MAJOR plans could see the bus station and travel centre in central Southend moved into a huge new proposed multi-storey car park - but the dream is a long way from reality.

Southend Council is putting together plans to turn car parks in Tylers Avenue and York Road into a major new multi-storey to help ease parking concerns in the town centre.

The project, set to cost in the region of £14million, would create 700 new spaces.

As part of that plan the council’s deputy leader Ron Woodley, who oversees transport, wants a major new bus station to be integrated with the multi-storey.

Mr Woodley said the new bus station would replace the existing “travel centre” at the junction of Chichester road and York Road, which he says is “not fit for purpose” and must be replaced as a matter of urgency.

Once the multi-storey has been built, along with the new bus station, he wants to see the existing bus station demolished and replaced with housing - but this is a long term plan for the area.

Mr Woodley said: “The front of the multi-storey car park could incorporate a new bus station which means we can get more homes into the centre.

“The existing bus station is not fit for purpose and has caused us to set up a temporary bus station by the M&S on Chichester Road.

“We could turn that into a proper bus station as part of this multi-storey.”

Further to his plan, Mr Woodley said he also wants to change the way buses move through the town by having more stop-offs at Southend Victoria Station.

He added: “I have asked officers to look at re-jigging the road layout, which will mean that buses that come out of Chichester Road and go down London Road or up Victoria Avenue will still do that but will do it via the frontage of Victoria station, not using London road.

“That means that when the buses go along London Road to Victoria Shopping Centre, instead of going right to Chichester they will be in front of the train station so they can go straight down to Chichester, which means traffic won’t get held up by busses wanting to turn right.”

He cautioned the changes are still just in the idea stages but he hopes plans can be drawn up for the Tylers Avenue car park as soon as possible with the aim of starting work on the car park before the Queensway estate or the redevelopment of the Seaway car park.

It has been hoped that a large new multi-storey in the town centre will be a boost for both high street business and provide parking within walking distance of the seafront.

“What we don’t want is all those projects starting at the same time because it would be a nightmare. Right now, we have a very short window of time to get this moving forward,” he said.

The £14million car park plan would be financed by council borrowing, which Mr Woodley belives can be paid back within ten years