-Sea Swim Club and Borough of Southend Swim club to restart their session.

 With funding now agreed, Fusion are now taking staff off of furlough and carrying out the work needed to get Southend Leisure and Tennis Centre open on Tuesday 1 September for health and fitness and Friday 4 September for swimming. All sites will be continuously reviewed to ensure users are kept safe and to explore the possibility of opening further facilities at the other sites.

 Cllr Kevin Robinson, cabinet member for business, culture and tourism, said: “I am pleased to see that we have been able to work closely with Fusion Lifestyle to allow the safe reopening of Southend Tennis and Leisure Centre and the Chase and Shoebury sites for the schools that use them. As with private gyms and leisure centres which have recently reopened, the overall experience will obviously be very different from pre-Coronavirus. However, staff have worked incredibly hard to get the facilities in a position to reopen safely to provide a welcome physical and mental wellbeing boost for our residents.

 “The leisure industry is facing extraordinary challenges due to the pandemic, with many people now unsure whether or not they should be returning to the gym. I would stress that we would not be reopening these facilities unless we were confident the appropriate measures are in place to keep members safe, so you can rest assured that all aspects have been thoroughly considered.

“We expected that at some stage, the financial challenges of the leisure industry would mean we would need to support Fusion to reopen, which is why we have agreed this financial support.

“We would have liked to have reopened all centres fully, but we have to be realistic. As a Council we face our own very real budget challenges too, and the option that we have agreed recognises that. Although this financial support does add to the budget burden that we face, we felt it was the right thing to do at this time. We are committed to supporting Fusion until the end of the financial year but will regularly review the amount required.”



Leisure centre to reopen and provide welcome wellbeing boost

An Essex-wide campaign focusing on preventing the exploitation of children online is due to launch on August 24.

 Online exploitation has been a growing concern for several years, with the internet and social media becoming so integral to daily lives. For children, the internet has become the new classroom and playground and this has been amplified during the COVID-19 lockdown period. Sadly, there are people out there that take advantage of this.

For this reason, the Southend Safeguarding Partnership, Thurrock Local Safeguarding Children Board and Essex Safeguarding Children Board are working with their respective local authorities and organisations including Essex Police, The Children’s Society, Barnardos and The 2 Johns, to raise awareness of the exploitation risks that increased time on the internet can pose.

 The campaign will encourage parents to take an active interest in their child’s online world, give them the confidence to speak openly about the dangers and give them knowledge of what to do if something isn’t right. It aims to challenge the perception that the victim is to blame, instead creating a supportive network around the child, in which they feel able to speak openly about concerns they may have.

 Running from 24 August until 30 August, topics such as online gaming, youth produced sexual images and online bullying will be covered in a series of online livestreams, podcasts and videos. Information on the subjects covered, along with links to various resources, can be found here:

 Southend-on-Sea Borough Council was recently shortlisted for an MJ Local Government Achievement Award in the category of “Transforming Lives” for their See The Signs project, which looks to safeguard children and young people at risk of exploitation. This online specific campaign will form part of See The Signs for the borough of Southend-on-Sea.

 Anne Jones, cabinet member for children and learning at Southend-on-Sea Borough Council said: “The use of the internet has become commonplace in all walks of life, especially during the coronavirus pandemic. Using social media and mobile apps to communicate is second nature to many children these days.

 “However, many children and parents are not fully aware of the dangers. Online exploitation is a horrific crime and can have a significant impact on the lives of the individuals, families and communities involved.

“I am pleased that Southend-on-Sea Borough Council, along with other local authorities, Essex Police and partner organisations across Essex, are tackling the subject as part of our See The Signs campaign. We hope the content planned for the week will help parents to recognise the signs of online exploitation and enable them to feel more informed when talking to their children about the risks.

“Together we can support children and parents to be aware of the dangers and know there is someone to talk to if they’re worried or concerned.”




Essex-wide campaign aims to raise awareness of online child exploitation

The council’s cabinet (item 13, Tuesday 15 September) is to consider starting a formal consultation on the potential amalgamation of Chalkwell Hall Infants School and Chalkwell Hall Junior School.

 Both are local authority maintained schools and operate from the same site.

