A BID to buy back the lease to the Kursaal and restore it to its former glory is being “seriously considered” by Southend Council.

Talks are taking place in the hope that a bid can be put together for Government cash to allow the council to secure control of the seafront landmark.

The building is owned by Southend Council, but is currently leased to firm AEW, with 250 years left on the contract.

Deputy council leader Ron Woodley has, however, raised concerns whether it would be effective to use taxpayers’ cash to buy back the lease on a council-owned building.

Campaign group Concrete Culture have been putting plans together to see the building transformed into a community centre with space for music performances, art displays and an indoor artisan market.

Sam Duckworth, a Concrete Culture organiser, has held meetings at the House of Lords to secure extra funding, and monthly meetings with council officers.

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Matt Dent, Labour councillor for Kursaal ward, said: “This is an extremely positive step.

“We’ve gone from a point where we had no plan, to now the council seriously considering buying the lease back.

“The council is now looking to step in.

“It may be the case where the council has to top up the funding it gets.

“I suspect it will be in the millions of pounds to buy it back.”

The prospect of buying back the lease came as Southend Council revealed its ambitious traffic-busting plans as part of a £55m bid for the Levelling Up funding.

If the council was to bid for the funding for the Kursaal, it would come later this year as part of a “culture-led regeneration” bid.

Mr Dent has previously urged the council “to learn lessons” from not including a break clause with the firm.

Mr Duckworth added: “We’ve just finished our second consultation into the Kursaal, which will be used to progress forwards.”

A report to Southend Council’s cabinet, which meets this week, suggested the work of Concrete Culture aligned with council ambitions.

The report added: “Their vision for the Kursaal is to provide community space that will allow local people to create, work, learn, and grow-up through the building.

“For a robust bid, with the best chance of success to be made, substantial further work is needed to meet the assessment criteria, and this includes detailed costings not only for the capital investment but also the business model for any spaces activated or created, engagement with landowners, including the owners of the Kursaal lease.”

Tony Cox, leader of Southend’s Tories, also urged Southend Council to “bite the bullet” and buy back the lease.

However, Mr Woodley, was cautious, adding: “It will be very expensive to do it.

“It might not be the best way to use the taxpayers money. Talking to the developer to come up with an experience is a way forward. I will be looking at the report.”