Green Party Southend Manifesto

Green Party Southend Manifesto

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INTRODUCTION

Our vision for Southend is of a more equal, compassionate area that protects the vulnerable, provides decent homes, education, and health services for all; and recognises the right of future generations to be protected from the ravages of climate change and environmental degradation.

The Green Party Southend Manifesto does not repeat the national Green Party manifesto, nor the policies available on the Party’s website; instead, it complements that material, setting out specific ways we will deliver Green Party policy in this area.

We have a clear opportunity to make Southend an area fit for the future, and we genuinely believe that our Manifesto is the most rational, most effective, and most responsible roadmap to becoming the pioneering community we all know it can be. Like Brighton, with the kind of dedication and ambition the Greens are known for, seaside towns like ours can become global leaders. We will achieve this in Southend.

Southend is not exempt from suffering from the national crises in housing, education, and healthcare, and meeting the ever-changing needs of our community is a task made more difficult by having a Local Authority without sufficient vision or determination to make the necessary changes to take us forward.

The Greens have been ceaselessly campaigning for better town planning in our borough for decades, winning against monstrous projects like the proposed Cliffslip Museum, which was dropped in 2018 thanks to our community-led campaign. Additionally, the Greens have been pivotal in organising and supporting community causes throughout the borough - from the mass demonstrations against the downgrading of our NHS services to the campaign to hold the Airport to account over needless and disruptive night flights; all causes that succeeded.

When elected, we will bring about a major shift in the direction of our town, and we will deliver the biggest change in council priorities in a century. From major investments in infrastructure to proactive measures to save our High Street - we are ready with the plans to make Southend fit for the future.

The power of having “a Green in the room” is incomparable. In neighbouring areas like Rochford, Colchester, and Witham, the proven record of our Green representatives is that we hold those in power to account, strive for better town planning, and we stand up for what matters.

Our elected officials will work to secure a fair and socially-responsible taxation regime that provides sufficient funding to maintain essential public services, including social care for the elderly and the disabled, and an excellent education system for every student.

Our elected officials will be open and progressive, financially responsible, and answerable to local residents. Genuine consultation will always take place before decision making, with an end to the secrecy that has dogged Local Government for decades.

In reading this, you’ve already taken the first step in finding out what our town could be.

Southend is ready for Better.
With your support, we can make that happen.

FOREWORD

By James Vessey-Miller, Coordinator of the South East Essex Green Party.

JVessey-Miller

The Green Party has been the fastest-growing political movement in Southend for some time. At every election, our simple messages of social and environmental justice have resonated with more voters in Southend. Broken promises and inaction on big issues have left many residents across Southend tired of the same old story from Labour and the Tories.

In the 2019 Local Elections, the Greens came within a handful of votes of winning our first ever Green Councillor on Southend Council, and in the 2019 European Parliamentary elections, the Green Party won more votes in Southend than both the Labour Party and the Conservatives. Positive change is coming.

Our committed and hardworking volunteers are already hard at work in our communities standing up for residents, winning impossible victories against developers, and fighting to make Southend a better town. Many local families who’ve never previously supported the Greens are pledging support for our vision of change.

When elected, residents will know that their vote was well-placed in trusting the Greens. Our long-overdue overhaul of the council will reshape our town almost overnight, securing more jobs, better homes, the best education for every student, and will make Southend-on-Sea a shining example of what a modern and sustainable town can look like.

Our Green Councillors and MPs are not whipped by the central Party line like others, and as such we are free to make informed and balanced decisions on local issues. We will always act in the best interests’ of our beloved town and the environment, and you can trust us to put partisan politics aside to follow science and expert advice in securing a fairer and cleaner town to benefit everyone.

I’m proud that this Green Party Southend Manifesto - the culmination of our continued years of listening to and working for the people of Southend - truly represents the inspiring vision that the Greens offer. Whilst other political parties busy themselves with needless and timewasting infighting, we’ve already been delivering results.

Now imagine what we’ll achieve when we’re elected to the Council. 

Our town needs a new direction.
We’re ready to take Southend into the modern era.


In this manifesto, The Green Party are proud to present our plan to take Southend forward.

If you have any further questions on the Green Party Southend Manifesto or any other queries, please do get in touch:

Further information on your local Green Party candidate can be found in the 'Our Candidates' section.

A full record of the Green Party’s national policies can be found on the Green Policy website:

Green Party Southend Manifesto - Better Housing & Ending Homelessness

Better Housing & Ending Homelessness

As a modern and forward-thinking area, we have the responsibility to look after the most vulnerable in our town and to build affordable and sustainable housing for local people, not for affluent property investors. 

