An outspoken businessman is ramping up a campaign to save Southend High Street.

The high street has seen a number of shops close in recent months, leaving it a poor reflection of what it once was.

Philip Miller, the owner of Adventure Island and Southend Sealife Adventure, has had enough and told the Echo last week how urgent action was needed. He’s now upping the ante.

He said: “High streets are dying up and down the country. Internet shopping carries the largest proportion of blame. That is a factor, but not the only one. Each town has its own set of advantages and disadvantages.

“Chelmsford, for instance, is going well and improving all the time, why is that? My guess is good management combined with a common goal from all that operate there.

“Southend Council should venture out of their ivory tower and take a look. When you compare it to Southend High Street we were once the leaders and have become also-rans. How did this happen?”

The council doesn’t set business rates but collects the fees for the Government. Mr Miller said a way should be found to reduce the burden of business rates on shops.

He said: “It is now almost at a point of no return if the council do not act boldly soon we will be out of time. Two things they can do is reduce business rates and parking charges.

“The rates reduction would hopefully keep the shops we already have including the very important M&S. It might even attract the small independents back to the High Street just like the old days. Maybe become a bigger Leigh type of shopping experience?

“The other matter within their gift is so obvious it is almost embarrassing to say it. Reduce parking charges and increase parking availability. “There is much more that should be done of course but that’s an ongoing job.

“Start with those and in no time at all we will all be celebrating success instead of abject failure as we have now.”