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Premier Inn go-ahead spells end for eyesore Esplanade House
A DERELICT eyesore that has blighted Southend seafront for five years could be demolished within eight weeks after a new budget hotel got the go-ahead.
A new 80-bedroom Premier Inn and bar will be built on the former gasworks site in Eastern Esplanade after the plan was approved by Southend Council.
Landowner theRobert Leonard Group agreed to tear down “monstrous carbuncle” Esplanade House next door, if planning permission for the hotel was granted.
Deputy council leader John Lamb said: “Straightaway, the removal of Esplanade House will improve the image of that area.
“It’s really needed because would-be investors go down there, look at it and say: ‘Oh my god, what an eyesore.’ “It will demonstrate Southend is on the move again.”
The contract for the sale of the land to Premier Inn says the Rober t Leonard Group m u s t demolish the office block and remove all rubble within eight weeks of satisfactory planning permission being granted, which would be November 6.
Robert Leonard boss Perry Gamon previously said the sale and demolition would go ahead quickly as long as council planners avoided making overly strict conditions for the permission.
Mr Gamon declined to comment on the conditions after the meeting, saying his consultants needed to go through paperwork with a fine-tooth comb.
The hotel, which will create 65 jobs, could be built by the end of next year. The plans also include a Brewers Fayre bar with space for 190 people.
The council also gave the Robert Leonard Group more time to start work on its long-dormant plans for a separate hotel, restaurant, shops, 216 flats and 50 affordable homes on the Esplanade House site.
But councillors only allowed the firm two years–rather than the three it requested – to begin building the second hotel, four blocks of flats and affordable homes.
John Bates, head of acquisitions for Whitbread Hotels and Restaurants, which owns Premier Inn, said: “Our hotel and restaurant is a strong proposition for Southend and it’s great to get planning approval for the scheme. As well as regenerating a derelict site, we will be creating 65 new jobs and helping to attract new leisure and business visitors to stay in the town.
“The new hotel will help to support the local economy in Southend and we will be working hard over the next few months to get the scheme built and open to our customers as soon as possible.”
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