A COMMUNITY group has set out its vision for a better Southchurch, with better CCTV coverage and plan to fill empty retail units with ‘pop-up shops’.

Project Southchurch, originally organised by Rob McAvoy, held its first meeting on October 30.

The group discussed a wide range of issues that they want to see improved in their area, including the installation of more CCTV cameras, and help fill empty business units with new firms and enterprise.

To help tackle the issue of CCTV coverage, the group announced plans for a voluntary register to be formed to list the location of private cameras on homes and businesses, called “The Network”.

This would remain anonymous with only the Police Safer Neighbourhood Teams being able to access details.

The meeting was held at the Belle Vue Baptist Church, with representatives of from Essex Police, members of the public, councillors and political candidates in attendance.

Mr McAvoy said: “There are a number of empty units in Southchurch. We aim to discuss with the agents, the possibility of using them as ‘pop-up’ venues, during their lease negotiations, allowing the buildings to remain active.

“Interactive community points – pop-up venues – are aimed to be a centre for the whole community, providing advice, promoting local business, a showcase for local talent and much more.

“We hope to attract our MP and many councillors, to operate a number of surgeries at the venue. We will aim to encourage those organisations, which provide valuable assistance to our residents seeking advice, to be present on occasions.”

The 53-year-old added: “The Southend Community Police Team will also be present on occasions, to listen to people’s concerns and reassure.

“Artists can display their work, we will encourage schools to have art, dance, music or poetry exhibitions there.”

Referring to the CCTV network plan, Mr McAvoy added: “The footage will not be used as evidence. If the police believe any images would be vital to the case, they must seek permission for its use.

“People are under no obligation to agree for your CCTV footage to be presented as evidence.

“This initiative is currently with those concerned with public safety.”

“We are checking into the feasibility of the scheme and also to double check to see if the footage could actually be used as evidence to prosecute.

For more information visit twitter.com/yoursouthchurch.