Cash injection prepares Southend for city status

An ambitious £46million cash injection is set to prepare Southend for its bold new era as a city by the sea. .

Southend Pier, coastal defences and updating council-owned properties will all benefit from the investment programme proposed by the Labour, Independent and Lib Dem-led council.

Southend’s landmark pier is set to get a £2.5million investment in addition to the £5million already agreed for maintenance and improvements for yearround visitors.

Plans also include £335,000 to enhance East Beach car park by widening the existing entrances and exits and improved street lighting.

There are also plans for £2.5m to improve Southend’s coastal defences over the next five years and an additional £1.5m added to the fire safety works programme in council-owned properties.

It is also proposed to add £10m to the road and pavement improvement budget for 2026/27, boosting infrastructure across Southend.

This cash boost is on top of the £10m per year already planned up to March 2026, bringing the total level of investment to £60m over six years.

The council is planning to use a large portion of a proposed 3.99 per cent council tax increase on a £5.5million boost for adult social care and further investment in children’s services.

In addition, the council’s Housing Revenue budget will also see almost £77million invested over the next five years buying and maintaining council housing.

This will include electrical rewiring, new bathrooms, new kitchens, new roofs, new windows and doors, and the installation of more energy efficient and economical boilers.

The programme to continue buying private homes and turning them into council housing will also continue.

Ian Gilbert, Labour leader of the council, said: “We take our responsibility very seriously to make sure all of our tenants are safe and well in their homes and that is why we are proposing new and continued investment into improving and creating more council housing.”

Paul Collins, Lib Dem councillor responsible for corporate services and performance delivery, said: “This is an ambitious and exciting capital budget, and one we feel will bring a multitude of benefits to our residents for the next five years. This budget will allow us to continue providing good facilities, whilst also being forward-thinking and considering areas that need additional funding to help push us on as a city.

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Christine Sexton

Local Democracy Reporter

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