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Seawall group to petition Whitehall
6:00am Thursday 19th December 2013 in Echo News
CAMPAIGNERS say they are planning a direct appeal to the Government in a final effort to stop a seawall being built on Shoebury Common.
Campaign group, Friends of Shoebury Common, is planning to start a petition against Southend Council’s proposed £4.6million seawall.
Residents at public meeting at Shoeburyness High School agreed to start collecting signatures for the the petition.
The plan is to send it the Communities Secretary Eric Pickles when Southend Council puts in a formal planning application to build the seawall, using earth from the Southend cliffs slip.
Feelings ran high at the meeting with the council coming in for bitter criticism over the scheme and the way it has tried to get it agreed.
Peter Grubb, a member of Friends of Shoebury Common and owner of the Uncle Tom’s Cabin cafe at the common, compared the council’s proposal to the Iraq war.
He said: “All of you will remember the famous document, based on dodgy data, which resulted in us piling into Iraq.
“When things died down, we discovered that there were no weapons of mass destruction.
“Southend Council’s weapon of mass destruction has been set on its course, and the element which is going to be destroyed is Shoebury Common.
“It is a very difficult path we have to tread. The council is where it wants to be and the only way anybody can do anything is at the planning stage, when the documents are there for everybody to see.”
Peter Lovett, another Friends member, said: “We want the truth. Like Peter, I’m very passionate about this. I love Shoebury Common and I think what the council wants to do will ruin it.”
Thorpe Bay councillor and Burges Estate Resident’s Association chairman Ron Woodley said a solution was needed to protect homes without spoiling the area. He added: “The need for an improved sea defence is one of necessity. It’s a question of how much of a necessity, and what to do for the method.
“There should be nothing cheap about protecting people’s lives and property, and enhancing the environment of local people and the areas they hold dear to their hearts.
“Somewhere in this tangle of options, there is a method which fits all criteria, especially relating to residents’ concerns and the cost to the council.”
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