A MULTI-MILLION pound revamp of Southend seafront could start next week.
Plans for a £1million artificial lagoon at Three Shells Beach, a giant indoor play area in Adventure Island and a scheme to double the size of Sealife Adventure are all set for the green light on Wednesday.
Planning officers have recommended Southend Council approve the schemes, all put forward by the Stockvale Group, which owns Adventure Island and Sealife Adventure, as they meet its ambition to attract tourists out of season.
Paul Thompson, chairman of Southend Seafront Traders’ Association, said: “The schemes will help attract a lot more visitors. They are exciting developments and will bring people in.”
Derek Jarvis, Southend councillor for culture and tourism, said: “The seafront is our main tourist attraction, which generates millions of visitors every year and provides a major boost to the economy. We also value and encourage any investment into the town which offers new job opportunities for local people, and significant financial and regeneration benefits for Southend.”
Stockvale, which also owns the Three Shells Beach Cafe and restaurant Sands, has offered £100,000 towards the tree-lined tidal pool, which would stretch 125ft out into the sea, with the Government offering £850,000.
The firm has offered to move the 400ft long wall that would create the pool 50ft away from the Alexandra Yacht Club jetty after the 140-year-old club and the 60 sea cadets who use the launch raised concerns the steel, rock and boulder structure would prevent craft landing.
But the club says the wall will still prevent members going out in some tides. An extension half the size of a football pitch over an informal staff car park and former crazy golf course next to Sealife Adventre would house penguins, seals, crocodiles and meerkats.
It would boost last year’s 156,000 visitor numbers by a third and create 20 jobs.
The 43ft high indoor play area, on the vacant site next to the pier entrance previously occupied by the Blackbeard pirate ship ride, would contain fairground rides for toddlers and older children, a parents’ enclosure and food outlets.
It would stay open through the winter, when Adventure Island is closed, and create 100 full-time jobs.