A new Southend seafront lagoon is set to open in time for next year’s summer season.
Work on the £850,000 lagoon is set to start next March and should be open in time for the busy summer season.
It is hoped the lagoon, located off Three Shells Beach, will boost businesses as more daytrippers and tourists are attracted to the seafront.
The lagoon will be the size of a football pitch and be decked out with palm trees.
Dawn Jeakings, chairman of Southend Business Improvement District, added: “This is brilliant for Southend and will prolong the summer period because the water goes out for so long.
“It’s good news for the whole of the seafront, all our traders along there will benefit from the added amount of people coming down there.”
Southend Council and the Stockvale Group are working towards creating the lagoon, which will be built using a 120m-long steel, rock, and boulder wall.
Southend Council successfully bid for £1.2million in Government cash, to help pay for it.
Lib Dem Graham Longley, deputy leader of the council and councillor responsible for culture, said: “This will be a huge boost to the seafront and amassive opportunity for people to come and enjoy themselves even more on Southend seafront.
“The Stockvale group wants to start work as soon as possible.
“It will be a significant change in developing and improving the seafront.”
The Stockvale Group, which owns the Sands restaurant, and Three Shells Beach cafe, will be a hit if it opens next summer.
Paul Thompson, chairman of the seafront traders association, said: “If it gets up and running then it will be an excellent addition to the seafront.
“It’s good to see the seafront getting more investment and if it is up and running by next summer than that is a plus.”
Artist impression of the lagoon
Lagoon will destroy views, claim critics
OPPONENTS to the scheme claim that the estuary’s views will be eaten up by the latest development.
Concerns have been raised that the lagoon is another proposal in an area which residents claim is already overdeveloped.
Among the 33 objectors are members of the Alexandra Yacht Club, who launch their boats next to the pool.
They claim the lagoon will shut down the club as their jetty will be blocked.
The yacht club’s commodore, Andy Solkmon, said: “Our issue is health and safety.
“There’s only a small gap between our jetty and the lagoon and someone will be hit paddling there.
“We will lose members over this as our launch is so close to the lagoon, but the council doesn’t seem to care.”
Former member and Holland Road resident Trevor Bell, 69, added: “The trouble with this application is it could set a precedent. The lagoon is quite a substandard building along the seafront and if this continues we will only see glimpses of the estuary.
“Our views will be taken up by buildings which are an eyesore when it’s part of the town’s history to have a nice, clear view of the estuary.
“I used to be a member of the yacht club and there are concerns the yachts might not be able to get out to the seafront if this is built.”
Three Shells Beach as it looks at the moment
Licence not yet in the bag
SOUTHEND Council has yet to secure a licence to carry out the works at the lagoon.
The authority, on behalf of the Stockvale Group, has applied to the Marine Management Organisation – a Government department that hands out licence applications for water activities.
The organisation says the council has applied for a licence to carry out the construction of the pool and to install toilets onsite.
A spokesman said: “We are not in a position to consider it yet as we’ve asked the council to go back for some more information and clarify other parts of the application.
“An application could take up to 13 weeks, or longer depending on whether it needs to go to consultation, but we cannot specify a timeframe until we get the application back.
“The application was sent in to us on July 15.”