 Cllr Anne Jones, cabinet member for children and learning, says: “Following the resignation of the junior school headteacher prior to the start of the new term, and as is usual practice, a review has started.

 “This includes considering whether the potential amalgamation of both schools should be considered, in the best interests of the pupils and community.

 “The cabinet report sets out that current Council policy supports amalgamation of separate infant and junior schools that operate on the same site where possible. It also highlights the potential benefits, including improved outcomes for pupils over time, and the fact that parents at the end of year two will no longer need to apply for admission to the junior school. The report also acknowledges the sensitivities of the process.

“It should be highlighted that this is only the very start of the process, and cabinet are only being asked to consider whether consultation should take place. If cabinet agree next week, the first stage would be to consult the community and relevant parties in the local area. This consultation would be over a four week period during term time in November 2020.”

 If a consultation is agreed and takes place, the outcome would be considered at a future cabinet meeting, when a decision will be taken on whether to progress with the amalgamation of both schools.




Plans to build the second phase of a combined academic and cultural facility in the heart of Southend could be wound down as a result of the Covid19 Pandemic.

 The Forum II is a joint project between South Essex College and Southend-on-Sea Borough Council was due to be built in the next year, opening to students and the public in September 2021.

Councillors in Southend-on-Sea Borough Councils cabinet will consider a report on 15 September recommending that the project be brought to a conclusion and that funding secured towards part-funding its delivery be handed back to the South East Local Enterprise Partnership to be redistributed to other projects elsewhere in the region in accordance with the funding agreement.

 The report outlines how both the council and the college have concerns regarding the impact of Covid19 and the costs associated with the project. The college also has some uncertainties regarding the requirements for teaching space in light of recent events.

 As a result of this, the council and college no longer consider the project viable in its current form and will instead work to find other ways of achieving the intended outcomes of the project. These are:


·             supporting the Southend economy, and particularly the cultural and creative sector, through skills development and provision of performance and workspace;


·             increasing the opportunities for residents, visitors and businesses to engage with the cultural sector thereby improving quality of life;


·             investing in and activating space in the town centre; and


·             anchoring Southend in the Thames Estuary Production Corridor.


Angela O’Donoghue, Principal and Chief Executive of South Essex College, said: “The situation we are all in is unprecedented and unfortunately at this stage we are uncertain about the impacts of the pandemic and other financial factors on the college and the council.

 “A number of our funding streams have been hit for example apprenticeship starts. Hopefully this will only be a short-term issue but we need to be cautious.

 “We have therefore, in agreement with the council, decided not to continue with the project at this stage.”

 Cllr Kevin Robinson, cabinet member for business, culture and tourism, said: “Clearly this is going to be a very difficult decision to have to take.

 “With so much uncertainty now surrounding the future delivery of higher education in the wake of the Covid19 pandemic – combined with constraints around when grant funding towards the project needs to be spent – we need to ensure we make the right decision for the current climate and circumstances.

“We need to be mindful of the risk of starting construction of such a large building while question marks now hang over the need for the teaching space and therefore the long-term financial viability of the project.

 “Officers have looked at whether it might be possible to deliver the project with a different partner, or indeed whether it would be possible to go it alone without the college, but have concluded that to do so would be too great a financial risk for the Council-tax-payer. That would be in nobody’s interest.

 “A great deal of hard work has been put into bringing the project to the stage it is currently at, however I will discuss the report and its recommendations with my cabinet colleagues next week and we will make the decision we believe to be best for our town.”



Covid could halt Forum II plans

Cabinet to consider consultation on amalgamation of Chalkwell Hall schools

The council’s Cabinet are set to discuss proposals to introduce a discounted parking pass across the town in a bid to boost the local retail and leisure sectors.

A report will be considered by Cabinet (item 12, Tuesday 15 September) which sets out a proposed trial period for what is being branded The Southend Pass.

Officers have recommended trialling a borough-wide pass priced at £8.50 a month for a period of 12 months, running from 1 April 2021 – 31 March 2022. The trial period would allow officers the opportunity to review the financial impact, as well as the take-up of the scheme.

