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Two atrocious parking polices abolished for now - just.

Updated: Jul 29, 2023

Place Scrutiny CommitteeMonday, 24th July 2023 at 6:30pm 

The Labour, Liberal Democrat and Independent Group budget agreed to charge the public to park in our local parks before the last election. It wasn't in any of their literature or manifesto. Had they been successful you would have been poorer - in many different ways - for it.

To be clear, this was every public park across Southend, from Gunners to Belfairs, no park was to avoid the charge.

After a backlash from the public, the council then voted to reverse the charge. Thus, the Conservatives in this meeting, as promised, were acting on the will of the council to do just that.


You might think the situation to be cut and dry, but the Labour, Liberals and Indies were doing their level best to scupper the change.

One after another they each spoke about where the money was going to come from and bemoaned the fact that the leader of the council could not be exact in his answer.

They ventured into stories of how the grass won’t be cut and the graffiti wouldn't be removed from the walls.  It felt apocalyptic, and they duly voted to reference the paper back in order to save the world.

Fortunately, the vote was tied 8 to 8 and the Chairman, with his deciding vote, cast it in favour of the passing the paper through.


All they did was serve to remind everyone that they were the instigators of charging in parks.  The excuses used to reference the paper back were perhaps valid on some levels, but I would have thought they might have suggested ideas of where the money would come from rather than slow the whole process down - it is £18.5K after all.  With all their access to the budgets I am certain some inspiration might have come to them!

The Myth

To compound matters, they had told us all that they had to introduce parking charges from 6pm to 9pm on the seafront.

Now, I am directly affected by this in my professional life so my bias is quite obvious, but so is every other Southend resident and visitor!  And the Tories have now proven the Lab, Lib and Indies did not have to implement this, so why then did they do it?

Members of the former coalition mentioned that we’d all like free parking, but the realities are such that we just can’t.  Evidence now suggests they did not try hard enough.

They have been embarrassed and shown up.  Everything they said couldn’t be done is being done.

They voted, once again, to reference the paper back, and slow the process to continue to charge.  By the grace of common sense and decency, they lost.


It just shows how important it is to have the right people in power.

On these issues the Tories are doing really well and they must be congratulated for cleaning up the mess.

The previous administration are making them look so good right now, and someone in Labour needs to take the lead and say stop. We were wrong.  Southend do not want us reaching into their pockets and stealing more money from them, especially given it is a cost of living crisis as self-declared.

I just don’t want anyone to forget this.  It would have had a huge impact of business and jobs and we were saved by the skin of our teeth.

As a mere member of the public, I cannot understand the background wars between people and parties, but there was most certainly a lot off with the exchanges in this meeting that felt the politics coming first.

Labour should have flown past the Tories in the last local elections, but their stubborn approach to their ill conceived budget setting cost them dearly.  They might stand a strong chance next time round given the plight of the national Tories if they somehow manage to get themselves out of this quagmire they have created. As it stands, I believe they have decision makers at the top of the party that are clinging onto remnants of a budget that should never have even made it onto to the chopping block, and will see them continue to lose support from residents.

Their pursuit of showing up the Tory leader makes them look petulant and confirms that as this time they must not return to power in 2024.

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Tris Bee
Tris Bee
28 lip 2023

Everything I have been saying for such a long time James Sir.

I've simply not been able to able to put it across as well as you just have.

As Confeliciiy candidate 2024, of course I'm biased, but I agree fully as it's exactly my thoughts and beliefs.

Living proof with Confeliciiy, why my pledge to Chalkwell s electorate, YOU talk, WE listen.

Here's to 2024.

Best wishes,

Tris Bembridge

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