SOUTHEND Pier is set to get a £300,000 facelift with a new, larger entrance and reception area.

The council has submitted an application to demolish the existing amusement arcade, which it owns, to the west of the pier.

The wall between the arcade and the current pier entrance will also be demolished, creating a sheltered area for pier visitors and train passengers arriving at the attraction.

There will be a kiosk selling drinks and ice creams, with a window serving snacks through to an outside terrace.

Toilets, which the entrance does not currently have, will be installed. The plans also include wheelchair access.

Ann Holland, councillor responsible for culture, tourism and the economy, said: “The plans to redesign the entrance to the pier are our way of showing our intentions to improve one of Southend’s most iconic landmarks.

“By making these improvements, which are part of a continued and multimillion pound investment in the pier, we hope to make the entrance more attractive and appealing to visitors, and develop a sustainable income for years to come.”

Ms Holland added: “These plans are carefully thought out to improve the quality of an important part of our history and future.

“The existing entrance is out-dated and requires modernising, and these plans do just that.”

In a report, planning officers claimed the proposed remodelling of the entrance and visitor centre “will allow a more logical layout of space giving room for an improved shopping experience.”

A new and repositioned ticket and tourist information desk will be created. The pier shop will be moved to allow easier access for visitors.

The new layout is also expected improve the popularity of the Pier Museum, with a mural covering one of the walls set to show off its highlights. Posters will also give details about exhibits.

The report reads: “Southend’s famous pier entrance is in need of enlargement. Currently the pier train station becomes unpleasantly crowded in the summer, making it difficult for visitors to move around the space.

“With the entrance to the pier, museum, information desk and souvenir shop located in this space, navigation is often difficult. Currently there is no toilet accommodation at this end of the pier, and the retail offer is poor.”

The project includes new lighting for the cliff lift and under the bridge across Marine Parade.

These would be high intensity reflectors lit by LED flood lights mounted in the bridge that colour change constantly.”