Essex Courier
September 12, 2001

Parklife take campaign to the streets in protest march

Six members of 'Parklife', a Southend resident's campaign group, attempted to walk over 40 miles non-stop overnight, to publicise their campaign to 'Save Priory Park'.

The park is currently under threat from a proposal by Southend Borough Council to dual the A1159, Priory Crescent (North). This would, say the campaign group, encroach on to park space and result in the destruction of a number of ancient trees.

The six travelled from the office of the Attorney General in London, at Buckingham Gate, to Priory Park.

Prior to the walk, a local independent archaeologist handed over a survey of the Park, and the possible route of the proposed road, to the Attorney General's private secretary.

Parklife Campaigner, Shaun Qureshi, said: "We have identified the organisations in London who have the power to make a decision on this scheme, and believe that the walk will be symbolic in linking them with the local people of the town who care so much about the 'People's Park. "We intend to show with more than words how important this issue is, and present the 6,500 petition coupons in a fitting manner to Sir Teddy Taylor, MP for Southend East," he added.

The walkers had arranged to deliver the coupons to Sir Teddy when they finally arrived at Priory Park, but were unable to do so because of the walk took longer than planned.

Of the six campaigners who set out, only three managed to complete the grueling marathon.

Nearing the finish, almost three hours later than planned, the three remaining campaigners met Sir Teddy Taylor in the Southend's Tesco car park, along the A127, where they handed over the petition coupons.

The Conservative MP had reshuffled other engagements so that he could be there to meet the walkers at the finish line, but eventually, unable to wait any longer, he went out to meet them.

Although not all of the walkers were able to complete the distance, their effort achieved its aim, which was to publicise their 'Save Priory Park' campaign.

Knowing that details of their endeavour had been broadcast on local radio and featured in local newspapers Qureshi said now people know about the threat to the park: "it's up to them to do something to save it".

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