A £300MILLION vision for Southend has been revealed with ten town centre and seafront areas being targeted for redevelopment.

The plan includes hundreds of new homes, further pedestranisation of the town centre, expanding Southend High Street and additional improvements on the pier.

Other priorities include transforming the derelict office blocks of Victoria Avenue into new homes, and creating a £9million 600-space multi-storey car park in the Queensway and Southchurch Road area.

The council is banking on attracting hundreds of millions of pounds of investment from the private sector, but initially hopes to kickstart the 15-year project by gaining £41million from the Government and using £35million from its own coffers.

The plans are broadly similar to a town centre masterplan drawn up by the now-abolished regeneration company Renaiss-ance Southend about four years ago.

Tory council leader Nigel Holdcroft said: “We as a town need to have a planning framework document to cover the central area.

“Basically, it gives us more aspirations for future development and identifies specific areas we are anxious to develop.

“We want to build on the work Renaissance Southend had been developing.”

Among the more radical ideas are: l Widening the town centre shopping area, towards Tylers Avenue and Chichester Road l Pedestrianising London Road from Victoria Circus up to College Way, including side roads off the High Street and the whole Elmer Square and Farringdon area l Further revamping of the pier, after the £3million cultural centre is built in the autumn, including a new pavilion at the shore end and a new pier train l Knocking down the Sixties-built Queensway building, in Chichester Road and Essex Street, to make way for a new public square.

l New homes and shops in the run-down industrial area around Southend Victoria train station and Sutton Road.

Mr Holdcroft feels Victoria Avenue is a priority, and is keen to work with owners of the crumbling office blocks.

He said: “That area is a blot on the landscape at the moment, but it’s an important gateway into the town.”

The Southend Central Area Action Plan will be considered by senior Tory councillors at a meeting next Tuesday, and will then be looked at by the whole council before a consultation with businesses and residents.

The final plan will go forward to the Government for approval.