A HISTORIC pub has been sold to developers, putting its future in doubt.

The King Canute pub, in Canvey Road, Canvey, will close its doors for the last time on Sunday, May 18.

All staff have been notified and offered jobs in other pubs run by operators the Stonegate Pub Company.

However, the company has refused to say who the pub had been sold to or what it would be turned into – leaving residents in the dark.

Shocked councillors fear Canvey will lose its historic building, which was used as a base for the Armed Forces to save residents from the 1953 floods. They are looking into listing the building to protect it from demolition.

Dave Blackwell, Canvey Island Independent Party leader, said: “It’s a landmark. It is probably one of the oldest historic buildings we have on Canvey.

“Everyone in the town knows it and everyone who visits Canvey goes to it.

“It is very sad that something like this has been sold off without anyone being told or it being discussed.

“We don’t know what it could be turned into, but Tesco and Wetherspoons are both desperate to get on to Canvey.

“People are worried about a famous Canvey landmark disappearing.

“There will be a fight and a half if theywanted to turn it into flats.”

Ray Howard, who represents Canvey West for the county, borough and town councils, said he had “grave concerns”.

He added: “It’s a nice structure, in an area which has a huge amount of history, which just needs a bit of attention.

“The King Canute is very dear to me. My family and I were evacuated from our homes during the flood.

“There are rumours flying around about what it could be turned into, including a Tesco Express or housing.

“I have got other buildings in Canvey listed in the past and I feel very passionately about this.”

Castle Point Council said it had not been approached by developers about the pub, and Wetherspoons confirmed to the Echo it was not looking at the site.

A spokesperson for Stonegate Pub Company, which owns the pub, said: “The King Canute is to close on Sunday, May 18, following the sale of the property.

“All our staff have been offered alternative employment within other businesses which we operate, including the Lobster Smack.”

! A Tesco spokesman said the company had no interest in the King Canute site.