Leader's blog - 26 May 2023

In this week’s message, Cllr Cox reflects on a busy first week as Leader of the Council and looks ahead to the bank holiday weekend and half-term.

Cllr Tony Cox wearing a navy blue suit jacket, white shirt and a pink, blue and white flowery tie. He is sitting in front of the Council Coat of Arms.

It has been a whirlwind week since I was elected as leader of the council last week with a host of meetings, briefings, and work to be done.

In the last week, my cabinet colleagues and I have had two very productive meetings with the corporate leadership team, where we have been able to get to know each other better and agree how we can work together to deliver for our residents, businesses, and visitors.

We have also been able to set out our vision and aspirations for the weeks and months ahead, and I feel that we have been able to make some excellent progress on several key pledges that we made prior to the local elections.

There will be more to come on some of this as we get back into the swing of the democratic process and various committees and other meetings, but there is a real energy and desire to get on with the job at hand.

Firstly, we have a round of scrutiny meetings taking place in early June - this marks a change in the process, with draft cabinet papers now able to be reviewed by scrutiny committees before they go to cabinet. These scrutiny committees will consider a range of matters ranging from our armed forces covenant, through to soil movements related to development at Gunners Park and our stated desire to keep the Jazz Centre UK in the Beecroft Gallery.

Perhaps on a lighter note, my colleagues and I have been delighted to see the arrival of El Galeon at the end of Southend Pier. It is a fascinating and large vessel and can now be seen from various vantage points across the city - whilst visually an accurate replica, I am reliably informed she was constructed using a new technique and traditional craft skills.

The result is a fascinating floating ‘living museum’, displaying the history of such craft and the age in which they operated, supported by informative staff in the costumes of the period. The ships six decks offer fascinating features, exhibits, and displays, with an impressive amount of deck space open to visitors. It will attract thousands of visitors which can only be a good thing for the city and the local economy.

I am certainly hoping to visit this floating museum during half-term with the family, as it is now here until Sunday 4 June. Visit the Southend Pier website for more information.

Please also use the Visit Southend website to find out about other half-term activities and events. There is a range of things to do across the city, so please do take a look.

Have a great bank holiday weekend and lets hope the sun shines.

Cllr Tony Cox,
Leader of the Council

Published: 26th May 2023

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