The Seaway plans and Marine Plaza development represent a combined investment of more than £100 million in Southend, and will create hundreds of new jobs.
Coupled with the ongoing growth of Southend Airport and plans for an Airport Business Park, there is a real sense that Southend is now a major growth area and a magnet for investment.
Southend Rising was set up to promote Southend, attract investment and support local business, so we are thrilled to see such ambitious plans on the table. We welcome the new jobs, homes and commercial opportunities, and we applaud those who are committed to such significant investment in Southend. Are they out to make a profit? Of course they are – they’re businesses not Samaritans.
Some people don’t like this change and greet each new announcement with negativity and criticism. Southend Rising agrees that the Kursaal and the pier are fundamental parts of the town which must be fiercely protected, but we won’t lament the loss of the Foresters Arms.
Day-trippers and “kiss-me-quick” kiosks will continue to be an important part of Southend’s identity and economy, but now we can attract people who want to stay in a nice hotel for a few days and have a choice of restaurants and entertainment options.
This boosts the night-time economy, improves safety and turns the seafront into a place that people can enjoy around-the-clock throughout the year. Existing seafront traders have already welcomed the Marine Plaza and Seaway announcements.
Valid design concerns about the new developments should be addressed through the planning process, as should questions about traffic congestion. Southend’s roads do need more investment – especially the A127 – but the Government is much more likely to grant funds to a progressive town creating jobs and housing, rather than one stuck in a 1950s time-warp.
With a better reputation comes more investment, more growth and more jobs. People will be able to find well-paid, skilled work on their doorstep, instead of jamming the roads as they commute out of town every day.
The face of Southend is changing for the better, and we think that’s a good thing.