CYCLISTS will share the same space as pedestrians along Southend seafront when the £7.6million City Beach scheme is complete.

There will be no dedicated cycle path along Marine Parade, but instead cyclists will use the wider promenade area with people walking along the seafront.

Council bosses plan to paint markings to indicate the cycle path in the paving, rather than a designated track and have set aside £10,000 to carry out the work from their highways budget.

Their vision of City Beach is of a recreational area where they want to discourage fast cycling near pedestrians.

Southend’s councillor for transport, Mark Flewitt, said the cycle provision was not subject to the same deadline as the rest of the City Beach project, but he expected it to be done by the end of the month.

He added: “The enhanced paving area at City Beach is designed to be used by both pedestrians and cyclists.

“We are currently looking at ways of managing this designated shared space, but it will not involve the type of engineering measures employed elsewhere on the seafront where sections of pavement have been removed and coloured cycle tracks have been introduced.

“Provision for cyclists will be met from the annual highways budget and is therefore not subject to the March 31 deadline set for the main City Beach works.”

The Government-funded City Beach scheme has to be completed by the end of the month, otherwise any unfinished work will be paid for by the council.

Graham Pearl, of Southend Wheelers and a Bike-It officer for Sustrans, welcomed the idea, adding: “Anything that allows us to cycle in more places is beneficial.

“When it comes to shared use, it’s all about respect for each other, both cyclists and pedestrians.”

However, Carmel Bishop, 42, of Bishopsteignton, Shoebury, added: “You used to get serious problems, particularly in Chalkwell during busy periods when pedestrians were dodging cyclists.

“It looks like we’re going back to that.”