Yellow Advertiser
27th June 2007

NEW DIRECTION: Councillors Anna Waite and Nigel Holdcroft at Priory Crescent, Prittlewell.


by Peter Henn

SOUTHEND Council has axed plans to build a road over the burial ground of a Saxon king.

The controversial scheme for Priory Park was shelved in favour of a new proposal to build a dual carriageway from Cuckoo Corner as far as Lookers Garage, leaving much of the park and burial site untouched.

Council leader Nigel Holdcroft (Conservative, West Leigh) said he was pleased with the proposals.

He said: "If we upgrade the transport infrastructure of the area, we will boost the regeneration opportunities - not just in the east of the borough but throughout Southend."

The annoucenement will cost £10.5 million [actually £10.8 million], not the £16 million [actually £27 million] estimated for the original scheme.

The authority says the revised plans would factor the proposed expansion of Southend Airport and it claims the Department for Transport has given its approval.

Land to the east of the railway bridge will no longer face a compulsory purchase order.

Mr Holdcroft said he felt the Saxon king, whose remains are being stored at the Museum of London, needed to be returned to the town.

He said: "We are determined to bring the king back home."

Lead member for Transport Anna Waite (Conservative, St Luke's) echoed his views, saying: "Upgrading the infrastructure is vital but we also want to safeguard, enhance and protect our heritage."

BATTLEGROUND: A suit of armour (above) found at the burial site of a Saxon king looks over the area cordoned off by protesters at Priory Park and (below) a notice put up by campaigners at Camp Bling.

Protest group vows to fight on

ROAD protesters have refused to celebrate after Southend Council scrapped plans to demolish a historic site at Priory Park.

Members of Parklife moved onto the Saxon burial site in September 2005, vowing to stay put until the road plan was scrapped.

Parklife spokesman Shaun Qureshi said: "We've only achieved half of what we set out to do. We won't leave until the whole road widening scheme is scrapped."

Mr Qureshi said he feared Soutehnd Council's Pfase 1 plan for limited road widening would lead to additional roadworks in the future.

He said: "The people who have supported the campaign so magnificently will see through this cynical ploy to neutralise local concerns.

"Even when considering the track record of the local authority over the past six years this takes some beating.

"Newly elected Council leader Nigel Holdcroft and councillor Anna Waite developed a plan to spend £10.8m - still more than three times the cost originally agreed with central Government - to build half of a road that was clearly not going to work in the first place."

Mr Qureshi called on local people to maintain their support for the group.

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