AMBITIOUS plans for a new £10million Southend Pier pavilion have been scrapped because of the coronavirus pandemic.

The proposal for the new pavilion - on the old AMF bowling alley platform at the entrance to the landmark - have been shelved because the council cannot fund the project.

The council will instead focus on the pierhead alongside the plan to upgrade the pier trains with their heritage green and cream livery.

The new pier pavilion would have been built before 2022, on the former AMF bowling alley, which was destroyed in the 1995 fire.

Kevin Robinson, Labour councillor responsible for business, culture and tourism, said he wants to give the end of the pier revamp, alongside the new pier trains.

He said: “We want to make sure that when people step off the pier trains there are things to do at the end of the pier.

“We have to be financially prudent. We have to decide whether we want to spread finances thin and revamp both ends of the pier, or focus taxpayers’ money on one part of it.

“Some of the designs for the pavilion cost £10million. In the current climate, that’s a lot to ask for.” He also pointed to the various scenarios caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, adding: “We don’t want to say that social distancing won’t be in effect next year. We need to allocate for that.”

Southend Council’s 2050 vision outlines what the town will look like in 30 years’ time, which includes the £500million Queensway project and an extension to the City Beach.

Plans for Forum II, an £18million joint project between South Essex College and Southend Council, has already fallen through because of Covid-19. The proposals would have seen a new campus, including a teaching kitchen and restaurant, music recording studio, exhibition space and digital art workshop.

Tory councillor Mark Flewitt, Southend’s deputy mayor, said: “It’s sad for the pier and it’s very sad to see.

“Both ends of the pier are essential. We’re running away from doing something about it.

“I reluctantly supported it at the time, but the vision is impractical.

“Unfortunately, covid has made the vision redundant.

“The council needs to decide what is doable and what isn’t.

“The virus had made finances much more difficult than was first thought.”

Ian Gilbert, Labour leader of the council, said the pavilion plan is being kept under review. He added: “The Queensway project is still on track. The world has changed and we need to make sure what we’re doing makes the most financial sense. Staff have been redeployed to help with the pandemic so there may be some delays in areas. Forum II has not been able to proceed how we would have wanted.”

The 2050 vision will be reviewed by Southend councillors later this week.