Published Thursday 21st May 2020

Southend Labour wishes everyone a happy and safe bank holiday weekend with glorious weather. We’ll keep you updated on the seafront situation, because that will be especially important now the government has started to relax restrictions. Please be very careful if you’re planning to go to the beach.

Labour’s Ian Gilbert, Leader of Southend Council, gave very serious consideration to the merits of closing the seafront area to traffic this bank holiday weekend and publicising its closure in advance. However, such a closure would cause a great deal of disruption to the town for too little benefit – people would still come and they’d just use other roads and park up in all the small residential ones. The decision was therefore taken by the council not to pre-emptively close the road at this time.

As residents probably know, the council has already narrowed the Esplanade to give more room for people on foot and cycling and closed seafront parking bays. The police and council staff will have to cope with the vastly increased number of people expected. The government has not offered any support for seaside towns such as ours.

It is still possible that the police could request a road closure on the day(s) on public safety grounds. That will be a matter for them to decide – the council has no power over police operational decisions.

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