SOUTHEND Council has been criticised for its plans to spend £35,000 on park gates.

The money will go towards refurbishing the Priory Park gates, as part of the council’s 125th birthday celebrations of the borough.

The plans have been slammed by the Lib Dems, who insist the money should have been spent on something else in this “cash crisis.”

In a Lib Dem leaflet, the group said: “The Tories running Southend Council plan to spend £35,000 refurbishing the gates at Priory Park. Yes, that is the right figure, £35,000 when most people think a good coat of paint is all they need.”

Carole Mulroney, a Lib Dem councillor, added: “We didn’t feel the money should be spent on refurbishing the gates. It could be spent on more necessary things – it is an awful lot of money for gates.

“Overall, the money could have been better spent on adult social care or children’s services. “

One gate requires fixing and the lion statues that originally sat atop each gatepost which disappeared in the late 20th Century will also be replaced.

However, the Tories argue that it is a worthwhile cause. Ann Holland, councillor responsible for culture, tourism and the economy, said: “As well as celebrating 125 years of Southend, it is also 100 years for Priory Park. I really don’t think it is too much to spend, the celebrations will be a real feelgood factor for the town.

“When we had celebrations for 100 years of the borough a lot of money went into it and it was remembered by all who were involved. It’s really a worthwhile cause.

“The estimated cost of the work is up to £35,000 but we will be getting quotes to make sure we get best value. We are also actively seeking sponsorship for the 125 celebrations.”