SENIOR councillors have agreed a budget to help improve the pier, roads and social care.

Council taxpayers will need to find an average of an extra £58 to pay for the council and then more on top for police and fire services, among others.

Council leader Tory John Lamb described it as “very good budget” that will help some of the borough’s most vulnerable residents.

He said: “No one wants to see a council tax rise but this is a very good budget going through. This is the same increase as last year and it means that overall people on Band D will only see a weekly increase of just over a pound.

“That is just £58 per year, which is very good value when you think of what we’re doing.”

One of the biggest funding boosts will go to Southend’s famous pier, which will get £18million investment with replacement trains, a new restaurant and a visitor’s pavilion.

Another £5.7million will be invested in child and adult services, which will be partially paid for by the 4.5 per cent council tax rise.

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

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

The council’s deputy leader, Councillor James Courtenay, said:  “There are exciting things here, such as the pier train replacement. They were first put in during 1986 and were due to last 20 years. You don’t need to be a mathematician to see that they need to be replaced.”

He added that all investment decisions have been based on feedback from 35,000 businesses and residents who were consulted as part of the Southend 2050 long-term plan.

“This is really exiting stuff the council is investing in and it really shows that Southend is open for business,” he added.

Opposition Labour councillors have labelled the budget “disappointing” and claim the council tax increase shows that the Government is shifting service costs onto council taxpayers.

The final budget is set to be approved by the council on February 21 during a full council meeting.

Up to £10.5million of the pier funding will be set aside for the pavilion and if the council decide to approve the funding, the new visitor centre will be built on the former AMF bowling alley, which was destroyed in a fire in 1995.

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

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.

A new children’s residential care home and new public toilet provision are also included in the budget.

Improvements will also be made at the Civic Centre and courthouse to improve the plumbing in particular.