2018 was good, let’s make 2019 even better

Now the Christmas decorations have been put away and the New Year’s party gloom has shifted we now can reflect on the year that is now behind us.

Personally I have been embedded in the Army to see first-hand what they are doing on a daily basis to keep us safe, and have become the chair of the committee responsible for the implementation of High Speed Rail 2.

In Southend as a whole we have seen several great things happening in 2018. This summer we experienced a record number of tourists who came to enjoy the sun which resulted in Southend becoming the best place in the country for a staycation. We also saw the first Gay Pride event in over 20 years showing that here in Southend we celebrate equality and I was proud to march alongside thousands of you on the final day along the high street to show my support for LGBT+ rights.

As the 100th anniversary of Armistice Day approached we saw many great events across our town to mark this occasion and show that we will always remember them. Towards the end of the year we saw our High Street busy again with shoppers in the lead up to Christmas, and thanks to the partnership working which began at the High Street Summit which I was able to attend the problems along our High Street are beginning to be replaced with positive stories.

Throughout the year we heard several positive news stories about people investing in our town from Ventrica to Southend Airport, showing a vote of confidence in our town which is fast becoming a place to invest. This in turn will create jobs and services for the residents of our town.

But now it is 2019, and we need to build on the success of 2018. We need to continue our work along the High Street, we must keep the investments coming into our town and we must keep our eye on the long-term prosperity of Southend. With Brexit offering us the opportunity to once again set our own destiny, let’s set Southend’s on a positive course.