Dear Councillor, Please read this article from the Guardian of 15/11/01 (click the link to go straight there) http://www.guardian.co.uk/Archive/Article/0,4273,4299247,00.html Will you please let me know your estimate of the number of trees which would be affected by the road scheme proposed by Roger Weaver. Yours sincerely, Peter Walker
I regret that I am unable to enter into correspondence on this or any other contentious subjects until the and of mayoralty next May. In the meantime I have to take a neutral stance in all matters. However, I have read the article from the Guardian and am well aware of the respect which the British people have for trees. Regards, Howard Briggs
Dear Mr. Walker, Thank you very much for your recent e-mails. With reference to your last e-mail, I think it is worthwhile you being aware that the scheme to widen Priory Crescent is not a personal scheme of mine.As stated previously this scheme is based on the principles of the 1994 Local Borough Plan which was put together by the community supported again within the Local Tranport Plan,a document again prepared through consultation with over two hundred local organisations and finally supported by the current Labour Government through its funding process. The current scheme is one recommended by council officers, agreed by the cabinet and supported by the majority of the Council. I have noticed very recently how this is becoming very much a personalised campaign against myself & Charles Latham. I am sure you would not wish to be involved or associatedin that type of approach. Therefore I feel it would be more helpful to you and based on the information you require to address your e-mails to firstname.lastname@example.org so that details of the scheme at planning stage which officers rather than councillors are involved in can be sent to you. I and other nominated councillors will be heavily involved during the decision making processes when the input from all interested third parties views, opinions and concerns can again be taken into account. At that stage all written submissions received will be reevaluated together with the technical reports incorporating the professional expertise of our officers to make sure that a balanced approach is being taken. My credentials publicly & politically are well known. I am interested & believe it would be helpful for me to understand your cause,as you came to this at a late stage & the Council has agreed a scheme which does not encroach on Priory Park, in whether you have any other interests outside of the Priory Park Preservation Society. Cllr. Roger Weaver
Dear Mr. Weaver, Thank you for your reply. I am aware of a good deal of the background to the road scheme, but as you point out, I have only become involved since the council's plans to remove trees and redesignate the status of park land came to the fore in early June. Your credentials are not well known to me other than than you are a councillor and that you have been responsible for the introduction of this scheme. The first time I recall your name being mentioned to me was at the public meeting in St. Mary's Hall in early June, which you attended. You will forgive me, I am sure, for referring to the road scheme as yours. After all, newspaper headlines from local papers you endorse have done likewise, even to the point of declaring that you had one particular idea while on holiday. You were quoted in that article, and did nothing to disabuse the reporter concerned, that the scheme you claimed to have dreamed up (by which I mean the one-way system) was in fact quite well known in some circles and had even been published on Chris Ford's website for a number of months before you claimed it as your own. Frankly, I think that it is inevitable that your name and that of Charles Latham will have become linked with this scheme largely because of the way that the two of you have used the press, and in particular the Evening Echo, as a Council mouthpiece while the Echo has more than once distorted the views of your opponents. I tackled the editor of the Echo in this respect last week and I hope that reports in that paper will be more balanced in future. I have recently written to the editor of the Southend Times concerning his piece in last week's paper (13/11/01). He mentions that councillors have been abused and I have said in my letter that I do not condone the abuse of councillors. At the same time, Charles Latham was responsible for putting out a letter in response to about 3000 signed communications (my daughter sent one and received a reply) which contained flagrant factual inaccuracies concerning Friends of the Earth. I understand from Jon Fuller (and incidentally I first met Mr. Fuller at the same early June meeting) that these inaccuracies have still not been withdrawn. I wish I felt confident that our Council was keen to disassociate itself from such untruths, but sadly they have been very slow to do so. I shall of course be making my views known to the Technical Services Department, and I am sure that many other residents will as well. I will not stop tackling other councillors on this issue, however, and I shall continue to encourage others to do likewise. It is as a result of pressure on Councillors that we get to learn what is going on. Firstly, you have stated (and you have not been alone in this) that the proposed road