A STUNNING £500m marina, quayside flats, bars and restaurants could be a catalyst in the revival of Southend, the driving force behind the project says.

Architects have drawn up plans for the new Shoebury Marina, which they hope to submit to Southend Council by the summer.

SKA Architects have released images of the proposed marina, off Shoebury sea wall, which could include a hotel and quayside bars and restaurants.

The proposal is being championed by Leigh Town Council chairman Paul Gilson and Southend businessman Garry Lowen.

SKA Architects says the quayside could also include new housing and flats overlooking the water along with a boat park.

Mr Gilson, a Leigh fisherman, said: “It would rejuvenate Shoebury by improved road links, employment and creating a go-to venue away from central Southend. “There is a need for a better road around the north of Shoebury and this could make that happen.

“We need to take people away from the two routes to the seafront. The new route would also encourage businesses to come to the east of the town. Shoebury was left to fend for itself after the garrison left.

“This development would provide rejuvenation. New work opportunities would involve the marina itself and the infrastructure that would come with the extra buildings, hotels and restaurants.”

Mr Gilson added: “We could provide a sailing school. Along the seawall there is an opportunity to create a museum based on the military occupation of the area.

“Doing nothing is easy and finding reasons to do nothing is very easy. Making it happen may be harder but I think it’s worth it.”

Mr Lowen, owner of Gleneagles Guest House in Southend said: “ “We’re trying to set the scene so that others will pick up and run with it. We have got some interested parties and the next step will be to get an economic appraisal. We are hoping there will be an opportunity for some Government funding.”

The scheme is also listed as an investment opportunity in the Local Enterprise Partnership’s Opportunity South Essex plan.

Not everyone is keen.

Peter Lovett, vice-chairman of Shoebury Residents’ Association, said: “When this was first proposed we put it on our Facebook page. We have around 4,000 members and I don’t think we had one person who welcomed this.

“We have had other proposals for a marina in the past but they have all been out to sea. This one would take up about 75 per cent of Gunners Park. The majority of people in Shoebury are totally opposed to it.”