PLANS to install a £12,000 new shower to make a popular Canvey beach more family friendly have been rejected – because a nearby bench could get wet.

Colin Letchford, chairman of the Friends of Concord Beach group, has blasted the reasoning behind the refusal as “ridiculous”.

The plans were given consent by the Environment Agency and Essex and Suffolk Water, but despite acknowledging it as an “excellent proposal and necessary service”, Canvey Town Council submitted a series of objections which saw it being refused planning permission by Castle Point Council.

One of the reasons to refuse it was because “a bench next to the shower may be sprayed with water” which would “render it unusable”.

Another was that residents would be unable to sunbath on the pathway when the beach is full, despite the area being a public right of way.

The authority also expressed concerns about shampoo and soaps running into the estuary, despite the foot shower only standingamere 3ft off the ground and there being no objections from ecologists.

The shower would also come equipped with safety signs prohibiting the use of soaps and detergents.

Mr Letchford said: “It’s only a few feet off the ground. You would have to sit on the floor and crouch low under it to have any chance of wash your hair, so it just wouldn’t be possible.

“The reasons are just ridiculous.

It’s purely for kiddies to be able to wash their feet. They have similar ones at Southend and Leigh, so why not Canvey?

“The beach is hugely popular, especially with all this lovely weather we’ve been having and we could’ve had it installed for this season. I am really disappointed for people not being able to have this at the height of the summer.”

Concerns were also expressed over health and safety and that if the concrete pathway were to get wet it could be “potentially dangerous”.

Mr Letchford added: “That pathway alreadygets wetwith the rain and when kids bring buckets of water up from the sea to wash their feet off. I don’t see how that can be a reason for refusal.”

Canvey town councillors visited the site alongside Mr Letchford on Wednesday.

He said he was hopeful he had swayed their decision.

Ray Howard, who sits on the town council’s planning committee, but was unable to attend the town council planning meeting on the application, said: “The funding was granted by the Veolia Pitsea Marshes Trust and there could be at risk of losing it if this doesn’t happen quickly enough.

So I was very surprised it was refused.

“Normally anything that comes near the seawall gets refused, but Colin has worked extremely hard on this and got consent from the head of the Environment Agency.

It should never have got in this mess and we have advised him to submit another application.”