scheme was merely as a reponse to the traffic congestion in Priory Crescent. My immediate reaction was that this was an incredible standpoint. Councillors are not stupid and they would not put forward such a scheme (which anyone can see will do nothing to ease the congestion at the Bell, Cuckoo Corner and Sutton Road) as all that would be achieved in Priory Crescent would be 4 lanes of stationary traffic belching out fumes instead of two and councillors would make themselves most unpopular in the process. I felt that there had to be a hidden agenda and someone mentioned Fossetts Farm. That was the first time I had heard of Fossetts Farm. As a result of recent correspondence with Councillors of all three parties, it is becoming more and more clear that the reason for the new road scheme is indeed to support more building to the east of the town (Thorpe Bay Golf Course, ex-MoD land in Shoebury etc.) and that Councillors are aware of this, which rather undermines the stand you were taking in early June. My experience is that Councillors are in many cases woefully ignorant of the issues relating to Priory Park and its environs, yet those same councillors will be voting on an issue which could change radically the character of this town. This continual development of more and more land is a direct assault on the quality of life of existing residents and those who are tempted to move in to each tranche of new houses as they becime available. The infrastructure simply is not there to support more development, and since the A127 is the only reasonable road on which to approach Southend, for the Council to contemplate more housebuilding is little short of criminal. Since Rochford District and Essex County Councils are against a relief road coming in from the north then any development must put more and more pressure on the existing infrastructure: that is not just Priory Crescent, but also the whole of the A127. If Councillors continually endorse this extra building they are ensuring the gridlock you claimed you were anxious to alleviate at the Priory Crescent Working Patry meeting of 11/10/01 and thereby letting down the people of this town. The fact that you, and other councillors, have shifted your ground as a result of the pressure we have exerted (I know that you are on record as having denied this, but I will be polite and call this a politician's denial) has indicated that you do indeed have an agenda other than simply to widen Priory Crescent. If you still maintain that this scheme will reduce congestion, I will make the same offer to you as I have made to a number of other councillors (who have declined my invitation, incidentally). I am prepared to meet you at the Sutton Road / Eastern Avenue roundabout at peak traffic hours at a mutually agreeable date. We will then walk along Priory Crescent and on to the Bell. I will be able to demonstrate conclusively that the traffic on Priory Crescent is not flowing simply because it cannot get out at either end. I am certain that Anglia TV and our local newspapers will cover the event: it would be a great local interest story. You ask about my credentials. I am chairman of the Priory Park Preservation Society. I suggest that you look at our constitution which is on line at http://www.ppps.org.uk . For a definition of Priory Park, I suggest you look at the deeds, in particular the conveyance dated 10th May 1929. These too will be online as soon as we have the time to put them up. You, and several of you colleagues, have stated that the new road will not encroach on park land. In that case you won't be building it where you say you will, because Priory Park does not stop at the existing fence: it carries on right up to the railway embankment and either side of the existing road between Cuckoo Corner and the bridge over the railway. All of this land is protected in precisely the same way as the rest of the Park. You seem to be implying that the motivation which drives me must somehow be other than the straightforward wish to stop the further encroachment of concrete onto hitherto green areas. I am sorry to disappoint you, but that is all there is to it. It is a desire to be able to take my grandchildren, when they appear, to the same wonderful park as I have take my children. That is as far as my own interests go. I believe that I am representative of the great majority of people in this town in this respect and if in some way others benefit from the efforts I can direct to this issue then that will please me. I would imagine that since there is no likelihood of a financial reward for me in this respect that you would find it difficult to understand, but I live in hope. Meanwhile, I wrote to you some weeks ago requesting copies of the notes taken at the two meetings chaired by you which I attended. These were on 31/7/01 and 11/10/01 in the Councillors' lounge. Will you please let me have these copies as soon as possible. Yours sincerely, Peter Walker
Peter, As you know, David Norman ( my fellow Labour councillor and husband) laid down a proposal to prevent any of Priory Park land taken. This was lost at the last Council meeting, it was a named vote. We are still concerned about the amount of trees that will be destroyed. I will undertake to read this article and get back with as much information I can. Regards Jane Norman Labour Councillor for Victoria Ward.
