Southend Echo
Friday February 23, 2007

Road protest disrupts meeting

Protesters invaded last night's Southend Council meeting to show thier opposition to the proposed road-widening at Priory Crescent.

About 30 [200] people turned up with banners and disrupted the full council meeting, which was halted for about 15 minutes.

One demonstrator was marched out by police after the mayor's pleas for quiet were ignored.

The protest had been organised by Camp Bling campaigners, who have been fighting the road scheme for the past six years.

They set up camp in Priory Park to prevent the road from being dualled.

Although the road-widening was not discussed at the meeting, demonstrators picked last night because it was a full council meeting and all councillors were attending.

Shaun Qureshi, a Camp Bling member who was organising the protest, said: "This is just about finding ways to get the message across. It doesn't seem to come up on agendas very often."

Three years after their discovery, treasures stay in London

No home in sight for relics of Saxon King

    Political reporter
  • THREE years after the burial site of a Saxon King was hailed as a huge archaeological discovery, his relics are still no closer to coming home to Southend.

    The discovery was made on land near Priory Park, due to be used for the widening of Priory Crescent and now the site of protest site Camp Bling.

    Southend COuncil bosses have been talking ever since about providing a final home for the relics, which are now stored at the Museum of London. Suggestions have included a museum being part of the restoration of the Cliffs following the 2003 landslip.

    Council chief executive Rob Tinlin said discussions were continuing, involving both the council and urban regeneration company Renaissance Southend.

    He added: "Not only are we absolutely certain the finds should be returned to Southend, but we also believe it could be a major tourist attraction in the town.

    "We are also in tentative discussions with major national institutions to have an arrangement with one of them."

    This could include Soutehnd being among a number of destinations for high-profile touring exhibitions.

    Mr Tinlin said a lot of work was going on behind the scenes to try to bring the Saxon King back to the town.

    Council leader Murray Foster added it was clear it would not be possible to house the new museum at Priory Park, near where the relics were discovered.

    He said: "There would be a major conflict with the existing use and the other historical interest in Priory Park along with major problems concerning access and the infrastructure of the area."

    Mr Foster said he believed the council should also look into improving facilities at other cultural venues in the town, including Southend Central Museum, in Victoria Avenue, and the Beecroft Art Gallery in Station Road, Westcliff.

    He said: "These are old buildings which cannot always display everything they would like to and we are anxious to provide better facilites across the town."

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