Southend beach barbecues facing ban

BARBECUES could be off the menu this summer as Southend City Council looks to outlaw cooking on all Southend beaches – including areas designated by the council.

Under plans to extend an existing public space protection order, people who attempt to cook food on any of the city beaches could be hit with a fine.

The ban would include East Beach in Shoebury and Eastern Esplanade, Southend, which were previously designated barbecue areas.

Coach loads of visitors flock to East Beach in summer but in future anyone wanting to use a barbecue may have to apply for an event notice.

At policy and resources meeting on Wednesday, Martin Terry, councillor responsible for public protection, questioned whether the dedicated areas would be included in the consultation.

He said: “We’ve got the brick built barbecues and they are rather popular in the summer. We’re not suggesting we want to ban that as well are we? You want to stop all of the barbecues?”

In response, Steven Wakefield, Independent councillor for Shoebury ward, said: “I welcome the PSPO order so it could be managed but I’m in favour of banning it completely.

“Once you have fixed barbecue areas then everybody thinks it is a barbecue area and then come down with disposable barbecues.”

Cllr Terry added that people often travel to Southend to host events and barbecue on the beach.

He said: “I only got an invite yesterday to an African 60th anniversary event and they are all coming down to Southend. There are a number of events there for people coming from out of town who often bring their own cuisine so we need to be mindful of that.”

Cllr Tony Cox, leader of the Conservative group, added: “If you introduce a temporary event notice it can override a PSPO to allow certain activities.

“If you want to manage an event in that area the event notice would supersede the PSPO and you can put in restrictions and conditions in the event notice.”

The order covers central Southend, the seafront, Leigh Old Town and Hamlet Court Road.
It currently prohibits certain antisocial behaviour such as outside drinking, urinating and begging.

Following a public consultation it will include cycling in pedestrianised areas, using electronic scooters in pedestrianised areas, the use of jetskis and restrictions on the use of barbecues.

Christine Sexton

Local Democracy Reporter