THE long-awaited demolition of a pigeon-infested former restaurant and its transformation into luxury flats looks set to move ahead. 

The half-demolished Old Vienna restaurant, in Eastwood Road, shut down in 2016 after bosses were accused of flouting hygiene rules and it has been branded an eyesore since.

The firm behind the project - Forma London - took over in April 2022 and told the Echo in November it hopes the former restaurant will be fully bulldozed early this year.

Echo: Half-demolished - Old ViennaHalf-demolished - Old Vienna (Image: Newsquest)


Now planning agent McWilliam Lippe Architects has submitted further details to Southend Council.

This seeks approval on conditions agreed as part of the original plan, raising hopes of movement at the site soon. 

Independent Stephen Aylen, Belfairs ward councillor, said: “It’s a step in the right direction in the project becoming a reality.

“The people in the area are not happy with the current state of the Old Vienna because it’s such an eyesore and not great seeing pigeons taking over it and roosting.

“As well as that, there are concerns surrounding car parking.

“From what I understand, the new application submitted to Southend Council clarifies the conditions of the original application, such as the landscaping and water drainage.

“However, it appears the overall design is the same.

“It’s great to see that progress is being made by the developer on replacing the Old Vienna restaurant into flats, and I hope the half-demolished building gets bulldozed soon.”


Echo: Visit - Stephen Aylen outside of the Old Vienna siteVisit - Stephen Aylen outside of the Old Vienna site (Image: Stephen Aylen)

In 2021, plans for the 13 flats were approved on the condition the original developer paid £224,000 towards affordable housing.

However, the plans were thrown up into the air as it could “no longer afford” to provide that sum.

Due to the lack of progress around the development, Old Vienna in its current state has been named a “pigeon-infested eyesore” after dozens of pigeons have been spotted roosting inside.

The conditions that had to be amended included hard and soft landscaping, internal storage space, and parking and cycling spaces.

Once open, the new development will boast 13 sustainable, luxurious flats that include underfloor heating, and LED lighting.

A decision is set to be made by Southend Council.