Arrogant Council determined to waste £5m

Peter Walker

CAMPAIGN group Priory Park Preservation Society has voiced its opposition to a key part of the £5million Cuckoo Corner road scheme.

The society says a survey showed just four vehicles turned left from Priory Crescent into Victoria Avenue in a rush-hour. Campaigners say the results prove a dedicated left-hand lane from Priory Crescent into Victoria Avenue, is not needed.

However, Tory councillor Anna Waite, said: “If we don’t spend the funding for this project by March 2011 then they just take it back, so the town loses a £5million investment for infrastructure because a group of treehuggers seem to think it knows better than all of the experts on these types of junctions. Businesses are not going to come to Southend unless they know they can get through the junctions.”

The above piece is a quote from the Southend Echo, published on their website on 13/3/10. We welcome Anna Waite’s comments because they throw a good deal of light on this Council’s policy.

There is nothing in Mrs. Waite’s statement demonstrating the need to widen Priory Crescent, merely that they have a £5m sum from the Government and they must spend it within the next 12 months or they will lose it. What a dismal indictment of Council policy: they are looking for something to do with £5m, and anything will do, whether or not the Town will benefit. This is the ultimate “dog in the manger” attitude.

Who are these experts of whom Mrs. Waite speaks? The Council haven’t asked any since 2004, and those who presented evidence to the Public Inquiry were given a severe mauling by the very treehuggers Mrs. Waite so scornfully decries – but she wouldn’t know about that because she never set foot in the place when the inquiry was going on. It doesn’t take a lot of expertise to count to 4, and that was all we had to do when making a tally of those vehicles turning left during the rush hour in question. Our expertise even goes so far to identify them as 3 cars and 1 hgv.

Mrs. Waite is right on one point: businesses will not be attracted to the town if they think that the infrastructure doesn’t work, but since there have been no expert surveys and no public consultation over this proposed scheme, how does she know whether it will benefit the town or not?

One thing is certain, however. Nothing will frighten away prospective businesses from Southend quite so effectively as an incompetent Council whose sheer arrogance and dishonesty keeps it in a state of perpetual warfare with its own citizens.

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