PUNTERS have been left disappointed after a venue with “such a nice atmosphere” closed suddenly.

Last week it was confirmed that The Cornucopia, on Marine Parade, Southend, has closed permanently.

This comes as plans were submitted to Southend Council to transform the site, which was one of the county’s smallest pubs, into a food takeaway outlet.

However, residents and councillors have expressed their disappointment at losing such an iconic pub.

Southend resident, Chris Kenny, 41, said: “This is such a shame.

“It has been a bit of a landmark for so long and it also poured some of the best Guinness in Southend.

“The Cornucopia had such a nice atmosphere and great service in recent times. Southend just seems to be incapable of looking after historical spots.”

Matt Dent, Labour councillor responsible for the Kursaal ward, added: “It is always sad when any business in the city closes, particularly one with the history of The Cornucopia.

“It is a historic location and I certainly hope it won’t be the last we see of businesses operating there.

“Pubs are struggling up and down the country. It is not necessarily a surprise to see another one shut even though it is disappointing.

“It is better to see it open than lying shut but at the same time there are a lot of takeaway outlets. I would prefer to have it remain open as a pub.”

The Cornucopia was first reportedly built in the 1850s and has been an iconic pub in the city for decades.

Daniel Nelson, Conservative councillor responsible for economic growth and investment, said: “It is very sad.

“I have spoken to the owners myself about this and it was certainly something they didn’t want to do.

“My conversations with the owners have been around the frustration around regenerating the building so it had a modern offering.

“I think we need to look at our planning policy so when businesses want to invest, we allow them the best outcome for everyone, which is not a closed pub but an open, modern bar.

“So, for me there is an aspect of frustration, as I know closing wasn’t something anyone wanted to do. I think the current planning system, which is broken, absolutely played a part.”