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Preparations underway for sunniest weekend of 2018

Published Friday, 20th April 2018

Palms on Southend seafront

With sunshine forecast for the weekend, Southend-on-Sea Borough Council is gearing up for a welcome influx of day-trippers to the Borough’s shores.

Measures are being put in place by the council and its partners to help visitors find available parking spaces and extra bins and waste-staff will be on duty to tackle the increase in litter that often accompanies busy days on the seafront.

The Council has recently been taking action to ensure a pleasant welcome for visitors, with volunteers from the Make Southend Sparkle campaign carrying out a “High Street Spruce Up” and foreshore staff refreshing the popular seafront lagoon.

Scott Dolling, Director for Culture, Tourism & Property for Southend-on-Sea Borough Council, said: “If the weather forecasts are correct, this will be the warmest and sunniest weekend of the year so far and we are hoping many people will take the opportunity to visit our beautiful shores.

“Anyone who lives here will know that on busy days, seafront car parks can fill up quickly and queues can form at payment meters at peak times. What’s more, cars queuing outside already-full car parks can lead to congestion.

“We aim to tackle this in several ways. Firstly, we will be encouraging visitors to use town centre car parks that are within a ten-minute walk of the seafront as well as the less visited Blue Flag Award-winning beaches at Shoeburyness and Thorpe Bay. These are cheaper and typically have free spaces even on busy weekends. If seafront car parks fill up, we will be using signage to direct motorists to these car parks.

“Extra staff will also be working at our two busiest seafront car parks, Seaways and Fairheads, to help visitors find parking spaces and assist them with paying for parking, including showing them how to download and use the Mobon parking app if they wish. However, cash, card and telephone payments will also still be in operation.

“Our waste contractor, Veolia, is also increasing its staffing levels over the weekend to deal swiftly with litter and to empty full bins. The beach-raker will be out in the mornings, extra temporary bins will be placed along the central seafront and littering crews will hand-pick any litter left on beaches in the late afternoon.

“Ultimately, our aim is to provide a safe and pleasant visitor experience that leaves people wanting to return to our town.”

Southend-on-Sea is one of the country’s most popular seaside destinations welcoming approximately 6.5 million visitors each year. For the latest visitor information www.visitsouthend.co.uk

Parking  

Vehicles queuing to access already full seafront car parks can contribute to congestion in the town. As town centre car parking is cheaper than peak season parking by the beaches, visitors could spend less time and money getting to the beach by parking up in town and walking.

Most town centre car parks are a mere five-to-ten minute walk from the seafront. You can find a list of Council Carparks and availability here: https://southendparking.apcoa.co.uk/parking_map

Visitors can avoid queuing at parking meters by downloading the Mobon parking app before they depart and paying on their phone. This also offers the added benefit of enabling you to top up your parking from your phone if you end up staying longer than you thought you would.

The Blue Flag award winning beaches at Shoebury and Thorpe Bay offer great places to enjoy the seaside and there is often plenty of parking even when central areas are full. Signage is in place to help direct visitors to these beaches.

The newly acquired Gasworks site on Eastern Esplanade will serve as overflow car park on a pay-by-phone only basis.

Coaches will also benefit from free parking at the Gasworks.

Beach safety

The Council offers the following advice to help ensure a visit to the beach is remembered for all the right reasons.

  • Supervise children and vulnerable adults at all times. There is safety in numbers.
  • Wear jelly shoes or other sensible footwear on the beach and in the sea. Like with all seafronts, hidden dangers such as sharp shells and rocks may be hidden under the sand or water.
  • Don’t climb the rocks: Several areas of our seafront have rocks, including our seafront lagoon at Three Shells Beach. Please do not climb them. Not only could you become injured, but you also risk falling injured into the sea, impeding your chances of swimming to safety.
  • Slip, slap, slop, seek, slide: Sunburn is a leading cause of skin cancer. Sunstroke and dehydration are also extremely dangerous. Slip on a T-shirt, slop on some sun cream slap on a hat. Seek out some shade and slide on some sun glasses to protect your eyes too!
  • Observe signs and flags: Heed warning signs and flags: they could save your life!

Traffic

Visitors are being urged to ‘let the train take the strain’ and travel sustainably to town in order to help reduce traffic levels. Southend is served by two rail operators, C2C, and Abellio Greater Anglia, both of whom run regular promotions for journeys to Southend

For those who arrive by car, electronic traffic signage will be actively updated throughout the weekend to help inform visitors of accurate traffic and parking information. The Blue Flag award-winning beaches at Shoebury Common and Thorpe Bay will also be promoted, to encourage visits to these less visited areas.

Litter

The Council’s waste contractor, Veolia, is putting extra staff on standby to quickly respond to any issues of beach littering. The company’s beach combing machines will be combing the beaches during the mornings to prepare for visitors while litter pickers will patrol the beaches in the evening to pick up any litter left behind. Staff from the council’s waste team will also be part of a high-visibility presence over the weekend.

Missing children

Southend Business Improvement District (BID) will be continuing to promote its wristband scheme, which aims to reunite lost children with their families.

Southend BID has produced the wristbands for children to wear on which parents or carers can write their name and contact number. In the event, the youngster gets separated or becomes lost, a phone call to the number can help reunite them with family.

Further information about the scheme – and where to get a wrist band – can be found here