Over 14,000 cubic tonnes of granite rock mark out the new football pitch sized lagoon, and it is hoped that the new facility will provide another popular destination for our many visitors and residents too.
Sheets of welded metal inside the rock walls retain the seawater when the tide comes in, whilst rubberised material at the base of the wall will prevent silt and mud from entering and exiting the lagoon. Valves have been installed into the wall so that the lagoon can be emptied and refilled, ensuring a high quality of regularly-replenished bathing water. The lagoon will be 1.1 metres at its deepest.
Cllr Ann Holland, Executive Councillor for Culture, Tourism and the Economy, said: “We are all pleased and excited that this work has now finished in time for the school holidays. I hope that residents and visitors alike will use this wonderful free facility to experience a dip in the sea, whether the tide is in or not.
“Our healthy tourism economy supports around 7,000 jobs but we should never be complacent. That is why we continually look to evolve and improve our seafront offer and seek external funding and private investment to do this. This project is a great example of doing just that.”
Stockvale Group are key partners in the project and Marc Miller, Managing Director, said: “The Stockvale Group is delighted that 'Three Shells Lagoon’ is now open.
“We believe it will prove very popular for families, who will be able to enjoy the beach and water, all day, every day, throughout the year. In addition to the wonderful lagoon and beach, visitors will also be getting much needed toilet facilities, showers and landscaping.
“This prestigious development will provide a boost to local businesses, which will without doubt provide confidence, further investment and jobs. This will help Southend to keep one step ahead of other resorts and certainly give visitors something to come back for time and time again.”
Under the plans, the ageing jetty at Three Shells Beach is also being replaced for use by the Alexandra Yacht Club and Lower Thames Rowing Club, adding to the water sports opportunities at the central seafront.
Linda McKay, Commodore of The Alexandra Yacht Club, said: “The lagoon is not only an exciting addition to the town, but it has been developed to provide safe sailing off the foreshore for not only the members of the Alexandra Yacht Club but also the Lower Thames Rowing Club.
“The yacht club has been sailing off this part of the foreshore since 1873. The yacht club, along with the rowing club, hope to keep our historic presence alive, whilst providing valuable water-based activities on this central section of the foreshore for everyone to watch, or take part in, alongside the lagoon facility."
The project has been supported by £125,000 of Government Coastal Communities funding.