Southend Times
March 19, 2002

Council chief hits out at protesters


THE war of words between the Priory Park protesters and Southend Council was stepped up last week when the council's chief executive and town clerk, George Krawiec said Southend had to think progressively if it was not to be left behind the rest of the country.

Speaking at Thursday's meeting of the Business and Tourism Partnership he said: "We must not listen to the people who shout the loudest."

Although not specifically mentioning Priory Crescent at this stage the target of his message was obvious.

"We have to see what needs to be done and then drive it forward. You are going to upset people whichever way you move."

He then went on to talk directly about the Priory Crescent issue.

He thought that the treadment meted out to Coun Roger Weaver, the Cabinet member responsible for highways, over this issue has been "disgraceful".

"It is not acceptable for anyone in public life to be treated in this way," he said.

He went on to explain that when the protesters had attended the last meeting of the Southend Cabinet to listen to the debate on Priory Crescent it was pointed out to them afterwards that the Cabinet would then be discussing the improvements to the A13 and the setting up of environmental rooms across the borough - two equally important transport and environmental issues - but they hadn't stayed for them.

"You can draw your own conclusions from that," he said.

The protesters themselves kept up their war of words, too, with Chris Ford announcing: "Already a complaint is winging its way to the ombudsman concerning the council's handling of this issue and specifically the Cabinet meeting.

"The council also face a tough legal challenge - see page one.

"Under the terms of one of the original covenants the proposed land take ion front of Lookers showrooms should not be allowed.

"I certainly have more faith in a judge's interpretation of the law than I do in Coun Weaver's interpretation of democracy."

He described the Cabinet decision as "a pyrrhic victory" for the councillors.

He said: "They have decided that the 18,480 objections to the plans didn't matter as much as the 16 letters of support for them."

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