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Letter – Seaway Car Park

From: Andrew Brookes, Cheltenham Road, Southend

Sir, I’m not sure I can see the attraction of the Seaway project. The core of the Seaway project was to have tenants Hollywood Bowl, Empire Cinema and Travelodge. But cinema attendance was on the floor 2020/2021; Netflix is taking up considerable chunks of the viewing demand. There is already a bowling facility in Southend called Kingpins, not doing very well apparently, and we already have a Cinema opposite the Plaza. We are entering a difficult financial period. Then there have been Covid and other pathogen spikes again, so I’m not sure that people are going to flock to some visual decadence.

An email from Anne Bowden of Pinsent Masons, the Law Company to Alan Richards as recent as 24May 2022, includes the words “procurement risks”. I do have concerns about the Council’s competence and attention to detail especially when I asked a question last time publicly  to the Council about the state of the Kursaal,  to get a reply that the Council is in regular contact with a company that does cookers (AEG)?

 I see investment in the Kursaal a better prospect, but the Council is shying away because someone gave the leaseholder a lease of over 200 years with no break clause. Topic for old fashioned digging and journalism there I think !

The question I asked on December 15th at the Council Public meeting was “ Has the projected funding for the Seaway project , which is 70 Million pounds been secured?

Council Answer “ The funding market has not yet been approached and therefore funding is not yet secured”. So reading between the lines that says, the people we thought we would get funding from has not been forthcoming, so now we have to scratch about to get enough money.

Ian Gilbert, of Southend Council, was quoted as saying “agreements for funding and deals with businesses must be rubber-stamped by the end of this year for the Empire Cinema, Travelodge and Hollywood Bowl. He said, If nothing happens this year at all and there is no further pre-let or funding agreed then we have got to back to the drawing board “.


is it not time to just do what  Ian Gilbert has suggested and look again at the Kursaal?

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