Campaigners are spearheading a new residents’ association to protect one of Southend’s Blue Flag beaches after visitors left newly-refurbished toilets in a “vile” state and barbecues left a trail of damage.
The new East Beach Residents’ Association will be created because people feel let down after a series of issues on Shoebury East Beach.
Residents are also backing a council proposal for a total ban on barbecues following damage and injuries to children.
In addition, criticism is growing over council plans to use part of East Beach as an all-year-round dog-friendly beach.
Both proposals are currently out to consultation.
In a letter to Southend Council, Peter Lovett, vice-chairman of Shoeburyness Residents’ Association, said: “Our residents feel so let down and feel we are not doing enough, so they are now setting up a new East Beach Residents’ Association.
“ Barbecues have been a major concern for years, because East Beach was the only beach in Essex where you can legally have a barbecue.
“This has resulted in more than 50 people turning up to use six fixed sites.
“So they are then forced to use whatever space they can find, normally the beach, grass, tables, benches, behind beach huts, in the car park, which in turn has resulted in serious injury to our children, grass / bin fires and alike.”
Mr Lovett added: “We are now being told that East Beach will be the only beach for dogs to run around next to our Blue Flag beach and across our SSSI protected area.”
Residents took to the group’s Facebook page to vent their anger. One said: “So sad to see the disgusting state the toilets were in this morning. ll the time it took to refurbish them. They were unusable.”
Another added: “I had to take my children to use them late Friday afternoon, one of them was just about OK to use. They really were vile!”
CCTV cameras installed on the beach are now operational bringing some hope they will deter antisocial behaviour.
Martin Terry, councillor responsible for public protection, said: “In the last couple of years we have invested £2.2million upgrading our CCTV with better cameras and expanding the network.
“The control centre is in the community safety hub with police and has been very successful in helping police to identify people and take them to court.”