Labour councillors have hailed as a success a public meeting to consider the state of the high street and town centre in Southend. Billed as a “people’s summit”, the event on Wednesday evening at the Civic Centre was a direct response to the Conservative administration’s closed-shop meeting a few weeks before.

Cllrs Julian Ware-Lane and Cheryl Nevin, who represent Milton ward, which covers the high street and town centre, invited concerned local residents to a meeting which discussed matters ranging from the local economy, car parking and crime and safety.

Cllr Ware-Lane said, “This event saw a packed room, full of residents with both serious concerns, but also imaginative ideas for how to make Southend better for everyone. In contrast to the Conservatives’ closed-shop summit, it shows what people power can really achieve.”

Stephen George, the Labour candidate for Milton ward for May 2019, commented “The high street is the beating heart of the town, and the fact that it has been allowed to deteriorate to such a state is a damning indictment of the mismanagement by the Conservative council.

“Residents, shoppers and business owners deserve better, and having heard their voices I, Julian and Cheryl will work hard to make sure that they are heard at the Civic Centre.”

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