A historic fishmongers in Old Leigh is being rebuilt after a huge blaze destroyed it - here's all we know about it.

Bulldozers were spotted on site at the Fisherman’s Co-op, in Old Leigh, yesterday ahead of it being rebuilt.

Southend Council bosses say the demolition work is set to last for two weeks, with a new building complete by the end of 2023.

Old Leigh and Chalkwell were shrouded in smoke as flames consumed the 109-year-old fisherman’s co-op on September 3, 2019.

Community leaders are pleased to see some progress with the site after years.

Peter Wexham, Lib Dem councillor for Leigh, said: “The building was insured so the costs of the rebuild will be covered. I have been really annoyed that it’s taken so long.

“They had to get an architect in to design it as it’s a listed building so they had to work out what bits could be saved and restored.

“The planning permission is all sorted so it’s just a matter of getting on with it now.

“I hope now they will just get it done soon. I am pleased to see there is some progressing happening with the site.”

The badly-damaged remains of the building had stood untouched in High Street, Old Leigh, leaving residents wondering about the future of the council-owned site.

A fire report obtained by the Echo revealed the building could have been burning for up to two hours before the fire was discovered.

Mr Wexham added: “I am sure the site will be easily let out so it can made useful for tourism or the fishing industry.

“It is a prime site and the redevelopment has been going on now for a number of years. The businesses that were there, the fishmongers and an architects have moved to other units to work.”

He said he doesn’t think the council will have much trouble renting out the site if the businesses chose not return to the site after rebuilding works are complete.

The fire was recorded as deliberate with firefighters finding that the ground floor was completely alight and that the first floor was full of smoke.

Paul Collins, councillor responsible for asset management and inward investment, says: “We are pleased that the demolition of the old structure and site clearance is now underway.

“The work is scheduled to take two weeks.

“The council is also finalising the tender and specification for the design and build phase of the project. We hope that a new building can be constructed by the end of 2023, and we’re working with the former tenants to facilitate, if possible, their return to the new premises when it re-opens.”