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Six more pledges unanimously agreed - the 2023 manifesto debates are complete!

Updated: Mar 13, 2023

So, it is done.


Our manifesto 2023 has been a year in the making and built directly from Southend residents.


Our final pledges are:


  • Opposing parking charges in our parks

This is wrong on both a moral level and a financial one. The charges are after one hour and three hours depending on the park. There is no on absolute figure of how much this will generate, therefore, any statements from the administration that it had to be done to pay for items within the budget (often social care is quoted as the go-to) is impossible. Conceivably, every resident may never choose to stay in the carparks beyond the limit 'earning' the council zero. Once this is approved, it will be then that the free hours will be reduced and the prices increased. What will definitely happen is that people will park in residential areas creating more problems. They are public parks for people to enjoy for free.


  • Opposing 10% increases in council fees and charges and opposing increases in council rents

10% increases in council fees and charges will include some of the following: allotments, bereavement services, sporting venues, administration, licenses, and waste collection. In a self-declared 'Cost of Living Emergency' by this administration just last year, putting council rents up by any amount is wrong. If anything they should be coming down. This council enacted the policy to pay the living wage, but increasing a person's wages then taking if away serves what purpose exactly?


  • Opposing PSPOs that would give the council additional powers unnecessarily

We already have laws that provide enough powers to ensure a safe environment for people. The problem has always been the lack of police numbers required to enforce the laws we currently have.


  • Introducing a Southend-wide discount card specifically for Southend residents


  • Running a public consultation for what should be at the end of the Pier. We intend to finally sort out what is the biggest wasted opportunity in the city.


And there are two more motions that are expected to be carried out in the next few days:


  • Opposing the vehicle fines within the 15-minute City in the event the council attempts to introduce it


  • A new policy on how our libraries are managed


I cannot thank enough all those Southend residents who have given up their time to join in the discussions. Thank you also to the Camelia Hotel, The Bellhouse, Cobham Lodge, The Ironworks, Molo Lounge, and the Old Walnut for providing such great venues for our debates.


Every single policy has been unanimously agreed upon by every member who attended the meetings.


I must admit, when we first set out our ‘Undivided Democracy’ where all members have to vote unanimously for a policy to go through, even I was a touch concerned if we would ever be able to put anything on the manifesto!


I believed then that most people agree on most things most of the time because most things are common sense. This turned out to be almost true as we managed our way through some difficult debates. What I did feel is that everyone who attended felt like their position was heard and that because their vote could stop a motion single-handedly from passing, the interest and engagement was was fully on.


Oddly, this meeting was rather easy to agree as some of the council's budget policies are overreaching and wholly misguided. It is the unsellable budget and the only way they will get away with it is if the national Tories fail to reconnect to their voters and the current administration get in by being the least worst party. Alternatively there the Confelicity party!


Manifesto 2023 Meeting Wednesday, March 8th 2023 The Bellhouse: 7pm to 9.15pm Present: Members James Miller, Melissa Aylott, Connor Bines, Bianca Isherwood, Simon Jones, Sim Spooner, Jane Wilkes, Jon Humphrys, Rob Cammidge, Lee Clark and Ingram Monk Guests Debbie Pang, Carla Petrini, Chris Dickens, Lara Lawson, Max, Trevor Campbell, Sarah, Lorraine Wilder, Gary Bush, Robert, Sid (Lee), Jason, Helen Miller, and Adam Apologies for absence: Sian Evans-Jack, Michael Arkas-Binder, Linzi Arkas-Binder, Tommy Taylor, Scott Rose, Deano Harris-Eckett, Lee Clarke, Dee Curtis, Kevin, Brian Ayling, Kayleigh Burgess Introduction James welcomed all to the meeting and briefly mentioned about the standing orders and that the meeting would be filmed live for social media. James also thank Sim (The Bellhouse Manager and Head Chef and Eastwood candidate) for arranging the venue. Contents Introduction. 1 Manifesto 2023 Debate. 3 1. Are you against new parking charges in Chalkwell Park, Priory Park, Southchurch Park, Jones Memorial, Big Gunners and Belfairs Park?. 3 2. Are you against charging for toilets?. 4 3. Are you against the council’s 10% increase in fees and charges?. 5 4. Are you against the council’s increase in rents?. 6 5. Do you support putting the street lights back up to 100%?. 7 6. Are you against tree-felling when the tree is healthy and the primary reason is development?. 8 7. Are you against the vehicle fines within 15-minute city concept?. 10 8. Do you support the council’s PSPO order on the seafront that gives powers to stop cruisers and others who participate in anti-social behaviour?. 11 9. Do you support the majority of grammar school places going to local people, with local defined by a set criteria?. 12 10. What should go at the end of the Pier?. 14 11. Do you support the introduction of a local resident’s discount card for parking, shops and leisure activities?. 15 12. Do you support investment in libraries as an urgent priority?. 16 13. Q&A about Confelicity. 16 14. Addendum.. 17 14.1 Local Elections 2023. 17 Candidate selections. 17 Manifesto 2023 Debate 1. Are you against new parking charges in Chalkwell Park, Priory Park, Southchurch Park, Jones Memorial, Big Gunners and Belfairs Park? Voting Members


