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Cliffs museum saga had killed off local democracy
2:15pm Thursday 19th July 2012 in Letters
DO we live in a democratic Southend or not as far as the Cliffs museum is concerned?
The more I read about one of the most controversial plans in Southend, the more I realise we do not live in a democracy, and wonder what the outcome will be at tonight’s Southend Council meeting about the museum.
Many years ago I can remember watching with sadness when tree surgeons were ripping out so many trees on the Cliffs.
When I asked them why they were doing it, they said they’d been told to but couldn’t see why.
Was that the beginning of these plans? Here we are now, with thousands opposed to this scheme, and rightly so as it will affect their way of life and will destroy what little piece of history we have left.
Why can’t the people be heard? Why can’t this museum go to Priory Park and bring back the bandstand to its rightful home and bring pleasure to all ages.
As much as people speak out, if something has already been planned no one will ever be heard. Sadly, we have to accept it or move on.
I have been a resident of Milton ward for 35 years and despair at what a disgraceful mess it has become.
St Helen’s Road
...TO say I was delighted to read that Southend Council may find it difficult to fund the Cliffs museum would be an understatement.
Visitors to Southend come to the town for pleasure – its beaches, the Kursaal, its arcades and its children’s playgrounds. Also there’s the small but attractive area of Clifftown for those who can enjoy the estuary views.
They do not visit for Southend’s culture.
No amount of publicity will alter people’s perception of its nature, particularly as London abounds in many splendid museums.
Few visitors and many of Southend’s residents will have sufficient interest in Saxon remains to make such a costly home for them worthwhile. It is a fact that the anticipated length and costs of such projects is always optimistic.
Perhaps our new councillors do not know Clifftown was once the popular home of not only a truly charming bandstand, but also Never Never Land, which was a magical experience for children and adults.
It would be interesting to learn what the difference in the cost would be for shoring up the landslip and reinstating these two wonderful treasures, and the difference in time between their construction and the proposed museum and car park.
Southend once had a proper High Street, with proper shops. It is now a sprawling walkway, teaming with people who would not go near a museum, even if they were paid to do so.
No amount of publicity will persuade people a museum is a good reason to visit Southend, a town whose fame is predicated on sun, sea, sand, arcades, cockles and whelks and Rossi’s ice cream.
If it is essential for Southend to have a museum, why can’t it be housed in a specially-constructed building in Victoria Avenue, a truly awful area desperate for regeneration.
...ONCE again Southend Council has managed to get its finances and timing wrong, having just spent £2million on planning a museum at a time when demand is falling and funding is scarce.
Mark Taylor, director of the Museums Association, said in a recent BBC interview that 22 per cent of museums have closed or are closing part of their sites in the past 12 months and that services to schools have been dramatically reduced in the same period.
He went further to say that there was no prospect of an upturn any time soon in museum attendances and funding isn’t getting any better and in many cases it is getting a lotworse.
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