A GIANT television in Southend town centre will be used to show major sporting events, if council chiefs get their way.
Bosses at Southend Council want to use a six metre by three metre screen in the new £31million library development off Elmer Avenue to broadcast attractions such as the Wimbledon finals, Commonwealth Games and possibly even the football World Cup final in 2014.
But the move has been met with dismay by residents living near the site of the planned public square, who claim they will be bombarded with noise and antisocial behaviour.
Renee Jameson, 54, of Elmer Avenue, said: “It will be a nightmare if this is allowed.
“This is a quiet road, and most people I know bought their homes here because of that.
“It will be terrible if that changes.”
Russ Jenkins, 38, also of Elmer Avenue, added: “I think the library looks good from what I’ve seen, but I don’t want this screen.
“I don’t see why it’s necessary.”
The new library, which is being built on the site of the former Farringdon multi-storey car park, is due to open next August.
The project has been joint-funded by the council, South Essex College and the University of Essex.
The giant screen will stand at the northern end of a new public square.
Bosses originally pitched it as a place to showcase local theatre and arts performances, as well as event such as graduation ceremonies, the BBC Proms and the annual mayor-making celebrations.
However, although the vast majority of screenings will be arts-related, chiefs also want to show up to six major sporting events a year.
An indicative timetable for 2013/14 includes the Winter Olympics, Commonwealth Games and the Wimbledon finals.
The square will be incorporated within the existing town centre no-alcohol zone, although bosses said they might apply for a temporary licence to serve booze if they felt it was appropriate.
The screen’s usage will have to be signed off by councillors sitting on the authority’s development control committee before it can go ahead.
In a statement for the committee, a council spokesman said: “While key sporting events will be screened, they will not dominate the programme.
“Some of these events occur only once every four years, and it is very rare to have a series of major events in any one year.
“The screen and public square can be used successfully together during sporting events to assist with achieving the council’s strategic objectives, like delivering mini-tennis sessions in the square during Wimbledon fortnight.”