Southend Gives Up…

It looks like that Southend Council is giving up any attempt to take over Rochford and Castle Point Districts. We’d heard rumours that this was the case, and now the Echo confirms it:

Southend Council cabinet members will be recommended at a meeting on Tuesday not to submit a bid for enlarged unitary status.

Under the latest Government White Paper on local government, councils could seek to increase their area of control if they submitted a bid by the end of this month.

In a report to the cabinet, chief executive Rob Tinlin said: “Southend could make a bid, either on its own or with others, for enlarged unitary status.”

He said while a bigger council covering south-east Essex could provide benefits through economies of scale, there was not enough time to generate support for a strong bid.

The claim here is that there would be ‘economies of scale’. What’s more likely is that money from Rochford and Castle Point would be poured into Southend to deal with its social problems, without actually achieving much. And our Green Belt would be up for grabs…

So we think this is good news – especially for our little website. After all , we’d hate to have to change our slogan to “onlineFOCUS – News and Stuff for North-West Southend

But more seriously- Southend has a ‘Cabinet’ type of structure, with only a few councillors – all Tories- having much influence. There might be no Rayleigh or Rochford councillors having an influence at all on policy or deciding planning applications if we were absorbed by Southend.

If you think we’re exagerating, read what the former Conservative MP Michael Clark said in 1999:

Cabinet control of local government is an ego trip for a select few councillors, Rayleigh MP Michael Clark said today.

The Conservative MP said: “If the cabinet style of local government came into being, councils would be run by a small group of super-councillors and it would change the whole style of local government.”

The Conservative MP felt the cabinet idea was “nothing more than a gigantic and expensive ego trip for those with most power.”