THE historic Cliffs Lift on Southend seafront will be out of use for at least another year, the council has admitted.

There is still no date for the long-awaited re-opening of the lift, which has been closed for three years, and it could be at least another year until anything is done to bring it back into action.

The restoration of the lift was originally part of a £1.5 million Heritage Lottery Fund grant in 2004 for the cliff gardens. Work has already been carried out on the upper and lower stations.

But since then, European Union legislation has changed and requires structural and mechanical work to be carried out to comply with the Cableway Directive 2004.

This includes strengthening the main structure of the lift, and improvements to the rack system which sits between the rails.

The council has been working closely with the Department for Transport to carry out the necessary modifications.

Council spokeswoman Katy Best said: "The Health and Safety Executive is responsible for regulating rail-mounted cableways and recently issued minimum requirements for all funicular railways.

"Any proposed alterations or amendments to the lift mechanism or structure will have to be submitted to them for approval.

"Inspectors from the executive have already visited the lift to assess its current condition and await our proposals. The lift also requires major structural repairs.

"Once our preferred option has been chosen, our proposals will be submitted to the executive. Provided there is agreement, the project will then go through a tender process."

Leader Nigel Holdcroft said the council was committed to restoring the lift.

He said: "The council appreciates the historic value and attraction of the Cliffs Lift and is fully committed to seeing it completely restored and open again to residents and visitors.

"We appreciate the public's eagerness to see the lift in full working condition again and we are continuing to work hard to ensure this happens as soon as possible."

The lift was built in 1912 and opened to the public on August Bank Holiday the same year.