Full steam ahead for Seaway complex

The Seaway leisure complex in Southend looks set to go full speed ahead after seven years in the pipeline.

After a protracted planning process, with the secretary of state giving final approval, construction could begin next autumn once financial deals are in place and is expected to be completed by 2024.

Seaway comprises an 11-screen cinema with IMAX, 7 restaurants, two indoor leisure centres including a Hollywood Bowl, an 80-bed Travelodge hotel, 555 public car parking spaces. It will create 500 jobs and boost the economy.

Speaking after a full council meeting on Tuesday, when councillors narrowly voted to allow the scheme to go forward, council leader Ian Gilbert, said: “This is the final hurdle in terms of council debate. Now we need to go to the market to seek the rest of the funding.

“Based on our advice and looking at other similar schemes in other parts of the country we believe that can be done relatively soon and the whole scheme can move forward.”

Cllr Gilbert added: “Funding will be sought in the New Year and we would hope to start on the site after next year’s summer season. If all goes well we should start building towards the end of next year.”

Speaking at last week’s meeting Carole Mulroney, councillor responsible for  for environment, culture, tourism and planning, said:“Seaway is controversial and for some it will always be controversial throughout its life it’s been supported though by successive administrations .

“For Southend to grow as a city we must cautiously be bold there is a lot of competition and if we want out-perform the rest of the region in economic growth, attract increased investment and infrastructure and jobs, then we have to move forward and that investment is out there and eager to come to Southend.”

The Southend Business Partnership has backed the scheme. A spokesman said: “It is also really important that the city has leisure facilities and delivers employment opportunities for our existing and new city centre residents and this will also mean people spend more time and money in our city centre.”


Christine Sexton

Local Democracy Reporter