I spy, something beginning with ‘G’
To say I am not a fan of what Southend-on-Sea Borough Council has done in creating the Victoria Gateway somewhat understates it. My only crumb of comfort was that it was not the work of the Joint Administration that I find myself part of; it speaks volumes for the ineptitude of the previous Conservative administration.
I have argued that the shared space is dangerous, a view that I still hold. Council officers and Conservative councillors have disagreed with me, and doubtless they will continue to hold a view that is not only at odds with mine, but also defies the thinking of the overwhelming majority of residents I have spoken on the subject with.
At best it is a confusing spot. I was there today, and whilst taking some photos a complete stranger gave me his thoughts, unprompted. The road layout is a dog’s dinner, the largely barren space is owned neither by those of foot or on wheels. It is an ugly concrete wasteland.
The idea was that the A127 junction with the A13, where it ends, would become a window onto central Southend – a gateway to shopping nirvana, the pier, foreshore, and all its bounteous gifts. Those exiting Southend Victoria station would be welcome by the wondrous vista that is Southend’s High Street, drawn to it by the Gateway.
Ah the Gateway. In reality a alley that is largely hidden on first inspection. A wind-tunnel on many occasions, it resembles less a gateway than some concrete kettling device.
The photo here is of this gateway, and I have tried to ensure that I have used one that shows this gateway at its best – photos taken from other angles make the thing a near impossibility to spot. What sort of gateway is it that is so discrete? Of course, you negotiate the shared space, use the pedestrian crossing, and then find yourself heading towards the only available opening – but is this really a gateway? Not in my opinion.
Much like the Queensway it is a half-thought out idea that will doubtless have to have millions spent on it at some point, because at present this useless carbuncle is not fit for purpose.
And when the Seaway Car Park is turned into Southend’s very own Bas Vegas I expect traffic jams to further obscure the view.