Melissa 100 Connor: 100 Bianca: 100 Simon: 100 Jane: 100 Sim: 100 Lee: 100 Rob: 100 James: 100


Guests


Debbie: 100 Carla: 100 Chris Dickens: 100 Lara: 100 Max: 100 Trev: 100 Sarah: 100 Lorraine: 100 Gary: 100 Robert: 100 Sid: 100 Helen: 100


Result 100% of members voted to oppose this policy The strength of the vote was 100% (mean average) Guests were also 100% and the strength of the vote was 100% Conclusion The council’s policy to charge for parking in parks was unanimously voted against by members, therefore, this will go into the manifesto. 2. Are you against charging for toilets? The Council are looking into an outsourcing for a toilet company who would then charge for the toilets. Comments Sim: where are they? Will the charges help look after them? Possibly provide job? Simon: This would possibly bring money in from tourism. Max: if you start charging, then those that cannot pay will go in inappropriate areas. We pay council taxes so this should be looked after. Voting Members


Melissa 90 Connor: 95 Bianca: 100 Simon: 85 Jane: 90 Sim: 45 Lee: 100 Rob: 70 James: 100 Jon: 100


Guests


Debbie: Carla: 100 Krissy: 100 Lara: 100 Max: 100 Trev: 100 Sarah: 100 Lorraine: 100 Gary: 100 Robert: Sid: 100 Helen: 100


Result 90% of members voted to oppose this policy The strength of the vote was 84% (mean average) Guests were also 100% and the strength of the vote was 100% Conclusion The council’s future policy to charge for toilets was not unanimously voted against by members, therefore, this will not go into the manifesto. 3. Are you against the council’s 10% increase in fees and charges? The Council’s agreed budget will put all fees and charges up 10% ‘in line with inflation’. This directly contradicts the Councils self-declared ‘Cost of Living Emergency’. Comments Sim: Wants to know more, and would be against until we can see where our money is going. Voting Members


Melissa: 100 Connor: 100 Bianca: 100 Simon: 95 Jane: 90 Sim: 90 Lee: 100 Rob: 90 James: 100 Jon: 100


Guests


Debbie: 60 Carla: 90 Chris Dickens: 100 Lara: 100 Max: 100 Trev: 100 Sarah: 100 Lorraine: 100 Gary: 90 Robert: 100 Sid: 100 Helen: 10




Results 100% of members voted to oppose this policy The strength of the vote was 96% (mean average) Guests were also 100% and the strength of the vote was 94% Conclusion The council’s policy to increase rents was unanimously voted against by members, therefore, this will go into the manifesto. 4. Are you against the council’s increase in rents? Voting Members




Melissa: 100 Connor: 100 Bianca: 100 Simon: 100 Jane: 100 Sim: 100 Lee: 100 Rob: 90 James: 100 Jon: 100


Guests


Debbie: 100 Carla: 100 Krissy: 100 Lara: 100 Max: 100 Trev: 100 Sarah: 100 Lorraine: 100 Gary: 100 Robert: 100 Sid: 100 Helen: 100


Results 100% of members voted to oppose this policy The strength of the vote was 98% (mean average) Guests were also 100% and the strength of the vote was 94% Conclusion The council’s policy to increase rents was unanimously voted against by members, therefore, this will go into the manifesto. 5. Do you support putting the street lights back up to 100%? Comments The council were looking to save £25K to dim the street lights. What was unknown until recently is that the street lights had already been dimmed since around 2014 and no one at the council knew how this came to be. The council have reversed their decision to reduce them further with some members of the council citing that no one has noticed so what difference does it make. James said there has been no review into the correlation between accidents on the road or criminal activity so currently no one actually knows the affect. What we do know is that the likelihood of both will increase. One member said that it is the thin end of the wedge where in other authorities they are turned off the lights altogether. Gary mentioned that one serious accident would be more costly than the saving made on any dimming of the lights. Simon mentioned about the need to save energy. Voting Members




