A NEW Southend bypass is being seriously considered as part of a long term strategy for Southend in 2050.

While some have criticised the council for planning so far ahead, when there are problems to solve now, those in positions of power claim it is responsible to look to the future.

James Courtenay, deputy leader of Southend Council said: “We are looking at how Southend is going to be in 2050. What’s going to get us there? We don’t want to take short-term decisions.”

With increasing numbers of homes and businesses springing up across Southend, the council is doing what it can to ease congestion on the A127.

Improvements at busy junctions such as Kent Elms have been a priority but the town’s rapid growth has resurrected a bid for a new Southend bypass as a long-term solution.

Mr Courtenay added: “To get from Shoebury to Progress Road sometimes times takes as long to get from Progress Road to the M25. We have future housing and businesses like the airport business park but it doesn’t just affect Southend.

“A new road would need to come off somewhere near to the A130 and go through Castle Point and Rochford and go north of Southend.”

Responding to criticism from former Southend Council leader, Nigel Holdcroft that the council should be looking at more immediate issues, Mr Courtenay said: “It’s not just about 2050. We’ve got to have plans for 2020 and 2025 as well as up to 2050. We have got to look at some things now like a better Queensway. These are not things that are going to happen in 12 months.

“Things like super-fast broadband and infrastructure like the new road to the east.

“We need to get residents views on how they see what is important. We might have automated vehicles by then but people will still want to go down the pier at 3mph. It’s about engaging with people and understanding what they want.

“We’ve gone to residents and asked them what they want and we are analysing those responses.

Mr Courtenay added: “There would be lots of issues with the relief road like whether it would go though green belt and how far north it would go.

“This is why we are looking at 2050. It’s not just about providing more housing. That comes with its own challenges because we need the infrastructure to go with it.

“We need to look at primary and secondary schools, GP surgeries and roads. We can’t deliver growth if we are being constrained. We would have to seek Government funding.

"We will have to come up with an offer to Government as to why we should have this and what benefits there would be to the town. We need to work out what we need to do and these things take a long time.”