Evening Echo
Monday October 9, 2006

Time for compromise over Priory Crescent debacle


OK, guys and gals of Southend's Camp Bling, you've well and truly made your very valid point. So how about moving out, moving on - and clearing up before you finally depart from your protest position alongside Priory Crescent?

And how about Southend Council, agreeing to a compromise - a touch of common sense, for goodness sake - so the stupid stalemate can be resolved?

Protesters against the road-widening scheme and the burying the Saxon King's tomb under tonnes of concrete, could pledge to quit if given a firm undertaking no scheme will go ahead for the next however many years.

This might see the end of the present unsightly encampment on what was a beautiful greensward alongside the road - on the understanding that the protesters take with them all the trappings of their stay, leaving no mess behind. This might be only a temporary end to the sad and divisive state of affairs. The protesters might well return when the unbelievably expensive widening scheme is revived. But isn't the likelihood of a go-ahead for work a long way off? I don't think the scheme would have any major effect on rush hour traffic jams, anyway. There are too many bottlenecks needing too much attention along the A127 to allow any one single piece of work to make real difference.

I don't think it's right to build over so important a site as the Saxon burial ground - which deserves a prominent memorial rather than a road over it.

But neither do I like the tatty appearance of the protest camp. Nor do I believe any dispute should linger on and on.

Let the council speak up, honestly. Let the protesters hear and then depart, peacefully, leaving nothing behind, not even ill feelings or recriminations on either side of the divide. Their point has been made. Any bulldozing of their camp and of the area seems, now, to be as far off as the finance to pay for the road scheme. It's time for commonsense and compromise.

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