Evening Echo
May 18, 2006

Clear road protesters off with a bulldozer!

Camp Bling - opinions are strongly divided about the protest

AN estimated £500,000 to evict the protesters from Priory Crecent is a complete waste of council taxpayers' money.

Has anyone in this country got an ounce of sense? You don't tell them when the party starts, just go in in the middle of the night!

These people are trespassing, they have no rights as far as I can see. The place is a complete mess and who's got to pay for that to be cleared up?

The amount of wood they have used building their den probably amounts to half the trees which will be replaced anyway.

Let's get on with this road, because without it we can't have the new Southend United Football ground, as the better road acess is a requirement.

Who knows, some of them may be able to get a job there, at least they won't have to travel through the congestion the rest of us have to suffer day after day, year after year.

I'm sorry if I sound cynical, but I'm fed up with subsidising every minority group.

Get on with it - clear them off with bulldozer!

Shepard Close, Eastwood

...I FIND it astonishing that after months of portraying the Camp Bling protesters as idealistic, well-meaning environmentalists it is only now the Echo seems to wake up to the harsh reality of what they are doing to this town financially.

Soon after setting up the camp the Echo quoted one of them as saying "we can cost the council hundreds and thousands of pounds by pulling off a good eviction."

By this, of course, they meant the council taxpayer.

Since then they have had much undeservedly sympathetic coverage in the Echo, no doubt aiding in them getting donations of goods and money.

It's all a big game to these people, enjoying camping out behind the fence they insisted on keeping so their dogs can run free (who is paying for the fence?) until it's time to cost the taxpayer thousands by hiding down their tunnels.

Perhaps the Echo has left it a bit late to suddenly get up in arms at the inevitable cost of this shanty town after giving them such a platform over the past six months or so to appear reasonable and worthy.

Shakespeare Drive

...THE Echo comment (May 15) does a disservice to each and every resident of our town and beyond, who has opposed the controversial Priory Crescent road widening, ever since the idea was first put forward.

The article is written in very emotive and colourful language, clearly with the intention of turning away support from those of us who have lived at the Camp Bling protest site over the past eight months.

During the course of the campaign, Parklife and Camp Bling have often been protrayed as irrelevant, or in this case read "harmless and quite colourful eccentrics."

Now that the go-ahead could be halted by the impracticalities of clearing our protest site, the tone has changed and we must stand for "mob rule."

I remind the Echo and also Southend Council that over 20,000 signatures were collected in opposition to the scheme by the end of the official public consultation period, with just 16 letters of approval.

As recently as last Saturday, Parklife met with the town's shoppers to collect letters of opposition. Even after five years of petitioning, over three hundred people shared their concerns with us in a few hours. I personally met two in favour of the widening that same afternoon.

So the rule of our "mob" is simple - to stop the desecration of the most significant archaeological burial site found in living memory, destruction of 111 trees, concreting of 3000m2 of public open space, and eqyally to represent everyone who has been ignored by and excluded from the "exhaustive and completely democratic process."

If the scheme is cancelled we will clear and leave the burial site.

This is about people power for the residents of Southend and this time we won't be ignored.

Camp Bling

...COINCIDENTALLY a few hours before Monday's Echo, I decided to go and see the site of Camp Bling.

I was welcomed by "Ollie" who showed me around the neat and well looked-after camp, far from the "ramshackle collection of tents and huts" the reporter wrote about.

Ollie explained why there were only a few people there - the rest were at work.

I found the camp a well organised, pleasant area.

The cost of eviction is said to be £500,000. What a lot of money.

Oh, I forgot about the £21million yet to be spent on a short stretch of road to move a non-avoidable bottleneck a few yards up the road.

I have certainly had my eyes opened.

Maybe others should make a visit and ask questions which will be gladly answered, like I did.

Danesleigh Gardens, Leigh

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