The Marine Plaza scheme, opposite the iconic Kursaal, promises 282 new homes (including 84 affordable homes), 318 parking spaces (including 28 disabled spaces), landscaped public spaces and 2,717 sq m of commercial space that could house restaurants, bars, shops or entertainment facilities.
The development has already been recommended for approval by council officers, but was deferred in March amid farcical scenes when a member of the Development Control Committee arrived late and was barred from voting. The councillor’s deciding vote in support of Marine Plaza would have approved the project.
Mark Farrier of Goldfield Developments Ltd told Southend Rising: “Over the past three months we have worked closely with officers at Southend Council to address the points made by councillors in March. We have increased the number of parking spaces in our development and funded a number of parking surveys to ensure there is up-to-date understanding of parking in the town.
“The council is in the process of reviewing the surveys. The early results support previous parking surveys and show most town centre car parks can accommodate more cars at peak times. Council officers take this evidence into account when making a recommendation about our plans. With this in mind, we believe there is even more reason to approve our plans.”
“Southend has a bright future and we want to be a part of it. Our plans are ambitious and demonstrate our confidence in the town. I hope councillors can see the hard work we have put in over the past months and approve the proposals at committee.”
The plans have received strong support from local businesses. Supporters include the Southend Business Partnership, the Southend Business Improvement District as well as local residents.
Ellie Zinonos, a Southend resident and owner of local entertainment venue, Room 24, said: “The seafront has been crying out for investment for years. You only have to take one look at the Kursaal end of Marine Parade to see how tired it looks. Marine Plaza is exactly what Southend needs to allow it to compete for trade with other seaside destinations. I believe that Cllr Woodley, Leader of the Council, was right when he said that Southend is ‘open for business.
“I really hope councillors approve this application and my friends and I will be there on 3rd June to cheer on the plans.”
Southend Rising also supports the plans, which will bring a huge amount of private investment into a part of Southend crying out for improvement. You can read our latest opinion piece here.