Southend Council could launch audacious bid to buy landmark hotel

Ron Woodley and Graham Longely outside the Royal Hotel

Ron Woodley and Graham Longely outside the Royal Hotel

First published in News Exclusive by

Southend Council could launch an ambitious bid to buy one of the borough’s landmarks.

The Echo understands council officers have been told to look into ownership of the Royal Hotel, in Southend High Street, after bailiffs were called in earlier this month.

Senior figures at the authority have not ruled out buying the Grade II listed building, but proposals are at a very early stage.

Any successful bid could include the council going into business with a development partner and turning it into a boutique hotel.

The building has not been used as a hotel for years, instead doubling as an entertainment venue and restaurant.

Independent Ron Woodley, leader of Southend Council, said: “The hotel is such a prized asset to this town.

“We’re not an administration that will sit back and we are here to facilitate opportunities if they come up, and this could be an opportunity we look into.

“My personal preference is to see it regain its former glory as a boutique hotel.

“Anything we do would have to be worthwhile financially in the long term and give us income.”

Records show the building was sold for £1.1million in 2003.

It would probably fetch a similar price today.

Southend-based property agents Ayers and Cruiks have been drafted in to look after the building.

The Grade II listed building was built in 1791.

It has been used as a bar, restaurant and nightclub in recent years, but fresh hopes have now been raised that it could flourish under new investment, whoever takes it over.

Lib Dem Graham Longley, councillor responsible for enterprise, tourism and economic regeneration at the council, said: “It’s a pivotal piece of real estate for the seafront and the High Street.

“We must look at options as to how it progresses but we need to be careful before we start saying we’re going to buy it.

“It needs regeneration from a tourism point of view. It’s a landmark building and it’s right and proper to ensure it returns to one of the prime buildings for the town.”

 

Historians angry but optimistic

ANGRY historians are optimistic about the hotel’s future.

The hotel is widely regarded as one of the pieces of architecture that started Southend, with the building erected at the top of Pier Hill in 1791.

It was even given a Royal seal of approval by Princess Caroline when it opened two years later.

Historian Marion Pearce, of Hamlet Road, Southend, said: “It’s a wonderful Georgian building and for it to get into the state it has become is nothing sort of a disgrace.

“I would like to see it come back as a hotel. It would be nice to see that part of the town regenerated on the basis of its history. “It was part of a complex of buildings that were some of the original ones in Southend and it’s one of the historical buildings left in the town.”

The building has been out of action as a hotel for some time, with a series of owners preferring to use it as an entertainment venue.

Fellow historian Judith Williams, 51, of Lovelace Gardens, Southend, added: “I would like it to become a hotel again.

“It’s a shame that such a lovely building, which is over 200 years old, has got to this stage but hopefully something can be done.”

Comments (21)

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5:46pm Mon 28 Jul 14

rhowes says...

This is an important Georgian building in Old Southend, and should be renovated for use as a small hotel in my view. In a town with over 100 millionaires, surely someone will have the courage to develop it? Superb position and views over the Estuary, it has enormous potential. We the local taxpayers should only be involved as a last resort I believe.
This is an important Georgian building in Old Southend, and should be renovated for use as a small hotel in my view. In a town with over 100 millionaires, surely someone will have the courage to develop it? Superb position and views over the Estuary, it has enormous potential. We the local taxpayers should only be involved as a last resort I believe. rhowes
  • Score: 11

6:02pm Mon 28 Jul 14

the25man says...

Somebody is living in cloud cuckoo land. Shut down sheltered homes for an old place that needs plenty of money spent to get it back to a standard to for a hotel.
Somebody is living in cloud cuckoo land. Shut down sheltered homes for an old place that needs plenty of money spent to get it back to a standard to for a hotel. the25man
  • Score: 4

6:14pm Mon 28 Jul 14

Howard Cháse says...

Make a nice profit doing it up as luxury apartments and selling them off.....
Make a nice profit doing it up as luxury apartments and selling them off..... Howard Cháse
  • Score: 2

6:21pm Mon 28 Jul 14

abd123 says...

If there was money to be made by any sort of enterprise it would have been. I don't see why anybody would think there is easy money here but the people with money don't know about it. It is the lease that has failed. The building still has an owner who no doubt still wants it. When it comes to enterprise leave it to entrepreneurs.
If there was money to be made by any sort of enterprise it would have been. I don't see why anybody would think there is easy money here but the people with money don't know about it. It is the lease that has failed. The building still has an owner who no doubt still wants it. When it comes to enterprise leave it to entrepreneurs. abd123
  • Score: 5

6:35pm Mon 28 Jul 14

sesibollox says...

