“RAIN gardens” and sea defence improvements are being made across Southend, but calls are being made for a huge overhaul to make the city more resistant to flooding.

Southend Council is working on two projects which aim to relieve flooding. However, concerns have been raised that a multi-million pound project similar to the Canvey seawall rejuvenation may be needed.

The “Marine Parade sustainable water management scheme” will see a series of rain gardens – green spaces aimed at soaking up surface water – installed along the seafront.

The “catchment to coast” scheme aims to tackle flooding, coastal erosion and surface water flood risk through a “leaky dams” scheme at Belfairs.

The “leaky dam” scheme will see a wet woodland created at the upper Prittle Brook channel to hold water and reduce flash flooding downstream.

Lydia Hyde, Labour councillor, and shadow councillor responsible for environment, still thinks more needs to be done.

She said: “It is a real concern. Our strategy is late, and it is deeply concerning. Rain gardens are a nice idea, and I would welcome them, but the problem is their location.

“Every time it rains, we see the return of the Snakes Lane and Bridgewater Drive ‘lidos’.

“I think we also need to consider the coastal defences along the whole coastline. Perhaps this might include a new seawall, but firstly we need to ensure we have fully assessed the threat from flooding.”

Meg Davidson, deputy leader of Southend Council said: “Catchment to coast aims to reduce surface water and coastal flooding using natural flood management techniques.

“By taking a catchment-focused approach and using natural methods, the project aims to address flooding and coastal erosion whilst promoting better water management.

“The Marine Parade sustainable water management scheme aims to improve this area of Southend’s seafront by creating interconnected green and blue spaces. It will use lively rain gardens and innovative rain solutions to collect, clean, store, and reuse water.

“This will not only make the area more resistant to future flooding but will also lessen the need for mains water to support parks and public spaces.”