Southend Times
March 19, 2002

COMMENT: The increasing use of the human rights argument

HAVE you noticed how often the phrase 'human rights' is now creeping into our everyday language?

It is one of the more sinister aspects of our ridiculous bowing to Europe at every turn.

It cropped up in a recent planning application over a house in multiple occupation in Southend>

It has been raised again in a letter from the Southend law firm, Dawson & Co in their letter indicating that they may apply, on behalf of the Priory Park Preservation SOciety, for a judicial review over the Southend Council Cabinet's recommendation for a new dual carriageway from the railway bridge at the top of Priory Crescent down to Cuckoo Corner.

THe law firm's letter to the council states: "The decision must, of course, be made with proper regard to relevant considerations. We also have in mind the importance of giving residents a full hearing on matters afecting their civil rights (article 6 of the Human Rights Convention), respect for home life (article 8) free flow of information (article 10), and enjoyment of property rights (First Protocol, article 1)."

Presumably, the implication is that if they dake this case on Human Rights merits they would expect to win.

We are all for the preservation of human rights.

But we cannot see how any human rights have been contravened in this case.

This is a parcel of land that the council has maintained in first class order, but which is of no real use to the general public.

THere are no benches there where the public can sit. Nobody in their right mind would dream of sitting out on the grass for a picnic.

It is doubtful whether they would want to if the council provided them with seats and tables - because of the clouds of obnoxious fumes coming from the queues of cars going down to Cuckoo Corner.

THe law firm have also jumped the gun in assumiung that this is a done and dusted deal.

It's not. THe recommendation from the council has to be ratified by full council after there has been a full debate.

There is still time for the protesters' case to be put by some councillors who are bound to be opposed to what the Cabinet have in mind.

There is still time to come up with a better solution. If anyone can do this we, along with many others, would support it.

But this debate has dragged on now for years and nobody has come up with a better solution.

Most people agree that doing nothing is not an option - unless we want greater chaos on this stretch of road than exists at the moment.

The protesters' views have been hears.

THey have been successful in that the park is being preserved and for every tree that is uprooted along Priory Crescent - and the vew in the park itself - will be replaced on a two to one basis with semi mature trees.

Moving the battle to this one parcel of land which is outside the boundary of the park will only lead to great costs and the loss of the government money that has been given to the town to ease this problem.

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