Essex

Southend Pier set for £3.25m upgrade

A train on Southend pier
Image caption Southend Pier's trains have been in service since 1986

An ageing train service is set to be replaced in a £14m revamp of the longest pier in the world.

Southend Borough Council has proposed a £3.25m upgrade to the locomotives as part of its 2019-20 budget, which will be voted on in February.

A new pavilion would be built on the site of a former bowling alley which was destroyed by fire in 1995.

The trains were introduced to the pier in 1986 with an expected 20-year lifespan.

Image copyright PA
Image caption Southend Pier suffered severe damage in a fire in 2005

The council said the investment would reinvigorate the pier, which is a "source of pride and joy" for many.

James Courtenay, Southend Borough Council cabinet member for growth, said: "Since the last major pier fire [in 2005], visitor numbers have steadily increased with record numbers attending this year.

"However, I know local people love the pier, they want there to be more for visitors to do on it and they want it to be a worthy centrepiece of our beautiful seafront."

Up to £10.5m has been set aside for the pavilion which, if planning permission is granted, would be built between 2020 and 2022.

The cabinet will consider the draft on Thursday with the scrutiny committee set to debate the budget at the end of the month.

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