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Seafront Seaway scheme paused

An artist’s impression of how the proposed Seaway scheme would look.

A CONTROVERSIAL leisure complex on Southend seafront has been paused after it emerged funding had not been secured.

The Seaway scheme was first proposed in 2014 when Southend Council signed a contract with Turnstone Estates to deliver the project, with an 11-screen Empire Cinema with IMAX, a 20-lane Hollywood Bowl, and a Travelodge hotel.

Planning permission, for the site of the old Lucy Road car park, was finally received in 2020.

Last year, the Council backed the scheme with a £10million investment from its capital reserves.

However, the development can only go ahead if it secures tenants for 70 per cent of the units, and it has been revealed that a marketing campaign to attract investors is yet to go ahead.

Paul Collins, councillor responsible for asset management and inward invest- ment, reportedly said: “The wider economic circumstances over this recent period, have reaped havoc on the funding markets.”

He added: “Our desire to move the Seaway project forward remains strong.

“Therefore, we will be ready to approach funders when the economic conditions are more suitable to do that.”

Tony Cox, leader of the Conservative group, spoke negatively of the Seaway project reportedly commenting: “It was dead in the water when they proposed it.

“It was never achievable. It wasn’t achievable in good economic times and its certainly not achievable in bad economic times. I just wish the administration would cut its losses, stop allocating £10m of public money towards a scheme that’s never going to see the light of day.”

He added that it would be better to use the money for the heritage site of the Kursaal: “It could be used to bring the Kursaal back or for other infrastructure projects. The money is still there, still budgeted for, there’s a whole raft of things they can do with it.”

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