WIND turbines should be installed on Southend Pier to “generate surplus power” to help power seafront businesses, the Green Party has claimed ahead of the election.

The party believe installing turbines and solar panels on the landmark pier could help Southend become a “pioneer in renewable energy use”.

In the run up to the May 2 election, the party released an ambitious manifesto including the renewable energy aim, introducing a night bus service, creating homes for homeless and bringing landmark buildings - such as the Kursaal - under council control.

Richard Longstaff, Green councillor for Leigh, said wind turbines on the 1.3mile long pier would be “iconic”.

He added: “We first need to put wind turbines into context, as there are many varieties. Vertical axis wind turbines are quite aesthetically pleasing. It is about having the right turbine in the right place.

“I would welcome a feasibility study on vertical axis wind turbines. They would be iconic and send the right message to show Southend is forward thinking.”

The party has also vowed to adopt a “permission to occupy” policy that would allow homeless people to live in unoccupied or derelict homes until they are needed.

Mr Longstaff said: “Homelessness is an issue up and down the country, but seaside towns are more affected.

“People that find themselves in ties of housing crisis are usually given accommodation in seaside resorts as there are lots of hotels and B&Bs.

“We can house homeless people in disused buildings. One of the gripes many have is the number of houses just left empty.”

Other stand-out points in the Green Party manifesto include delivering a new park and ride facility as well as opposing the expansion of the A127 into three lanes. To tackle crime and anti-social behaviour, repeat vandals would be ordered to clean up and repair vandalism across the city.

“Rather than prison, they can help with another aspect such as gardening. For example, why shouldn’t fly tippers clean up their own rubbish?”, Mr Longstaff added.

Ahead of the May 2 elections, the Echo will be featuring manifesto pledges from all parties in Southend.