Southend Council has submitted a colossal bid for £10 million of Euro cash to reshape and improve the town centre, pier and foreshore.

This detailed bid is for a share of Euro money - Objective 2 funding - which has already been earmarked for Southend.

The money was agreed in principle in October 1999 when Euro boffins agreed that Southend deserved a slice of the regeneration budget.

Now the current bid, sent today to the Government office for the Eastern Region, is to clinch funds for specific projects.

Jubilant council leader Charles Latham said: "We had a successful bid for Objective 2 status and now we have worked up a detailed series of projects."

The aim is to reshape and enhance the structure and environment in the town centre from Prittlewell through the High Street to the pier and foreshore.

The ideas include producing a trail to identify the town's natural and cultural heritage, improving cycle paths and regenerating the look of the High Street, landscape and lighting.

Foundation work will also be carried out on the shore end of the pier and its infrastructure will be improved for future developments.

Mr Latham said: "We want to transform Southend into a vibrant, better, safer and more pleasant urban environment."

The project is called SSHAPE - Southend Seafront, High Street And Pier Enhancement.

Meanwhile, two other bids worth more than £5 million are also being submitted.

One is led by South East Essex College featuring part of its scheme for a new college building in the town centre.

The second is a joint bid led by Southend Association of Voluntary Services and Southend Adult Community College to provide a learning centre for the whole community.

Results of the bidding will be known in the New Year.

By Katy Best

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