A £32bn project has been announced today to redevelop the coastline around Southend to ensure that the tide can never go out – this will ensure that the stretch of coast from Shoeburyness to Leigh On Sea will have water 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Southend Head of Tourism Lawrence Moses met with us to discuss the plans, and he is optimistic that getting rid of the tides will make Southend the top destination in the world for people that are desperate for sun, sea and sand. He said, ‘When people visit Southend On Sea for the day, their most common complaint is that they have decided to arrive in the town when the tide is out – this means that they need to take a 2-mile walk towards Kent just to have a paddle. By reshaping the seabed and diverting additional water from London and the English Channel, we can create a seaside destination where the tide is always in. Miami, Acapulco, Manly Beach, Brighton ….. all of these resorts are massively successful as visitors can go for a paddle whenever they want, and we can have the same tourism millions right here in Southend.’
A 45,000-strong workforce will carry out the work between December 2015 and August 2017, and there will be some disruption to shipping traffic along The Thames until the project is completed. It will also be necessary to move the SS Montgomery wreck to a temporary location in The Netherlands over the Christmas and New Year period at the end of 2016, but the company responsible have confirmed that it will be transported very, very slowly.
It is hoped that the 24/7 presence of water will stop people walking out onto the dangerous sands in the Estuary, and the £32bn outlay could save the local lifeboat service £10,000 per year with fewer rescues.
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