For too long, Southend has seen sprawling low-quality high-profit developments built for investors, not our residents, and at a time when Southend has the eighth highest number of homeless people in the UK, and one of the worst social housing crises in the country, an urgent change in direction is required.

We will lead a dynamic change of council effort, away from the provision of high-profit luxury homes and apartments, to the creation of genuinely affordable and sustainable homes and new social-to-rent homes for our residents. We will lead the way in making sure all Southend’s residents have a safe, warm, and efficient place to call home.

We will continue our resolve in challenging unacceptable developments of high-cost and small space homes, and we will continue to defend against gentrification. We will protect our High Street by standing against the conversion of commercial space into residential units, and we will seek to bring empty residential homes back into use using the council’s own underused Empty Dwelling Management Order powers.

We will empower private sector rent tenants across the town by supporting a compulsory landlord licensing scheme, and by instigating and supporting new housing cooperatives and tenants unions. We will protect our town’s historic buildings against unnecessary demolition, and we will open Southend as a friendly and welcoming place for refugees and people seeking asylum. 

We will:

  • Support the renovation and/or construction of new high quality, well-insulated, spacious flats in central Southend close to public transport hubs or along public transport corridors;
  • Introduce a speedy and effective strategy to bring back into use empty private sector homes using the Council’s own underused EDMO powers;
  • Continue the compulsory purchase of empty dwellings across the borough, to be renovated and put into immediate use as social housing;
  • Fund a 24/7 365 night shelter service for the Homeless, supplementing privately-run, temporary, and emergency accommodation with an affordable, and reliable council-owned provision;
  • Adopt a “Permission to Occupy” scheme to permit homeless people to occupy unoccupied or derelict buildings until they are needed or can be renovated/replaced;
  • Support the development of local not-for-profit housing co-operatives and co-housing projects;
  • Protect against commercial units in the High Street being converted into residential units;
  • Give social housing tenants greater control over the management of their homes and neighbourhoods with the creation of new local Tenants’ Unions;
  • Improve the quality of housing stock to help reduce household bills with energy efficiency upgrades and water-saving devices;
  • Work to ensure that all housing built within the borough meets the various needs of those with physical, hidden, and learning disabilities;
  • Support the SEAL scheme, introduce a compulsory Landlord licensing scheme, and aggressively pursue bad landlords using the full force of council powers;
  • Work to improve conditions in sheltered housing schemes; work with local care and repair agencies to make the best use of disabled facilities grants, and help older people access grants and loans to make their homes more energy-efficient and reduce winter deaths;
  • Oppose subdividing houses into multi-occupancy flats; except where an unusually large property is to be subdivided and where the flats will make comfortable dwellings;
  • Refuse to evict council tenants in rent arrears arising solely from the Bedroom Tax or complications with Universal Credit;
  • Oppose “right to buy” legislation being extended to housing associations;
  • Prioritise the re-use of buildings of local significance in the first instance, rather than allow their demolition;
  • Conduct an audit of the town’s Locally Listed Buildings, seeking to include a full list of buildings of architectural or historic interest, and work to enable heritage and conservation groups to make use of appropriate available funding;
  • Develop a local asylum policy to welcome, settle and integrate refugees and asylum seekers;
  • Protect Green Belt land and green spaces from development, focussing development on brownfield sites;
  • Restrict the conversion and spread of short-term holiday-let homes or AirBnB property development; 
  • Explicitly prioritise denser housing developments on brownfield land with development of about 100 dwellings per hectare (a similar density to Kuursal ward) to bring new sustainable homes and jobs to existing underused sites
Green Party Southend Manifesto - A Green Energy Revolution

A Green Energy Revolution

While it might not be a priority in the opinions of other political parties, we think Southend has the capacity to be a pioneer in renewable energy implementation. The clear advantages, both financially and socially, now make these schemes not only commercially viable options but in fact also a civic responsibility.

Our Green Party Southend Manifesto sets out clear goals for how we would take the urgent steps in making Southend Borough self-sufficient in terms of energy consumption, and how through a commitment to unprecedented investment, we will ensure that Southend is ready for the low carbon future that will be demanded of us.

We support the not-for-profit ‘Southend Energy Company’ and encourage the promotion of renewable energy switching as part of that scheme. We will seek and support the construction of a new appropriately-located wind farm to the north of the town, we will aggressively pursue the installation of other environmentally conscious green energy generation technologies throughout the town, whilst reducing inefficiency, and championing large scale decarbonisation and fossil fuel divestment.

