Empty seafront cafes could be taken back by Southend Council

Echo: The cafes The cafes

FRUSTRATED council chiefs are considering wresting back control of two seafront cafes which have stood empty for seven years, but they face a court battle to do so.

Bosses at Southend Council are preparing to use a get-out clause in the leases of two units, built during a £6million revamp of Pier Hill in 2005, to return them to public ownership.

But the current leaseholder, businessman Peter Woolf, claims the authority has no right to act and will burn up taxpayers’ money in the courts trying to force him out.

Mr Woolf said: “I will fight it all the way.

“They do not have a case and they will just waste time and money in the courts if they go ahead with this.

“It is in nobody’s interest to do this.”

Southend Council used European grant money to fund the revamp of Pier Hill, which included the Sky Tower observation platform, its lifts and the two outlets which have lain empty ever since.

The project was finished in 2005 and an agreement was reached with Mr Woolf to lease the shops, but problems with leaking water meant the deal was not finalised until May 2011.

Under the terms of the leases, council chiefs claim Mr Woolf must have the cafes open - either by running them himself or sub-letting them to another business - by next summer. If he does not, they believe they can activate a clause which will terminate the deals after a month.

Andrew Moring, the Tory councillor responsible for support services, said: “Clearly the council is concerned that, despite a considerable length of time, these units have not been brought forward and the council and the tenant now need to consider their options.

“The council is in discussion with the lessee and it would not be appropriate to discuss the details at the delicate state in negotiation, but taking the leases back might be one option.”

However, Mr Woolf claims a miscalculation in the size of the units - which are much bigger than first thought - means the leases are invalid.

He says he is happy to return the leases, but only if the council agrees to pay £75,000 in compensation to cover his costs from the last seven years.

Mr Woolf said: “Two solicitors have looked at my case and say it is strong.

“I’m quite happy to get out and let them get on with it, but I want my costs to be covered.”

Comments (16)

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10:17am Thu 3 Jan 13

Carnabackable says...

What a fiasco.......
What a fiasco....... Carnabackable

10:38am Thu 3 Jan 13

Carnabackable says...

Southend on Sea -the place to be......
Southend on Sea -the place to be...... Carnabackable

12:04pm Thu 3 Jan 13

Brunning999 says...

Mr Woolf is your intentions in life in the interests of the 'now' or the 'after' ?

Lets get on with building a nice place for everyone to benefit from. 7 years to leave empty is to long and just fails to enhance the town especially when so much has changed.

Get real Mr Woolf !!!!!
Mr Woolf is your intentions in life in the interests of the 'now' or the 'after' ? Lets get on with building a nice place for everyone to benefit from. 7 years to leave empty is to long and just fails to enhance the town especially when so much has changed. Get real Mr Woolf !!!!! Brunning999

2:22pm Thu 3 Jan 13

Sir Peter Pantsless the 3rd says...

What a complete farce this whole development has been since day one all those years ago.
.
Lets not forget the £390,000 art installation that never worked and was swiftly removed.
.
Bet you have all forgotten about the water feature that was removed soon after completion due to leakage.
.
What about the lifts that are more often 'out of order' than working.
.
And who would want to develop a business in either of the cafes when the whole pier hill development has a fundamental design floor that is when it was designed, they forgot to install a damp course!
.
Southend Council's ineptness reached unprecedented levels with this whole fiasco, only recently surpassed by the Victoria Gateway c0ck-up.
What a complete farce this whole development has been since day one all those years ago. . Lets not forget the £390,000 art installation that never worked and was swiftly removed. . Bet you have all forgotten about the water feature that was removed soon after completion due to leakage. . What about the lifts that are more often 'out of order' than working. . And who would want to develop a business in either of the cafes when the whole pier hill development has a fundamental design floor that is when it was designed, they forgot to install a damp course! . Southend Council's ineptness reached unprecedented levels with this whole fiasco, only recently surpassed by the Victoria Gateway c0ck-up. Sir Peter Pantsless the 3rd

6:42pm Thu 3 Jan 13

LibbyJ says...

