A community centre, which has seen its popularity grow thanks to a range of family activities, is set to be improved.

Plans to demolish toilets to the back of Leigh Community Centre have been submitted to Southend Council.

The plans also include building a new single-story extension to make the centre’s café larger and it will include a new storage area.

The centre, in Elm Road, was built in 1914 and is in need of remedial work to cope with increasing numbers of residents who use it – particularly families taking advantage of an extensive and full children’s holiday itinerary.

Town clerk Helen Symmons, said: “The changes are being implemented to make the centre more efficient and more user-friendly for our visitors and hirers.

“We are hoping to do the work in the summer months if it is approved. We now have about 2,000 people coming every week for a really full programme of events and the changes will help that.”

The centre has already benefited from a raft of repairs and the installation of a new lift last year.

Ms Symmons added: “At the moment men have to go through the back of the café to get to the toilets. We need a bigger area.

“We’ve done as much as we can without disrupting anyone and will continue to do so.”

In its application, the council said: “The intention of this proposal is to make the internal layout better suited for public use by locating the toilet facilities in one area to the front of the building with internal alterations to create a better office space and staff room.

“In addition, we are proposing to demolish the existing gents toilets to the rear and erect a modern extension to increase the capacity of the café area. This will both enhance the building and provide a more comfortable atmosphere.”

Caroline Parker, councillor for Elms ward, added: “The centre really needs it as it is well over 100 years old. As an old building it has its problems but it’s such a popular venue. Things like the children’s parties have really grown over the last two years. We owe it to the public to keep the building up to date and water tight.”