We will:

  • Aim for net energy independence by 2025 by financing and installing large-scale renewable energy generation technologies across the borough, and by encouraging the uptake of such technologies by residents and businesses;
  • Vigorously promote and install Solar Photovoltaic (PV) technologies, using the roofs of all civic buildings and schools;
  • Install Solar PV, small wind turbines, and energy storage devices along Southend Pier, generating surplus power for local seafront businesses;
  • Encourage business and private residents to install Solar PV, solar-thermal panels, ground and air source heat pumps, biomass boilers, and other renewable technologies;
  • Ensure all new residential and commercial structures meet the highest thermal insulation targets, and ensure that all new large developments built in the borough are zero-carbon;
  • Investigate the viability of implementing wind-based electricity generation technologies along our busiest roads;
  • Deliver higher energy conservation standards in new and existing buildings - domestic, commercial, and industrial;
  • Vigorously promote energy efficiency in both private and public premises, including the continuation of the rollout of LED technology for street lighting utilising modern low-blue lighting;
  • Seek the creation of a ‘Green New Deal’ scheme to make homes more energy and thermally efficient, and implement a noise insulation programme for those living on the Southend Airport flight-path;
  • Oppose the development of (or any nuclear use of) the Bradwell Nuclear Power Plant and any proposal for a nuclear waste dump in Essex; and;
  • Oppose the Underground Coal Gasification (UCG) site in the Thames Estuary.
Green Party Southend Manifesto - Sustainable Infrastructure & Better Transport

Sustainable Infrastructure & Better Transport

The time has come to completely overhaul cross-town transit for Southend for the modern era. Council transit policy has historically encouraged the use of the private car, causing an air quality crisis in our town, and wasting £Millions of public money on road widening/construction schemes that can never tackle ever-growing congestion.

No large town in the world has ever solved its congestion problems by building new roads.

The scale of council failure has resulted in families across town being regularly exposed to dangerous levels of toxic pollutants and illegally-poor Air Quality; a problem for which the Council has not yet come up with an adequate resolution to. Bus use across the town remains low compared to other towns, and the mishmash, disjointed, and dangerous cycle routes and infrastructure across the town actively discourage the town’s many would-be cyclists. 

It is evident from experience that only the Green Party can be trusted to deliver the radical measures needed to solve our traffic nightmares and to implement a financially and environmentally responsible solution that works in everyone's interests, delivering the much-needed investment in low-carbon transport infrastructure our town needs.

We commit to completely overhauling our patchy and unreliable bus networks through greater partnership with the borough’s bus operators, and we will deliver unprecedented investment into cycling infrastructure, with new routes and street furniture, allowing for the swift and clean cross-town transit that our residents deserve. 

We will additionally aid our town’s taxi fleet to modernise, investigating council-backed grants for local taxi firms to invest in new green electric vehicles, giving town-centre priority to electric taxis with newly designated ranks, and by additionally making disability awareness training mandatory for our town’s taxi drivers.

We will:

  • Develop a new and ambitious Integrated Transport Plan, increasing the provision, reliability and affordability of Public Transport services;
  • Seek to work with existing local bus companies, reforming the Local Authority’s Bus Working Group and Quality Bus Partnerships, and working to yield a significant improvement in the frequency, accessibility, the number of routes, and overall reliability of bus infrastructure across the borough;
  • Seek to introduce new night bus services across the borough, and improve the frequency and reliability of weekend bus services;
  • Initiate a range of intermediate measures to improve the Abellio Greater Anglia railway line (The national Green Party policy is to renationalise the railways);
  • Explore the potential for, and deliver, a Park and Ride facility;
  • Oppose expansion of the A127 to 3 lanes and oppose any form of “Rochford Outer Bypass” scheme;
  • Offer free electric vehicle charging points in all car parks and encourage the transition from gas-powered to battery-powered Electric vehicles;
  • Reduce car parking provision at Rail Stations, promoting the alternatives to car travel;
  • Undertake a public education programme to promote the benefits of physically active travel (such as walking & cycling);
  • Expand the network of safe cycle lanes; including new routes to Castle Point, Rayleigh, and Rochford;
  • Improve signage and the surface quality of the National Cycle Network routes throughout Southend;
  • Improve road junctions and cycle routes to ensure greater safety for cyclists and pedestrians, and maintain existing cycle routes to a high standard;
  • Install new fully-lit and CCTV-monitored safe cycle storage facilities at various sites throughout the borough;
  • Extend Southend Council’s Bike Scheme, currently available to those in receipt of JSA/UC, to Secondary School children who qualify for the Pupil Premium;
  • Reinstate the ReCycle community bike-mending initiative;
  • Investigate the creation and implementation of a borough-wide Low Emission Zone;
  • Promote the Play Streets scheme, allowing local communities to close their roads using Street Party legislation to facilitate safe play spaces for children;
  • Seek to initiate a council-run grant for businesses to install cycle storage street furniture;
  • Investigate the feasibility of council-backed grants to allow local Taxi firms to invest in Electric Vehicles (EVs), and create electric-only taxi ranks in the town centre;
  • Oppose expansion of out-of-town shopping districts and other leisure facilities, promoting efficient land-use policies that reduce dependence upon the private car;
  • Implement mandatory disability training for the borough’s taxi drivers and advocate for a “mixed fleet” of taxis, enabling greater mobility for people with different accessibility needs;
  • Embrace new technology with greater utilisation of Intelligent Transport Systems to improve traffic flow through synchronising modern traffic signals, and using phone apps (where safe and appropriate) and smart cards to enhance resident and visitor transport choices;
  • Investigate implementing Mini Holland style traffic restrictions in residential areas, to reduce rat-running of through-town traffic and helping to reduce air pollution in residential areas;
  • Ensure 20 mph zones become the norm in all residential areas; and
  • Oppose any further expansion or financial support of Southend Airport and businesses that are ancillary to its existence, pursuing all options to ban night flights, ban weekend flights before 10 am and seek an airport contribution to acoustic insulation grants for residents adversely impacted by noise.
Green Party Southend Manifesto - The Climate Emergency, Environment, Food, & Wildlife

