SCORES of Southend businesses are opposed to the £50million Seaway development, it has been revealed.

Plans are expected to go in soon for the new leisure complex off Lucy Road, Southend. The site is a car park and traders have voiced concerns over a loss of parking spaces - and the impact the development will have on the high street.

The Southend Business in Development group, (BID) which represents 371 businesses, found 61 per cent of those who responded to a ballot were not happy about the plan.

A BID spokeswoman said: “Of those who responded 61 per cent expressed concerns and, overall, were not in favour. This was made up of 14 per cent who were unconditionally against the redevelopment, and 47 per cent who were against it unless considerable revisions, including additional car parking, were provided.

“The remaining 39 per cent supported the proposals.”

While parking is the biggest issue for businesses, competition from the complex which will have new bars and restaurants, as well as a multi-screen cinema, could heavily hit business at that end of the high street some traders believe.

Paul Thompson, chairman of the Southend Seafront Traders’ Association, said: “Businesses at that end of high street are very worried about it.

“There are new businesses like Revolution and Molo Lounge that have invested a lot of money and the Odeon. They will struggle to survive.

“The seafront won’t be affected by the competition. People come out for fish and chips and want to be on the seafront. It’s the parking that will affect us.

“There will be 12 new restaurants on Seaway and I believe it will be curtains for the businesses at the top end of town.”

Ann Holland, councillor responsible for culture, tourism and the economy, disagrees.

She said: “I think it will link that area to the town centre. If there are more people going there they are more likely to linger in the High Street.

“It will also bring more jobs, but people are always worried about change.”