Southend has succesfully bid for £25m for improvements to our roads and the central seafront. We are hoping to receive money for a new museum to be located in the Cliffs, but this funding has not been confirmed.
The road improvements are at Progress Road/A127, Cuckoo Corner and around Southend Victoria Station. All these schemes have been fully publicised, discussed and consulted upon, all will improve journey times through cutting queuing and will thus reduce carbon emissions, all include imporvements for cyclists and pedestrians. All have been proven to this Government’s satisfaction to offer a positive economic benefit v cost of scheme.
The new museum would house artefacts currently in other museums and the ‘Saxon King’ finds from Priory Cresent, it will form part of the cliff slip stabilisation and will also hopefully contain car parking, educational facilities and cafe/restuarants etc.
Last week a local action group against putting the ‘Saxon King’ finds in the new museum claimed that at Cuckoo Corner 100 trees were to be lost- rubbish, less than 20 will go, some of them unhealthy ones and all will be replaced again on a 2 for 1 basis- ‘again’ because about 4 years ago a number of trees were planted close by in the park to replace those anticipated to be lost in an earlier scheme that did not go ahead. At Cuckoo corner there will be extensive landscaping as part of the scheme as there will also be at Progress Road
Outside Victoria Station some trees will need to be removed but again they will be replaced on a 2 for 1 basis and again far fewer than the action group are claiming and there will be extensive public realm works.
On City Beach there will be a great number of new trees planted and we are currently looking into planting trees (Palm Trees) along parts of the seafront.
WHY THE SAXON KING FINDS SHOULD NOT GO INTO PRIORY PARK
The artefacts that were found are extrememly important and will attract many thousands of visitors even hundreds of thousands, they are extremely valuable and will need to be very securely kept and displayed. Visitors will arrive by coach, car and train.
Priory Park is home to the grade one listed priory and much of the park is classed as an ancient monument. It would be impossible for the Priory building to be sufficiently extended to accomodate the numbers that would vist and the building itself is far to fragile for such numbers. The designation of the land means that any new building would have to have virtually no foundations which would preclude a major museum. Making the existing building secure would be very very difficult without damaging the building and thus it would be unlikely to gain listed building consent.
The car park in Priory Park is quite small and to provide the additional parking needed would damage the park, a coach park would seriously spoil the park.
The site along Priory Cresecent cannot possibly house a museum it is just not big enough nor sufficiently accessible. It will be sensitively landscaped and a fitting memorial will be placed there. Once the work is complete we hope it will be given ‘ancient monument’ status so as to fully protect it for years to come.