SOUTHEND’S famous pier is set for an £18m facelift with replacement trains, a new restaurant and visitor’s pavilion.

The money is part of Southend Council’s budget plans for the next four years.

Up to £10.5million could be set aside for the visitor pavilion, if the budget is approved.

It will be built on the former AMF bowling alley, which was destroyed in a fire in 1995.

Construction of replacement trains is expected to take place sometime next year and come at a cost of £3.25million.

Millions of pounds will also be spent on maintaining and securing the pier itself.

The council has also earmarked £2million to upgrade CCTV in the town centre.


A further £5.7million extra will be invested in child and adult services to help the most vulnerable in society.

This will be partially paid for by a 4.5 per cent council tax rise which will cost the average household an extra £60 during the next financial year.

Council leader John Lamb said: “As our community continues to grow, pressures on adult and children’s services rise, and central Government funding reduces to zero, we have to be more mindful than ever of how we spend local taxpayers’ money.

“We have developed a range of long-term investment and alternative income streams to alleviate the funding pressure, but these will take time to fully generate the income we need them too and as a result we need to focus more on a longer-term budget.

“However, this is a good news budget, as our strategic and commercial approach is starting to bear fruit, and despite losing significant Government grant, we are still able to deliver a balanced budget which makes appropriate savings, but also allows us to invest £6.6m into vital frontline services such as children’s and adults’ services and community safety.”


Following the announcement of the major investment in the pier deputy leader James Courtenay described it as “the jewel in the borough’s crown”.

He said: “Our proposed budget sees a new visitor centre and restaurant on the bowling deck, along with a new transport system, which would be a major draw for visitors and increase the pride residents have in our pier.”

Another area of significant investment is the borough’s roads and pavements, which will benefit from £26.3million.

This will include £2.15million for the Bell Junction improvements on the A127, which will see the addition of a new left turn lane and extension of the right turn lane on the eastbound carriageway.

A further £6.8million will go towards improvements and majors works at the town’s car parks and £4.69million for traffic management.

This funding will run until 2023.

Meanwhile, parking fees will also be frozen in all council car parks in an effort to support business, shops and tourism in the borough.


A new residential care home for children and new public toilets are also included in the budget.

Mr Lamb added: “We are looking towards the future and ways in which we can focus on delivering council-run services in a more targeted way, to those who need our help the most.

“At the foremost of our thoughts is the community, our residents and businesses and making sure they can access the help and support they need to control the factors affecting their lives as much as possible.”