SOUTHEND’S iconic pier could soon boast a new £336,000 restaurant and bar offering picturesque views of the Thames Estuary.

Ambitious plans have been revealed for the plush new restaurant at the end of the 1.3-mile landmark as the town attempts to seal its reputation as a daytrippers’ paradise.

Southend Council, which is spearheading the proposal, says works to convert the Royal Pavilion could start as early as next February.

The vision for the new restaurant and bar is designed to encourage more people to visit the pier and give them a reason lengthen their visit.

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Peggy Dowie, from Southchurch, who was the driving force behind Southend Pier Museum said: “They’ve been talking about things at the end of the pier for quite a while now so it’s good plans are progressing.

“It would be good to have something for the children possibly an arcade or even a puppet show as it would be something different.”

Paul Thompson, owner of Pebbles Ones café, echoed the sentiment insisting the end of the pier needs improvements.

He said: “I definitely think the end of the pier needs something as opposed to on the shore side of the pier.

“It’s good and encouraging that the council is doing something - a restaurant and pub would be better than what we have at the end of the pier now.

“I am unsure if this is the best time to do this with the impact of coronavirus on the hospitality sector.

“If it’s done right it will boost and benefit the town and seafront.”

Southend Pier’s Royal Pavilion opened it’s doors in July 2012 as the most unique events and conference venue in town.

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It was officially named in a unique ceremony conducted by the Duke of Kent.

It offers space for events from small meetings to weddings, parties or conferences for 150.

Ron Woodley, Independent deputy leader of Southend Council, says he wants the restaurant to be open by next summer.

He said: “I think it will help bring more people to the pier head and with the new trains and wider walkways it will encourage more people to visit the pier and enjoy the views.

“The current pavilion does not give the right experience so this is about giving visitors that experience.

“It will help and allow people to enjoy food and a drink. These things take time to change and develop and if we wait until Covid-19 has gone it’ll be another year before we do anything.

“We have to plan for change and plan for a time when Covid-19 has gone or we have a vaccine.

“I am hoping it will be open next summer and it all comes together with the trains. We’ve got to be quick and I think it would be popular.”

Suzanne Gloyne, manager of Southend Business Improvement District also welcomed the plan.

She said: “Southend Pier is infamous as the longest pleasure pier in the world and is an iconic attraction for our town. Any plans to bring more facilities which add to the visitor experience will be welcomed.”