Southend Seaway development delayed

An artist impression of the Southend Seaways development Image copyright LDRS/Turnstone Estates
Image caption A cinema and other leisure buildings are due to be built in Southend

A £50m seafront leisure complex could be in jeopardy after councillors deferred their decision on planning permission.

The proposed development of Seaway Car Park in Southend would see a cinema, restaurants and a new car park built on the site by Turnstone Estates.

A contract between the developer and Southend Borough Council expires on Friday, the Local Democracy Reporting Service reported.

Critics said the scheme was "dead".

Despite taking five years for the plans to reach the development committee, councillors felt they did not have enough information to grant permission.

Car parking spaces would be reduced from 661 to 555, but planners told the committee the level of parking would be "sufficient" and had recommended it for approval.

However, councillors felt the data was out of date.

Image copyright LDRS
Image caption Committee members voted to defer granting planning permission

Independent Brian Ayling said: "All the data we've used here is about five years old and some was taken on a winter's day, so it isn't good."

He said refusing the scheme would cause the council and Turnstone "a lot of problems" and suggested the developer came back with updated plans.

Lib Dem group leader Carole Mulroney said the benefits of the scheme outweighed the negatives and called for it to be approved.

Council leader Ian Gilbert and his deputy Ron Woodley had said the current contract, agreed in February, would be the final extension.

Scheme critic Paul Thompson, a former chair of the Seafront Traders' Association declared the scheme dead.

He said: "The deadline for this scheme is in two days time. The leader of the council has fully gone on record and said he would not under any circumstances extend this deadline."

Eight members, mostly Conservative, voted to defer the plans while six voted to approve them.

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