Seafront parking has been one of the most challenging issues for Southend Council for several years but businesses say policies from the new Conservative administration show they have finally listened.

Among ten key policies proposed by new council leader, Tory Tony Cox is the promise to restore one-hour parking fees across Southend, the removal of double yellow lines in Lucy Road, and to look at “all options” to provide more parking on the seafront and around the Seaway development.

Philip Miller, MBE and owner of Adventure Island on Southend seafront, was quick to welcome the policies.

He said: “We have been fighting tooth and nail against daft high street parking charges and lack of seafront spaces for years, it is fantastic news that the new kids on the block have listened and acted so quickly.

“In all my years of surviving the vagaries of different leaders this is the first time I have known anything like it, long may it last.”

Joan Tiney, chair of the Southend Seafront Traders Association, said it was “brilliant news”.

“We are really please and I just hope councillor Cox can bring this to fruition,” she said.

“The way the council has carried on in the past has been completely against the seafront but this guy sounds like he is in favour of it and that is good for us. I would be very surprised if anyone is against this.”

Mr Cox said the policies are all part of his promise to change politics in the borough and listen to what residents want.

He said: “With something like the one-hour parking band, we have looked at what we did before and we want to change it.

"We listen when we get things wrong and this was one of those areas where we needed to right a wrong.

"It is the right thing to do.”

Despite enthusiasm for the proposals, a plan to transform the Seaway car park into a multi-million pound leisure development is continuing to loom over the administration.

Mr Miller said the development is a “scandal hovering in the background” but he hopes that “good sense will prevail”.

Vicky Notman, barmaid at The Borough Hotel was said she would not get behind the council while they continue to move forward with the plans.

“These changes are not good enough,” she said.

“We need the Seaway car park to stay as a car park. It gets packed full at peak times with queues going right down to the underpass, where are they all going to go when it is no longer a car park?”

The £50million Seaway development was a major project ushered in by the previous administration, bringing a new cinema, 20-lane bowling alley, 80-room hotel and restaurants.

The developer has promised it will create hundreds of jobs and generate income for the town but it has been widely criticised by businesses on the seafront for taking away parking spaces which are needed during the peak summer period.