Sir Peter Pantsless the 3rd wrote:
What a complete farce this whole development has been since day one all those years ago.
.
Lets not forget the £390,000 art installation that never worked and was swiftly removed.
.
Bet you have all forgotten about the water feature that was removed soon after completion due to leakage.
.
What about the lifts that are more often 'out of order' than working.
.
And who would want to develop a business in either of the cafes when the whole pier hill development has a fundamental design floor that is when it was designed, they forgot to install a damp course!
.
Southend Council's ineptness reached unprecedented levels with this whole fiasco, only recently surpassed by the Victoria Gateway c0ck-up.
'Wresting back control' will give them something to feel important and justified about their existence for a few months though. I didn't see the art installation, was it good?
[quote][p][bold]Sir Peter Pantsless the 3rd[/bold] wrote: What a complete farce this whole development has been since day one all those years ago. . Lets not forget the £390,000 art installation that never worked and was swiftly removed. . Bet you have all forgotten about the water feature that was removed soon after completion due to leakage. . What about the lifts that are more often 'out of order' than working. . And who would want to develop a business in either of the cafes when the whole pier hill development has a fundamental design floor that is when it was designed, they forgot to install a damp course! . Southend Council's ineptness reached unprecedented levels with this whole fiasco, only recently surpassed by the Victoria Gateway c0ck-up.[/p][/quote]'Wresting back control' will give them something to feel important and justified about their existence for a few months though. I didn't see the art installation, was it good? LibbyJ

6:42pm Thu 3 Jan 13

Max Impact says...

So this guy is annoyed that he got a larger unit for the price of a smaller unit...
So this guy is annoyed that he got a larger unit for the price of a smaller unit... Max Impact

6:48pm Thu 3 Jan 13

Max Impact says...

Sir Peter Pantsless the 3rd wrote:
What a complete farce this whole development has been since day one all those years ago.
.
Lets not forget the £390,000 art installation that never worked and was swiftly removed.
.
Bet you have all forgotten about the water feature that was removed soon after completion due to leakage.
.
What about the lifts that are more often 'out of order' than working.
.
And who would want to develop a business in either of the cafes when the whole pier hill development has a fundamental design floor that is when it was designed, they forgot to install a damp course!
.
Southend Council's ineptness reached unprecedented levels with this whole fiasco, only recently surpassed by the Victoria Gateway c0ck-up.
Just to remind you that Pier Hill was paid for by European funding ans NOT SBC as was "Lifelines"
[quote][p][bold]Sir Peter Pantsless the 3rd[/bold] wrote: What a complete farce this whole development has been since day one all those years ago. . Lets not forget the £390,000 art installation that never worked and was swiftly removed. . Bet you have all forgotten about the water feature that was removed soon after completion due to leakage. . What about the lifts that are more often 'out of order' than working. . And who would want to develop a business in either of the cafes when the whole pier hill development has a fundamental design floor that is when it was designed, they forgot to install a damp course! . Southend Council's ineptness reached unprecedented levels with this whole fiasco, only recently surpassed by the Victoria Gateway c0ck-up.[/p][/quote]Just to remind you that Pier Hill was paid for by European funding ans NOT SBC as was "Lifelines" Max Impact

9:50pm Thu 3 Jan 13

SARFENDMAN says...

Botched development from start to finish sort of typical SBC who also now I see are thinking of putting in wind breaks to stop people getting wet and wind frozen at the station at the end of the pier. It was paid for by tax payers of Europe so includes us Max.
Botched development from start to finish sort of typical SBC who also now I see are thinking of putting in wind breaks to stop people getting wet and wind frozen at the station at the end of the pier. It was paid for by tax payers of Europe so includes us Max. SARFENDMAN

11:11pm Thu 3 Jan 13

Max Impact says...

SARFENDMAN wrote:
Botched development from start to finish sort of typical SBC who also now I see are thinking of putting in wind breaks to stop people getting wet and wind frozen at the station at the end of the pier. It was paid for by tax payers of Europe so includes us Max.
Thought I would point out the fact thats all, as your posting mad eit look like it was paid for wholely by SBC.

What gets me people say don't like that hate it blah blah blah but they still use it, if you hate it, it if don't like it, simple thing is vote with your feet and DON'T use it! but thats too simple for some.
[quote][p][bold]SARFENDMAN[/bold] wrote: Botched development from start to finish sort of typical SBC who also now I see are thinking of putting in wind breaks to stop people getting wet and wind frozen at the station at the end of the pier. It was paid for by tax payers of Europe so includes us Max.[/p][/quote]Thought I would point out the fact thats all, as your posting mad eit look like it was paid for wholely by SBC. What gets me people say don't like that hate it blah blah blah but they still use it, if you hate it, it if don't like it, simple thing is vote with your feet and DON'T use it! but thats too simple for some. Max Impact

1:47am Fri 4 Jan 13

Brunning999 says...

