Page last updated at 12:23 GMT, Thursday, 30 April 2009 13:23 UK

'King of Bling' battle site moves

Photocall at the camp
Camp Bling was founded in 2006

A long-running battle between anti-road protesters and Southend Borough Council is over, the council has revealed.

Protesters say a £22m council scheme to make Priory Crescent a dual carriageway would have destroyed the site of Britain's earliest known Saxon King.

Councillor Anna Waite said she had now reached agreement for the group to leave their encampment.

The Saxon king was dubbed "The King of Bling" after archaeological finds there including small gold crosses.

The camp will be taken down after a protest lasting three years.

No U-turn

The council said despite getting through a planning enquiry the delays had forced the cost of the dualling scheme beyond its reach.

It will now build a scaled down £5m scheme that will leave the eighth century burial site and Priory Park unaffected.

Ms Waite who is responsible for planning and transport, said: "We certainly have not done a U-turn but we have had to be pragmatic.

"We were never going to get £22 million pounds from the government for the scheme."

Anti-road protestor and camp resident Ginger said: "We would like to thank each and every one of the people who have been involved, not just with Camp Bling, but also with the ongoing campaign which ran from 2001 in opposition to the scheme."

When the eco-camp is moved the Museum of London will re-commence its archaeological excavations in August.

The dig will finish in the autumn and the council has pledged to leave the site grassed over and undisturbed with a memorial to the Saxon King whose grave is thought to be the oldest Christian burial site in the UK.

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The battle for the 'King of Bling'
06 Feb 06 |  Essex

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