CONSULTANTS who drew up controversial plans for a two-metre high seawall across Shoebury Common have already been paid almost £100,000.

Southend Council has paid £99,384 – and counting – to international engineeringfirm Black and Veatch to design new flood defences to protect 500 homes in Shoebury, the Echo can reveal.

The engineers have been putting together proposals for three years–yet their three designs were panned at two public meetings in April.

In contrast, Southend architects APS Design Associates helped campaign group the Friends of Shoebury Common design an alternative scheme – at no cost – which involves raising the existing seawall, promenade and beach huts.

Friends of Shoebury Common member Peter Lovett, 67, of Leitrim Avenue, said: “This seems a lot of money to produce such a poor design.”