The Climate Emergency, Environment, Food, & Wildlife

The global scientific consensus is irrefutable; we are living in a Climate Emergency, and without urgent and drastic changes to our way of life, our civilisation faces an existential threat. Entire ecological collapse is not only imminent, but we’re already witnessing it happen. We don’t have long to act before the worst-case scenario will become inescapable. 

As Greta Thunberg so famously said; “I want you to act as if our house is on fire. Because it is.”

We can meet the demands of this unprecedented emergency, however; tackling Climate Change head-on starts at home, and we in Southend need to urgently play our part. Like Brighton, with the kind of dedication and ambition the Greens are known for, seaside towns like ours can become global leaders on environmentalism. We will achieve this in Southend.

Whilst the other political parties treat the Climate Emergency merely as a trendy fringe issue, offering woolly and unambitious environmental targets, you know that The Greens view this issue with the seriousness and gravity it deserves, and when elected, you can trust us to instigate the biggest shift in council direction in a century.

We will:

  • Seek to create a new cabinet member for the Climate Emergency, whose portfolio would encompass emergency decarbonisation measures across the borough, spearheading education and awareness campaigns on climate change, and strategic planning against severe natural events and food scarcity;
  • Replace the council’s existing Tree Management Strategy with a more aggressive and urgent Tree Planting Initiative, seeking to dramatically increase the canopy coverage of the borough through securing funding for increasing the number of street trees, by creating new green spaces, and by re-greening areas where trees were removed for highways works or construction.
  • Protect and enhance our internationally important natural areas, preserve biodiversity and natural ecosystems;
  • Install permanent air quality monitoring systems throughout Southend, to monitor the prevalence of Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs), Nitrogen Oxides (NOx), and Particulate Matter (PM2) air pollutants, and use this data to inform a new evidence-based Air Quality action plan.
  • Develop a local food production plan, encouraging a local trade of groceries, similar to the CPRE model;
  • Ban Council use of environmentally harmful weed-killing chemicals, and non-recyclable materials (including black plastic pots) seeking a future agreement for a Borough-wide ban;
  • Establish a network of community gardens and green spaces accessible for every resident;
  • Support the existing allotments within the borough, and seek opportunities to create more;
  • Encourage the incorporation of new trees, wildflower beds, and green spaces into town infrastructure design;
  • Develop a new Humane Wildlife Deterrent Strategy (pest control) which is cheaper and more effective than traditional methods;
  • Encourage street planting, and support the creation of community-owned micro gardens;
  • Endeavour to achieve the highest standards of animal welfare in council catering establishments and beyond, using local/organic producers wherever possible to promote low carbon (low animal) food consumption;
  • Support Environmental Groups in the improvement and maintenance of natural spaces and parkland;
  • Investigate and install appropriate flood defence infrastructure to safeguard high flood risk areas from climate change-related sea-level rise;
  • Develop a high-standard Bee Strategy to protect pollinators, supporting the EU ban of neonicotinoid pesticides;
  • Reduce cutting of seasonal wildflowers and meadows to protect wildlife;
  • Address the threats to the Thames Fishing industry, additionally seeking to work with Environmental Health Officers to tackle the practice of illegal shellfish harvesting within the estuary; and
  • Oppose the expansion of the Sea Life Centre, and work to reduce the number of animals kept in captivity.
Green Party Southend Manifesto - Quality Education

Quality Education

Education is the most important thing in young peoples’ lives. Having an environment that facilitates healthy learning, and ensuring a curriculum and testing system that suits the individual needs of every child is paramount.

