COACH drivers have been warned to start switching off their engines at a seafront car park - or face being kicked out.

Southend Council’s deputy leader Ron Woodley issued the warning after residents living near to the gasworks car park said they fear a planned expansion will impact their homes and their health.

The expansion is due to be discussed by councillors next week and could see the number of coach bays at the gasworks doubled along with 100 extra car parking spaces.

Karen Green, 58, who lives on Arnold Avenue, said her “heart sank” when she heard the new plans, fearing the “council does more for the people who come to Southend” than residents.

She said: “Last year, as the coaches have been designated to the back of the car park, we had at times more than 15 coaches parked up and running their engines so that their air conditioning would stay on.

“The noise and pollution meant myself and my neighbours missed out on spending time in our gardens let alone the health implications.

“We were not asked by the council if we wanted this car park on our doorstep. Every weekend the flood lights are on lighting us up like a football stadium at night for no reason.”

Independent councillor Ron Woodley, who is overseeing the expansion plans, said it is an issue he is considering.

He said: “I want to minimise the impact of this and we will have more enforcement officers and more signage telling coach drivers to switch off. If they fail to do so, we will ask them to leave.

“I will not have residents being overly affected by this as it is certainly not fair on them.”

The gasworks car park is seen as crucial to the council’s hopes to redevelop the Seaway car park into a £50million leisure attraction.

Those plans are with the Government following concerns about removing seafront parking. Mr Woodley insists expanding gasworks is key to solving the issue.