Evening Echo
February 8, 2006

Camp's residents dig secret network of tunnels to evade eviction

Road protesters are going underground

ROAD protesters have revealed they have dug a secret network of underground tunnels to ensure they cannot be evicted from Camp Bling.

Environmental campaigners set up camp in September, as a last ditch attempt to prevent road widening work at Priory Crescent.

They claim the improvements - designed to alleviate a traffic bottleneck - will be detrimental to Priory Park and could damage the Saxon King burial site.

The camp took its name from the Saxon King's nickname King of Bling.

A camp spokesman said: "A method has now been devised ,considering the sensitive nature of the site, whereby the archaeology remains untouched, but an extensive underground system can still be accessed by protesters.

"This will enable the site to be defended from any eviction, whether legal or illegal, by the local authority, should the road be approved."

Southend Tory David Garston was shocked by news of the tunnels.

"My opinion is quite honesty they are trying to fight a battle that has already been lost.

"We have had a public inquiry. It's quite obvious we need the road.

"We are waiting for funding, but the democratic decision was to have the road."

He added: "I can't take them seriously. In my view they are just squatters and I don't have a lot of respect for them."

Protesters say the camp will stay put until funding for the road widening is cancelled or they are evicted.

The Regional Partnership Group was being asked to approve the recommended transport schemes - including Priory Crescent - at its meeting at 2pm today in Ipswich, before the details are sent to central Government for final approval in the spring.

Further direct action has been promised by local residents if the scheme is not dropped from the priority list or funding is not cancelled.

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