New plans for al fresco dining at Southend’s Seaway development

Developers behind a £50million leisure scheme want to deliver all day al fresco dining, according to the latest plans.

Turnstone Estates has applied to extend the times it can allow people to use outside seating areas in the proposed Seaway leisure complex by serving from 8am instead of 12noon.

The complex, to be built on the Seaway car park in Lucy Road, off Southend seafront, will include a number of cafes and restaurants as well as a multi-screen cinema.

The developer believes the opportunity to serve food outside from earlier in the day will attract more businesses.

All of the cafes and restaurants would still close at 8pm Sunday to Thursday and 9pm on Friday and Saturday, apart from one unit with a balcony fronting Lucy Road which can remain open until 11.30pm under current planning permission.

In its application, Turnstone said: “The rationale behind this proposed variation is that it will allow the operators of these units to offer breakfast trade to customers on the external seating areas.

“The noise environment from 8am to midday is not likely to be materially different to that from midday to 8pm. In planning terms, 8am is one hour into the normal day-time period.

“Therefore, the use of such external seating areas would not be expected to affect sleep disturbance of adjacent residents.”

The development sits on the borders of Milton and Kursaal wards.

Kursaal councillor Matt Dent said: “I think this would probably affect people living close to the development. I would be concerned about the potential impact on them.

“I think people will be raising concerns about this. Consideration would need to be given to mitigating the impact on residents.”

The controversial plans were finally given the go ahead by a Government inspector after a fierce campaign by seafront businesses who criticised the loss of parking spaces.

Paul Thompson, of the Southend Seafront Traders’ Association, said: “This kind of cinema and restaurant development is out of date. We are in the age of Netflix, Disney+ , home entertainment and takeaways. If the council is insistent on pushing forward with this huge white elephant they should put it in the Victoria Shopping centre, which they now own.”

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