The number of trees to be removed varies according to which version of the original alternatives is implemented but from memory the number involved in the final within the existing highway boundary scheme is in the mid forties. The park will also be enlarged. You also need to remember that as part of the scheme replanting with semi-mature trees will be undertaken on the basis of two for each one removed. When the scheme is finished there will be an increase in the number of trees in Priory Park not a decrease. Regards, Brian Kelly
Dear Mr. Kelly, Thank you for your reply. I would like to make two points. You state that the Park will be "enlarged". I refer you to the conveyance dated 10/5/1929 which clearly shows that areas of land outside the existing Park fence are also covered and protected by the terms of land transfer agreed between R.A. Jones and the Southend Corporation. It is the Council's intention to build a second bridge over the railway on the area described as a shrubbery (and for ever to be maintained as such) in the conveyance I have mentioned. It is therefore not possible to enlarge the park without diverting the railway, buying up residential areas or whatever because the park is clearly defined in those title deeds. Secondly, you mention replanting with "semi-mature" trees. It is a matter of great interest to me that when the PPPS outlines the practical difficulties of importing a number of 50-foot beech and oak trees (like for like replacements for the existing stock) a councillor suddenly breaks rank and refers to "semi-mature" trees rather than the "mature" ones so far talked about. Do we have a definition of semi-mature? Do we have any particular species in mind? Where will these "semi-mature" trees be placed? Will the Council publish statistics relating to the survival rate of transplanted trees of given sizes? Or the fact that imported large trees are normally overtaken within a few years by smaller specimens imported at the same time? I think that the public ought to be told. Yours sincerely, Peter Walker Chairman, Priory Park Preservation Society
There will be an increase in the current size of the park by a return of an area of land currently forming part of the junction of Priory Crescent and Eastern Avenue. There is also to be aditional land included in the park by the inclusion of part of the curtileges of the first two houses on the east side of Victoria Avenue which are currently owned by the Council and boarded up. This is the proposed location of the Golden Jubilee Garden referred to in various Council minutes. I am dealing with the current park not what may have been conveyed in 1925. Clearly since then, if you are correct someone made changes presumably either with the donor's permission or if he had already died with his heirs. The park will therefore be enlarged from it's current size. I refer to semi-mature trees based on some forty years experience in the construction industry. This technique was pioneered by Capability Brown and has been in use ever since. If you wish to see an example visit The Marlowes in Hemel Hempstead and view the avenue of Lime trees. They were in fact transplanted from the Guiness Brewery in Park Royal when it was being extended some thrity five years ago. There is a limit of size, which varies according to species, which can be successfully moved due to the risk of their becoming windthrown until their root systems become fully re-established. Therefore I am using the correct technical expression for the technique. What the public will see is twice as many trees as have been removed. Regards, Brian Kelly
Dear Mr. Kelly, I have seen the plan of the "preferred option" and the fact that a left-turn slip road is shown, taking off the front gardens of the two houses at the top of Victoria Avenue was perplexing to me: there must be very few people who wish to turn left from Priory Cresent into Victoria Ave: any journey involving this turn would be far better served turning left at Sutton Road and approaching the Town Centre that way or turning left after the railway bridge and joining Victoria Avenue south of the park This detail alone, if implemented, would remove two of the large conifers and a yew tree. Given that one of these conifers is shown in "A History of Southend", by Ian Yearsley (p.84) in a photograph dated 1924 and its appearance has scarcely changed in the last 77 years, it doesn't matter how many years you have spent in the construction industry, there is no way that you will ever convince me that the Council will be able to provide anything like a suitable replacement for this tree. I am not certain how you manage to interpret the expression "for ever" in the way that you do. At the risk of repeating myself, the vast bulk of Priory Park was transferred to the Southend Corporation within R.A. Jones' lifetime and all of it, including the piece I referred to which backs on to the railway has been placed in the public domain for ever. I refer you to the PPPS website at http://www.ppps.org.uk/history/conveyance19290510.html which will give you the information you require. I believe that it is impossible even for someone in the construction industry to unravel the terms of this conveyance and I know that nobody has done so yet. This would explain why it is that this conveyance is amongst the deeds of Priory Park which are currently held at the Charities Commission and why it is referred to on the Charities Commission website. Click the link to see the entry on their database. Ask the council legal department if you can see the deeds. You may be luckier that I was - they had mysteriously disappeared the day I went. http://www.charity-commission.gov.uk/cinprs/showcharity.asp?remchar=&chyno=1000195 Indeed, you have been a councillor for many years and I would ask you to provide me with some information. I have a vague recollection that Southend Borough Council once attempted to sell Victory Sports Ground