TACKLING a notorious bottleneck will “be a priority” for Southend Council’s new leader - and he hopes to provide an update “in the coming weeks”.

Daniel Cowan, Labour leader and new leader of the council, admitted the “vast majority” of his time is spent focused on the deal for 1,300 new homes at Fossetts Farm, which will allow the sale of Southend United to be completed.

However, Mr Cowan insisted tackling the Cuckoo Corner roundabout - where Victoria Avenue meets the A127 and Priory Crescent - is “very close to the top” of his to-do list.

Under the last administration, Mr Cowan and fellow St Laurence ward councillor Lydia Hyde put forward a motion calling for a major overhaul of the junction.

The roundabout is frequently gridlocked at peak times, adding to high pollution levels recorded there.

Mr Cowan said: “It’s something we are still looking to progress. It is very close to the top of my list of things to do, but I think most people will understand when I say the vast majority of my time is going on the Fossetts Farm and Southend United deal.

“I do have some conversations with our highways team next week to run through some of our immediate, short-term, medium and long-term aims, so I hope to give an update on Cuckoo Corner in the coming weeks.”

The previous cabinet agreed a trial scheme to restrict westbound right turns from Priory Crescent into Aldi and the Saxon King pub to help assess the impact on Cuckoo Corner.

The trial, which is yet to begin, was agreed after it was revealed that right turns into Aldi and the Saxon King pub had wrongly been allowed during the planning process and were adding to problems.

Removing traffic lights, introducing box junctions and moving pedestrian crossings have all been touted as ways to reduce bottlenecks and are likely to form part of the discussion between Mr Cowan and the highways team.

A previous scheme to widen the junction, in the 2000s, was widely fought against by campaigners to protect the Saxon King burial ground found on the site.

Since then the pub, a supermarket and a hospice have been added to Priory Crescent and hundreds of new homes are planned in Eastern Avenue.