[Yellow Ribbon] PPPS Public Meeting - 4th Mar 2002

8pm, Temple Sutton Primary School
  1. Apologies
  2. Introduction of Councillors
  3. D. Watts Report to Cabinet
  4. Question on Watts Report to Cabinet
  5. Legal Challenge

Questions to Councillors

Chris Dandridge (CD) - Leader of Labour group (arrived 8:45pm)
Apologised for being late, he was already at another meeting at the Civic Centre, and left before it finished to join us at Temple Sutton.

Graham Longley (GL) - Leader of Liberal Democrats, arrived shortly after
Stayed to the end of the above meeting at the Civic Centre

CD said that the Labour party has always opposed the scheme to dual Priory Crescent from its very outset. The plan has come up on previous occasions over the past 20 years and Labour has always opposed it.

CD agrees that we do have traffic problems in Southend - but does not think that this scheme (F5) will solve them. He said that all the scheme will do is have two lanes of traffic queuing at Cuckoo Corner rather than one. He doesn't believe the scheme will have any effect. Labour are in the minority, but he asks people to lobby the Conservative Councillors.

Question: "The scheme has been funded by the government. Why can't the Labour Party ask them (cent. govt.) to stop it?
CD - the cent govt funding is £36m for the whole Integrated Transport Policy (ITP) over the next five years, so they can't withdraw funding - it's up to the Council how to spend it.

Question: "Will the roundabout go?"
Plans suggest that it will be replaced by traffic lights

Question: "Can't the £3.5 pillion be spent on buses?"
CD - Labour and Liberal Democrats did have proposals for bus lanes before Conservatives gained majority control of Council.
Jon Fuller (JF) - Council have committed to "Bus Priority" lanes

Question: "After dark the park gates are shut. How can people walk along the footpath at night if it's inside the park?"
CD - It is a very important point which he will be raising at the next Scrutiny Committee Meeting.

Peter Walker (PW): Has read the report section applying to this which stated the Northern pavement was sufficient. This means that pedestrians will have to cross four lanes of traffic. This could result in deaths.

GL - apologies for late arrival and informed us that there was in fact "no Conservative Party meeting" tonight! (Brian Houssart had previously used this as an excuse for not coming).
GL's comments on Priory Park - he said that his group's feelings were that the park was given to the town and the town should say what it feels in a Referendum. Liberals have called for a Referendum.
However, he did feel that the new road would make a difference - it would move traffic congestion further along the A127 to The Bell and Prince Avenue. He said there should be another (new) route out of the town heading north to allow for residents living in the east of the borough.

Question: "Will there be a Referendum?"
GL - That's up to the ruling group.

Question: Given that the report shows over 19,000 opposed to scheme F5 and only 16 in favour, what would both Councillors do to ensure the democratic process should work?
GL - The Conservatives still have a majority (33 of them). Even at election time (local elections May 2nd) only 12 seats can change hands and even if they do, the Conservatives will still have a majority.
GL - in May, he will push for a Referendum - on the Lib Dem manifesto. Lib Dems may even run one at the polling boths on May 2nd.

Question: "How come some members of the Lib Dems voted in favour of the scheme?"
GL - We do not operate a party whip.

Question (JF): Science has proven that asthma is caused by atmospheric pollution. How can GL justify the building of a new bypass to the north of the town?
CD is completely opposed to outer bypass as a solution. Believes long term solutions are the only answer. People should be more willing to cut down on car use/reliance.

Question (from Shoebury Residents Association): "The S.R.A. do not want the road widened or changed (Priory Crescent). Business traffic needs to get through the Borough - how will lorries get through?"
PW - Feels railways should be used instead of HGVs.

Question: "Why build any new houses or businesses in the area when the whole area is soon to be threatened by flooding? When the Thames barrier is altered, the low lying land east of Southend is under threat of flooding."

Question (from Ralph Lycett): "Why is the scheme really going ahead?"
GL - "Ask them, not us" (referring to Conservative group)

Question: "It seems likely that the decision will come out tommorrow, no matter what(5/3). Is there any way it can be 'stalled' until May 2nd elections?"
CD - Decisions of the cabinet will have to go through Scrutiny Committee in April/May
GL - The next council meeting is 25th April

Question: "If all planning permission was cancelled for the east of the town, would that stop it?"
CD - Believes the reason that plan F5 is going ahead is that it has always been deemed 'popular' with the west of the town.

Question (from Alan Hart): "How many people know that there is a 10th Century burial ground located North/East of the park exactly where (pointing to map on OHP) the existing shrubbery area is?" [This section to become dual carriageway]

Question: "Can't we take this to Europe - isn't it an infringement of our Human Rights?"

Question: "Why can't the council implement Traffic Calming Measures to slow traffic down? It works well in America."
GL - In 1985, road humps were put in in certain areas, but these caused vibrations in nearby houses, so were removed.
PW - Questioner means graduated traffic speeds - i.e. 50mph, then 40mph, 30mph down to possibly 20mph - has this been considered?"
CD - No, it hasn't, but certain residential areas do already have speed limits down to 20mph. CD would be happy to do that (implement traffic calming measures).

Question (Andrea Black): "With reference to the earlier question that there is a 10th century burial ground, under the area known as the shrubbery - and noticing tonight's "Echo" had an article re The Time Team's Tony Robinson coming to Southend for talks with the Labour Group on possible filming of digs at Priory Park and Fossetts Farm, wouldn't it be an idea for them to do a programmeon the above to highlight its historical importance and this would also be very good publicity for saving this area of the park?"
CD - Yes, that meeting was also tonight at the Labour Hall, (Cambridge Road) but didn't know the outcome as yet.

Question: "Has the council got a group of workers going around removing yellow ribbons/park posters etc?" He noticed they'd been swiftly & persistently removed and wondered why the existing graffiti around the town is not dealt with in the same way.

Question: "Referring to the 2 boarded up houses on Cuckoo Corner, were they purchased by the council years ago?" "Would they be knocked down?"
CD - Knows that Roger Weaver is very worried that these houses may be 'occupied' soon ... and therefore wants them to be knocked down ASAP.

Question: (PW) "Are the trees outside the park protected by preservation orders?
CF - Yes, but this was put in place by the council & therefore can be lifted by it

Question: (from a lady who had a telephone conversation with Verena Wilson)
The questioner was told by VW that all other alternatives to the scheme F5 had been exhausted - but following tonight's meeting the questioner believed thist statement to be untrue.
JF (FOE) - Sent a detailed letter to Roger Weaver with many suggested solutions to avoid F5 etc. However, none of these suggestions had ever been taken.

Question: (A comment from member of the audience)
He'd noticed that a former suggestion made to the council had been taken on board, as they had removed all the vegetation on Cuckoo Corner Roundabout (Presumably so drivers can see way ahead and make quicker progress)

10pm - Meeting Ends

Letter to Peter Walker cancelling Civic Centre booking

DATE 27th February 2002

Dear Sir;
I am writing to inform you that I am Sorry to say that I have Cancel your booking for the Charter Suite on the 4th of March and have returned your cheque for £50 This is due ot the room being over booked on the 4th of March I have a Dinner booking for 160 on this date My Chef took this booking befor Christmas but put it down has the 5th of March.But I have just been informed by the party that it is the 4th of March when I was going through there reqiments So I must honour this booking first.
I am very sorry about this mistake and hope you will be able to fined a room somewhere.

Yours Sincerely
Mr P.J. Neil

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