By BEVERLEY ROUSE
LIVE-IN protesters who claim widening a Southend road will irreparably damage the environment are opening a visitors' centre.
The new Camp Bling Visitors' Centre will open its doors at 1pm this Saturday and will also try to tell peopole more about the archaeology of the site where the tomb of a Saxon king was discovered in October 2003.
The centre will include an exhibition about the scheme to widen Priory Crescent and the archaeology of the royal burial, including detailed replicas of the King's treasure and an interactive computer display.
It will also providce background on key protests of the recent past and explain how residents are working to minimise their impact on the site.
Saturday's opening will be a family event with children's activities and a dramatic re-enactment of Saxon life on a real Saxon site.
Local supporters will be donning Saxon-style costumes to give visitors a glimpse of how Prittlewell may have looked in the 7th century. Residents and supporters of the campaign are busily preparing for the opening of the new centre, the first of its kind at any protest site.
They hope it will inspire Southend Council to rethink the road plans and build a heritage centre instead.
Camp Bling resident Adrian Harris said: "Southend is home to the most important archaeological discovery since 1939.
"This is a fantastic opportunity to make our town a major landmark in England's cultural heritage. Let's not waste it."
The residents have invited Southend councillors to visit the new centre.
They will be welcoming visitors from noon until 6pm, showing people around the camp and inviting them into some of the dwellings that have seen them through the winter.