Bid to resurrect Southend Marine Activities Centre

A former marine activities centre on Southend seafront could be back up and running by the summer, it has been revealed.

Blue Therapy Active is set to meet with Southend Council in May to talk about reopening the Southend Marine Activities Centre, in Eastern Esplanade.

The council-owned centre has been closed since 2016 after it was deemed no longer financially viable to run.

Ideas for using the building since it’s closure have included plans for a restaurant or a lido for outdoor swimming but they have failed to go forward.

Now Blue Therapy Active believes it has a chance.

Spokeswoman, Sarah-Jane Coombes said: “It goes all the way back to just before lockdown. We’ve always said it will be a perfect location for everyone to use. We had a chat with Trust Links and they got the ball rolling so we’ve got a meeting coming up with the council in May.

“We don’t want it just for us. We want it for the whole of the community and for other organisations to use. It’s that perfect building on the beach which other organisations like Active Life and Trust Links can. We will have that hub there for everyone to use.”

Ms Coombes added: “We looked at what was done originally. It worked but it didn’t move forward with the times. There’s so much more water sports out there now from ten years ago. Paddle boarding wasn’t even around so it’s just making it evolve.

“We’re hoping to do a lot of the stuff that used to go on there like courses for sailing and kayaking but also having that safe beach area for swimmers and dippers. Also close to my heart is having that access disabilities so people can get access to the beach and involved.”

The group is looking at various avenues for funding and already has volunteers on board to help run the centre.

Ms Coombes said: “It’s been empty for quite a few years so we’re hoping it’s not too run down but if we have to tidy it up that’s what will have to be done.

“We would love for it to be ready in the summer. If it’s agreed in May we could have it up and running by June.”

A council spokesperson said: “A meeting is to take place and we look forward to the discussion.”


Christine Sexton

Local Democracy Reporter