A COUNCIL has been accused of crazy paving, after spending £241,000 on four seafront crossings which “don’t work properly”.

The four “courtesy crossings” were put in by Southend Council on the seafront, as part of the authority’s shared space scheme.

However, the grey and white herring-bone paving, in Marine Parade, has caused controversy, as pedestrians and motorists have been left confused over who has right of way, while others criticised the cost at a time when severe cuts are being made to children’s centres and libraries.

Jill Allen-King, 73, of Westcliff, who received an MBE for designing tactile paving at crossings for blind people, said: “It’s absolutely disgraceful. What a waste of money!”

Simon Patterson, chairman of Southend Seafront Traders’ Association and co-owner of Chinnerys pub, outside which is one of the crossings, added: “It’s a hell of a lot of money.”

The authority laid new paving outside Chinnerys, the Hope Hotel pub and amusement arcade Circus Circus last month, after campaigners criticised safety in the shared space, where cars, pedestrians and cyclists are meant to mingle.

A new crossing outside amusement arcade Happidrome is yet to be finished.

The cost, which also included the removal of some spherical bollards and installation of additional tactile surfacing, was made higher as the work was carried out at night to minimise disruption for drivers and seafront traders.

Martin Richardson, owner of the Happidrome amusement centre, in Marine Parade, added: “It’s an absolute joke and they don’t work properly. People from Southend don’t really know how to use them, so what hope do visitors have?”

Andrew Lewis, Southend Council’s corporate director for place, said: “During these works, we considered it was essential to minimise disruption to road users, seafront businesses and visitors, so we budgeted for the extra costs needed for the work to be undertaken overnight and within a road closure.

“For these reasons, the costs cannot be compared with the costs of installing a regular push-button controlled crossing.”

But Tony Cox, councillor responsible for transport, said: “I’m puzzled as to why we are even talking about alternative crossings now, when this was agreed years ago. Members subsequently voted to implement the improvement works and agreed the budget for it – which has been stuck to.

“Using decisions taken years ago to rubbish an award-winning scheme distorts the true position.”