to Waitrose for a supermarket to be built. Will you please provide me with the details of the year that this attempted transaction took place and why it was that it failed and the supermarket was subsequently built on its existing site. This whole process gives me a very strong feeling of déjà vu. My understanding is that techniques of transplanting large trees have improved considerably in recent years but nevertheless, it remains the case that the larger the tree that is transplanted, the greater the chance of it dying. However, although important, this is not the main point I am making. For the Council to be convincing in this respect, more than a vague referral to "mature" or "semi-mature" trees is required. It is quite easy to measure the size of the trees which are under threat and we are talking about a precise number which the Council have yet to declare. Nevertheless, I can immediately identify 52 trees of varying sizes (53 if you include the moderate-sized beech which was removed a few weeks ago) which would have to go because they are close to the existing carriageway. Add to them the trees on the shrubbery area (I counted 62 trees here, 29 of which were oaks of varying sizes) and those within the Park fence but whose branches and roots would be removed because of their proximity to the planned carriageway and it is my view that well in excess of 100 trees will be removed for this scheme. This may be more, given that the angle of the road to the railway is unlikely to be 90 degrees as I believe that this would make the bend on the eastbound lane into the bridge impossibly tight. What we need from the Tech Services Dept is specifics on the largest size of trees of a particular species which can be imported, the likely cost for each and the forecast survival rate. Has the Council put in a bid yet for what I would imagine would be an enormously costly process? Has a piece of land been earmarked for the planting of these trees? In short, this "larger park, more trees" promise is in my view a contemptible piece of nonsense which will be dropped once the site clearance work has commenced. Councillors' promises on this are completely worthless as this is the sort of frill which will be the first to go when the cash gets a bit tight. Yours sincerely, Peter Walker
The number of street trees is not relevant in this issue as the importance of this road improvement is of major consequence to the whole town, and trees can easily be replaced.Stationary traffic has a very bad effect on the health of local residents, who cannot be replanted.
Thank you for your reply in this respect. You may not be aware that widening the road will do nothing to ease the traffic flow along this stretch as the congestion is caused by the roundabouts at either end. This means that four lanes of statonary traffic will emit double the amount of noxious fumes as are emitted by two. In addition, trees have a small but beneficial effect upon road pollution by absorbing some of the dangerous fumes. It is also well-documented that widening roads adds to traffic problems in the long term, thereby increasing pollution. Perhaps you would let me know when the promised air quality testing equipment will be installed along Priory Crescent? I would be quite happy to meet you at peak traffic hours at a mutually convenient date at the Sutton Road roundabout and I would suggest a walk to the Bell and you will be able to see for yourself that the sheer volume of traffic at the roundabouts is the cause of the problem. Westbound congestion is worse than eastbound, and the traffic is at its heaviest between Cuckoo Corner and the Bell. It may be the case that traffic lights at Cuckoo Corner will ease congestion for westbound traffic along Priory Crescent but this must be at the expense of causing further congestion to traffic turning right from the Arterial Road into Victoria Avenue with consequent increases in pollution levels there. Furthermore, it is not easy to replace trees. Many of these are 80 years old and although it is possible at considerable expense to import reasonably sized trees, their survival rate is low and typically they do not thrive, often being overtaken by smaller specimens in a few years. The best way to put a mature oak into a location is to plant an acorn and let the tree do the rest. The problem with that, of course, is that none of the participants in this debate will ever see the fruits of their labours. Yours sincerely, Peter Walker
The roundabout will be completely refigured, the two corner houses will go, and the traffic lights will be linked to flow streams of traffic through.Each tree removed will be replaced by two MATURE trees.Doing nothing is no longer an option.I will be happy to meet you when the new scheme is up and running, regards, Alan Crystall. You also have to remember that I am a member of the East of England Regional Planning Panel, building up the new structure plan, and dualling of major roads is a regional priority.Southend is also in Thames Gateway, the national and regional priority area for economic regeneration,and roads have to improved especially to the east of the town which is still expanding.We have to do this to give the poor and disposessed who live in the central ares of Southend a chance of work,re education and reskilling, and to give their underperforming children a proper chance in life.Bear in the back of your mind that Southend is the drugs capital of Essex, biggest needle exchange, more teenage pregnancies, more children with no academic qualifications,and the largest number of free school meals in Essex, together with an aging population.These residents of Southend must have their lot improved, which is why we are living in the largest regeneration area in Europe.More trees, lifelong learning,reskilling, new jobs, better education and better living standards for the whole community.The street trees in Priory Crescent will not stand in the Way.Alan.
