A BOLD plan to breathe new life into Southend town centre will encourage more shoppers to the ailing High Street, it is hoped.

With many shops boarded up as retail outlets succumb to the pressures caused by the rising trend of internet shopping, the council hopes making the town centre more amenable to pedestrians will help.

Much of the High Street is already a no-go area for motorists, but this is set to be more strictly enforced to protect pedestrians from delivery vehicles.

A council spokesman said: “The area is pedestrianised and bollarded, but this will bring in formal restrictions to prevent unauthorised access onto the High Street.

“There will be a timed restriction for when appropriate vehicles - deliveries, money collections and event staff - will be able to be on the High Street as well as requiring prior permission to be there in the first place.

“This will stop delivery lorries for example driving down the High Street during busy times of the day, so this will increase public safety.

“Special provisions will be made for emergency vehicles to ensure they have access at all times.”

Ron Woodley, cabinet member for transport, capital and inward investment, said future plans would include the rest of the High Street. There are no current plans to remove cars from the lower end of the High Street

Mr Woodley said: “We hope to install better lighting to make it lighter at night. We are working on plans as to what we are going to do along the High Street and see what we can do with the empty shops

“We want to remove some yellow lines and put in more parking bays round Clarence Road and Clarence Street.

There will be more parking for the disabled and more pay and display.

“This is coming into fruition in our new parking strategy coming to cabinet.

“We want to make parking cheap for local people, and then move forward on that basis.”