A NEW £74,000 public space is set to be created in Old Leigh to reflect the area’s maritime history.

The planned revamp of Strand Wharf will open up space for events, such as the folk and maritime festivals, and is set to include an open air classroom, where people can learn about the area’s heritage.

The new space would also be designed to reflect the past, with new paving showing the outlines of where important wharf buildings used to stand. New seating would be carved out of natural wood, brick and stone and soft lighting installed to make the area more attractive at night, if the plans get the go-ahead.

The plans have been submitted, after agreement between Leigh Town Council and Southend Council.

Richard Herbert, chairman of Leigh Town Council, said: “It’s something the town has been planning and saving for, for many years, and we’re hoping, before the end of the year, it will be built.

“We’ve now got what we think is a really nice scheme for down there that’s going to show the heritage of the area, as well as creating a nice and usable public space.

“Almost all of the money, certainly for the first phase, has been saved over many years and we’ve tried to be inventive within that budget by using simple materials.

“We’re also hoping this initial phase will allow us to attract more funding for things like a memorial to all the fishermen from Leigh who have died at sea.”

Leigh residents have also offered to make donations to dedicate benches which will serve as another source of funding for further development of the site.

A report submitted with the plans said the revamp could help make the area more attractive and therefore bring more visitors in and boost the local economy.

Southend Council’s planning committee is due to decide on the application in the coming weeks.