SOUTHEND’S glorious beaches have received high praise on the international stage for their cleanliness, safety and variety.

Five of the city’s beaches have been handed the prestigious Blue Flag award, which recognises the best coastal spots in the world.

East Beach, Shoebury Common, Thorpe Bay, Three Shells Beach and Westcliff Bay are the five beaches that have been recognised.

Inspectors from Keep Britain Tidy assessed the quality of the beaches, the way they are managed, and the facilities on offer to the tourists who visit Southend every year.

Part of the criteria to win the award also included safety measures and services.

Business bosses hope the Blue Flag awards for Southend’s beaches will help continue to make the city a big draw for visitors.

Paul Thompson, owner of Pebbles One in Southend, said: “I think it is a really good thing.

“Our beaches often get the Blue Flag, and it is always encouraging to hear, as it great for the town and great for businesses in the area too.”

The news comes as campaigners continue to raise concerns surrounding bacteria levels in the water off Southend’s beaches, with campaigners insisting regularly testing should be carried out to detect E-Coli.

In a poll on Facebook, Echo readers chose their favourite beaches, with Shoebury Common and Thorpe Bay singled out for praise.

Debra Williams said: “Shoebury Common, up by Uncle Toms Cabin is lovely and clean.

“There is plenty of parking and very few tourists and day-trippers.”

Mick Smashy Mcgrane said: “Thorpe Bay beach is the best because there are beach huts, fish and chips, you can feed the seagulls, and it has great views too.”

Allison Ogden-Newton OBE, Keep Britain Tidy’s chief executive, added: “The success of these beaches in reaching the very high standards demanded is testament to all those who have worked so hard to protect and improve our blue spaces from beach managers and volunteers to local residents and businesses.

“The huge commitment needed to maintain marvellous beaches worthy of these awards cannot be underestimated.

“People who visit a beach flying a Blue Flag can be assured the beach will be clean, safe, and meet the highest environmental standards, as well as international bathing water quality standards.”