The final version of the plans for the Better Queensway project have now been published. It is clear that Southend Labour Leader Cllr Ian Gilbert, fully supported by his deputy, Independent Group leader Cllr Ron Woodley want to forge ahead with closing the Queensway underpass as part of the better Queensway regeneration scheme, bringing chaos and gridlock to Southend.
Cllr Kevin Buck, Shadow Cabinet member for Highways & Transport said;
“I am very disappointed, but not surprised at this decision. Whilst we all support building social and affordable housing and the better Queensway regeneration scheme in principal, Labour’s quest to do so at any cost and at the expense of the rest of Southend, fully supported by the Southend Independents, is clear for all to see.
“By its own admission, the Council has said that the proposed Queensway highway scheme cannot cope with the same capacity and volume of traffic as the current road layout. Furthermore, data gathered and used for such modelling predications is done using normal traffic flow conditions and not during peak seasonal/bank holiday demands. You do not need to be a psychic to predict what is going to happen on the first sunny day when this highway scheme is put in place. It’s astonishing that they want to close the only piece of highway in the town centre that actually works!
“We should all be aiming to support the regeneration of the town centre, our residents, our businesses and other major attractions that bring in much needed tourism and revenue, such as the famous Southend Seafront, the World’s Longest Pleasure Pier, the Cliffs Pavilion and our military history in Shoebury. Closing off the Queensway underpass is definitely not the way to achieve this: it will result in traffic chaos and congestion. I want to personally assure everyone in Southend that I will do everything in my power to stop this element of the highway scheme from taking place”.