Posted by: iangilbert | June 10, 2010

Anna Waite’s Tower Block Plan

Councillor Waite has confirmed what we always knew:

http://www.councilbust.com/2010/06/10/anna-waite-voices-support-for-‘well-designed’-tower-blocks/

Almost inevitably Councillor Waite’s view – which Labour councillors highlighted during the campaign, will mean more proposals for tower blocks in Victoria Ward.

It just goes to reinforce my opinion that the Conservatives pay far more attention to the living standards of people in places like Leigh or Thorpe than they do to those of people living close to the town centre. Quite frankly I would rather see a modest intensification fairly spread in different parts of the borough than more high-rise development in the centre of town. I have always supported sensible development of affordable housing – whether it is in Victoria Ward or elsewhere (I’ve recently supported reasonable housing developments in North Road and Sweyne Avenue for example) but high-rise is not the answer.

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Responses

  1. It’s all well and good to decry Anna Waite’s opinion that high rise buildings are the answer to Southend’s acute housing problems; I myself have left a dissenting view over on councilbust, but to her credit, she’s making suggestions. What would the Labour councillors that I voted for do to make things better? Anna Waite raised the point of significant parking problems; I highlighted this in an e-mail to Margaret Borton a couple of weeks ago, she didn’t even give me the courtesy of a response. I am a Victoria Ward resident; the roads around here /are/ choked with cars. Indiscriminate granting of dropped kerbs have given the advantage to people that have paved over perfectly good gardens, effectively giving themselves two parking spaces and deprived every other resident of one. We need ever more space and something has to give. What do we do if we can’t build out any more? The only way, sadly, is up. Hopefully the past 40 odd years of high-rise mistakes will have been learned.

    • Margaret has received your email and we’re looking in to the issue you raise regarding PVXs. Thanks for your support in the elections.

      There have been huge amounts of new development in Southend in the last decade. The problem has been that most of it hasn’t been affordable for local people in Southend, so we still have a huge waiting list and people living in dreadful conditions. The overwhelming view of the Conservatives is that we have to be grateful for anything that developers choose to build, even in the prosperous times when they were making a killing. We have a target of 30% affordable housing in each new build and don’t come close to achieving it – London insists on 50% for example.

      I’d advocate much tougher targets on affordable housing, swifter action on properties lying empty (the council is starting to make use of our empty homes legislation but progress has been painfully slow) and modest intensification on sites spread out. If for example you think you can make a big difference to the housing problem with four more twelve storey blocks in the town centre – you could achieve the same with twelve four storey blocks spread throughout the borough – that isn’t even one per ward.


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