CllrCrystall wrote: > The roundabout will be completely refigured, the two corner houses will > go, and the traffic lights will be linked to flow streams of traffic > through.Each tree removed will be replaced by two MATURE trees.Doing > nothing is no longer an option.I will be happy to meet you when the new > scheme is up and running, regards, Alan Crystall. I fail to see how meeting me after any proposed new road is built will help at all. You are evidently charging headlong and with great enthuiasm into a scheme which is at best contentious and at worst highly damaging and a huge waste of public money. It is your duty as a Councillor to meet people whose views do not necessarily fit in with your own so that your decision when it comes to the vote can be taken from an informed standpoint. I can only assume that your unwillingness to meet me and discuss the issues in a constructive way is indicative of a fear of being proved wrong. > You also have to remember that I am a member of the East of England > Regional Planning Panel, building up the new structure plan, and dualling > of major roads is a regional priority. You have to remember that you are, as a Councillor, the servant of the people of this town. Of those who have expressed an opinion on this matter, the vast majority are against the road widening scheme. I suggest that you attend some meetings with them so that you can understand their strength of feeling. I can arrange those meetings if you wish. In some cases, it may indeed be appropriate to widen or dual roads. In other cases it will not. Each case needs to be judged on its merits and in my opinion, as well as those 20,000 others who have signed petitions to that effect, Priory Park would be hugely damaged by the road scheme and the people of Southend would not benefit one bit. > Southend is also in Thames Gateway, the national and regional priority > area for economic regeneration,and roads have to improved especially to > the east of the town which is still expanding.We have to do this to give > the poor and disposessed who live in the central ares of Southend a chance > of work,re education and reskilling, and to give their underperforming > children a proper chance in life.Bear in the back of your mind that > Southend is the drugs capital of Essex, biggest needle exchange, more > teenage pregnancies, more children with no academic qualifications,and the > largest number of free school meals in Essex, together with an aging > population.These residents of Southend must have their lot improved, which > is why we are living in the largest regeneration area in Europe.More > trees, lifelong learning,reskilling, new jobs, better education and better > living standards for the whole community.The street trees in Priory > Crescent will not stand in the Way.Alan. This is the first occasion that I have heard of an avenue of trees being responible for a drugs problem and teenage pregnancies. Yours sincerely, Peter Walker
The regeneration of the town will require adequate EW transport routes amongst many other things,horizontal spatial strategies that link infrastructure with jobs and health and social services and buses etc.,in overall strategies aimed to be complete by 2021.If you are happy to believe that a row of replaceable trees is more important than the progress to prosperity of our poor and disposessed, in a multifaceted renewal strategy, then I regret wasting my time trying to explain that Priory Crescent is a just one piece of a regeneration jigsaw that must succeed. If we take your line and do nothing,there will be 20,000 unemployed in Southend Rochford and Castle Point by 2011.Please do not think councillors are anti-green morons. I am one of three councillor members of the East of England Regional Environmental Strategy Group gathering together a framework of best practice from Vistas of scenic and historic landscape to urban parks and urban renaissance, from SSSI's to nature reserves, water resources and coastline. East of England has a population of 5.4 million, bigger than Scotland and Denmark,and together with partners in English Nature, Countryside commission, National Trust etc. are working to safeguard the long term future of the environment, landscape ,nature conservation air quality and built environment across the whole region.
