The latest tragic example of this is the commencement of 15 months of work converting the main roundabout into town (Victoria Circus) into yet more concrete and a traffic light system (at a cost of a mere £25 million!!!!). The current roundabout is nothing special, but it's been there for almost 50 years and does the job - allowing traffic to flow reasonably well in and out of town. But what IS special (erm, make that 'WAS' special) were the 100 year old trees that this huge traffic island was originally constructed around back in the early 1960's.
Coming in to work on Monday 11th January I was shocked to see the decimated roundabout. All but one of the trees had been cut down, and all the plant beds dug up... the aftermath looked like a World War I battlefield. The council had made no notification that this work was to commence (no doubt intentionally), and a local group of protesters even had a meeting booked with the council on Tuesday 12th to discuss if there was any way the trees could be incorporated into the new development. The council agreed to meet the protesters... then cut the lot down on Sunday 10th.
I am however delighted to see the townsfolk rising up to display their disgust at this needless expenditure and destruction of such distinguished trees, as ever since, the railings at the side of the roundabout have turned into an 'RIP' shrine.... It's much like you see on the roads these days at the scene of a tragic accident, however a closer inspection of the cards, flowers and wreaths shows that the deceased they are paying their respects to are none other than the 22 culled trees! Also great to see that the art of sarcasm is alive and well in Southend... In amongst the tributes are 3 lovely bogus ads:
I brought my camera in just too late... hours before I took these photos there were dozens of floral tributes, cards and messages on and around the railings. The council had removed the whole lot by the time I went out to lunch, and all that remained were these few messages. 30 minutes later as I returned from lunch, all of these had been removed too!!!! If only the council were this diligent and efficient during our month of scandalously icy roads and pavements... maybe my 78 year old dad wouldn't have fallen over in the treacherous conditions, and perhaps his Christmas wouldn't have been ruined.
The council of course will take no notice of the locals and their show of disgust... we only live here for goodness sake, why would we be interested in what happens to our town? But I'm pleased that people feel strongly enough to make their point.
I don't know anyone who thinks that this £25 million pound development is wanted or needed.... and to my mind, the introduction of a weedy set of traffic lights at such an incredibly busy junction seems woefully naive.