Angry residents claim newly-installed pathways are “desecrating” parts of Shoebury East Beach and dubbed the improvements “environmental vandalism”.
Southend City Council has installed the pathways as part of ongoing project to revamp the facilities at East Beach.
However, the appearance of black asphalt pathways criss-crossing a green area leading from the car park to the High Street has caused upset among residents.
A public meeting is due to be held about the improvements later this week after concerns were raised.
Among those firmly against the new asphalt pathways is Sandie Travis, who has taken to the Shoeburyness Residents’ Association Facebook page to explain her concerns.
She said: “Southend Council please stop the desecration of East Beach now.
“Those hideous new paths and roadways are nothing short of environmental vandalism destroying the natural beauty. People are really upset over this.
“The whole wild beauty of East Beach is being systematically destroyed by Southend Council. Please do something to stop what is happening down there, otherwise we won’t have an East Beach worth loving anymore.”
Steven Wakefield, Independent councillor for Shoebury, has defended the work being done and insists the hard-surface pathways are more user friendly.
He said: “All the pathways already done went out to public consultation well over a year ago.
“We only got a handful of people who contacted us over East Beach. They were gravel areas but they are clearer now and much better for visitors from the station.
“One is a main pathway and there is spur coming off from the cycle path.
“They are much clearer and nicer now but we are having a meeting about it.”
The two-phase project to improve East Beach will include improvements to the existing worn gravel car park.
This will be resurfaced, with 224 spaces marked out, including 11 disabled spaces and electric car charging points.
There will also be solar powered lighting columns and increased CCTV coverage. A toilet block has also been refurbished and is set to open soon.
The meeting is at St Peter’s Church hall on Friday at 6.45pm.