Dear Dr. Crystall, My apologies for having overlooked your latest e-mail. I do not regard dialogue between opposing viewpoints as a waste of time: it must be part of the democratic process that you, as a Councillor, respond to correspondence, and it is a pity that more of your colleagues do not emulate you in this respect. In your latest e-mail you refer to some elaborate statistical prognostications which must be open to conjecture: you don't say where you get the statistics from and they must be regarded as no more valuable than guesswork. What you have not addressed is the very real problem of the fact that many people in Southend want the trees to stay and the road to remain single carriageway. It does not matter how often Councillors repeat the stale mantra "Doing nothing is no longer an option", doing the wrong, irreversible thing is infinitely worse than doing nothing. If, for the moment, we do nothing drastic to Priory Crescent, it may be appropriate to act at a later date in the light of more information. Meanwhile, we can adopt some of the less radical approaches, e.g. a genuine attempt to reduce the amount of traffic which uses Cuckoo Corner, experimenting with different sorts of junction, a park & ride scheme using some of the surplus land at the airport. Although I have no doubt that you will vote in favour of this road scheme when the time comes, nothing that you have written gives me any confidence that you have considered at all the views of your consituents. No-one on the Council has officially admitted that this proposed road scheme is anything other than a means of relieving a specific traffic problem. As such, I still fail to understand why you will not accept my challenge, meet me at Sutton Road and allow me to explain to you why it is that this road will do nothing to solve the traffic problems of Cuckoo Corner and the Sutton Road / Eastern Avenue roundabouts. Regards, Peter Walker
I regret I must diagnose you as a sad case of "treeomania",a condition where patients think that trees are a more important part of life on earth than human mammals. There is no cure alas,and the sufferers are to be pitied as they tend to lack the milk of human kindness.
I have already told Roger Weaver in writing that I do not condone the abuse of Councillors so my response to this mindless nonsense will be merely to observe that if this is the level of correspondence that residents of this town receive from the elected councillors then there is absolutely no wonder that councillors have handled this issue as ineptly as they have.
Dear Mr. Walker I am not sure of your interest in the trees around Priory Park, maybe you are one of those who voiced strong opinions, quite rightly, against the ridiculous schemes put forward by the Yellow Advertiser. You will have to ask the Technical Services Department exactly how many trees are required to be replaced to accommodate the Council proposed road scheme(it is not one members scheme but was endorsed by the full council last week). At that Council Meeting all the options were displayed and each one shows the position of any tree which would have to be sacrificed these will for the basis of the consultation process now underway. As you may know, and I will repeat it in case you do not, at least two mature trees will be planted for each tree that has to be felled. As Portfolio-holder responsible for the park I will want to see further trees planted in the extra parts of the park created at the Cookoo Corner and where the Tranport Depot is at present. Please look at the proposals judge them in the cold light of reason and be pleased that they are not designed to desecrate the park as so many people thought.
