SOUTHEND seafront’s terrorism security is being beefed up with new additions to keep residents and visitors safe.

A total of 48 multi-purpose concrete blocks have been installed along the seafront designed to stop terrorists from driving vehicles into pedestrians while doubling as seating.

The defensive measures, which are not yet finished and will include planters and arm rest, are designed to prevent terror attacks similar to London Bridge 2017, when three terrorists rammed pedestrians on the pavement with a van before attacking people in Borough Market with knives.

The concrete blocks are designed to resist substantial impacts – and can hold firm even if hit by a 7.5 tonne truck travelling at speed.


Unpainted blocks by Monte Carlo casino.

In Southchurch Avenue some of the concrete slabs have been painted in vibrant designs by local artist Karl Sims.

However, former Liberal Democrat councillor and Southend resident Ted Lewin was not impressed with the art.

“Are they intended for use as seats? I honestly can't imagine many people wanting to sit on graffiti covered lump of concrete,” he said.

“Are they intended as a replacement for our once beautiful cliff gardens? Maybe this is an attempt to go down market with the intention of discouraging visitors from coming to our beautiful seafront.”

The project to improve security measures in the town centre and seafront areas was approved when the council set its annual budget in February at a cost of £393,000.

Cllr Ron Woodley, cabinet member for transport, asset management and inward investment, said: “The safety of our residents and visitors is of utmost importance, so it is vital we have measures in place to keep everyone safe. We have also made sure that the blocks are compliant to allow sufficient space in between for wheelchairs and pushchairs, whilst also maintaining the appropriate levels of safety.

“We wanted to create a space that, whilst being safe, also served other purposes, so having these multi-purpose blocks in place means we have created additional seating, enhanced the greenery in the area, alongside improving the town centre bollard system.

“The finishing touches are now being made, meaning the project will be complete soon and well ahead of the next visitor season.”

Works to replace the old bollard system in Southend High Street are also progressing and set to be completed in November.