I love Southend and my Mum!
I love Southend and my Mum! Brunning999

6:27am Fri 4 Jan 13

SARFENDMAN says...

Max Impact wrote:
SARFENDMAN wrote: Botched development from start to finish sort of typical SBC who also now I see are thinking of putting in wind breaks to stop people getting wet and wind frozen at the station at the end of the pier. It was paid for by tax payers of Europe so includes us Max.
Thought I would point out the fact thats all, as your posting mad eit look like it was paid for wholely by SBC. What gets me people say don't like that hate it blah blah blah but they still use it, if you hate it, it if don't like it, simple thing is vote with your feet and DON'T use it! but thats too simple for some.
Don't misquote me if you read my post I said nothing about "Hate it". Southend just deserved better.
[quote][p][bold]Max Impact[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]SARFENDMAN[/bold] wrote: Botched development from start to finish sort of typical SBC who also now I see are thinking of putting in wind breaks to stop people getting wet and wind frozen at the station at the end of the pier. It was paid for by tax payers of Europe so includes us Max.[/p][/quote]Thought I would point out the fact thats all, as your posting mad eit look like it was paid for wholely by SBC. What gets me people say don't like that hate it blah blah blah but they still use it, if you hate it, it if don't like it, simple thing is vote with your feet and DON'T use it! but thats too simple for some.[/p][/quote]Don't misquote me if you read my post I said nothing about "Hate it". Southend just deserved better. SARFENDMAN

11:07am Fri 4 Jan 13

largo1 says...

knowing the council they'll probably want to turn them into houses *yawn*
knowing the council they'll probably want to turn them into houses *yawn* largo1

5:24pm Fri 4 Jan 13

Broadwaywatch says...

SARFENDMAN wrote:
Max Impact wrote:
SARFENDMAN wrote: Botched development from start to finish sort of typical SBC who also now I see are thinking of putting in wind breaks to stop people getting wet and wind frozen at the station at the end of the pier. It was paid for by tax payers of Europe so includes us Max.
Thought I would point out the fact thats all, as your posting mad eit look like it was paid for wholely by SBC. What gets me people say don't like that hate it blah blah blah but they still use it, if you hate it, it if don't like it, simple thing is vote with your feet and DON'T use it! but thats too simple for some.
Don't misquote me if you read my post I said nothing about "Hate it". Southend just deserved better.
It would seem that if anyone writes anything on any subject that in anyway appears to be against SBC then expect comments from Max Impact. You only have yourself to blame. You must understand Sarfendman that you and I know nothing about Southend evenmore so, less about its history. Coffee sometime soon?
[quote][p][bold]SARFENDMAN[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Max Impact[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]SARFENDMAN[/bold] wrote: Botched development from start to finish sort of typical SBC who also now I see are thinking of putting in wind breaks to stop people getting wet and wind frozen at the station at the end of the pier. It was paid for by tax payers of Europe so includes us Max.[/p][/quote]Thought I would point out the fact thats all, as your posting mad eit look like it was paid for wholely by SBC. What gets me people say don't like that hate it blah blah blah but they still use it, if you hate it, it if don't like it, simple thing is vote with your feet and DON'T use it! but thats too simple for some.[/p][/quote]Don't misquote me if you read my post I said nothing about "Hate it". Southend just deserved better.[/p][/quote]It would seem that if anyone writes anything on any subject that in anyway appears to be against SBC then expect comments from Max Impact. You only have yourself to blame. You must understand Sarfendman that you and I know nothing about Southend evenmore so, less about its history. Coffee sometime soon? Broadwaywatch

7:19pm Sat 5 Jan 13

Max Impact says...

Can I join you for a coffee?

SO can I pick the time and place I will even pay!
Can I join you for a coffee? SO can I pick the time and place I will even pay! Max Impact

11:51pm Sat 5 Jan 13

Sir Peter Pantsless the 3rd says...

Max Impact wrote:
Can I join you for a coffee?

SO can I pick the time and place I will even pay!
Let me guess Max...
.
Tomassi's, by any chance?
[quote][p][bold]Max Impact[/bold] wrote: Can I join you for a coffee? SO can I pick the time and place I will even pay![/p][/quote]Let me guess Max... . Tomassi's, by any chance? Sir Peter Pantsless the 3rd

10:23am Sun 6 Jan 13

Max Impact says...

No I was going to say Cliffs Pavilion or Ocean Beach. Why were you going to Maccy D's
No I was going to say Cliffs Pavilion or Ocean Beach. Why were you going to Maccy D's Max Impact

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