Be a nice location for entertaining friends of the council, with the sea views.
All too often a decent location is hard to find outside of the Civic Centre.
Be a nice location for entertaining friends of the council, with the sea views. All too often a decent location is hard to find outside of the Civic Centre. sesibollox
  • Score: 4

7:23pm Mon 28 Jul 14

Robin Reliant says...

wonder if the council will carry on the karaoke and shouty sing song bands with dodgy looking people standing around on the steps outside smoking like a steam trains? or the reggie rub-a-dub step nights in the basement with massive sound system, shabba, wasn't this place run by the Mum and daughter who run the Espy and the other one further up the seafront?
wonder if the council will carry on the karaoke and shouty sing song bands with dodgy looking people standing around on the steps outside smoking like a steam trains? or the reggie rub-a-dub step nights in the basement with massive sound system, shabba, wasn't this place run by the Mum and daughter who run the Espy and the other one further up the seafront? Robin Reliant
  • Score: 3

7:37pm Mon 28 Jul 14

shoeresident says...

remind me - Cllr Woodley has stated repeatedly that the council should not borrow any more money, where does he imagine the money to purchase and then redevelop the building will come from?

if private enterprise cannot make the royal hotel work....what special skills in business and development does the council have.....

let me think of course that shinning example of the premises next to the pier hill lift, the bus station and of course warrior square café....

let these two clowns sort out the three owned council properties before buying anything else.
remind me - Cllr Woodley has stated repeatedly that the council should not borrow any more money, where does he imagine the money to purchase and then redevelop the building will come from? if private enterprise cannot make the royal hotel work....what special skills in business and development does the council have..... let me think of course that shinning example of the premises next to the pier hill lift, the bus station and of course warrior square café.... let these two clowns sort out the three owned council properties before buying anything else. shoeresident
  • Score: 6

8:35pm Mon 28 Jul 14

save southend says...

sesibollox wrote:
Be a nice location for entertaining friends of the council, with the sea views.
All too often a decent location is hard to find outside of the Civic Centre.
Very true , it would save the pier and foreshore dollop from taking er visitors and I use the term loosely to the ros on the beach , for pies on us,
seriously if the council buys the lease they will get their highly overpriced contractors in who wont have a clue about listed work so in will come consultants who know how to rip off the council , in will go plastic windows from someones golfing mate , a rewire from another mate , maybe a bit of shall we say tendering, 5 yrs later and the freeholder sues for the damage caused ,
[quote][p][bold]sesibollox[/bold] wrote: Be a nice location for entertaining friends of the council, with the sea views. All too often a decent location is hard to find outside of the Civic Centre.[/p][/quote]Very true , it would save the pier and foreshore dollop from taking er visitors and I use the term loosely to the ros on the beach , for pies on us, seriously if the council buys the lease they will get their highly overpriced contractors in who wont have a clue about listed work so in will come consultants who know how to rip off the council , in will go plastic windows from someones golfing mate , a rewire from another mate , maybe a bit of shall we say tendering, 5 yrs later and the freeholder sues for the damage caused , save southend
  • Score: 2

9:13pm Mon 28 Jul 14

Robin Reliant says...

according to this echo report(in archives) it sold for 1.3 million and not 1.1 million as stared in this current item(come one echo jornos check your own archives)

The Land Registry shows the Royal was bought in 2003 by a company called Highbank Estates, which paid £1.3million for it, along with the adjoining Princess Caro-line House office building.


and yes it was the mum and daughter team seen here from the echo 2009, check out the comment by Davy Jones...he kind of saw the future.
http://www.echo-news
.co.uk/news/4490144.
The_town_s_new_Royal
_family_set_for_laun
ch/
according to this echo report(in archives) it sold for 1.3 million and not 1.1 million as stared in this current item(come one echo jornos check your own archives) The Land Registry shows the Royal was bought in 2003 by a company called Highbank Estates, which paid £1.3million for it, along with the adjoining Princess Caro-line House office building. and yes it was the mum and daughter team seen here from the echo 2009, check out the comment by Davy Jones...he kind of saw the future. http://www.echo-news .co.uk/news/4490144. The_town_s_new_Royal _family_set_for_laun ch/ Robin Reliant
  • Score: 1

10:23pm Mon 28 Jul 14

Southchurch75 says...