Dear Cllr North, Thank you for your prompt reply. I have seen a number of schemes put forward by a variety of newspapers and councillors, some more foolish than others. I do indeed hold strong opinions on the matter of Priory Park and Priory Crescent. I have seen the plans which were displayed at the Council meeting of 8/11/01, and in particular plan F5 (the "preferred option"). I am also in possession of copies of the deeds and conveyances relating to the transfer of land from R.A Jones to Southend Corporation in the 1920s. F5 is subject to amendment in the light of further investigations and, according to James Westgate (SBC Transport Group Manager), is not reliable on detail, certainly not to the point that individual trees are marked. The deeds show that the extent of the land subject to the rigorous terms of transfer agreed by R. A. Jones and the Southend Corporation in the 1920s does not stop at the Park fence: the shrubbery between Lookers Car Showroom and the existing railway bridge was also placed in the Local Authority's hands "for the purposes of open spaces and shrubberies only...and will forever hereafter maintain the same as open spaces and shrubberies only" (Conveyance 8727 dated 10/5/1929). There are more than 60 trees, almost half of them oaks, in this area. You, of all people, should be aware that the Park as transferred by R. A Jones does not stop at the current fence and any road widening scheme must, by its definition, take park land. Since the Charities Commission also holds deeds for land currently outside the Park fence then it is logical to assume that the Charitable Trust responsible for the Park also has jurisdiction over the areas I have described. You may be aware that the planting of mature trees is a very unsatisfactory process. Many of the trees which would be felled for this road are 80 years old and although it is possible at considerable expense to import reasonably sized trees, their survival rate is low and typically they do not thrive, often being overtaken by smaller specimens in a few years. The best way to put a mature oak into a location is to plant an acorn and let the tree do the rest. The problem with that, of course, is that none of the participants in this debate will ever see the fruits of their labours. That should not stop us planting trees of course: they are vital to the survival of future generations. Furthermore, nobody has yet demonstrated that the widening of Priory Crescent would in any way ease the traffic congestion. It is clear to me that the congestion is caused by the roundabouts at Cuckoo Corner and Sutton Road. I would be happy to meet you at the Sutton Road roundabout at a mutually convenient date at peak hours so that we can walk the route to the Bell. You will find that it is the stretch of the existing dual carriageway westbound which prevents traffic from leaving Priory Crescent, as well as that turning right into Victoria Avenue. I am aware that it is part of Plan F5 to replace the roundabout at Cuckoo Corner with lights. It is my view, having used this junction many thousands of times in the past 25 years, that it may indeed be possible to improve the traffic flow along Priory Crescent by this means, but at the expense of the eastbound lanes approaching Cuckoo Corner.You may not be aware that neither Roger Weaver nor W. S. Atkins consultants, at the Priory Crescent Working Group meeting of 11/10/01, were able to give satisfactory answers to questions relating firstly to the amount of time that would be saved on a journey from Cuckoo Corner to Sutton Road and secondly, if the traffic lights will make such a difference,why not put them in without widening Priory Crescent and see whether the desired benefit can be achieved without removing trees. I look forward to being able to arrange a meeting. Yours sincerely Peter Walker Chariman, Priory Park Preservation Society
Dear Mr Walker Now I know who you are, the person who puts out leaflets saying that people are in favour of roads through the park when they have said nothing of the sort! I will reply to your e-mail though it will probably be distorted and taken out of context. There is no ned to meet and walk the route you suggest, I used to drive that route everyday and have changed because of the congestion,so i have made the road a little clearer. Why I should know the detail of R.A. Jones's will is beyond me I live in the present and look to the future of all of Southend not just Priory Crescent. I am sure that such a realist as R.A.Jones would have welcomed the proposed scheme as one which causes minimum damage to the park, yet maximum benefit to the residents to the east of the town[which are growing daily]. Perhaps your undoubted energies could be used to put pressure on Rochford and Essex to build a relief road round from shoeburyness which could make the scheme you oppose obsolete. I was not at the meeting you refered to, but at the Cabinet meeting; which is open to the public with pre-released agendas, we were told that the plans did show trees which were under threat. At no time has the stretch of land to the east of Priory Crescent and west of the railway line been identified to me as part of the park.