The Greens continue to push for the highest standards in education, opposing the academies schemes and the two-tier education system failing Southend’s students. The grammar schools are part of the reason for that failure, and so we oppose selective education. We would ensure the proper funding and staffing of our libraries, and we would work to ensure that neighbourhoods surrounding schools are safe enough for our children to walk or cycle to school.

Our Green Party Southend Manifesto ensures that all students receive the best education possible, and we will ensure that no child is ever left behind or disadvantaged because of a selective education system.

We will:

  • Oppose the conversion of schools into academies, and seek to bring all schools within the borough back under Local Authority control;
  • Support moves towards less reliance on fixed curriculum teaching and testing to allow Headteachers more flexibility;
  • Speed improvements to school buildings to higher standards of comfort, space, and energy conservation;
  • Effectively reduce shortages in education staffing with retraining and upskilling initiatives, and by seeking to support those in teacher training;
  • Invest in our Public Libraries, ensuring that even small branches such as Southchurch Library remain open and staffed properly full-time for the public to use;
  • Improve the provision for children and young people with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND), and work to facilitate a joined-up approach to making third-sector provision work with that of the local authority;
  • Develop libraries as integral community hubs where people can access a wide range of community and third-sector services;
  • Implement the suggestions made by the Southend Youth Council’s 1757 Voices Charter, to better the Mental Health and wellbeing of local students;
  • Speed up the phase-out of all remaining demountable classrooms;
  • Introduce 20 mph zones surrounding all schools;
  • Introduce School Streets schemes, prohibiting vehicular access to streets surrounding schools at school drop off and pick up times;
  • Develop an integrated and fair school transport system to reduce congestion caused by the "school run" giving parents and pupils information to encourage sustainable travel to school, aiming for all children who are able to walk or cycle safely to their local school;
  • Support schools in achieving eco-school and ‘Solar School’ status;
  • Create a scheme where every child in the borough receives free bicycle proficiency training;
  • Implement the creation of Environmentally-Conscious education schemes in all schools;
  • Seek to implement a 400m fast food outlet exclusion zone around schools;
  • Improve school dinners with more locally-produced organic food and fresh fruit & veg; and
  • Promote the Sure Start programme.
Green Party Southend Manifesto - Crime & Antisocial Behaviour

Crime & Antisocial Behaviour

We believe that Southend’s vibrant diversity of businesses, voluntary organisations, community groups, schools, and religious organisations play a key role in the safety and identity of our community. Local Policing effort already works closely with these communities in identifying and responding to issues, but we believe the adoption of new approaches and attitudes by Police and community teams will yield untold additional advantages.

We believe in tackling drug use in Southend as a health and social issue rather than simply a criminal one. Greens believe in cohesive working between community outreach teams, youth services, social services, and police, following a model of reducing wider civic harm caused by unregulated drug use. This is especially required given the recent prevalence of the complicated County Lines issue, where organised criminal gangs often target disadvantaged local youths, grooming them into dangerous circles of violent antisocial behaviour and community harm. Adopting this new approach could be the key to breaking this cycle of harm. 

We believe that the recent increases in youth-perpetrated antisocial behaviour are partly linked to the callous, irresponsible, and almost total reduction in funding for youth centres and civic schemes for our town’s young people. We believe that a holistic approach to reintroducing the Authority’s youth outreach work, combined with a renewed effort to enrol our young adults into meaningful community volunteering and apprenticeships might be another significant step towards tackling this problem.

We continue to advocate for a restorative justice system. Greens believe that by working in partnership with police and residents, at the same time as improving the life chances and opportunities of potential offenders, we can reduce crime and anti-social behaviour.

