A NEW “floating” restaurant offering views across the Thames Estuary could be built on Southend seafront.
A developer hopes to transform the dilapidated, single-storey KJ’s cafe just east of the Genting Club, in Western Esplanade, Westcliff, into a modern two-storey restaurant that projects out over the foreshore, giving the impression it is floating when the tide is in.
Diners would be able to sit sunning themselves on the dual-level upper deck and the ground-floor decking area at the back during the summer.
The existing kiosk building, which would be retained, and a side extension covered by the second level of the upper deck would offer shelter so it could stay open through the winter.
Paul Seager, the Southend architect behind the design, said: “The new split-level ground-floor deck will be cantilevered from the existing structure of the old kiosk and when the tide is in will appear to be floating. The upper deck, which would be for mainly summer periods, will allow spectacular views across the estuary without compromising or affecting foreshore views.”
Southend Council turned down plans for an “iconic” two-storey yellow coffee shop next to Adventure Island in July as it would block views of the estuary.
But the proposed new restaurant’s upper deck has no walls or roof and the side extension is glazed, so there would be little change in sea views.
Developer Emmanuel Popat recently snapped up the kiosk, after spotting its potential for redevelopment. The proposal follows the successful transformation of a derelict tram stop shelter, in Eastern Esplanade, into the upmarket, single-storey cafe Ocean Beach in 2006.
Mr Seager added: “The location is ideal for a modern, contemporary, and exciting new seafront restaurant or cafe.
“This side of the pier is gradually being regenerated and when asking to look at this project, our brief was to provide a facility which would make use of the fantastic estuary views with its sun deck and cantilevered lower split level restaurant cafe.”