Councillor Ian Gilbert, Deputy Leader of Southend Borough Council, has ensured that dealing with the derelict buildings in Victoria Avenue is a high priority on the council's agenda. Following pressure from the new council administration (IND-LAB-LIB) coalition, Heath and Carby houses have been sold to a new developer who has already started to clear up the site.
Cllr Gilbert says: "The threat of compulsory purchase has helped to move these developments along. Local people are quite rightly fed up with these dangerous and derelict buildings.
The Conservative Government has changed the rules to allow office blocks to be converted into flats without planning permission. I am worried about the strain on local services if every block along Victoria Avenue is converted into too many flats.
I will be doing everything in my power to make sure that we have the correct and capable public infrastructure. Nevertheless, it is better that these blocks are put to use than stand completely empty."