BIG-NAME brands will be given the option of closing later in an attempt to entice them to Southend’s High Street.

Town centre bosses plan to convince new business to move in by using “footfall cameras”

to count, record and report specific shopper numbers.

This data will be shared with potential new big businesses revealing when the area is at its busiest.

Depending on the findings, businesses will be given the option to alter opening hours to maximise business.

The Echo revealed yesterday how £6.3m of grants would be used to help the town centre revival.

Suzanne Gloyne, Southend Business Improvement District manager, said: “We’re hugely supportive of footfall cameras. Firstly, because a lot of national retail chains require footfall data from towns before agreeing to take on a property.

“So, having these statistics will put us in a great position, when encouraging firms to take up vacant units.

“Secondly, with accurate and detailed data, traders can make more informed decisions about their opening times and when they should run promotional events. Rather than rigid opening and closing times, businesses could now operate when it suits their customers, not the other way round.

“After all, the internet doesn’t shut at 5.30pm.

“Not only that, Southend Council could also adjust various facilities’ and attractions’ opening times, indeed parking charges to align with consumer habits.”

South East Local Enterprise Partnership chairman Christian Brodie said the plan is the sign of the times. He said: “Town centres are having to adapt. It is encouraging to see Southend making the effort to evolve Southend town centre to attract more visitors.”