A ROAD closure order - giving council bosses the ability to close a section of Southend seafront to vehicles as a last resort to deal with any major safety concerns - is set to be rolled out this October.

The experimental road closure order, set to be in place from Friday, will give Southend Council the relevant powers to close the road to traffic at any time over an 18 month period.

However, this will only be used if "absolutely necessary" to protect residents, visitors and businesses.

It follows on from the trial of a late-night road closure on Marine Parade in July, in response to reckless driving and other anti-social behaviour that even led to businesses having to close early. 

Ron Woodley, councillor for transport, said: “This experimental road closure order will provide the council with the powers to close the road to traffic if absolutely necessary.

"We saw a number of high profile, dangerous incidents in the summer related to reckless driving, and we want to be in a position whereby we can take action swiftly and proactively as appropriate.

“We carried out a trial closure in July which seemed to deter reckless driving in the area, so we have taken the decision, following discussions with local traders, to set up this 18-month order.

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"I must stress that any closure will only be implemented when absolutely necessary, and we would ensure any closures are promoted as widely as possible.

“We will continue to work hard with Essex Police to build on the good work we have seen in more recent weeks to tackle issues of anti-social behaviour and crime in those key hotspot areas.”

The order applies to the area from the turnaround point on Western Esplanade (Robertos kiosk), through Marine Parade (City Beach) and end at the junction of Southchurch Avenue and Eastern Esplanade (The Kursaal).

Vehicles would only be able to turn left from Southchurch Avenue onto Eastern Esplanade.

If the order is ever required to be activated, diversions would be in place and clearly signed, with the road closure being marshalled at the Western Esplanade end to allow emergency vehicles and traders through the restricted zone.

Essex Police and community safety officers would also be patrolling the area. 

While a review of the order is set to take place in six months.