CllrNorth wrote: > Dear Mr Walker > Now I know who you are, the person who puts out leaflets saying that people > are in favour of roads through the park when they have said nothing of the > sort! > > I will reply to your e-mail though it will probably be distorted and taken > out of context. > > There is no ned to meet and walk the route you suggest, I used to drive > that route everyday and have changed because of the congestion,so i have > made the road a little clearer. I am looking forward to a Councillor having the courage of their convictions and agreeing to meet me on these terms. It is easy to demonstrate that Cuckoo Corner and Sutton Road roundabouts are the cause of the congestion and to imply otherwise is to mislead the public. To refuse meet someone with a point of view differing from your own is cowardice. > Why I should know the detail of R.A. Jones's will is beyond me I live in the > present and look to the future of all of Southend not just Priory Crescent. I know nothing of R. A Jones' will. The fact that you refer to it demostrates the depth of your knowledge of the issues we are discussing. What I do have is a copy of each of the deeds and conveyances relating to the transfer of Priory Park to the Southend Corporation in the 1920s. The piece of land to which I have referred is indeed covered by these conveyances and I copied to you the relevant part in my previous e-mail. I was handed my copies by someone who obtained them directly from the Charities Commission. If the land in question is not adminstered by the charitable trust, then why should the Charities Commission hold a copy of the deeds? > I am sure that such a realist as R.A.Jones would have welcomed the proposed > scheme as one which causes minimum damage to the park, yet maximum benefit > to the residents to the east of the town[which are growing daily]. The above sentence is completely untrue. It is remarkable how councillors determined to dismantle the great work done by Jones claim that he would have shared their point of view. > Perhaps your undoubted energies could be used to put pressure on Rochford > and Essex to build a relief road round from shoeburyness which could make > the scheme you oppose obsolete. Development of extra housing does not happen by accident. If irresponsible councillors approve house building in unsuitable places where the infrastructure does not exist to support such development, then they are letting down the people who already live in Southend by causing a deterioration in their quality of life. They are letting down the incoming residents because this rapacity and hunger for more building land never stops. It is also irresponsible to advocate the building of yet more environmentally damaging roads. Councillors need to understand that Southend, being not just coastal but also on a peninsula (R.Crouch to the north, sea to the east, Thames to the south), is of limited access and, ultimately, remote. As such, a point arrives (and I believe that we have now reached that point) when further development becomes impossible unless at unacceptable environmental cost. There are many residents who accept traffic jams as an occupational hazard of driving. It is the Council's responsibility to look for ways to reduce congestion and that can only be achieved ultimately by persuading people who currently drive to use alternative means of transport. > I was not at the meeting you refered to, but at the Cabinet meeting; which > is open to the public with pre-released agendas, we were told that the plans > did show trees which were under threat. At no time has the stretch of land > to the east of Priory Crescent and west of the railway line been identified > to me as part of the park. I am now identifying it to you as such. Read the deeds and examine the maps. You, as a Councillor, are a member of the charitable trust administering Priory Park and for you to advocate the sort of damage to land which has been entrusted to you is entirely unacceptable. Priory Park, as well as the shrubbery across the road and all the grass verges either side of the stretch of Priory Crescent between the railway bridge and Cuckoo Corner, is protected by the terms of the transfer of land. The exisiting road was planned and agreed to under the terms of the transfer. In the case of the shrubbery, the date of the conveyance is 10th May 1929. You have already told me that you are portfolio holder with responsibilty for the administration of Priory Park yet you are ignorant of the terms under which the Council administers the Park. That doesn't look too good, does it? Now you have been told, I don't expect you to take my word for it but I do expect you to check for yourself. Yours sincerely, Peter Walker
Thank you for forwarding the article. I have not counted the exact number of trees along the current road nor have I yet seen drawings in sufficient detail to know which trees may need to removed. The technical services department of SBC may be able to give you further information regarding the trees. Anna Waite
Dear Mrs. Waite, I find it a little odd that you are not familiar with the details, as they currently stand, of the proposed road scheme and yet you are prepared to accept it as a "preferred option". I was able, as a member of the public, to meet James Westgate and look in detail at the plan concerned with him on 9th November, the day after the Council took the decision to accept the plan in principle and voted by a large majority against a proposal to abandon any scheme which takes land from Priory Park. Do you not think that it is your duty as a Councillor to familiarise yourself with the issues since you will be voting on this highly contentious and unpopular issue in the near future? Firstly, I believe that you should look carefully at the plan which has been adopted and secondly find out how the Council are rushing headlong into a scheme which will put them at odds with the Charities Commission. It may come as a surprise to you to learn that the land upon which the proposed bridge will be built is all Park land as defined by the deeds dated 10th May 1929. The Charities Commission hold copies of these deeds. For detailed information see http://www.ppps.org.uk . Yours sincerely, Peter Walker