THE OWNERS of a popular nightclub are devastated after being told they will have to close in the next few weeks to make way for the expansion of Southend Airport.

The B52 Club, in Eastern Perimeter, will be knocked down to make way for a car park for the new airport railway station.

Proprietors Russ and Andrea Willson have spent the last six months unsuccessfully searching for a new home for their American diner-style club, which has more than 4,000 members and has been running for eight years.

After recently receiving a letter from the airport giving them notice to vacate by May 14, they have decided to cease trading on Sunday, May 3.

Mr Willson, 49, said: “We can’t believe it’s come to this point.

“We are on our last legs at the moment.

“We have a thriving business, but we will be out of work from May 14.

“Since the last Echo article, we’ve been offered lots of places, but nothing that was suitable.

“Either it wasn’t big enough, there wasn’t enough parking or the lease wasn’t long enough.

“We’ve been really trying and have been looking absolutely everywhere.

“We would appeal to anyone again if there’s anything left out there for us.”

Mr Willson said that moving their stuff out of the club and taking it apart will “break their heart”.

The B52 sub-lets its premises from a flying club at the airport and employs six staff.

Airport managing director Alastair Welch has been meeting with the couple to try to find them a new home.

He said: “We have done what we can to extend the B52’s time at the present site, but, now the station is progressing, they need to find alternative accommodation.

“We want to continue working with them to find possible alternative sites at the airport and we wish them the very best of luck.”

The new station is part of the £35million expansion of the airport, which was bought by the Stobart Group in December.

When they took on the lease, planning permission for the airport station had already been granted, but Mr and Mrs Willson said they were not sure whether the club would ever be affected by its construction.

They are looking for another licensed premises which will let them stage live music and enough parking for its classic car shows.

If anyone can help Mr and Mrs Willson find a new venue, call 01702 548688.