A TIRED shopping parade in WickfordHigh Street is in line for a major facelift.

Basildon Council is to spend thousands of pounds revamping Halls Corner – at the junction of London Road – to attract more shoppers and independent businesses.

The ambitious scheme will see up to £5,000 spent revitalising each shop front.

About a dozen businesses are thought to be taking part in the project, which is aimed at helping the High Street compete with out-of-town retailers.

Lynne Doyle, who owns fancy dress and balloons shop, It’s My Party, welcomed the scheme and said the main shopping area was in need of a facelift.

She said: “I’m hoping the council’s shopfront scheme will help the independent shopkeepers in this town.

“They all need things like this to make sure they survive and thrive against the bigger chains.

“Car parking is also an issue for shoppers here, so I hope the proposed newshort-stay parking bays will lead to quicker and easier collection of purchases and encourage potential new customers.

“I certainly approve of the designs Basildon Council has proposed.

“They’ll bring some character to the High Street, which should attract new visitors.”

The council will pay for 90 per cent of the improvement costs, with traders and landlords being asked to pay the remaining ten per cent, of no more than £500.

The shopfronts scheme will run alongside other proposed improvements, as part of a wider regeneration of Wickford.

These include changes to the road layout, allowing the market to relocate, a new town square, and new paving and street furniture.

Tony Ball, Basildon Council leader and ward member for Wickford North, said: “All these improvements will make a visible difference to the feel of the town, enhance the general area and provide a much-needed boost for its local businesses.”