A proposal has been submitted to replace independent department store Ravens on Clifftown Road, Southend, with a bar and restaurant.

The applicant, SKArchitects, located in London Road, Westcliff, proposed to convert the property from into an eatery.

The proposal was welcomed by Southend councillors who believed a bar and restaurant could drive business and more footfall to the borough.

Councillor Cheryl Nevin, a Labour councillor from the Milton ward, believed it would be beneficial for the borough’s economy.

She said so far she has not received any complaints from residents about the proposal.

“I think we should have a good mixture of retailers and leisure across the town centre.

“Town centres across the country are in decline at the moment. We need to do what we can to drive our economy.”

Ms Nevin added she will support any new shop that would encourage more people to visit the borough.

“It’s obvious the Raven closed because they were not making enough money in the area. We need businesses to be sustainable.”

She highlighted Clifftown Road is an attractive location with plenty to offer.

“We have a range of restaurants. We have Indian, fish and chips, and the road is opposite the train station. We do need something to drive our night time economy.”

She commented Southend is a coastal town that has a seasonal economy. She believed that shops, such as bars and restaurants, can bring in a more consistent business.

Councillor Julian Ware-Lane, another Labour councillor from the Milton ward, was cautious of the new plan.

“It’s a shame to see a long established retailer like Ravens going, and it would be nice to have another high end type of shop to replace the unit.

“At the same time I don’t think having an empty shop in the area is a good idea.

“If it’s going to be a decent restaurant, it would be good. But only time will tell.”

He added having a night time economy could attract more visitors since many shops close in the evening.

Ravens is Southend’s oldest department store and it announced its closure in June 2017 after serving the community for 120 years.

The business will close at the end of October. The shop will not continue its online sales.

SKArchitects was contacted however the manager was not available to comment yesterday.