Southend Airport lodges appeal for new hotel

Airport bosses remain hopeful of building a second hotel on site despite plans being thrown out by Southend Council.

Southend Airport has now lodged an appeal with the secretary of state in a bid to see a 132-bed hotel built.

The proposal, to build the hotel on a staff car park to the north of Eastwoodbury Crescent and close to the existing Holiday Inn, was rejected in September due to concerns over parking.

Councillors raised concerns that by reducing the number of existing parking spaces from 86 to 45 it would push more people to park on nearby streets.

Councillor Meg Davidson, deputy leader of Southend’s Conservative group said that that car parking has always been an issue at the airport but supports a hotel “if it meets the needs”

She said: “We need to see what happens to demand to the airport and if it is actually needed.

“The existing hotel – when things were more normal it was up to capacity. It’s very difficult to see how things are going to pan out in the short-time and how quickly air traffic gets back to anything air traffic levels that we have seen.

“We welcome facilities and things that encourage people to visit Southend.”

It was hoped the hotel would “contribute to the ongoing development of the airport and the economic growth of Southend”, with the initial aim of having the hotel up and running by the summer of 2021.

However, the plans were submitted at the end of 2019 when the airport was growing rapidly and the Holiday Inn, as well as the departures terminal, were operating at 90 per cent capacity.

Since, growth at the airport has stalled due to the Covid-19 pandemic, which caused Easyjet to announce the closure of its Southend base.

Tory councillor Kevin Buck, who represents Prittlewell ward, raised concerns but is confident that once life gets back to ‘normal’ post Covid-19, a new hotel will generate “great business for the area”.

He added: “We are in unusual circumstances at the moment but prior to this we were having major issues with parking in the surrounding roads. To build a hotel of that size with lower-than-average parking spaces will create a problem.”

Southend Airport was contacted for comment.

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Angela Sharda

Local Democracy Reporter