A CAMPAIGN group has applauded Southend Council for “seeing sense” and abandoning The Thames Estuary Experience in its proposed location.

The Saxon King In Priory Park group has long voiced opposition to the location of the museum.

Known as Skipp, the group dismissed the project as unfeasible and prohibitively costly from the start.

The group drew up its own designs for a museum to display the Saxon King relics near to the grave site in Priory Park, Prittlewell.

Yesterday the group hailed the U-turn as a victory for common sense.

Spokesman Mark Sharp, said: “We congratulate the council for finally seeing sense. However, the council has always been aware that the cost of this project would be in excess of £50million. It was in their original plan as £50million. The cost is not a surprise to us. In fact, we view it as being more like £80million.

“A museum on the seafront, as well as being an eyesore, was not an appropriate location. The council has seen sense but we shouldn’t have had to wait so long.

“Locating the museum near the grave site in Priory Park makes more sense as a tourist attraction. English Heritage said the same thing. We need to have it as close as possible.”

Mr Sharp added: “The High Street is the wrong site for it. It will reduce the number of visitors if it is away from the grave site.

“Having the London relics in the High Street makes more sense as it is near the seafront but in terms of revenue we estimate the council would lose as much as 50 per cent because people want to see the grave site at the same time as seeing the relics.

“The proposed building would have been a massive carbuncle in a conservation area. Every single plan architects produced were not a museum but an entertainment facility. “We’re very pleased our objections have been heard.”

Concerns had also been raised about removing trees and the plans for a giant 200-space carpark to be recessed into the cliff itself with the plans now uncertain.

The campaigners have suggested exhibits could go on display in a smaller purpose-built venue built on brownfield land immediately adjacent to the burial site in Priory Park.

The group went so far as to design its own wooden structure to be sited in the park but the idea was rejected out of hand by councillors.

It is hoped this may now be reconsidered

The group said: “SKIPP’s proposal is achievable and unlike the council’s seafront monstrosity, actually makes sense as a visitor attraction and at a fraction of the price of construction.

“We are not proposing a bland and boring building with glass cases and “do not touch” signs everywhere.

“But instead a mock Saxon Great Hall to house the treasures and a reconstruction of the burial chamber, surrounded by a Saxon village complete with houses, blacksmith’s workshop and a Saxon cook house.

“All staffed by actors in Saxon costume to immerse students and visitors in a complete Saxon educational experience along the lines of the Tudor experience at Kentwell Hall.”