 The aim of the proposals is to provide three hours parking every day in any council-owned car park or on-street pay-and-display bays, for a flat monthly rate of £8.50. It is hoped this would encourage residents to use their local shops and leisure facilities more often, boosting the local economy while saving families money.

The report also sets out plans to create four categories of parking ‘zones’, based on each areas levels of residential and business parking. Southend Pass permit holders would be able to park for up to three hours per day in each ‘zone’.

Additionally, there is a recommendation to extend the buy one-hour, get one-hour free parking scheme aimed at short stay customers. Originally set to come to an end on 30 September, the report recommends extending this offer until 31 March 2021 in a bid to entice residents and visitors to continue shopping locally and support the recovery from COVID-19.

Customers buying a one-hour parking ticket will get their second hour free in all council-owned car parks. The offer only applies to the one-hour parking band, or the two-hour parking band in the Fairheads Green and Gasworks car parks (buy two hours and get one hour free). It is also recommended that free parking after 4pm ends on 30 September as agreed at June’s cabinet, with charging and enforcement times returning to normal.

Cllr Ron Woodley, cabinet member for transport, capital and inward investment, said: “Introducing the Southend Pass has long been an ambition of mine and I am delighted to present these proposals to the Council’s cabinet.

 “Parking charges are an important factor in when and where people decide to shop and spend their leisure time. As a visitor town, we want to ensure that the cost of visitor parking contributes to the enormous cost of maintaining clean beaches and visitor facilities. But at the same time, we want it to be affordable for residents to regularly use the town’s shops and leisure facilities, which is so important for local trade, especially outside the visitor season.

 “This scheme is still in its early stages but there’s a lot to be excited about. The Southend Pass, alongside the extension of the one-hour free parking scheme, has the potential to get local people back into our shops and leisure centres and provide the welcome boost our economy needs after months of uncertainty throughout the Coronavirus pandemic.”

In addition to considering the introduction of the Southend Pass, cabinet will review recommendations for a review on how the various permit schemes available in the borough could be reduced to create a more refined permit scheme. Discussions will also be had around the digitisation of the parking service in Southend and also a review of the Traffic Regulations Order (TRO) database.

 Cllr Woodley added: “The cabinet will also be looking more generally at how we can improve the existing permit schemes available to local residents. As it stands, we have 60 different permit options, and the recommendation suggests reducing this to eight core permits. This is alongside further work around creating a simplified, yet effective, way of managing parking matters across the whole borough.”





Discounted parking scheme to be discussed by Cabinet

The council’s cabinet are to discuss development proposals to build Council homes on land adjacent to Lundy Close, Eastwood.

A report to be considered by cabinet (item 18, Tuesday 15 September) sets out three options for development on vacant land at Lundy Close, including a preferred option which would see between nine and 12 homes being built on the northern plot of land, all of which would be council housing.

The Lundy Close project is Phase 4 of the HRA Land Review project which is part of the council’s approved housing strategy. Approved in January 2019, phase 4 follows the development of other council housing across the Borough, including Ashanti Close and Rochford Road.

 Cllr Ian Gilbert, leader of the council with responsibility for housing, said: “The proposed development of land at Lundy Close forms one part of the vital HRA Land Review project which has identified potential areas suitable to deliver much needed council housing across the Borough.

“We are aware of the concerns raised by local residents at the initial consultation stage about this site, many of whom use part of the three pieces of land for leisure activities such as dog walking and playing with their children.

“We have listened to those concerns and that is why our preferred option for a smaller number of new homes is being presented.

“We feel this option strikes a balance between keeping green space readily available for residents, whilst also working towards the incredibly challenging Government targets for house building and delivering more council housing across the Borough.

“I look forward to discussing this in detail with fellow Cabinet members. It is important to stress that any decision made by Cabinet on the options will need to be taken to the council’s Development Control Committee before any work can take place.

“Moving forwards, ward members and local residents will continue to be fully engaged in the project.”



Lundy Close development options set to be discussed by Cabinet

Sandra Freeman

1809 The Royal Opera House opened, in Covent Garden, Central London. It is the home of The Royal Opera, The Royal Ballet, and the Orchestra of the Royal Opera House The current building is the third theatre on the site following disastrous fires in 1808 and 1857.