A LEADING councillor is pressing for a warship similar to HMS Belfast in London to be moored next to Southend Pier as part of a vision to create a new “Golden Mile”.

Independent councillor Ron Woodley, deputy leader of Southend Council, spoke out as new plans were revealed to invest in the 1.3-mile landmark.

Mr Woodley insisted “nothing was off limits” in making the pier the number one attraction in south Essex.

Just weeks after Southend Council said £10million plans for a new pavilion on the old AMF bowling alley had been axed, Mr Woodley made it clear the scheme must go ahead.

He is also keen to see a warship anchored alongside the pier - similar to the HMS Belfast in London - as well as a London Dungeon-style attraction.

He said: “I have said repeatedly I want to see a date and funding for the new pavilion project.

“Everything should be looked at - as an ex-Londoner I look at Port of London with HMS Belfast and London Dungeons and these attract so many visitors. People want to see the world famous pier returned to its former glory and we’ve spent a lot of money on refurbishments but people don’t see it as it’s structural.

“I want to see the pier become the new golden mile with more attractions.

“I want to see a pavilion with the pier museum, a London Dungeon-style attraction and possibly a war ship with a smart phone application to give people the pier’s history.”

Mr Woodley said people want to see new, renewed and fresh attractions and he feels it will draw people to the pier.