PLANS for a major road to Shoebury, a fourth Thames crossing and extending Crossrail to Southend will all feature in the “next generation plan”, according to the borough’s council leader.

John Lamb, leader of Southend Council, described mission document Southend 2050 as his “pride and joy” and can’t wait for it to come to life.

The first projects have begun after the proposal was endorsed by the cabinet on Tuesday.

In the shorter term there are plans to open a new artists’ studio in Westcliff and improve schools so all are rated as either good or outstanding,

The council is planning a programme of building affordable homes and campaigns for the major road and rail projects.

Improvements to the Kent Elms junction are expected to be completed next year and along A127, including the Bell junction, in time for 2021.

Fibre internet connections will be made available to every home and business by 2022, according to the plan.

A business park at Southend Airport and the opening of the new Lower Thames crossing in Tilbury is expected in 2023.

By 2025 Crossrail’s Elizabeth Line will be extended to Southend, a new Thames crossing will be opened and both the Queensway regeneration project and a new relief road to Shoebury will be finished - if everything goes ahead.

Councillor Lamb said: “The work is really getting underway now. This is our future, our town’s future, the future of all our young people and of the businesses that we are trying to develop and encourage.”

Deputy leader James Courtenay said: “We know where we want to go and that is in our new road map, which shows all the activities the council will be involved in and how we are looking to join those together.

“The biggest criticism of the council may be the lack of joined up thinking over the last 30 years, going forward this road map aims to address that. It will join things together so we have a short, medium and long term plan to ensure everything works together.”

The council has insisted the plan is achievable despite cuts meaning they are likely to stop receiving Government funding by 2020.

At a meeting on October 18, Mr Lamb said the council’s finances are being kept under constant review and measures are being taken to move towards “financial self-sustainability”.