OPERATION HEATWAVE

03 May 2018

With sunshine forecast for the weekend, Southend-on-Sea Borough Council is gearing up for
a welcome influx of day-trippers to the borough’s shores. Its partners are enacting Operation Heatwave – an operation which brings together teams responsible for highways, parking, waste, policing and local businesses via Southend BID, to prevent and respond to several
issues that may arise when the sun comes out during weekends or school holidays.

Measures are being put in place to help visitors find available parking spaces and extra bins
and waste-staff are being deployed to tackle the increase in litter that often accompanies
busy days on the seafront and there has been recent action to ensure a pleasant welcome for visitors, with Make Southend Sparkle campaign volunteers carrying out a High Street Spruce
Up and foreshore staff refreshing the popular seafront lagoon.
 
The following actions all contribute to Operation Heatwave:
 
Parking - vehicles queuing to access already full seafront car parks, can contribute to congestion in the town. As town centre car parking is cheaper than peak season parking by the beaches, visitors could spend less time and money getting to the beach by parking up in town and walking. Most town centre car parks are a mere five to ten minute walk from the seafront. You can find a list of council car parks and availability here. To avoid queuing at parking meters, download the Mobon app and pay via your device before departing. This also offers the added benefit of enabling you to top up your parking from your phone if you end up staying longer than you thought you would. The Blue Flag award-winning beaches at Shoebury and Thorpe Bay offer great places to enjoy the seaside and there is often plenty of parking even when central areas are full. Signage is in place to help direct visitors to these beaches. Parking at Southend Civic Centre and the Beecroft Gallery will also be signed from Victoria Avenue over the weekend, giving visitors the opportunity to park all day for £3. The newly acquired Gasworks site on Eastern Esplanade will serve as overflow car park on a pay-by-phone only basis. Coaches will also benefit from free parking at the Gasworks.

Beach safety - Supervise children and vulnerable adults at all times. There is safety in numbers. Wear jelly shoes or other sensible footwear on the beach and in the sea. Like with all seafronts, hidden dangers such as sharp shells and rocks may be hidden under the sand or water. Do not climb the rocks. Several areas of our seafront have rocks, including the lagoon at Three Shells Beach. Please do not climb. Not only could you be injured but you also risk falling injured into the sea, impeding your chances of swimming to safety. Slip, slap, slop, seek, slide. Sunburn is a leading cause of skin cancer. Sunstroke and dehydration are also extremely dangerous. Slip on a t-shirt, slop on some sun cream and slap on a hat. Seek out some shade and slide on some sunglasses to protect your eyes too! Observe signs and flags. Heed warning signs and flags - they could save your life!
 
Traffic - Visitors are being urged to ‘let the train take the strain’ and travel sustainably to town in order to help reduce traffic levels. Southend is served by two rail operators: c2c, and Abellio Greater Anglia, both of whom run regular promotions for journeys to Southend. For those who arrive by car, electronic traffic signage will be actively updated throughout the weekend to help inform visitors of accurate traffic and parking information. The Blue Flag award-winning beaches at Shoebury Common and Thorpe Bay will also be promoted to encourage visits to these less visited areas.
 
Litter - 
Waste contractor, Veolia, is putting extra staff on standby to quickly respond to any beach littering issues. Their beach combing machines will be used throughout the mornings to prepare for visitors. Litter pickers will patrol the beaches in the evening to pick up any litter left behind. Staff from the council’s waste team will also be part of a high-visibility presence over the weekend.
 
Missing children - if visiting with young children, please ensure they wear a Childsafe wristband. Parents and guardian's can write on it, their name and contact number the event that they get lost. For more information on the scheme and where to collect from, click here