While it feels like yesterday, it is staggering to think it has been more than a decade since 2009.

With businesses shutting down, new premises opening and buildings demolished for major developments over the years, Southend is certainly different now to how it looked when the Google Street View car was first launched 14 years ago.

Here are four different parts of Southend which look vastly different in this summer's Google Street View images compared with the same location's 2009 snaps.

Marine Plaza development site, Marine Parade

This is a site which is set to look even more unrecognisable in the not-so-distant future.

This street view image shows an empty building site, as the £100million Marine Plaza development has been hit with numerous delays since planning permission was granted in 2015.

But firm bosses insist the wait will soon be over as work is set to begin after this summer.


How it looks now

While many residents have become familiar with the large, bright green hoarding opposite the iconic Kursaal, just 14 years ago the site was very different.



How it was then

This street view image shows The New Ship Inn, which was bulldozed for the plans in 2011, the old Dizzyland amusement park opposite the Kursaal, and the Foresters Arms pub which was demolished last in 2019.

The scheme was originally proposed by seafront businessman John Remblance in 2005 before The Inner London Group, a developer who paid £2.25million for the site, took the plan on.

The ambitious seafront project includes plans for 282 apartments, restaurants, cafes, and bars overlooking the Golden Mile.


Clifftown Shore, Western Esplanade

Now home to luxury seafront apartments and a plush new restaurant, this site is a far cry from how it looked more than a decade ago.

The Blue Banana Cafe and Grill, Marriotts Fish and Chip shop and the huge Esplanade pub once stood where the huge development was built.

The 100-year-old seafront pub closed its doors for the last time on Saturday October 22 2016. Not long after, a string of arson attacks of the derelict building began. During this time, it was described as a “death trap” by firefighters.

Finally, on December 22, 2018, after a tumultuous few years for the building, it fell victim to arsonists for a final time and was reduced to a smouldering wreck.


How it was then

The former Marriotts Fish and Chip shop became part of the then 41-apartment development along with the neighbouring Esplanade pub in 2017.

Finally, after more than a decade of numerous developers trying and failing to demolish the site to make way for new developments, Beyond the Box unveiled the landmark Clifftown Shore development last year featuring 51 apartments and penthouses, as well as the Zinnia restaurant.

The restaurant planned to finally open its doors this summer.



How it looks now

Tylers Avenue / Southend High Street

We could pick plenty of sections of Southend High Street which have transformed over the past decade, however, due to it being pedestrianised, most of the High Street only has street views available from 2016 and 2018.

This site was chosen as almost every building covered in these shots has changed, either slightly or drastically, since the first 2009 street view images were taken.

Echo: Churchills and Birthdays in 2009Churchills and Birthdays in 2009 (Image: Google Street View)

Echo: Cornish Bakehouse, The Orange Shop and MossCornish Bakehouse, The Orange Shop and Moss (Image: Google Street View)

How it was then

Not only does it show the former Birthdays, Moss, Orange Shop and Cornish Bakehouse stores, now Cards Direct, Taco Bell, 12th Street and MooBoo respectively, the image towards the end of the decade also shows Churchills, a popular nightspot in the then-town.

The venue, a combination of a restaurant, a bar and a club, closed down in 2015 and handed the keys over to the owners of popular Southend restaurant Mangetout.

Echo: MooBoo bubble tea, 12th Street and Taco BellMooBoo bubble tea, 12th Street and Taco Bell (Image: Google Street View)

Echo: The former Churchills site and Cards DirectThe former Churchills site and Cards Direct (Image: Google Street View)

How it looks now

That restaurant moved from Tylers Avenue to London Road in 2019 (before closing its doors for the final time last year) and the former Churchills site has become "an eyesore" since. 

However, the site could transform in another ten years time, as plans emerged for a tower block with 58 new homes on the site. Southend Council will decide on the bid.

Warrior Square

Though the change is not as dramatic, many residents will recall fondly when Warrior Square boasted a large swim centre and an "unwelcoming" - according to councillors at the time - park, which can be seen in the 2009 street view.



How it looked then

Warriors Swim Centre was closed just a year later, and bulldozed in 2011 after the £13.5million pool at Garon Park opened. 

A building firm was keen to transform the site into new offices, shops and homes at the time, however the site is now home to a purpose-built skate park.

At the same time, between 2010 and 2011, Warrior Gardens was also changing as the town centre park underwent £1.8million works.

It now boasts a plaza area and a popular cafe off Chichester Road. Council contractors also removed hedges from the boundaries of the gardens to open it up and created two new walkways plus disabled access ramps, a “lime walk”, and a row of benches under new lamps.

Echo: Warrior Gardens now with the plaza and The Glasshouse CafeWarrior Gardens now with the plaza and The Glasshouse Cafe (Image: Google Street View)

Echo: Warrior skate parkWarrior skate park (Image: Google Street View)

How it looks now