• A £50million ‘once in a generation’ leisure park, dubbed Southend’s answer to Bas Vegas, has finally been unveiled.

Turnstone Estates has released details of the plan which will transform Seaway car park, off Lucy Road, into a major leisure destination boasting a ten-screen cinema, 11 restaurants, a 480-space multi-storey car park, and 99 apartments.

Alongside the freshly-unveiled plans for Marine Plaza just down the road, developers hope it will attract regulars who flock to Basildon’s Festival Leisure Park instead of Southend.

The Cambridge-based developers say the plans will enhance the evening economy in the town.

Tim Deacon, director of Turnstone Estates, said: “The Seaway scheme will finally deliver the cinema and restaurant destination which the town has been lacking for many years.

“A lot of people go to Festival Leisure Park in Basildon, so we need to make sure people stay in Southend and create an evening economy here.

“The site is in a strong location, close to the seafront and the Royals Shopping Centre, and we believe our proposals will enhance the area.”

The Labour, Lib Dem, and Independent administration has recently signed up Turnstone Estates as its “partner” for the scheme, but the developer will bankroll it.

The developer has already prelet three of the 11 restaurant units, which have gone to household names Frankie and Benny’s, Mexican outlet Chiquito, and American diner Coast 2 Coast.

The cinema, believed to be a Cineworld, will be built on top of the restaurants.

Ron Woodley, leader of Southend Council, said: “The job creation and private sector investment in this regeneration scheme are significant and provide a once in a generation opportunity to bring real change to this part of the town.

“We have a daytime economy and a night-time economy, and this will be a bridge to that, giving us an evening economy.

“If you look at what else is planned for the town, this is just the start.”

The leisure part of the development will be located on the north of the site, close to Herbert Grove, while the residential scheme will be located over the southern side, close to Hartington Road.

The developers hope to move in diggers to start work at the end of 2015, with a phased twoyear building project planned, with the leisure side of the site ready by late 2017 or early 2018.

Seaway will gain extra parking spaces as a result of the development, as its current car park has just 453 spaces.


Full two page special, including further details and reaction, in today's paper