Café dropped from £10m Southend Pier investment plan

Plans for a new café on Southend Pier have been dropped after it was deemed not to be financially viable.

Southend City Council’s £10.5 million restoration programme included plans for another café to compliment two others already installed on the landmark pier.

However, rising costs and inflation have taken their toll on the scheme.

Despite the cafe plan being scrapped, the council says it is still determined to ensure the pier is maintained in peak condition.

Derek Jarvis, councillor responsible for arts, culture, heritage and leisure, said: “The council invested over £2 million on the pier in the previous financial year and has allocated a further £8.5 million of investment over the next two years to maintain one of Southend’s most iconic structures, which has also been named Pier of the Year for 2023.

“This investment has helped to create two exciting new eateries, Lazy Jacks cafe and the Offshore restaurant at the Royal Pavilion, and many visitors have been enjoying their varied food and refreshments since opening earlier this year.”

Council documents show the authority has earmarked £1.9 million for phase two of the Prince George extension maintenance programme’

Phase one of the Southend Pier head development would have cost £1.1 million and included the new cafe but this proposal has now been shelved.

Cllr Jarvis said: “Further investment this year and in future years will include ongoing maintenance works to the pier stem including the replacement of steel beams at key anchor bays, decking and other structural works; a further phase of works to the Prince George extension which will see the replacement of steel reinforcement in the concrete structure, and ongoing works to replace structural timber piles and supporting beams.

“This work might not be so high profile or glamorous as the more obvious works are, but it is absolutely vital to maintain the pier for future generations and keep the jewel in our crown in good working order.”

Cllr Jarvis added: “Phase one of the pier head development related to an option to provide a new cafe at the inner pier head. This project proved financially unviable within the budget allocated and has since been removed from our capital programme and will shortly come out of the annual procurement plan too.”

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Christine Sexton

Local Democracy Reporter