Clarence Yard housing plan approved

A Southend fish and chip shop will be transformed into four homes after councillors gave plans the green light.

The Stockvale Group, owners of Adventure Island, have been handed permission to overhaul the Clarence Yard restaurant after it became financially unviable in the COVID pandemic.

The £600,000 project will see the building converted into three one-bedroom homes and a two-bedroom home,

The façade of the locally listed building will be largely retained.

Philip Miller, chief executive at Stockvale, said: “We are pleased the committee supported us in our aims of trying to do the best we can for Southend in general and Clarence Yard in particular. The building will maintain its Victorian splendour for sure.

“It has been a tortuous journey through COVID one minute closed next open this restaurant is a victim of the bug no doubt.

“I had to take the soul wrenching decision to throw the towel in. In simple terms after the battle we have had in keeping solvent as a group our core businesses  I just could not continue to  justify subsidising that particular section any longer.”

Kevin Buck, Conservative councillor for Prittlewell ward added: “The locally listed building is one of the best in the town. When you look at the building in its current guise I think its been very sympathetic and respective of the heritage of the building.”

Concerns were raised about the number of cramped, one-bedroom homes in the town.

Kay Mitchell, Labour councillor for Milton ward, said: “We desperately need more housing and this is in a sustainable location, however I am really disappointed to see the impact of internal alterations on the ground floor frontage that lends itself to our cultural and regeneration plans where you could perhaps have artisans generating visitor interest, retaining the asset floor.

“I’m also disappointed to see more one-bedroom units around the town centre. We are in desperate need of family accommodation. These premises could retain the ground floor in its current form and have a two-bedroom home upstairs.”

The building is not in a conservation area but the application received an objection from Milton Conservation Society.

The building has historical significance, including its frontage and interior spaces, particularly the former yard area with lantern light. The building had an arched horse and cart entry to the yard and is believed to have been a bakery.

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Christine Sexton

Local Democracy Reporter

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