Does anyone seriously believe a word that idiot Graham Longley utters? He was there as part of the disastrous previous Libdem leadership of the Council. He's now getting a nice allowance as a deputy leader of the Council for doing nothing. He's only there because of no overall leadership. God help us and save us if he starts influencing any decisions!
Does anyone seriously believe a word that idiot Graham Longley utters? He was there as part of the disastrous previous Libdem leadership of the Council. He's now getting a nice allowance as a deputy leader of the Council for doing nothing. He's only there because of no overall leadership. God help us and save us if he starts influencing any decisions! Southchurch75
  • Score: 4

10:30pm Mon 28 Jul 14

Southchurch75 says...

the25man wrote:
Somebody is living in cloud cuckoo land. Shut down sheltered homes for an old place that needs plenty of money spent to get it back to a standard to for a hotel.
Absolutely right. The Council is there to provide essential services for the benefit of the whole community. What on earth can they think they will achieve by diverting funds to provide an hotel for tourists? That's where commercial enterprise comes into the equation. You only have to look at the cuts the Council has to make in the next couple of years to balance the books to see that this hapless pair are out headline grabbing and dare I say non photogenic picture opportunities! Makes Milliband look good eating his bacon sandwich!
[quote][p][bold]the25man[/bold] wrote: Somebody is living in cloud cuckoo land. Shut down sheltered homes for an old place that needs plenty of money spent to get it back to a standard to for a hotel.[/p][/quote]Absolutely right. The Council is there to provide essential services for the benefit of the whole community. What on earth can they think they will achieve by diverting funds to provide an hotel for tourists? That's where commercial enterprise comes into the equation. You only have to look at the cuts the Council has to make in the next couple of years to balance the books to see that this hapless pair are out headline grabbing and dare I say non photogenic picture opportunities! Makes Milliband look good eating his bacon sandwich! Southchurch75
  • Score: 4

11:18pm Mon 28 Jul 14

emcee says...

Are the council still looking for a place to house a museum, art and conference centre?
If so, here you go... cheaper than any other plan they may have had and in the ideal location.
Are the council still looking for a place to house a museum, art and conference centre? If so, here you go... cheaper than any other plan they may have had and in the ideal location. emcee
  • Score: 9

6:47am Tue 29 Jul 14

alarminstaller says...

The council could also ruin this historic building.

The last thing the town needs is another council run down building frequented by drunks and druggies in such an historical location.

Either do it properly with a budget guaranteed for longer than a 4 year election period OR LEAVE IT.
The council could also ruin this historic building. The last thing the town needs is another council run down building frequented by drunks and druggies in such an historical location. Either do it properly with a budget guaranteed for longer than a 4 year election period OR LEAVE IT. alarminstaller
  • Score: 2

7:25am Tue 29 Jul 14

CHRISTMAS CAROL says...

Robin Reliant wrote:
wonder if the council will carry on the karaoke and shouty sing song bands with dodgy looking people standing around on the steps outside smoking like a steam trains? or the reggie rub-a-dub step nights in the basement with massive sound system, shabba, wasn't this place run by the Mum and daughter who run the Espy and the other one further up the seafront?
dont think they have had this premises since 2013, When I went there for Sunday lunch December 2013, new people had just taken over and I could see it wasnt the same, dirty toilets rubbish cold food, not so good entertainment (upstairs) so I dont think we can blame the lady who you are talking about. She got out at the right time, whether she sub let I do not know. I do know that the downstairs was undesirable
[quote][p][bold]Robin Reliant[/bold] wrote: wonder if the council will carry on the karaoke and shouty sing song bands with dodgy looking people standing around on the steps outside smoking like a steam trains? or the reggie rub-a-dub step nights in the basement with massive sound system, shabba, wasn't this place run by the Mum and daughter who run the Espy and the other one further up the seafront?[/p][/quote]dont think they have had this premises since 2013, When I went there for Sunday lunch December 2013, new people had just taken over and I could see it wasnt the same, dirty toilets rubbish cold food, not so good entertainment (upstairs) so I dont think we can blame the lady who you are talking about. She got out at the right time, whether she sub let I do not know. I do know that the downstairs was undesirable CHRISTMAS CAROL
  • Score: 1

8:02am Tue 29 Jul 14

Bosniavet says...

