CAMPAIGNERS are banging the drum to promote Shoebury as a tourist destination to rival Leigh by highlighting its stunning beaches, Gunners Park and a historic garrison lovingly restored with beautiful family homes.

Community groups banded together to form the Shoeburyness Coastal Community Team in 2015 after acknowledging the town was lagging behind in popularity compared with other parts of the borough like Leigh.

An economic plan for the town has now been drawn up following a survey which received more than 550 responses from people on how they would like to see the town develop.

The team aims to identify projects and celebrate the garrison town’s heritage and is supported with council funding. However, it is hoped projects will attract further funding and private investment into the town, including from start-up businesses.

Four priorities have been identified, which include promoting Shoebury as a destination, developing its heritage and cultural assets, enhancing unspoilt and unique public open spaces like Gunners Park and East Beach and and North Shoebury Common. Improving transport links, including a cycle link from the Garrison to Shoebury Station is also in the pipeline.

The team’s first project is the Cart and Wagon Shed which will soon be opening as a new heritage and community space with a cafe. The not-for-profit organisation and will host the Shoeburyness Archives.

Brian Sandford, chairman of the community team, said: “The team has broad representation from local groups. For years we have wanted to get the Cart and Wagon Shed open to the public. Thanks to funding from Southend Council we can now move on.”

Vice-chairman, John Budge, added: “Improving Shoeburyness as a destination for visitors as well as for local communities, through projects such as the Cart and Wagon Shed, will help to promote the whole borough as a tourism destination.”