We will:

  • Improve the quality and monitoring of the borough-wide CCTV network, prioritising major junctions and places of high footfall, and seeking to introduce temporary CCTV systems in areas of repeated antisocial behaviour;
  • Instigate measures to adopt an approach of treating drug use as a social and health issue, working to enable and equip communities and outreach teams, and to transition from a punitive criminal approach to prioritising a reduction in civic harm;
  • Working closely with community police and outreach teams, develop a combined strategy of proactive (rather than reactive) community-informed local policing, seeking to use preventative and restorative methods of dealing with crime to engage and deter would-be offenders before crime and antisocial behaviour is committed;
  • Oppose the rollout of facial recognition technology by the Police in Southend;
  • Improve the street lighting coverage in our darkest residential areas;
  • Revoke the ill-judged PSPO in central Southend, which has been used to needlessly criminalise, harass, and victimise the homeless community;
  • Support the rollout of Southend BID’s ‘Disc’ initiative, which will aid local pubs, bars, and nightclubs in the borough to identify, report, and exclude repeat antisocial offenders;
  • Tackle blue badge fraud and ensure the maximum availability of disabled parking for genuine blue badge holders;
  • Seek to change Council strategy regarding sex workers from a punitive antisocial behaviour approach to a holistic community outreach and harm-prevention model, supporting existing services; and
  • Enrol repeat graffiti vandals on restorative community service courses that would see them repaint/clean/repair vandalism-affected surfaces across the borough;
Green Party Southend Manifesto - Jobs & The Local Economy

Jobs & The Local Economy

As a town with a population surpassing 180,000, we recognise the importance of creating a dynamic local economy that supports sustainable employment and generates long-term investment. We will deliver a more prosperous town by promoting the economic and social benefits of a local, sustainable, and responsible economy. 

Supporting local businesses whilst implementing the principles of a circular economy is a model that not only works, but that is easily implemented and overdue. We believe in enabling organisations that work in the interests of the wider community, and as such, we will support Community Interest Companies (CICs), Co-operatives, and worker-owned businesses; organisations that in turn, invest in their workforce and their local communities. 

We will lead by example in the push for wage equality, the rollout of a Living Wage across the town, and by seeking an end to the zero-hours contracts that hamper the upward mobility of our often-overlooked essential and young workers. We support local traders and seek to form new local business opportunities afforded by renewable energy technologies and responsible food production.

We will reinvigorate our ailing High Street through investment, by using civic funds to purchase retail units in the High Street, Hamlet Court Road, The Broadway and other shopping arcades and then responsibly lease them to startup businesses; encouraging new local jobs, products, and services. We will defend against plans to weaken our High Street by opposing schemes which seek to convert retail units into homes, and we will staunchly oppose the creation of any more out of town retail parks. We will support the creation of a full-time fresh goods market, enabling residents to make healthier and more sustainable food choices at a better price. 

We will:

  • Introduce the Southend Living Wage, initially seeking to pay all council employees a fair and livable wage of no less than £10 per hour;
  • Investigate the further creation of more affordable workspaces for startups, freelancers, entrepreneurs, and small cooperatives across the borough;
  • Promote the local eco-tourism opportunities long neglected by Local Government and business;
  • Create a full-time indoor Fresh Goods Market in Southend High Street, allowing local growers to sell their products;
  • Seek opportunities to bring a small number of commercial units in every shopping arcade into council ownership, allowing the Authority to lease these units to startup and local independent businesses at reduced costs;
  • Support and facilitate sustainable economic development in the borough, working with partners to win external funding for the benefit of local people;
  • Initiate a town-wide crackdown on zero-hours contracts;
  • Spread awareness and education to front line businesses and services to encourage them to challenge prejudice.
  • Improve the fee-free jobs fair, allowing unemployed residents to meet with potential employers and network;
  • Work with local ethical banks, mutual savings societies, and credit unions to expand start-up or expansion loans for co-operatives and ethical CICs; and explore the possibility of more affordable capital lending via a Council-backed community credit union;
  • Reduce the fees and rental costs of hiring out council-owned facilities, to encourage community groups of civic value to be set up;
  • Support organisers seeking to bring sustainable events to the borough;
  • Implement several rainwater collection points for street cleaning and for usage at allotments;
  • Create an Eco Business Centre, showcasing and supporting startup local green businesses;
  • Seek to continue the full borough-wide roll-out of full-fibre gigabit internet connectivity, and ensure that every home across Southend has an internet connection fit for the modern era, additionally allowing a greater number of people to work from home;
  • Support independent traders, seeking ways to reduce the business rates burden upon small traders, and seek to support local environmentally conscious businesses with a range of further small business rates relief measures;
  • Develop a local Circular Economy, encouraging residents to purchase from local traders;
  • Oppose the Seaway Development;
  • Oppose the Fossetts Farm Development; and
  • Stop any development of the Southend Cliffs.
Green Party Southend Manifesto - Leisure, Health, & Culture

Leisure, Health, & Culture

We recognise the responsibility Local Government has in ensuring a well and fit community, and we will work to ensure that every resident has access to good and free health and leisure provisions. We will guarantee this by working to bring the leisure facilities across the borough back into direct council ownership and control, and we will seek to make access to the town’s swimming pools and other leisure facilities free of charge for all local residents.

