PRIORY Park protesters have been assured that Southend Council has no intention of increasing the speed limit along Pirory Crescent to 40mph when the new dual carriageway is installed.
Coun Roger Weaver, who has Cabinet responsibility for highways, was replying to a written question from JonFuller, group coordinator of S.E. Essex Friends of the Earth at last week's meeting of the council environmental scrutiny committee.
Coun Weaver emphasised that all the council's transport plans were based on safety - and nothing would be done to risk this.
"The improved Pirory Crescent, to dual carriageway standard, will retain a 30mph speed limit," he said.
"The route is being designed in accordance with appropriate current standards for the proposed alignment and it will incorporate pedestrian facilities and also be subject to a safety audit.
"We do not believe that there will be any increase in risk of injury or death to pedestrians.
"The scheme will, in fact, incorporate pedestrian crossing facilities at Cuckoo Corner within the traffic signal layout which will ensure improvements for pedestrians."
Answering another question from Michael Downer, of Scratton Road, Southend, Coun Weaver said once the work was completed in Priory Crescent he anticipated that journey times going eastwards through the system would be reduced by 30% in the morning peak our and 40% in the evening, and westward 40% and 28%.
There was also a written question from Peter Walker, leader of the Priory Park campaigners, who felt the fact that Priory Crescent is immediately next to an ancient monument, it is used extensively as a thoroughfare for wildlife access between the railway embankment and Priory Park and that Ordnance Survey maps show that Roman, Saxon and Bronze Age relics have all been found in the immediate vicinity, was there ever a more deserving case for a public inquiry.
Coun Weaver said all these aspects had been taken into consideration - and it was not felt necessaryto be considered by a public inquiry.
Labour Coun Kevin Robinson asked whether there was any truth in protesters seeking a judicial inquiry into the Priory Crescent scheme, but deputy town clerk, John Williams said although there had been talk of one he felt the council had acted perfectly correctly.
"We have done not done anything to warrant a judicial review," he said.
Nevertheless, Labour councillors on the committee decided to refer the issue of the appropriation of the land at the top of Priory Crescent, next to the railway line, back to full council for reconsideration.