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Southend cliff slip repairs nearing completion
8:30am Friday 4th January 2013 in Echo News
A part of the £2.8 million cliff stabilisation work taking place on Southend seafront is nearly complete.
A huge wall which appears to be made of tree trunk-like sections now shores up the top of the cliffs which fell away during a landslide following heavy rain in 2002.
Milton Ward councillor Jonathon Garston is delighted that the work is really taking shape at long last.
He said: “It’s been nearly a decade to get the work underway so I think everyone who lives around here is just pleased that it has got to this stage.”
The work which was awarded under contract to Balfour Beatty should take five months to complete and was designed to provide a deep basement for the new Southend museum planned to house the contents of the Saxon King burial site unearthed in Priory Crescent in 2003.
The proposed museum has proved controversial, with the Saxon King In Priory Park (SKIPP) group arguing the museum should be built near where the remains were found.
Others have objected to the £35m development on the basis of the overall cost in these times of austerity.
The new scheme and plans for the 20,000 sq foot museum complex were awarded to a Manchester architectural firm in August of last year.
Development and digging was further disrupted later the same month with the discovery of a badger sett within the site.
Legally the sett had to be removed and allowed to resettle for three weeks before work could recommence.
Despite the set backs, Mr Garston says everyone has been kept up to date.
He sad: “There have been open days on the site to explain what is happening and all residents have been kept informed and the stabilisation work is on schedule to finish around March. The contractors have been most accommodating and run a very clean site.”
Once finished the wall will be disguised by fencing panels to make it more aesthetically pleasing to the eye from the seafront looking up.
A walkway will run halfway between the top and the bottom of the cliffs connecting the original promenade in the old Never Never Land gardens to the Cliffs Pavillion.
RESIDENTS say they are pleased with the repair work is going.
People living along Clifftown Parade, Westcliff, say they are pleased the area is being shored up and will be able to be used by the community.
Rob Tripp, 46, said he had no problems with the work.
He said: “It was quite busy in October, I know the work has got to be done and they seem to be getting on with it very well. It has been very quiet.
“It is a nice expanse of ground out there, they are building it into the cliff so it is not going to be towering up.
“If a museum is going to benefit the community then I think why not?”
Penny Jones took over the Gleneagles guest house, which looks out over the cliffs, in November.
She said: “We have only been here a little while so it hasn’t really affected us.
“The view is a bit obscured at the moment but what has to be done has to be done. From our point of view, a museum may help us with business but we will wait and see.”