Melissa: 40 Connor: 75 Bianca: 50 Simon: 49 Jane: 40 Sim: 49 Lee: 100 Rob: 40 James: 100


Guests:


Debbie: 60 Carla: 90 Krissy: 60 Lara: 90 Max: 50 Trev: 70 Sarah: 70 Lorraine: 50 Gary: 100 Robert: 49 Sid: 90 Helen: 49




Results 50% of members voted to support this policy The strength of the vote was 64% (mean average) 83% of guests supported the policy and the strength of the vote was 69% Conclusion The council’s policy to keep the street lights on to 100% was not unanimously voted for by members, therefore, this will not go into the manifesto. 6. Are you against tree-felling when the tree is healthy and the primary reason is development? Comments The motion is to prevent situations like the 300 year Oaktree cut down in Rochford to make way for flats. When they are healthy we should not remove them. It depends on the development and how important it is for Southend Voting Members




Melissa: 50 Connor: 90 Bianca: 90 Simon: 50 Jane: 79 Sim: 50 Lee: 100 Rob: 20 James: 100 Jon: 50




Guests


Debbie: 100 Carla: 100 Krissy: 100 Lara: 50 Max: 60 Trev: 80 Sarah: 100 Lorraine: 100 Gary: 95 Robert: 100 Sid: 90 Helen: 100




Results 90% of members voted to support this policy The strength of the vote was 67% (mean average) 100% of guests supported the policy and the strength of the vote was 90% Conclusion The proposal to prevent tree-felling when the tree is healthy and the primary reason is development was not unanimously voted for by members, therefore, this will not go into the manifesto. 7. Are you against the vehicle fines within 15-minute city concept? Comment According to reports, Southend are signed up as part of the 100 cities that are looking into 15-cities. Despite councillors denying this to be true, ‘Quiet Streets’ have been mentioned by Portfolio Holders at council meetings and they are linked to LTNs (Low Traffic Neighbourhoods), which are directly linked with the 15-minute concept. James explained that this vote was specific to the vehicle fines within the 15-minute concept and not the 15-minute city concept itself. He said that ideally, we would like clean air, lower traffic and better public facilities to be nearer. It was that setting up dividing up Southend into eight districts, setting up multi-million pound automatic camera systems across the city .and fining drivers every time they move from one district to another is wrong. Furthermore, households would only be allowed to use their car 100 times within their own district. Voting




Melissa: 100 Connor: 100 Bianca: 100 Simon: 100 Jane: 100 Sim: 80 Jon: 40 Rob:100 James: 100 Lee: 100


Guests


Debbie: 80 Carla: 100 Krissy: 100 Lara: 100 Max: 100 Trev: 100 Sarah: 100 Lorraine: 100 Gary: 100 Robert: 100 Sid: 100 Helen: 100


Results 90% of members voted to support this policy The strength of the vote was 92% (mean average) 100% of guests supported the policy and the strength of the vote was 98% Conclusion The proposal to prevent fining drivers to drive through eight districts within Southend was not unanimously voted for by members, therefore, this will not go into the manifesto. Jon, as the member who did not support this motion, was open to discussing with James how this might be approached as he said was too was against fining drivers within this motion, but was not against fining motorists in general where necessary. 8. Do you support the council’s PSPO order on the seafront that gives powers to stop cruisers and others who participate in anti-social behaviour?




Voting Members


Melissa: 1 Connor: 1 Bianca: 1 Simon: 1 Jane: 1 Sim: 1 Jon: 3 Rob: 1 James: 2 Lee:


Guests


Debbie: 5 Carla: 1 Krissy: 3 Lara: 1 Max: 1 Trev: 8 Sarah: 1 Lorraine: 1 Gary: 1 Robert: 1 Sid: 1 Helen: 1


