GOVERNMENT officials have revised their estimated costs of a road widening scheme in Southend.
The Department for Transport revealed last week how the Priory Crescent scheme was set to cost £27.5million — making it the most expensive road project, metre for metre, in the UK.
Officials checked their figures after anti-road campaigners described the bill as inflated.
It is now claimed £20.507million is nearer the true amount.
The DfT confirmed it made a mistake in its accounting after issuing details fof the projected costs following a Freedom of Information request from campaign group Roadblock.
Councillor Murray Foster, Southend Council's lead member for future Southend, said it was vital the road scheme goes ahead to improve congestion in the area.
He dismissed attempted by protesters camped at the roadside to stop the road being widened.
"We are pleased to see the Department for Transport put the recod straight so people are aware of the correct figures," he said. "It should also be noted the figure of £20.507million is at the higher end of the estimate and takes into account contingency costs that may not arise.
"It is vital that this road improvement scheme goes ahead to improve the transport infrastructure that will bring a vital economic boost to the town to enable us to move forwards."
The Eastern Region Assembly has given the scheme its backing as a high priority.
Southend Council is waiting for a decision from the Government on when the town will receive the money for the project.
Protesters have been camped at the site since October [September] and insist they intend to prevent work being carried out by hiding in underground tunnels.
The Priory Crescent development will see more than 100 trees cut down and the relocating of an ancient burial tomb, thought to be the resting place of a Saxon King.
Re Camp Bling
THE stupidity of Southend Council continues to amaze me.
A major archaeological site is discovered — The Saxon Burial Chamber near Priory Park — something most towns would consider a Godsend to their economy, and what are this Council's plans to exploit it; concrete over it for a road extension!
I'm sur eyou and your readers must agree that this falls well short on both economical and heritage grounds, let along a certain moral responsibility to preserve such sites for future generations.
No doubt if this council was in charge of Salisbury Plain it would put a glass dome roof on Stonehenge, refit with stainless steel fittings and install a TK Maxx and a MacDonald's inside!
Seriously, however, this is not funny.
I do believe these councillors think that they are acting correctly, unfortunately they lack the intelligence to see otherwise.