PLANS to revive Clacton’s flagging town centre have been unveiled by council bosses.

Clacton is one of dozens of towns that were last year shortlisted to receive a share of the Government’s £1billion Future High Streets Fund.

The grant - which could be up to £25million - has been seen as a lifeline for Clacton’s struggling town centre, which has lost Marks & Spencer and Mothercare in recent years.

Essex County Council and Tendring Council have now unveiled their plans for the town, which include rebranding the central shopping area with its historic name, Electric Parade.

The town’s covered market could move to a new, modern facility in Pier Avenue, along with units for start-up businesses, alongside a new multi-storey car park and homes in Jackson Road.

Clacton and Frinton Gazette:

  • Re-branded - the vision for Clacton's Pier Avenue

Neil Stock, council leader, said: “We know that the way that people spend their time and money is changing and Clacton town centre will need to offer something different in the coming years to ensure it can compete for trade.

“The Future High Streets Fund is a golden opportunity to get some much needed investment into the town and I am delighted that central government finally recognises the issues that coastal towns like Clacton face.

“I hope that residents and businesses will be able to support the proposals that are being drawn up so we can secure the funding.”

Clacton and Frinton Gazette:

  • New library and adult education facility - Station Road and Carnarvon Road

The plan also calls for a new library and adult education facility at the site of the town’s current library, in Carnarvon Road, alongside a new and improved multi-storey car park.

The blueprints also include the restoration of the historic Savoy building in Rosemary Road and the redevelopment of the former Sandles site.

There would also be an events space and performance stage on the town square, promoting the ‘Love Clacton’ brand.

Clacton and Frinton Gazette:

  • The plans for Rosemary Road, Clacton

Mary Newton, Tendring Council’s cabinet member for business, said: “We have some fantastic shops and businesses in Clacton town centre who are committed to serving residents and visitors – so it makes me very sad when I hear people making negative comments. The only way we can reverse the town’s fortunes is for local people to support their town, shop locally, promote its many positive features and help the council and its partners with positive ideas and suggestions for improving the area.”

The council said it has been working with local businesses and groups to develop the vision for the future and a plan of action aimed at improving footfall and trade.

The business case must be submitted for the Government’s consideration in July.

Tony Ball, Essex County Council’s portfolio holder for economic growth, added: “With a focus on improving visitor and resident numbers, the way people access the town and the street environment we hope that following these challenging times the businesses in Clacton will be buoyed up by seeing some short-term investment as a result of the Future High Street Fund, followed by a programme of longer term investment, aimed at working towards a more diverse town centre offer.”

Clacton and Frinton Gazette:

  • Clacton's Mothercare, in Pier Avenue, closed its doors last year

Graham Webb, chairman of Clacton Town Partnership, said the vision included a number of good ideas, but that he is still concerned about the future of the town centre.

“The one of the biggest problems is the traffic flow - that’s the major thing that needs addressing. It has been a problem for years,” he said.

“Our current situation with Covid-19 may be a game changer - I’m worried a lot of businesses won’t reopen after the lockdown.

“Firms have been months without income - they were struggling day to day as it was.”

The council has commissioned consultants to undertake a household telephone survey across the district and residents and firms are being asked to have their say as part of a consultation, which runs until June 14.

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