24 September 2018
On 18/10/2018, Southend Borough Council finally SCRAPPED their ridiculous plans for a £55M Museum on Green Belt land.
READ THE LATEST PRESS RELEASE HERE:
(Previous artists' impression of how the proposed museum would look. ©AEW Architects)
In December last year, over 50 concerned residents rallied in Prittlewell Square to demand the council take notice that the residents of the area did not want the proposed Cliffslip Developments, namely the plans to convert the existing Esplanade Pub site into 23 luxury flats and to build a £40m museum on geologically unstable ground.
In the year since, the ludicrously mediocre consultation into the proposed plans for the Esplanade Pub (15/01842/FULM) were published, and in April the Council granted conditional permission to demolish the existing building, erecting a five-storey building comprising 23 luxury flats in its place.
In the months that have followed, there have been several mentions by senior Conservative and Labour Councillors about the ‘Thames Estuary Experience’ (as it’s now been dubbed) and about how the planned Museum will bring thousands of tourists to the town; and now the threat remains that unless we keep applying pressure to the council, they’ll push on with this dead-horse idea.
Initially, the council claimed that the project would cost the taxpayer no more than £40m, but a recent Freedom of Information Act Request forced the council to admit that the expected cost is now £55m for the project – an increase of £15m. This is of course not taking into consideration the money the council has already wasted on the scheme drawing up several architectural drawings, only to then let them expire.
If in less than a year, the publicised cost of the project can increase by £15m, how long will it be before we reach the £80m threshold prophesied by SKIPP almost a decade ago?
In a time of Austerity, is spending such vast amounts of money on building a museum on geologically unstable ground a good idea when we could be spending that money on the rampant homelessness crisis or community health issues?
This farce is now ten years old. The council evidently have no intention of reneging on their former intentions, and we’ve had three substantial power changes in the interim. Labour and Conservative alike, nothing has changed. The genuine concerns of residents have not once been taken into account, and the public support for the Cliffslip museum is at an all-time low. Despite this, old and new councillors alike seem to think that this geologically unstable and aesthetically monstrous white-elephant vanity project is a great idea.
As the ONLY political party in Southend opposed to these ridiculous schemes, the Green Party is once again proud to stand with residents and SKIPP in standing up to the council against the proposed developments.
We are calling a public meeting to discuss forming a stronger, and reinvigorated community campaign:
10:30, Saturday 20th October 2018, View Bar & Sliceria, 12 Clifftown Parade, SS1 1DP.
In this meeting, we will discuss the outlying intentions of the campaign, the particular focus of our actions, and the priorities. We will at this meeting also be planning a series of upcoming public demonstrations.
Please join us at this meeting.