The new Shoebury seawall is unlikely to be built over Shoebury Common, the Echo can reveal.

Southend Council’s consultants are working on designs for a new sea defence to protect homes in the east of the borough.

Campaigners protested against original plans for a £5million, 7ft wall over the common when it was passed by the Tory administration.

The plan was put under review by the council’s new four-way administration when it came to office in 2014.

Now Independent Martin Terry, councillor responsible for public protection, says the wall will not be built on the common.

He said: “Very unlikely. I would like to say that it won’t be built over the common.

“That was one of the key issues in the whole seawall campaign, the loss of public space there.

“We don’t want a huge seven foot wall along the common.”

The council’s development control committee threw out plans to build 172 homes in Old Gunner’s Park, but money from the company behind the new estate would have funded the seawall.

This means the authority has to fill this funding gap as well as reapply for the £1.4million the Environment Agency allocated for the previous scheme.

It leaves the council needing to find £2.3million to make the project a reality.

Mr Terry said he expects to reveal a new design to campaigners and councillors in Shoebury in the coming months.

Friends of Shoebury Common asked for the green space to be given “village green” status to protect it from development.

Peter Grubb, from the group, said: “This is excellent news, but the devil will be in the detail. The council could still change its mind.

“If the wall isn’t built on the common, the campaign will have been worth it. ”

His group’s application for Village Green status for the Common is expected to be concluded within seven weeks.

A recommendation from the Government will be given to the council, who will make a final decision.


Echo: Councillor Tony Cox outside Southend Police Station

Tony Cox

Old scheme would have to be reviewed - according to party who passed it

THE unpopular seawall project would have been reviewed again, according to a senior Tory councillor.

The plans had both cabinet and planning approval, despite strong opposition.

West Shoebury Conservative Tony Cox, who was cabinet member for public protection in 2013 when the council started consulting on the seawall, said: “I have said I support this review, and the original scheme probably would have had to be reviewed by us as the previous administration.”

But Mr Cox admitted the whole saga, rumbling on since 2011, does leave some homes in Shoebury at risk.

He said: “Whether its a one in five year, or one in 14 year risk, it’s pretty clear there is still a risk.

“I would like to see a new seawall being built as quickly and expediently as possible, but that must be balanced between putting together the right plan for Shoebury.”

The defences will protect 237 homes and 58 businesses along a 1,000 yard stretch.