ALMOST 1,500 people have objected to a 7ft seawall across Shoebury Common – with just two people backing the controversial plan.
Southend Council will decide the £5.18million scheme – designed to protect more than 350 homes and businesses in Shoebury from flooding – in May after considering concerns.
More than 80 per cent of the objections were from the letters anti-seawall campaign group the Friends of Shoebury Common and the Burges Estate Residents’ Association distributed across Shoebury and Thorpe Bay for people to sign and return.
Ray Bailey, of the Friends of Shoebury Common, said: “It shows the tremendous support for the opposition to this scheme.”
Fellow member Peter Grubb, whose cafe Uncle Tom’s Cabin would be cut off from the seafront by the wall, said: “We are passionate about this area.
“We believe it is a travesty of justice that alternative proposals have not been considered. After all, Southend is a seaside resort and I’d have thought the council would want the seawall to enhance the area.”
People signed more than 700 of 5,000 letters a team of more than 20 volunteers distributed on behalf of the Friends group, whose alternative £10.3million plan to raise the promenade and beach huts was rejected as too costly.
Another 522 people put their names to the 1,200 separate residents’ association letters delivered by members.
Treasurer MikeStafford, who is also an Independent councillor for Thorpe, said: “We have had lots of complaints from members, saying the plan is going to destroy the seafront.”
The cross-party group of councillors that will decide the application in public may consider the duplicate letters as two blocks from the two groups which collected them, rather than individual objections, aswell as 268 other letters of objection submitted by residents.
Chairman David Norman said: “There is no general rule about this, but it does tend to be the case that planning committees will give more weight to individually written letters than they will to a ‘round robin’ type of letter, which is the same letter sent by different residents.”
The council decided to push ahead with the plan for an earth embankment across the public space, despite objections from eight out of ten respondents to its consultation in November.