OWNERS of a former Blockbuster shop which has become an eyesore have been ordered to clear up the site in a bid to improve the area.

The former film rental business, on London Road, Westcliff, has become a blight on the area since it closed in 2013, with a damaged roof and windows boarded up.

A Section 215 Notice has now been served to the owners, demanding they remove all posters and replace any missing or broken doors and windows.

The Blockbuster sits on the corner of London Road and has been described as “the gateway” to Hamlet Court Road.

Andy Atkinson, chairman of the Hamlet Court Road conservation forum said: “The notice to get something done is definitely welcome news.

“We have been lobbying for at least two years for improvements to this site because it is the key gateway to Hamlet Court Road.

“We’re happy the council has served the notice because it shows they’re willing to take action.”

Hamlet Court Road was once considered ‘the Bond Street of Southend’, but has since lost man of its high-end boutique stores to empty shops.

Community groups are bidding to see the road returned to the “joys of decades ago” with a number of creative projects mooted.

Nigel Havens, co-owner of Havens on Hamlet Court Road said: “I most certainly welcome this.

“I’m a great believer in keeping the high street as tidy as possible.

“I think the improved feeling of a high street will help the area and create a focal point for the Westcliff area. That’s what it always has been and it should be going forward.”

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Ashley Baker, owner of Ramen+Chill added: “If it can be developed or tided up then it all helps to bring more colour to our street.”

Milton ward councillor Cheryl Nevin is hoping Blockbuster being tidied up could spark further work. She added: “It’s really good news that we have served the notice and hopefully the owners will do this work.

“Everybody wants to see Hamlet Court Road rejuvenated and it is nice that we have been able to enforce some action which will improve the entrance to Hamlet Court Road.”

Carole Mulroney, cabinet member for environment and planning, said: “The council has at last been able to serve a Section 215 notice on the property owner of 358-364 London Road, Westcliff-On-Sea, the Blockbuster store which has been the subject of concern about its condition for some time. The notice relates to the current poor and untidy state of the building, which continues to deteriorate and is harming the amenity of surroundings due to its condition and appearance.

“The notice takes effect on 13 June 2021 unless it is appealed beforehand and requires the owner to take steps to tidy up and secure the building.”