Southend Council could pave the way for victory on Seaway Leisure appeal

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Councillors have been told to agree controversial plans to build a £50million leisure complex in Southend.

In a new report published by Southend Council, planning officers have said members of the Development Control Committee should support planning permission for the redevelopment of the Seaway car park, on Lucy Road.

Committee members originally discussed the plans in January and chose to defer the decision over concerns the site would not have enough parking spaces.

As a result, developer Turnstone lodged an appeal with the secretary of state.

The Government has now told the council the committee needs to say whether it would approve or refuse planning permission if deferral was not an option.

The decision will be made tonight and be fed back to the Planning Inspectorate, which will have the final say over whether the Seaway plans go ahead.

The biggest concern for councillors has been the number of parking spaces that will be slashed by 106, from the existing 661 spaces to 555.

At January’s meeting, several members of the Conservative Group felt this number would not be enough to properly serve a leisure centre that will include an 11-screen cinema, 20-lane bowling alley, hotel and restaurants.

However, members of the Labour-led administration have defended the plans due to the number of additional parking spaces they plan to create in the surrounding area.

This includes adding 83 new spaces to the Gas Works off Eastern Esplanade and 157 extra spaces at the Southchurch Park East car park on Lifstan Way.

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Steve Shaw

Local Democracy Reporter