Results 100% of members voted against this policy The strength of the vote against this policy was 98.70% (mean average). 1.30% was the actual mean average of the vote. 100% of guests were against this policy and the strength of the vote was 98% Conclusion The council’s proposal to bring in a Public Space Protection Order (PSPO) on the seafront was unanimously opposed, therefore, this will go into the manifesto. 9. Do you support the majority of grammar school places going to local people, with local defined by a set criteria? Comments James said that this proposal was to recognise that local schools should be used by local people and not those who live in London. Currently, many grammar school places are reserved for those outside the city. He recognises that all schools should be given equal resources and so grammar schools should not be needed. However, he does not want to change the current grammar schools in Southend as they are successful. Simon said that the majority of places was already given to Southend pupils. James said that he wanted to 99% of places to go to Southend and its border such as Great Wakering, Rochford, Canvey, Benfleet, etc. Jane: against Grammar Schools completely. Simon: seems that you need to be tutored in order to pass the 11+ and get in. Max: if they meet the marks. Connor: makes those that do not get in feel ‘unworthy’ of a good education. Not fair. Those local should get priority. Voting Members




Melissa: 100 Connor: 80 Bianca: 70 Simon: 90 Jane: 50 Sim: 55 Jon: 25 Rob: 100 James: 100 Lee: 100


Guests


Debbie: 90 Carla: 80 Krissy: 85 Lara: 85 Max: 80 Trev: 70 Sarah: 60 Lorraine: 60 Gary: 100 Robert: 70 Ingram: 90 Sid: Helen: 80


Results 90% of members voted against this policy The strength of the vote was 72% (mean average). 100% of guests were against this policy and the strength of the vote was 98% Conclusion The proposal to reserve grammar school places for local children was not was not unanimously voted by members, therefore, this will not go into the manifesto. 10. What should go at the end of the Pier? Comments


- Deck Chairs / Sun Decks - Mirror Brighton - Bars - Golf (with biodegradable balls) - Clay shooting - Sealife - Ice Cream - Music events - Get Schools involved - Childrens area - Something educations - Gramma School - Reduce the cost - Youth club - Shows - Use the room that is there - Diversity group - Pub - Bowling - Arcades - Putty - Ticketed events - Outdoor movies - Rides - Hot Dog Van - Swimming Pool - Free Toilets




A motion was raised to have a public consultation as to what Southend residents would like to see at the end of The Pier. This was agreed unanimously and will go into the manifesto.


11. Do you support the introduction of a local resident’s discount card for parking, shops and leisure activities? Voting


Melissa: 100 Connor: 100 Bianca: 100 Simon: 100 Jane: 100 Sim: 100 Jon: 93 Rob: 90 James: 100 Lee: 100


Guests


Debbie: 90 Carla: 100 Krissy: 40 (if digital) Lara: 90 Max: 70 Trev: 100 Sarah: 90 Lorraine: 100 Gary: 100 Robert: 80 __: 90 Sid: 75 Jason: 75 Helen: 100 Adam: 75






Results 100% of members voted against this policy The strength of the vote was 93% (mean average). 93% of guests were for this policy and the strength of the vote was 85% Conclusion The proposal to introduce a discount card specifically for Southend residents was unanimously voted by members, therefore, this will go into the manifesto. 12. Do you support investment in libraries as an urgent priority? Simon will send over specific policies in which the investment would be used for.




13. Q&A about Confelicity The Name?


It means ‘happiness in others happiness’.

The Emblem?

Made by a local artist. Wanted to give them an opportunity.

Plan in the upcoming elections?

17 candidates across the 17 wards.

James and Jon standing in the General Election.

Is the Manifesto done?

Not complete, what has been voted today will get added. Simons addition and then will go out.

Suggestion to cut it down. Trevor suggested, bullet points.

Everyone welcome to join the campaign meetings at 1800 Mondays for 30 minutes on zoom









14. Addendum


14.1 Local Elections 2023


Confelicity will be standing 17 candidates in all 17 wards.

Candidate selections


1. James Miller: Leigh

2. Jon Humphrys: Victoria

3. Nicky Gilbert: St Lawrence

4. Brian Ayling: St Luke’s

5. Jane Wilkes: West Leigh

6. Melissa Aylott: Thorpe

7. Michael Arkas-Binder: West Shoebury

8. Linzi Arkas-Binder: Chalkwell

9. Lizzie Smith: Belfairs

10. Sian Evans-Jack: Blenheim Park

11. Dean Eckett-Harris: Southchurch

12. Lee Clark: Kursaal

13. Connor Bines: Westborough

14. Simon Jones: Prittlewell

15. Simon Spooner: Eastwood

16. Dee Curtis: Milton

17. Kayleigh Burgess: Shoeburyness


Parliamentary Candidates for the General Election


Southend West: James Miller

Rochford and Southend East: Jon Humphrys






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