AN HMS Belfast-style warship should be stationed at the end of Southend Pier as a new attraction and educational tool, a leading councillor says.

Martin Terry, an independent Southend councillor, is keen to see a former Royal Navy ship moored at the pier permanently.

It is hoped the ship would act as a catalyst to encourage visitors like the HMS Belfast in London and would be used as an interactive educational attraction.

Leigh has its own former Royal Navy mine hunter, HMS Wilton, which is home to Essex Yacht Club.

The plan has been backed by deputy council leader, Ron Woodley, and pier trader Darren Latimer, who both hope it would highlight the town’s maritime history.

Mr Terry said: “What annoys me is seeing ships being destroyed when they could be going towards something great.

“Southend has many historical connections that not many people are aware of.

“I think a project like this would be a resounding success and provide a unique experience for residents and visitors.

“The HMS Belfast in London sits on very similar circumstances on the Thames and I believe this is realistic for Southend.”

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Mr Latimer, who owns four food and drink huts and the crazy golf on Southend Pier said he thought the plan was a great idea.

He added: “Now that we’re at the other side of Covid an attraction like this could bring a lot of school trips from further afield.

“Anything that attracts more tourists is very positive and we’d look to make some special offers for the extra visitors.”

Mr Woodley has previously called for a educational warship attraction to be added to the pier.

He said: “I’ve always said the pier needs something to shine a light on Southend’s history.

“I would also like to see a London Dungeon-style attraction to add further tourism.

“It’s up to the residents on how much they want to push for this, but this has potential to become a five or ten year plan.”

During September, the pier is set to become an interactive live action experience highlighting the vital role it played during the Second World War.

The Bravest Pier in the World event will see the role of HMS Leigh showcased, which defended the Thames and dispatched 80,000 ships around the world. The Bravest Pier in the World event will welcome schools on September 23 and 24, and the public on September 25 and 26.