Seaside amusement park operator Philip Miller has revealed a series of measures he believes will stop the decline of the resort’s town centre and make it thrive again.
The owner of Southend’s Adventure Island amusement park has unveiled plans save it from dying”.
Philip Miller MBE wants the road reopened to traffic, two hours of free parking and fewer double-yellow lines around the centre of the seaside town.
The proposals were made to businesses and representatives of Southend Borough Council at a special meeting last week.
Architects Steven Kearney and Richard King gave a presentation calling for the council to take urgent short-term action to ensure the high street does not become a road of empty retail units.
Kearney and King prepared the plans on behalf of Miller, with key points emphasising that bringing back the road all the way through the high street would help make people feel safer on the street and make it more connected.
Miller said the removal of double yellow lines would allow more people to park on or near the high street and encouraging more of them to use businesses based in the town centre.
He told the Echo newspaper:“It is a simple,quick fix that can be implemented very quickly.The council simply must act now, and fast.
“If we can implement the re-opening of the road, this time next year there will be reports of ventures buzzing in the centre, not dying.
The presentation documented how the centre of Southend had been the focal point of numerous issues over the past few years, with high levels of homelessness, reports of aggressive begging and antisocial behaviour.
Another of the proposals, drawn up in conjunction with other traders at the resort, called for short stay parking tariffs to be scrapped in all council owned car parks and two free hours of parking on all town centre roads becoming standard.
Southend Council deputy leader James Courtenay, who attended the meeting, said the ideas were welcome but did not commit to putting them into practice.
He explained: “We understand that Southend high street, along with all high streets across the country,is facing a difficult period.A cross-party group of councillors is currently undertaking a project on the medium and long term regeneration of the high street and I hope that the ideas today can be fed into that project.
“Going forward, I am hopeful that we can continue these discussions in a proactive way,with various residents, businesses and the council working cohesively to ensure Southend is somewhere that everyone can be proud of.
“At this early stage, we cannot commit to any of the proposals raised, but we will continue to listen to the local business community to deliver the best out-comes for the borough.”