TWO election candidates vying for the same seat have come together to reverse Shoebury’s image as Southend’s “poor neighbour.”

Despite battling for the same West Shoebury seat in the upcoming May election, community campaigner and independent council candidate Peter Lovett has joined forces with Tory opponent, councillor Derek Jarvis, to call for improvements to Shoebury Common,

The pair want to promote the area as a holiday destination.

Mr Lovett, who said he decided to stand in the election to support council leader Ron Woodley’s vision for the town, said he was unhappy with the administration’s treatment of Shoebury and was looking for funding to give the area a makeover.

He said: “As I am on the Shoebury Coastal Team, I am joining forces with councillors Tony Cox and Derek Jarvis, with a view to finding ways of improving the facilities on the North Common.

“I have been very critical of the council, because if you drive along our seafront from Chalkwell to Thorpe Bay, you will find beautiful cut grassed areas, with well laid out flower beds, but once you pass Maplin Way going east, the outlook suddenly changes and the evidence is very noticeable that Southend Council is treating Shoebury as the poor neighbour.”

Improvements suggested by Mr Lovett include removing overgrown hedges in the North Common, building play areas for children, adding picnic and barbecue areas, creating more car parking spaces with access from Shoebury Common Road, and attracting restaurants.

Mr Jarvis believes Shoebury has a great deal to daytrippers and tourists, but it is not being properly promoted.

He said: “We’ve really become the forgotten part of Southend but there are a lot of things about Shoebury that you can’t get anywhere else which many people aren’t aware of.

“You could be staying at the Roslin Hotel, one of the only four star hotels in town, and you are directed to Southend and places like Old Leigh, but not Shoebury.

“The heritage aspect in Gunners Park and the Garrison can be embraced, sandwiched between two wonderful beaches, East Beach and Shoebury Common.

Fellow West Shoebury councillor Tony Cox added: “What strikes me is there are no signs pointing people to East Beach and Shoebury Common.

“The seafront in Southend is absolutely heaving in summer, so why not redirect people to Shoebury, which has two great beaches in its own right?”