SKATEBOARDERS have been accused of wrecking a new £7.5million public square by using it as a playground for their stunts and tricks.

The groups of teenagers practise their moves in the revamped areas around Southend’s Victoria Gateway.

But passers-by pointed out their boards had scored deep gouges in some of the new seating and decorative paving, and even chipped off the corner of a bench.

Stephen Green, 62, who lives in Victoria Avenue, is the chairman of the Triangle Residents’ Association. He said: “I notice it a lot, and if I notice it, strangers coming into the town are definitely going to notice it.”

A 55-year-old man from Eastwood, who uses the shared space regularly, but would not be named, added: “Considering it’s supposed to be the entrance to the town, it doesn’t look good with dozens of people jumping up and down on skateboards and wrecking it.”

As part of £25million improvements, the area was transformed from an ageing roundabout to a modernised T-junction. The project included laying new paving outside Southend Victoria railway station, installing benches and redesigning the public walkway leading to the High Street.

However, the revamped walkway, with its large decorative walls and raised flower beds, has become a makeshift skatepark for youngsters.

With the nearest proper skateparks in Chalkwell and Leigh , youngsters have been congregating in the area during the school holidays.

Tony Cox, the Tory councillor responsible for transport at Southend Council, said he would raise the issue with officers. He said: “This is an area that’s had a lot of money spent on it and it’s there as the gateway to the town and for people to use as a pleasant square.

“I would urge skateboarders to be mindful of the square.”