FEARS of mass public gatherings in Leigh Old Town have triggered a car ban which could last for three weeks. 

Southend Council has revealed plans to stop cars entering the Old Town from Belton bridge. 

The move comes as a result of concerns over public gatherings which prompted a police dispersal order last weekend following parties in the Old Town.

In a public notice, Southend Council explains the reasons why the car ban will be in place from this weekend.

It says: "The council is satisfied that these restrictions are required owing to the danger to the public of gathering or promenading in groups on the affected roads or public open spaces following the advice of the Government in respect of social distancing during the Covid-19 (coronavirus) emergency."

The move comes after a petition was launched calling for a ban on people drinking alcohol on the beaches in the Old Town and on the sea wall.

As part of the ban, cars will be prohibited from entering the High Street (Old Leigh by the Crooked Billet pub) at the junction with Belton Bridge between the hours of 10am and midnight

This order will also stop any pedestrian from accessing Footpath 60 (Sea Wall) at any point. This comes after concerns last weekend about crowds meeting for parties in the Old Town. 

The restrictions start today (July 4) between and the notice remains in force for a period of 21 days or the duration of the works whichever is the earliest.

Any driver contravening the notice will be fined.