Call for extra parking spaces for Southend leisure development rejected

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Senior councillors have rejected a call for extra parking to support a proposed leisure development on the Seaway car park.

The request to provide 661 parking spaces at the Seaway leisure complex rather than the planned 555 was thrown out during a cabinet meeting on Tuesday afternoon.

The motion had been tabled by the Conservatives in July despite their administration signing off on the plans with developer Turnstone while they were in administration.

Councillor Ron Woodley, who oversees transport in the borough, told the cabinet that the proposal had to be rejected because the number of parking spaces is the number that was contractually agreed with Turnstone.

“The agreement under the previous administration was to have 555 parking spaces and therefore we need to make sure that number is maintained,” he said.

However, one member of cabinet broke ranks and sided with the Tory motion.

Councillor Martin Terry said: “I actually support this motion as I do feel there is an issue with parking. I do see stress at certain times and we are a town that is open for business.”

Mr Gilbert said: “There is no legal basis on which we can change this unless stipulations set out as part of the agreement aren’t met. We cannot change contractual agreements in respect to Seaway at this point.

“In terms of parking around the Seaway area we are all open to seeing what we can do in that respect.”

The Conservatives came under fire for calling for more parking after they had fiercely defended only including 555 spaces in the plans while they were in administration. One month after losing control of the council to a coalition led by Labour, they claimed the parking was something they “didn’t get right”.

Rival councillors called the motion “political” and were left puzzled over why the Tories had made the U-turn.

The £50million leisure complex is being developed by Turnstone Estates and is expected to create 500 new jobs and boost the town’s economy by £15million a year. Indoor golf, a climbing wall, a virtual reality zone and a cinema are all expected to be included in the development.

Steve Shaw

Local Democracy Reporter

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