A HOTEL chain has confirmed it will operate from two Southend sites.

Travelodge has confirmed it is set to build a new 80-bed hotel on the Seaway car park development. The budget hotel chain said it will keep its hotel in Chichester Road, Southend.

A spokesman said: “We can confirm the building of a new hotel in Southend and the existing Travelodge will remain.”

Ann Holland, councillor responsible for culture, tourism and the economy, has welcomed news the development, which is a partnership with the council and developers Turnstone Estates. Mrs Holland said concerns over parking were being addressed.

She said: “This will be good for the town and good for our economy. It will bring lots of jobs to the town.

“We have been working with the developer to increase parking and we just want to see things happen now.

“It will boost the High Street and the seafront.”

The site will also have an 11-screen Empire cinema to rival the town’s Odeon cinema.

Mrs Holland cast doubt on whether rival plans for another leisure and retail complex at Southend United’s Fossetts Farm development, which includes a multiplex cinema, was now feasible.

She said: “I don’t know whether the town could take two big cinemas. Fossetts seems to be going on such a long time but we will have to see what happens at the planning stage.”

Seafront traders have criticised the development, saying it will lead to a loss of parking spaces.

Adventure Island boss Philip Miller, a fierce critic of the scheme, said: “This will be a disaster for the town and its residents, because if you build on the major car park that serves the seafront it will create gridlock on top of the existing gridlock. We are already stuffed on sunny days, imagine what will happen after this?

“If you compare this development to Festival Leisure Park at Basildon - where there are over 2,000 car parking spaces - I think you should warn all residents to sell their cars now, as after this we will all be trapped in our own homes.

“It is no good living in a nice town if you can’t get around.”

Mr Miller added: “Why do we need another multi screen cinema?

“I think for a few thousand pounds invested in smartening up the Odeon it would be serious competition for a new one next door?

“We might finish up with two tatty ones?

“We are lucky in Southend to actually have a good cinema in the town centre, unlike the modern trend to put them outside town centres.”