East Beach café plans approved

A waterfront café culture is planned for Shoebury’s East Beach, after three colourful waterfront cafes with sweeping sea views were approved.

More than 15 years after the beach’s only café was destroyed by arsonists, three new venues are set to be built on the council-owned site.

They will feature sail-like canopies for outdoor dining, could be licensed to sell alcohol, and councillors hope they will rival the Arches cafes along Southend and Westcliff seafront.

Independent Shoebury councillors Nick Ward and Steve Wakefield have backed the regeneration scheme. Mr Wakefield said: “Nick and I have been working for this. Building of the three units will go out to tender and after that they will go out for renting. We wanted three different cafes so people have a choice.

“We’re trying to make it like the Arches cafés. They are ideal, right on the beach with sun all day long. We think everyone will flock to them in the summer. Opening hours will be down to planning but we can’t have rowdy people coming out so it can’t operate like a pub. They could open to 10pm but they would have to get a licence.”

Cllr Wakefield added: “It could completely regenerate the whole area and will be a turnaround for East Beach.”

The cafés are part of a wider £2million regeneration scheme, and planning officers approved their construction on Monday. They will form a staggered row along the beach, and will each measure 10 metres by 16 metres. They are designed with pitched green roofs similar to nearby beach huts.

Windows will be triple glazed to keep out the wind on cooler days, and steel poles will hold eight shade sails over outside patios.

A toilet block on the beach, which includes a large grass area, is also being renovated, and improvements are being made to the car park.

Previous plans for one large café on the site came to nothing, and the site’s tenant gave up his lease after failing to move the scheme forward for a number of years.

A heritage café on another council-owned site in the nearby Garrison was due to open last year, but after undergoing extensive renovation it is yet to open due to ongoing delays in getting the lease signed off by the council.

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Christine Sexton

Local Democracy Reporter