Our Green Party Southend Manifesto puts individuals’ health and wellbeing first, and we have a strategy to ensure that our town is healthy. We will strive to deliver a substantial investment into the health of residents, working with the NHS and public health professionals across the town to improve access to mental health care, ensuring a commitment to maintain and improve our outdoor leisure and play spaces, and by actively working to improve the water quality at our beaches.

Southend hosts one of the most vibrant and thriving artistic communities in East Anglia, and our wealth of talented artists, writers, and musicians not only significantly contribute to the overall identity and wellbeing of the town, but additionally attract inward investment into the borough. We will support our flourishing networks of creatives by introducing a number of small bursaries for locally-derived cultural contributions and public-realm artworks, and we will aid our local artists in securing external grants, investment, and commissions.

We reaffirm our support for facilitating sustainable growth in our town’s vital nighttime economy. We will develop a borough-wide Pub & Nightlife strategy to work closely with our live music venues, independent pubs, and nightclubs to facilitate long-term continuity and sustainable development in an under-supported sector; and we will work to help new bars, cafes, and restaurants set up in our town by rejuvenating our shopping areas through investing in expanding the number of retail units within the council’s own property portfolio leased to local businesses at reduced rates.

We will:

  • Work to ensure the complete retention of NHS services at Southend Hospital and the surrounding area.
  • Strive to bring Leisure and sports facilities back under local authority control, seeking to immediately introduce free of charge access to Southend’s swimming pools and leisure facilities for all residents;
  • Press for quality mental crisis care to be available 24/7, and seek to create Mental Health drop-in sessions at community libraries;
  • Introduce a number of small bursaries for local artists to create public-realm artworks and cultural contributions to improve the street scene across the borough;
  • Encourage healthy lifestyles with improved Green Spaces, and better sport and leisure amenities;
  • Encourage and support more health-related events such as the Southend Half Marathon;
  • Ensure all sports and play facilities in public parks are free of charge;
  • Ensure that all parks and open spaces across the borough remain designated as ‘open access land’ under the Countryside Rights of Way Act;
  • Develop Safe Play strategies for children, with safer roads and parks;
  • Introduce monitoring and seek to improve the water quality of the Thames Estuary;
  • Ensure that buildings and assets owned by the council, (such as Southend Pier, and the Kursaal,) are not sold to private firms or developers for corporate gain, and are kept as community assets for the town;
  • Develop a Pub & Nightlife strategy aimed at supporting local Live Music venues, independent pubs, and nightclubs;
  • Ensure footpaths, bridleways, and public rights of way are properly maintained and safeguarded;
  • Work to ensure that, where possible, large events provide added value to the community, including encouraging the use of local suppliers; and
  • Create a dedicated Outdoor Learning Centre to educate school-children on the environment.
Green Party Southend Manifesto - A Responsible Waste Strategy

A Responsible Waste Strategy

Southend has consistently missed agreed recycling targets, and despite households across the town doing their part to help solve this issue, almost half of all waste generated by the borough is still not recycled. That is not sustainable, and the environmental impacts of landfilling and incineration are inexcusable. The solution is developing an efficient system for the better reuse, upcycling, and recycling of materials and this is the next step on our journey to a Zero Waste society.

Our Green Party Southend Manifesto recognises the urgent need to change the way in which we treat used materials, and reevaluate and reconsider our wasteful ways. Southend should be a model for a different way of working in which the maximum possible quantity of redundant materials is re-used or recycled.

We commit to significant investment into combating waste in our town. To fight the plastic bottle litter that plagues our lovely beaches, we will install new water standpipes across town and the seafront, encouraging residents and visitors to instead adopt using reusable bottles. We will introduce a bottle deposit scheme, a community composting scheme, and we’ll do what we can to stop town-centre businesses using single-use plastics.

To tackle the scourge of litter and fly-tipping; we will seek to introduce wheelie bins for every resident to help prevent refuse being strewn across our roads; we will improve the on-street bins; we will support voluntary litter-picking and community cleanup initiatives, and we will aggressively detect and prosecute fly-tipping offenders. 

