To: The Editor
19th November 2001
There is an old saying that newspapers never let a few facts get in
the way of a good story and in your dealings with the Priory Park issue this
is very appropriate. Let's examine these facts.
- No-one has yet demonstrated that widening Priory Crescent will improve
traffic flow and councillors have refused to meet me to discuss this issue.
The congestion is caused by the Cuckoo Corner and Sutton Road roundabouts
and these can be altered without removing a single tree. When challenged on
this issue at the Priory Crescent Working Group meeting of 11/10/01, neither
Roger Weaver nor any of his consultants was able to answer key questions on
this, e.g. How much time will be saved on a journey after the road is built?
It is a pity that our local press were not present to report on this
- The Council have pledged that they won't use any of the Park for a road
widening scheme. What they have not done is defined the area covered by the
Park. The title deeds do this and the area on which this proposed road would
be built is all protected in the same way as the rest of the Park, for ever
to be enjoyed as an open space by the people of Southend. You may recall
that the Council once tried to sell one of the sports grounds so that a
supermarket could be built. The negotiations had reached an advanced stage
before they realised that R.A. Jones had protected his gift to the people of
Southend so well that it couldn't be done. The same will apply to this road
- The "two trees for one" proposal is fraught with difficulty. No-one has said
where the trees would go, what the species would be, what is the cost and
survival rate of shifting large trees about etc. I have made investigations
into this and it will not be possible to provide specimens which will be
comparable to those the Council plan to remove. Any councillor who gives the
impression that this is possible is misleading the public.
- Councillors have a duty to take note of the views of their constituents.
More than 20,000 signatures exist on petitions against the road scheme yet
the council still plans to go ahead with it.
- You state that Councillors have suffered abuse. If that is so then I would
never condone such behaviour. I have found some councillors to be ignorant
of key issues; I have found some to be rude and aggressive; I believe they
are guilty of an enormous waste of public money, I believe they have a
hidden agenda and I believe that many are incompetent and hypocritical, but
I would never dream of abusing any of them.
Chairman, Priory Park Preservation Society