It was not our first time in the town (see my previous blog about it) nor was it our last! We are usually there in January for some reason, and it was great to see the town in the full swing of summer. It was transformed - although I do have a thing for seaside resorts in the winter; My favourite seasons for everything are autumn and winter!
They really seem to be doing the right things there, and I think Southend Council, who seems to have a total lack of imagination and creativity, should send a few spies to analyse what the small Kent town is doing right. Southend deserves so much better. There are a few clues as to how in the following paragraphs.
Their high street is full of a great variety of independent shops (i.e opportunities for local businesses). It is positively thriving.
The week-long Oyster festival had just come to an end, but it didn't feel like it: there was music, stalls, and the excellent Whitstable Harbour Village was open.
I really think Southend should consider doing its own seafront village: spaces available for small local businesses (most of them creative people: artisans, artists, small entrepreneurs... a flexible approach mixing fishermen's huts and cheaper stalls - we could have little colourful beach huts and stalls. The village is open every weekend and Bank Holidays from March to Christmas. With the amount of creatives in the area, this type of setting would be ideal on the seafront, which is full of cafes and places to eat but where there is nothing to see, really. I am sure visitors would love to have things to look at, browse and purchase, and us local creatives and small businesses who cannot afford to rent a shop would have a place to showcase and sell our work.
Who will take on the challenge?