Southend Standard Column

Ordinarily my column is focused around what I have been doing since the last column, either activity in Parliament or in Southend. However, over the last couple of weeks the majority of my time has been spent speaking to residents on the door step in the run up to the local elections next week.

It is very easy to become complacent about the huge successes we have across Southend, particularly when you use the services daily and live or work here. However, when you are walking up a drive way and about to knock on a door you have to have take stock and be ready to talk about the fantastic achievements there have been locally.

So, over the past couple of weeks I have given it some thought and the minute you start thinking about the successes, they just keep coming!

The first thing that springs to mind is the airport. The expansion of the airport has generated jobs locally. Not just at the airport but also the new train station. With the continuing expansion of the departure destinations comes increased tourism which will support our businesses and tourism trade.

There have been the four major investment projects across Southend, three were infrastructure improvement projects at Cuckoo Corner, Progress Road and Victoria Gateway and the fourth being City Beach. City Beach has totally transformed the sea front.

The varied and all encompassing educational facilities we have in the town ranging from Vocational learning right the way through to having four grammar schools.

We have the fantastic swimming pool facilities at Garons and to the West of the Town we will be hosting the mountain biking at Hadleigh for the Olympics.

In addition to blue flag beaches, Southend has been rated one of the cleanest places in the UK and has been awarded a 5* rating by the Clean Britain Awards. More recently Southend has been awarded a purple flag for being a safe place to visit after to dark the first purple flag to be awarded in Essex.

Southend Council was awarded Council of the Year, so it goes to show, it isn’t just me who believes in our town. This has been recognised externally. Southend is a fantastic place to live and work.