THE NEW look Kursaal could be up and running by Easter after plans for a £1.3million revamp were approved by Southend Council.

Last month, MFA Bowl, the firm that manages the attraction, revealed it wanted to plough cash into a complete revamp of the building, which has been struggling to attract businesses and customers for some time.

The plans include a laser games centre, in the unit left vacant by McDonald’s since 2008, a soft play area, bar, arcades and a coffee shop.

Alan Crystall, Lib Dem councillor for Leigh, and chairman of the council's development control committee, said the plans were approved with little debate.

He said: “There was nearly no discussion about the plans.

“It was all internal changes and everyone was very pleased to make progress to liven up that bit of the seafront.

“McDonald’s could not make a go of it but this is a new initiative and we all very much hope people make a go of it.”

The firm has applied for listed building consent to carry out the works, which planning officers recommended for approval and the council’s development committee gave the green light to on Wednesday. As well as the large children’s play area, there will be around 25 arcade machines for adults in both the lobby area and further into the historic old building, at the junction of Southchurch Avenue and Eastern Esplanade.

Currently, there is only a bar and bowling alley as entertainment in the Kursaal.

Martin Richardson, owner of the Happidrome Arcade, in Marine Parade, welcomed the investment.

He said: “It is in keeping with the Kursaal in terms of leisure and tourism so anything that brings people to the sea front is a welcome addition.

“The laser tag is something no-one else is offering either and I was in America this year and saw how popular it was there so it’s something new and will hopefully increase footfall along the seafront.”

MFA Bowl believe their plans can refresh the attraction, and create around 50 extra jobs for Southend.