MUSIC, art and entertainment will come to Southend Pier this summer in the form of beach huts.

The traditional huts mark the start of major investment into the landmark as Southend Council is set to award a contract to a business in the next few days to create the 10 pop up huts.

The beach huts, which will be put on he old bowling pavilion and Pier Head, will contain music and “visual arts” and be up and running for the summer season.

It is the first stage of a planned £20million investment into the pier over the next five years, with the council setting up a local authority trading company to finance the works.

A study is being done this year to look into what options can be taken for new building to replace the pavilion, which burned down in 1995, but the council says the new huts will act as a “stop gap.”

Scott Dolling, the council’s head of tourism, said: “These buildings will play their part in creating a buzz and talking point of people’s visitor experience when they are on the pier.

“There will be a variety of artistic creations, music, and visual arts, which will demonstrate the offer of Southend in a beach hut.

“They will be arts and culture based, but we’re also exploring some other attractions for the pier, which could include to buy souvenirs, and games – not amusement arcades - and fun things for people to enjoy.”

The authority put out a tender for the beach huts last month to get expressions of interest.

Once the preferred bidder has signed on the dotted line, they could be up and running by the end of June, according to Mr Dolling.

Martin Richardson, owner of the Happidrome said he first floated the idea to the authority 18 months ago, but is happy it is coming to fruition.

He said: “You see places like Southwold and Cromer piers having little quaint huts, so if they are taking this on board, brilliant. It can only be better for Southend.”

But Paul Thompson, chairman of Southend Seafront Traders Association, added: “No-one in their right mind would want to invest in Southend if the council can’t guarantee customers can get to the seafront.

“Any business that wants to invest in Southend is good for the town, but the major concern is the major lack of car parking spaces.”