There’s one at almost every ‘junction’ point down the high street, and near the new Victoria Circus development.
Not only do they pick out the stations, university, courts, bus stops and other points of interest, they have sprouted direction-pointers at the top with the estimated walking time to each of these.
It’s all part of the SSHAPE High Street Enhancement scheme apparently, as a plaque set up where the (non-working) Millennium Clock used to be tells us.
However, if Southend Council wanted to ‘enhance’ the high street, putting up street furniture like this (in an age of smartphones and voice-activated GPS mapping) seems a little pointless.
Surely a far better idea would be to stop issuing temporary occupation licenses for high street shops like Boots (moved into the vast over-half-empty white elephant of the Victoria Circus shopping mall) to be turned into purveyors of cheap tat?
Or preventing the opening of yet another 99p shop?
Or ensuring that the beggars, drunks and mentally ill from the nearby estates are kept away?
If you want the high street to welcome shoppers, they have to have a reason to go there and the fact that you can’t walk 50 yards without a bit of street furniture to tell you exactly where things are and how long it’ll take to get there just doesn’t cut the mustard…