THE developer commissioned to build a new £9million hotel at Southend Airport has expressed frustration over massive delays on the project.

Nick Fratini’s company, Fratini Building Designers and Developers, signed a provisional contract in March to build the 131-bedroom four-star hotel in Eastwoodbury Crescent.

The project was scheduled to get under way in May, but Mr Fratini said he has heard nothing from SXC Development, which is working on behalf of Ramada Hotels, for the past six weeks.

Mr Fratini said: “Between January and June, my company and other associates have spent considerable time and a great deal of expense organising a building programme to put the new hotel together.

“We’ve spent about £70,000 so far on the project.

“We were supposed to start work in late May or early June, but for some reason SXC has faded into the background, leaving us wondering ‘what is going on?’.

“We don’t even get replies to e-mails. It’s gone stone dead.

“I’m genuinely interested in the growth of the airport, like no doubt, many hundreds of local people and businesses are.”

Outline plans for the hotel were approved by Southend Council in October 2007.

Mr Fratini said the money spent so far had been used to draw up plans and arrange site meetings.

But Sudhin Chatterji, a director of SXC, said he had tried to contact Mr Fratini in the past few weeks.

He said: “We’ve done everything correctly.

“We had some reserve matters regarding the planning application we had granted, which needed to be dealt with.

“We have now done all the reports and it’s going to be submitted to the local authority this week.

“Once we have satisfied the reserve matters, we can start clearing the site and boarding it up, with a view to starting construction, possibly in six to eight weeks time.”

The reserve matters, unresolved in the application, include whether there are contaminants in the soil, any trees or plants on the site, or underground fuel tanks.