 We will:

  • Move to an improved separated waste strategy to improve the value of reclaimable recyclables, and to significantly reduce the amount of waste being generated by the town;
  • Combat the number of single-use water bottles used and littered across the borough by seeking the installation of multiple and convenient water bottle refilling stations;
    - at every large park,
          - at intervals along the seafront (with a higher density at the areas surrounding Old Leigh, Chalkwell Beach, Jubilee Beach, and Shoeburyness East Beach),
    and in shopping areas such as;
    - The Broadway in Leigh,
          - Hamlet Court Road in Westcliff,
          - High Street in the Town Centre,
          - the Broadway in Thorpe Bay,
    and in all new public realm development schemes;  
  • Introduce a local composting scheme, encouraging the practical distribution and reuse of food waste and garden waste. This will be facilitated by the Council’s Parks Department;
  • Work with the Council’s Recycling and Waste Partners to investigate the introduction of wheelie bins for every household in the borough that can accommodate them and communal bin stores for those that can’t;
  • Establish a Council-backed community repair and upcycling initiative in schools and public centres;
  • Introduce new and improved public refuse & recycling bins, introducing on-street cardboard and glass recycling bins;
  • Seek the implementation of a ban on the use by commercial retailers of environmentally damaging single-use plastics (such as carrier bags, and takeaway packaging) in the Borough;
  • Promote Greywater recycling, sustainable drainage, and a full range of water recycling storage facilities;
  • Support local voluntary beach clean and litter picking groups in combating litter on our beaches, parks, and streets;
  • Seek to improve free public toilet facilities across town, especially in Southend High Street, where few exist currently;
  • Aggressively pursue, detect, and prosecute fly-tipping;
  • Lead initiatives to tackle dog-fouling; including the rollout of new dog waste bins, and a publicity campaign to educate dog owners on the damaging environmental effects of plastic bags in a landfill, etc;
  • Create a new council-backed bottle deposit scheme, and create convenient bottle return locations;
  • Encourage local shops to only stock biodegradable or recyclable bags;
  • Initiate a new Natural Nappies programme;
  • Explore the options for a publicity campaign to encourage the use of natural sanitary products, and additionally provide sanitary products free-of-charge to the homeless; and
  • Oppose any and all incineration of waste including any waste to energy (WTE) schemes.
Green Party Southend Manifesto - Political Vision & Improvements to Local Democracy

Political Vision & Improvements to Local Democracy

Our elected Councillors will be open and progressive, financially responsible, and answerable to local residents. Genuine consultation will always take place before decision making, with a commitment to ending the secrecy that has dogged Local Government for decades.

We will seek to create a fairer and more equal council, with the introduction of a high-low pay ratio of no more than 10:1, resulting in a reduction in pay for the most senior members of staff, and a wage increase for our essential council workers. We will lead by example in the rollout of a £10 per hour living wage for all council employees, and by extension council providers via contract negotiations, ensuring people employed by the council, directly and indirectly, are paid a meaningful and livable wage. 

We will seek to improve the transparency of decisions made by the council, through better utilisation of digital participation tools, and via the introduction of a new email newsletter made available to all residents. We will seek to additionally improve the accessibility and inclusivity of the council by modernising documents, conducting a review into the gender pay gap at the council, and by broadly adopting gender-neutral language. And we will seek to use the council as a vehicle to promote and support local business, by supporting the creation of new local cooperatives and CICs to provide services for the authority.

We will;

  • Flatten council structures, reducing the high-low pay ratio to below 10:1 and reducing the number of senior managers;
  • Support local people to create co-operative or CIC alternatives to private suppliers for services which the council currently commissions from private companies;
  • Conduct a review into any disparities in pay between staff of differing genders, seeking to ensure that all staff are paid equally for the work they do;
  • Ensure better oversight and close monitoring of all council projects to keep them on time and on budget, seeking to  prevent civic funds from being wasted;
  • Review civic participation in Local Government functions, and seek to facilitate improved dialogue between the council and residents on issues that matter to them;
  • Improve the Council’s e-petition service, committing to better acknowledge, fully review, and ensure a timely response to all petitions to the Council;
  • Commit to pushing for a more diverse Council, reviewing employment practices and seeking to embody equal opportunity employer principles;
  • Combat CV discrimination by making anonymised CVs mandatory within the local public sector. This will assure that candidates are hired based on experience and qualification and stop candidates from being discriminated against.
  • Seek to improve the inclusivity and accessibility of the authority by; modernising documents, adopting gender-neutral terminology in council documents and meetings, and seeking to include gender-variant options on council forms;
  • We will seek to urgently divest Southend’s investments in the fossil fuel industry made via the Essex Pension Fund which has already invested over £219M into Fossil Fuels; and
  • Assure that the council acknowledges and engages in a greater diversity of cultural and religious celebrations held by groups within the borough.