emcee wrote:
Are the council still looking for a place to house a museum, art and conference centre?
If so, here you go... cheaper than any other plan they may have had and in the ideal location.
I thought that the former library on Victoria Avenue, which had to close as it was deemed unsuitable for use as a library due to heating, lighting & other issues, was going to be used as an art gallery.
Please SBC, don't take over the Royal Hotel, there are many more things that need council funds & are of more importance. The building is listed & needs to be used, but I am sure someone can come up a plan to make it a viable proposition. Also, if we are so worried about Royal Terrace, what about the derelict looking building further along the terrace itself - that is an eyesore.
[quote][p][bold]emcee[/bold] wrote: Are the council still looking for a place to house a museum, art and conference centre? If so, here you go... cheaper than any other plan they may have had and in the ideal location.[/p][/quote]I thought that the former library on Victoria Avenue, which had to close as it was deemed unsuitable for use as a library due to heating, lighting & other issues, was going to be used as an art gallery. Please SBC, don't take over the Royal Hotel, there are many more things that need council funds & are of more importance. The building is listed & needs to be used, but I am sure someone can come up a plan to make it a viable proposition. Also, if we are so worried about Royal Terrace, what about the derelict looking building further along the terrace itself - that is an eyesore. Bosniavet
  • Score: 3

8:15am Tue 29 Jul 14

Robin Reliant says...

Southchurch75 wrote:
Does anyone seriously believe a word that idiot Graham Longley utters? He was there as part of the disastrous previous Libdem leadership of the Council. He's now getting a nice allowance as a deputy leader of the Council for doing nothing. He's only there because of no overall leadership. God help us and save us if he starts influencing any decisions!
Not sure many listened when he was a teacher at the doomed park school in rayleigh.
[quote][p][bold]Southchurch75[/bold] wrote: Does anyone seriously believe a word that idiot Graham Longley utters? He was there as part of the disastrous previous Libdem leadership of the Council. He's now getting a nice allowance as a deputy leader of the Council for doing nothing. He's only there because of no overall leadership. God help us and save us if he starts influencing any decisions![/p][/quote]Not sure many listened when he was a teacher at the doomed park school in rayleigh. Robin Reliant
  • Score: 3

8:17am Tue 29 Jul 14

Robin Reliant says...

CHRISTMAS CAROL wrote:
Robin Reliant wrote:
wonder if the council will carry on the karaoke and shouty sing song bands with dodgy looking people standing around on the steps outside smoking like a steam trains? or the reggie rub-a-dub step nights in the basement with massive sound system, shabba, wasn't this place run by the Mum and daughter who run the Espy and the other one further up the seafront?
dont think they have had this premises since 2013, When I went there for Sunday lunch December 2013, new people had just taken over and I could see it wasnt the same, dirty toilets rubbish cold food, not so good entertainment (upstairs) so I dont think we can blame the lady who you are talking about. She got out at the right time, whether she sub let I do not know. I do know that the downstairs was undesirable
nothing like a lady having an undesirable downstairs.
[quote][p][bold]CHRISTMAS CAROL[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Robin Reliant[/bold] wrote: wonder if the council will carry on the karaoke and shouty sing song bands with dodgy looking people standing around on the steps outside smoking like a steam trains? or the reggie rub-a-dub step nights in the basement with massive sound system, shabba, wasn't this place run by the Mum and daughter who run the Espy and the other one further up the seafront?[/p][/quote]dont think they have had this premises since 2013, When I went there for Sunday lunch December 2013, new people had just taken over and I could see it wasnt the same, dirty toilets rubbish cold food, not so good entertainment (upstairs) so I dont think we can blame the lady who you are talking about. She got out at the right time, whether she sub let I do not know. I do know that the downstairs was undesirable[/p][/quote]nothing like a lady having an undesirable downstairs. Robin Reliant
  • Score: 0

6:16pm Mon 25 Aug 14

burghcastle says...

How many of Southend councillor run there own property manager businesses? Is some one lining there own pockets.
How many of Southend councillor run there own property manager businesses? Is some one lining there own pockets. burghcastle
  • Score: 0

6:16pm Mon 25 Aug 14

burghcastle says...

burghcastle wrote:
How many of Southend councillor run there own property manager businesses? Is some one lining there own pockets.
.
[quote][p][bold]burghcastle[/bold] wrote: How many of Southend councillor run there own property manager businesses? Is some one lining there own pockets.[/p][/quote]. burghcastle
  • Score: 0

6:17pm Mon 25 Aug 14

burghcastle says...

.
. burghcastle
  • Score: 0

6:37pm Mon 25 Aug 14

burghcastle says...

Wolves in sheep's clothing
Wolves in sheep's clothing burghcastle
  • Score: 0

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