A COUNCIL is spending £60,000 keeping open two shops where plans are displayed for Canvey and Hadleigh’s future blueprints, despite public consultations being finished.

Castle Point Council is spending the cash to keep open its Canvey and Hadleigh regeneration shops for another year.

The Canvey shop, based in the Knightswick Centre, in Furtherwick Road, will now stay open for its third consecutive year.

When it opened in 2009, it revealed details of the £100million Canvey masterplan and shoppers were asked for their verdict.

But no plans have yet got off the drawing board.

Dave Blackwell, leader of the Canvey Independent Party, said: “This is the biggest waste of money. I stood in the town centre for over an hour talking to residents the other day, and not a single person went in there. You could sit there all day and it would be the same.

“I don’t know how you can quantify throwing all that money away to keep it open for another year, when it could be better spent actually putting some life back into the town.

“The consultation is finished, there is no point to it, but the whole plan seems to be falling apart at the seams.”

Members of Castle Point Council’s special policy development group are in the process of agreeing the finishing touches to the masterplan, and deciding whether or not to recommend it be formally adopted by the cabinet as the planning strategy for Canvey town centre.

It has previously included proposals to revive run-down shops, create tree-lined public pathways, add better links between the town centre and Canvey Lake, and introduce two-way traffic and on-street parking in the town centre.

The £60,000 includes the cost of keeping the Hadleigh regeneration shop in place in the High Street for a second year.

The £60million Hadleigh regeneration includes plans to possibly transform the Crown pub, in High Street, into an arthouse cinema, to improve frontages of shops, create a space for a market and expand the Morrison’s supermarket, which was officially opened to the public last month.

A spokesman from the council said: “Formal consultation by the Castle Point Regeneration Partnership on both masterplans has closed.

“However, both regeneration shops remain open and residents are welcome to call in to see the masterplans and comment.

“Should the Hadleigh masterplan be approved, it will be subject to a separate public planning consultation by the council.

“The consultation has already been completed on the Canvey masterplan.”