BUSINESS leaders have spoken out in support of Southend Council’s plan to scrap the town’s airshow.

Big name retailers, restaurateurs, seafront amusement operators and the town’s taxi association say the May Bank Holiday crowd pleaser, which is under threat by budget cuts, harms rather than helps Southend businesses.

Dawn Jeakings, manager of the Royals Shopping Centre, said: “From a retail point of view, only certain retailers benefit. If it’s a sunny weekend, we would be busy anyway.”

She said businesses like the Tesco Express in Heygate Avenue or Coast Coffee in High Street do well because visitors buy refreshments to take away and eat while watching the displays.

But for other retailers the event, which has drawn in hundreds of thousands of spectators, just means disruption.