Yellow Advertiser
February 6th, 2002

Park protesters' views may fall on deaf ears

COUNCIL red tape could prevent thousands of Priory Park petitions being acknowledged.

Uncertainty surrounds whether Southend Council will take Yellow Advertiser readers' views into account when considering the fate of the park.

The council's consultation period for the controversial road-widening scheme ended last Thursday, and representatives from pressure groups KARERS, Parklife, the Priory Park Preservation Society and Friends of the Earth, met with council officers to hand over their latest survey results and petitions.

So far Yellow Advertiser readers and the protest groups have collected more than 24,000 petitions, coupons and signatures opposed to tarmacking any of the parkland.

However Graham Dare, assistant director of technical services, told green campaigners only petitions and letters collected during the council's consultation period, which ran in it's Civic News letter, would be counted.

He added: "No further public consultation will be taking place between now and the final decision to be made at a forthcoming cabinet meeting."

This would imply that the 3,000 Parklife petition letters collected last year and more than 6,000 Yellow Advertiser coupons presented to Southend East MP Sir Teddy Taylor after a gruelling 45 mile protest walk would be invalid.

Parklife campaigner Shaun Qureshi said the earliest a decision could be taken on the scheme will be March 5.

He added: "There will now be no further input from the Priory Crescent working group, made up of residents and businesses.

"How are we to have any faith in our elected officials and the decision making process? The council have consistently failed to acknowledge public opposition, pushing ahead with a scheme that only they seem to want."

However a council spokesman tried to clarify the council's position on the public consultation.

He said: "The consultation period was extended to allow everyone a chance to comment.

Any further representations will be reported to the members to decide what extent they take these views into consideration."

The council was unwilling to reveal the findings of their consultation, which appeared in the Civic News, until members had seen them first.

Back to News Page
Back to Home Page