A £100million seafront development has jumped its final hurdle and can now go full steam ahead.

The Marine Plaza development has been granted special dispensation to go ahead after a legal review.

The future of the scheme opposite the Kursaal hit the buffers when planning officers questioned whether the Inner London Group had carried out sufficient demolition work on the site to constitute a ‘start’ to the work.

Under the terms of planning permission granted in 2015 work had to start before the July 2019 expiry date but the last of the buildings on the site - the Foresters Arms pub - was not demolished until August.

Consequently, Southend planners asked the group to apply for a certificate of lawful development, which would legally bridge the gap between the two dates.

After consulting lawyers, planners have now agreed to grant the certificate.

They said: “It is considered that it has successfully been demonstrated the substantial redevelopment of the site has been lawfully implemented.”

The decision has come as a huge relief to the developers, who would have faced starting from scratch with a new application for the site if the certificate had not been granted.

Larry Fenttiman, an Inner London Group partner, said: “We are absolutely delighted and will be cracking on now and moving ahead as fast as we can. We needed this certificate to help us with our funding because we wouldn’t get funding without planning permission. We have only just got the decision so it’s early days but we have meetings with contractors lined up next week.

“It’s been a long process but if they didn’t do its job properly then the scheme could be attacked at a later date.

“The council wanted the scheme brought forward. There is lots going on in the borough over the coming years and we will be part of that.”

Planning permission was granted in 2015 for 282 flats along with shops and restaurants on the landmark site.