CONSTRUCTION workers have been spotted at a seaside Wimpy restaurant for the “first time in months” after a fire which gutted the building two years ago.

A blaze tore through Wimpy on Southend seafront in January 2022, with firefighters blaming the incident on arsonists.

The restaurant in Marine Parade has since become an eyesore with its burnt-out remains sitting largely untouched ever since.

This week, however, workers have been spotted “taking bits down” from the fire-hit seaside eatery.

Echo: Decimated - the restaurant was destroyed in the blazeDecimated - the restaurant was destroyed in the blaze (Image: Jo Turnbull)

Southend resident Jo Turnbull says the building has been “lifeless every time I’ve driven or walked past for months”.

She said: “I’ve now seen workman down the side of the building and it looks like they’re taking bits down.

Echo: Restaurant - a demolition firm's van parked outside Wimpy on Southend seafrontRestaurant - a demolition firm's van parked outside Wimpy on Southend seafront (Image: Jo Turnbull)

“There’s been a big truck parked down the side and a van at the front. I don’t know what’s happening with the building but I’d love to see something happen with it.

“It was a great restaurant and it’s a real shame to see it empty, especially as the summer gets closer.”

There are currently no active planning applications related to the seaside site and Southend Council hasn’t granted planning permission for any projects at the restaurant since it was decimated by the fire.


What happened at Wimpy in Southend?


Firefighters rushed to tackle the blaze in the early hours of January 16, 2022 after Essex County Fire and Rescue Service’s control room received several calls from concerned onlookers.

At the time, firefighters confirmed both floors of the building were completely alight, while the blaze also took hold of half of the roof.

The fire service previously said it believed the fire “was started deliberately” and Essex Police urged witnesses to come forward to assist its inquiries.

Echo: Aftermath - firefighters shared an aerial view of the roof after the fire in 2022Aftermath - firefighters shared an aerial view of the roof after the fire in 2022 (Image: ECFRS)Wimpy bosses were “shocked and devastated” by the fire and thanked the emergency services for their actions.

In August last year, the popular fast food chain said it “had very much hoped that by now there would have been positive progress around the rebuilding” of the site.

Matt Dent, the Labour councillor for Kursaal ward, previously called for Wimpy to “make good on their commitment to renovate and re-open” or “make way for another business”.

The Echo has approached Wimpy for further comment but it declined to comment further.